The Lexus ES 350 is in the wondrous midsize luxury class. It features tough competition among well-heeled vehicles ranging from the Buick LaCrosse to the Volvo S60 and the Acura TL to the Hyundai Genesis.
For 2012, the Lexus ES 350 remains largely unchanged from the 2011 model, with one available trim. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower, 248 pound-feet of torque and has a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
Without changes, Lexus must be confident in the Lexus ES 350, the high-brow sibling of a Toyota Camry. There was plenty of evidence for that theory during my weekly drive.
Quick acceleration to substantial comfort to smooth driving, the ES 350 continues to hold its perennial position at top of the perch in entry level segment. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, a sunroof, automatic wipers, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather upholstery, wood interior trim, an auto-dimming mirror, Bluetooth phone and music streaming capability, and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The options list is additionally impressive: xenon adaptive headlights, parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system, heated and ventilated front seats, front passenger memory functions, upgraded leather upholstery, a power rear sunshade and a wood-trimmed steering wheel.
There’s also an optional hard-drive-based navigation system includes a back-up camera, voice commands, real-time traffic updates and the Lexus Enform telematics system. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium stereo can be added to the navigation system.
Add is all up and there’s little not to like about the Lexus ES 350. It’s impressively quick, impressively comfortable and impressively well built.
The interior wood trim is ideally designed and perfectly positioned.
Great acceleration. Lots of cars with more than 268 horsepower don’t seem nearly as quick.
Wonderfully toned sound system.
Slightly soft brakes.
City gas mileage could be better.
Facts & Figures, 2012 Lexus ES 350
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.4 seconds
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway) .
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $36,735.00
Price As tested: $41,455.00
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“From the long history Lexus reliability to its interior to its open-round comfort, the Lexus ES 350 is a fine for car-buyers making the move into the $40,000 luxury range.”