2010 ES 350 New Car Test Drive
The Lexus ES 350 delivers exactly what you would expect of a Lexus: It's smooth, quiet, sophisticated, competent, and comfortable. It doesn't have the firm ride or quick responses of a German sports sedan, so you can safely sip a cappuccino on the way to work. The ride is smooth and even, the engine is velvety and powerful, the six-speed automatic transmission is flawless, the comfort is supreme, the trip is quiet, everything works the way it's supposed to, the total experience is superb.
The ES 350 is quick and responsive, benefitting from a silky V6 engine that makes 272 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. Lexus says the ES 350 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, a solid performance. Yet the ES 350 is also certified to the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) standard.
2010 brings significant changes inside and out.
The 2010 Lexus ES features new front-end styling, with revised headlamps, a new grille and grille surround, chrome body-side molding, and new front bumper with revised lower air intake and integrated fog lamps. Side mirrors now include integrated turn signals, and there are new taillamps for 2010. Additionally, there are new color choices.
Inside, for 2010, there are revised steering-wheel controls, the center console offers more storage space, and there are new wood trim choices. On the technology side, the navigation and entertainment capabilities have been expanded for 2010, and the optional navigation system has improved Voice Command recognition to make its operation more convenient. There's a new memory system, which stores settings for the driver's seat, mirrors, and steering-wheel position, and rain-sensing wipers are now standard equipment. Also, rear seat-mounted side airbags, which were optional, are standard equipment on the 2010 Lexus ES.
When Toyota launched the Lexus brand in 1989, its entry-level model was the ES 250, with a thinly disguised Camry chassis and powertrain under a mildly upgraded body and interior. With each succeeding generation, the ES has better met the needs of the entry-luxury segment, with more room, more space, more power, more standard equipment, and more safety features. The Lexus ES was most recently redesigned for the 2007 model year, with fresh styling and interior revisions for 2010.
The 2010 Lexus ES 350 ($35,175) comes with leather seating surfaces and trim, 10-way power front seats; power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; power glass sunroof; eight-speaker AM/FM/6CD, XM Satellite Radio, and MP3/iPod input jack; programmable SmartAccess keyless entry; and all the other amenities one would expect. Tires are P215/55R17 all-season radials on 17-inch split five-spoke alloy wheels.
Option packages: The Lexus Premium Audio with Navigation ($2,465) includes Bluetooth, HDD Navigation with touch-screen, rear-view camera, Lexus Enform with Destination Assist, eDestination and Safety Connect, Lexus Insider, voice command casual language recognition, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, and XM Sports/Stocks. The Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package ($4,065) includes all the features of the Premium Audio with Navigation, and adds Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio with DVD Audio/Video, 14 speakers, and 5.1-channel playback.
The Ultra-Luxury Package ($3,535) includes 10-spoke alloy wheels, black and saddle interior with double-contrast stitching for seats and trim, High Intensity Discharge headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting, a panorama glass roof, power rear sunshade, semi-aniline interior, and wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.
Other options include wood and leather shift knob ($330), heated and ventilated front seats ($640), Intuitive Park Assist ($500), High Intensity Discharge headlamps ($815), and the Lexus Pre-Collision System ($1,500). Additional options and accessories are available.
Safety features that come standard on the ES 350 include dual front airbags, dual front knee airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags (for torso protection), curtain airbags (for head protection), electronic stability control, traction control, antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor. A two-chamber passenger airbag is designed to stop the passenger's upper body and torso with minimal facial contact and neck stress on deployment.
The optional Pre-Collision System includes a radar-based cruise control that automatically maintains a preset distance between the ES 350 and the car ahead. If the system senses an imminent collision, it retracts all the outboard seatbelts and initializes the brake system for full panic-braking power.