Test Drive: 2010 Lexus ES 350 car test drives luxury cars lexus
2010 Lexus ES 350. Click image to enlarge

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2010 Lexus ES Owner Reviews

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Review and photos by Chris Chase

Photo Gallery:
2010 Lexus ES 350

Today’s luxury vehicles are expected to provide engaging performance as well as coddling comfort. That’s been the German way for decades, and for the most part, the upwardly mobile Asian brands and domestics like Lincoln and Cadillac, have followed suit, in the pursuit of stealing sales from the teutonic trifecta of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The car pictured here, though, is an exception to that rule.

For 2010, the Lexus ES 350 – positioned a step up, in terms of base price, from the smaller IS – is largely unchanged from its 2009 iteration, save for a styling update that brings blink-and-you’ll-miss them changes to the front and rear ends, plus a handful of new standard interior features like active front head restraints, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, rear-seat side airbags and an off-switch for the stability control system. A new Eco indicator in the trip computer display is aimed at helping drivers get around more efficiently.

Test Drive: 2010 Lexus ES 350 car test drives luxury cars lexus
Test Drive: 2010 Lexus ES 350 car test drives luxury cars lexus
2010 Lexus ES 350. Click image to enlarge

What hasn’t changed is the car’s mechanical makeup: a 3.5-litre V6 making 272 horses and 254 lb-ft of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission and underpinnings shared with the pedestrian Toyota Camry.

Straight-line performance is great: this engine, used in a variety of Toyota and Lexus models, is a terrific piece, with loads of mid-range power and a real willingness to rev when asked for rapid acceleration. The transmission obliges, too, with prompt downshifts when requested, while doing its job almost invisibly the rest of the time.

The engine’s Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption ratings are 10.9/7.2 L/100 km (city/highway). My week of sedate suburban cruising in unseasonably warm mid-March weather netted an average that matched the city rating.

The engine’s urge to go is a sharp contrast to the way the car goes over the road: the ride is pillowy-soft, and handling is best described as “safe,” but some of that can be attributed to the car’s winter tires, whose soft compound doesn’t take well to the 10-to-15 degree Celsius weather Ottawa experienced during my week in the car.

Road and wind noise are next to nil at highway speeds; the steering is light and the brake pedal returning just the right kind of feel for smooth, effective stopping – this is one of those no-surprises cars. Point it where you want to go, maintain a relaxed pace and the car will make sure you’re comfortable. Check that one off the list.

Test Drive: 2010 Lexus ES 350 car test drives luxury cars lexus
2010 Lexus ES 350. Click image to enlarge

In basic trim, the ES has plenty of goodies to treat you in the manner to which you’d like to become accustomed. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, along with Smart Access (the car unlocks when you grab the handle) and push-button ignition; power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel; a leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls; power sunroof; auto up-down windows and auto-dimming mirrors and ten-way powered and heated leather seats, to name the highlights.

A Navigation Package adds navigation, naturally, plus a backup camera, USB port and a ventilation function for the front seats. My tester had the next-step-up Premium Package, which throws in wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, driver’s seat power cushion extender, passenger seat memory, adaptive xenon headlamps, power rear sunshade and intuitive parking assist.

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