Road Test: 2015 Lexus ES350

Pure, unadulterated comfort.

Treat yourself to a seat in the 2015 Lexus ES350 and you’ll see: this car is comfortable in each and every imaginable way. We have nothing but praise for Lexus’ midsize luxury sedan after having driven our modestly-optioned tester for one week.

 

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From absorbing the winter-weathered ruts in our Western NY roads to soothing the body after a hectic day in the office in its heated and cooled perforated buttery-leather seats, Lexus ES offers a soaring J-T-D factor: Joy-to-Drive.

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During a 30 minute drive in the Lexus ES350 from one side of town to the other, my passenger and I discussed our day, shared stories, laughed, and truly connected.

It dawned on me that we were in a car traveling 65 MPH, and I could hear the person sitting next to me as if we were in my living room cozily chatting: such a joy!

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The cabin was so incredibly hushed, the engine so barely discernible and the ride so secure that unlike most vehicles we test drive, every imperfection in the pavement was not transmitted through the suspension and resonating into the chassis, disturbing the tranquility of the human experience.

Yes, we indeed value performance, handling, and excitement, but there’s much to be said for a solid dose of luxury, peace, and quiet.

This is a highly civilized car for mature adults, professionals who like to hear themselves think, and those for whom driving is not about burning rubber, weaving in and out of traffic, and racing to the next red light.

While the navigation and user interface graphics were a bit dated for our high-tech tastes, they were nevertheless clear and useful.

We particularly appreciated the practicality of the “posted speed limit indicator” on the nav screen, only wishing the font was larger in order to be more readily visible at quick glance.

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The armrests in the doors and center console are as plush as it gets. The leather is soft, the foam underneath supple, and the contrasting stitching simply beautiful. No raw elbows from driving this vehicle!

Seats readily & easily adjust to your optimum preferred position, with power adjustments in every direction. A power, adjustable, heated leather and wood steering wheel further facilitate the achievement of ideal driver ergonomics. Both the steering wheel and driver’s seat migrate up, away, and back making ingress and egress effortless when the ignition is turned off.

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Lexus’ ignition is controlled via push-button start, with key fob detection at all four doors and the trunk, a cherished convenience because it works so well. When the ES is unlocked, the trunk can be opened by a button above the license plate without requiring the key fob nearby: more smart design.

Lexus’ Matador Red Mica paint [shown in photos above/below] is absolutely stunning in person. We wish more drivers optioned their cars with this color because it looks like a blend of candy apple red with a starry sky: scrumptious and celestial.

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Our interior was finished in black espresso leather with bird’s eye maple.

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Under the hood is Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5L V6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic and churning out 268-horsepower, providing smooth, forceful, yet quiet power delivery when/as needed, idling at low RPMs while cruising, increasing fuel economy. The EPA rates the ES350 at 21 city, 31 highway and 24 combined MPG.

During our week of mixed driving, we averaged a combined 29.4 MPG.

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Nighttime driving and visibility are important – often overlooked – factors to consider with any new car. ES350s headlights provide a significant enhancement in both the quantity and quality of light, making our spotting of deer, for example, far easier.

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Blind-spot detection is invaluable, a potentially life-saving feature for any time of day.

A back-up camera is standard, and in tandem with the blind-spot detection system, alerts the driver when cars and/or pedestrians are coming from the left or right: a must for parking lot safety.

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Intuitive park assist uses sonar sensors in both front and rear bumpers, proactively alerting the driver when the ES approaches objects.

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Lexus’ sculpted curvaceous design of the front seats results in generous rear seat legroom while design efforts to flatten the rear floor hump create a usable center rear seat.

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Trunk space is a plentiful 15.2 cubic ft, finished with an all-around cloth liner, goose-neck hinges, and a grab handle requiring just a slight tug for the trunk to close with a soft, yet solid thunk.

No surprise, ES is Lexus’ top seller, offering the luxurious comfort of the larger LS, in a highly efficient package.

 

Starting Price: $38,625

As Tested Price: $42,744

Color: Matador Red Mica

EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined): 21/31/24

Intelligent Driver Observed FE (Mixed Driving): 29.4

 

 

 

 

 

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