Interior view of the 2016 Lexus ES 350.
The Lexus ES 350 model has been around for many years, and it’s a good, solid choice for those who want a few of the finer touches but not the full-blown sticker price of a high-end luxury car, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #2016LexusES350 #Lexus #Lifestyle
There are a million five-door sedans out there and if you’re in the market for one, good luck sorting it all out. Where do you start?
Budget-conscious families probably start by checking out the sticker price. Before you do that, consider this: If you’re going to be spending so much time in the car, either commuting or shuttling children, you shouldn’t be too frugal. After all, a good sound system, top-flight amenities, very comfortable seats for all five passengers, good visibility, and a hefty list of safety features will be worth a higher price in the end.
Here, for your consideration then, is the 2016 Lexus ES 350. It has all of the above, and more.
Lexus considers the ES 350 to be its “entry level” luxury car. I find that to be a curious term, because once you’re on the luxury track, what’s missing? Just more fancy stuff? Exactly.
The Lexus ES 350 underwent a total redesign in 2015, and for 2016 it gets even more tweaks here and there. Most notably, the tweaks include the addition of new safety, connectivity and multimedia technology, a new L-shaped design for the rear tail lights and a new look for the front and wheels.
What was there from the beginning is a vehicle that has lots of nice touches and a good-sized rear seat. Actually, there are 40 inches of rear seat legroom here. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 268 horsepower, and a smooth-as-silk six-speed automatic transmission. Knowing that you have that much power without any hesitation is a luxury in and of itself; no worries if you need to scoot up a short on-ramp or speed up to avoid congested traffic.
The Lexus’ safety system is impressive. You’ll find 10 standard airbags on board – including dual knee air bags for driver and front passenger, as well as Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist. Also standard is Lexus Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, an Emergency Assist button, and roadside assistance. Available this year is a Lexus Safety System-Plus Package that includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS), Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise control, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. The lane departure alert causes your steering wheel to shudder if the car detects you drifting out of your lane, even if it is intentional. Want to avoid that shuddering steering wheel at the wrong times? Use your blinker.
PCS can detect vehicles – and in certain conditions, pedestrians – with a combination of radar and a front-facing camera. If the system detects these obstacles, it can warn the driver and apply automatic braking. Your auto insurance agency should love that.
Intelligent High Beam technology senses lights from oncoming traffic and tail lights and automatically adjusts the high-low beams.
As for luxurious appointments, the Lexus ES 350 has them everywhere. Silver trim and piano black door trim, soft leather seating, or bamboo with a matte finish are just a few of the interior color and material choices. The steering wheel has many controls imbedded in it, and the seats are 10-way adjustable. Automatic climate control is standard for driver and front passenger. Also standard is a power tilt and slide moon roof, and turn signals in the side mirrors.
If you want to add more amenities to your Lexus ES 350, you can add a Premium, Luxury and Ultra Luxury Packages to your vehicle, to really up your comfort and technology game.
On the road, you’ll find the ride silky smooth, with not a whisper of road noise, even at freeway speeds. The V6 is swift and powerful.
Seats are very comfortable in all positions and visibility for driver and passengers is good, and the trunk is right-sized.
If you’re in the market for a five-passenger sedan, and find yourself on the road a lot because you’re a commuter or a mom with a tribe of busy kids, consider your overall comfort over that frugal budget. You may actually look forward to your commute and errands when motoring around town in the 2016 Lexus ES 350.