Few premium automotive brands have as varied a lineup as Lexus does. Instead of offering one entry-level luxury sedan, Lexus offers two. For buyers who put the highest priority on comfort and luxury, there is the midsize, front-wheel-drive Lexus ES 350 sedan, while those desiring a harder-edged sport sedan can go with the company's compact, rear-drive IS series.
Today's Lexus ES 350 is the latest version of the company's long-running ES series. Like its predecessors, it's roomy, quiet, comfortable and assembled with care. Lexus offers plenty of standard and optional upscale amenities for the ES 350, but adding a few of the option packages can quickly drive up the price. However, for consumers seeking the utmost in refinement and relaxation in their next entry-level luxury car, the Lexus ES 350 is certain to have just as much appeal as every ES sedan before it.
Current Lexus ES 350
Redesigned for 2013, the Lexus ES 350 maintains its familiar and successful formula. That means it's a well-crafted, well-equipped luxury sedan that puts more emphasis on quiet, comfortable motoring than it does on athletic handling. Styling is evolutionary and handsome, while the cabin boasts a modern and interesting aesthetic.
For power the ES 350 relies on a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. As before, the transmission is a six-speed automatic transmission and all ES 350s have front-wheel drive.
Standard feature highlights include 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. Options include xenon headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, real wood trim, a rearview camera, a navigation system (includes the Lexus Enform suite of Internet-based apps), a Mark Levinson audio system, heated and ventilated seats and a power rear sunshade. If certain options are ordered, the ES 350 also features Lexus' mouselike Remote Touch multifunction controller.
In reviews, we have found that the latest ES 350 delivers a refined driving experience that's bolstered by the smooth and energetic V6 engine. Handling is more buttoned-down than before, which we appreciate. Still, this is no sport sedan. The ES continues to provide a very quiet drive that's ideal for consumers ranging from harried commuters to families who enjoy frequent road trips. All told, Lexus has updated and thus increased the appeal of its popular entry-level luxury sedan without abandoning its core character that has endeared it to its massive, often repeat-business customer base.
Used Lexus ES 350 Models
Produced from 2007 through 2012, the previous-generation Lexus ES 350 didn't change much, making low-mileage, well-kept examples top used car choices. This generation shared its basic underpinnings and mechanicals with the 2007-'11 Toyota Camry. Of course, the ES 350 had different exterior and interior styling as well as more luxury features. Power was provided by a 3.5-liter V6 that generated 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque and put its power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment included a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, power front seats, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and lovely wood trim. Popular options included a panoramic sunroof, a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, a navigation system, adaptive xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control and heated and ventilated front seats.
In our reviews, our editors found this entry-level luxury sedan pleasant to drive. The V6 engine was smooth, and if you're not particularly interested in sporty dynamics, the ES 350's isolated and soft ride will be to your liking. Inside, materials quality and the overall level of opulence are impressive for this segment. For buyers seeking an affordable used luxury sedan, the ES 350 makes a great choice.
The previous generation of the ES, which ran from 2004-'06, was known as the ES 330, while 2002 and '03 models were sold under the ES 300 name. Although they weren't as powerful as the ES 350, the 300 and 330 are fine choices for a used entry-level luxury sedan, thanks to their capable performance, serene cruising demeanor and high-quality cabin treatments. For any ES, reliability is typically well above average.
Read the most recent 2014 Lexus ES 350 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lexus ES 350 page.