Driving from Sacramento, California to Logan, Utah is doable in one day. It’s about a 685-mile trek and takes 12 hours with stops. I opted for the two-day version, and one reason was because of my ride, a 2015 Lexus ES 350.

A logical approach to attend the Tour of Utah bike race was a first night’s stop in Elko, Nevada, a 415-mile effort east on Interstate 80 to Reno, Nev. It was then into the desert for several-hour effort into open range, past small towns, plenty of sage brush and where the 75-mph speed limit is barely a deterrent.

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 is the upscale version of a Toyota Avalon. It’s a four-door, luxury sedan featuring a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 with 268 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. It has an EPA rating of 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the freeway.

Long-haul driving is an ideal way to test cars’ gas mileage ratings. And as odd as it may sound, it was one reason I opted to drive to Utah instead of flying. Since a tight time schedule wasn’t part of the equation, how much cheaper would it be to drive on my own schedule than spend the estimate $400 (the best airfare I could find) to travel during the least optimal times outbound and inbound?

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 is upscale equivalent of the Toyota Avalon.
The 2015 Lexus ES 350 is upscale equivalent of the Toyota Avalon. Images © James Raia/2015

The Lexus ES 350 provides a smooth, comfortable and quiet ride. The Lexus slogan is “The Pursuit of Perfection.” The Lexus isn’t perfect, just like any car and any price isn’t percent. But the pursuit of perfection is an acceptable claim. The cars has no weaknesses.

The trip to Elko, Nevada, was achieved often while advancing a few miles above the 75 mph speed limit and while using the efficient-to-use cruise control system. The air conditioner was on the entire trip.

I filled the tank after 344 miles with 11.2 gallons at $2.92 per gallon. The cost was $33 and I averaged 30.71 mpg, a surprisingly accurate tally with the EPA estimate, particularly considering the high average speed and air conditioner usage.

It also provided one more strong justification for the Lexus public relations agenda of pursuing perfection. It’s hard to argue against the claim.

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