For 2007, the Lexus ES 330 has been retired, and replaced with the all-new ES 350. As with previous ES models, it is based on the Toyota Camry, which was also redesigned for 2007.

The front-wheel drive ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-litre V6, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Although it’s a larger engine than the 3.3-litre it replaces, fuel economy is improved over the 2006 model.

Features include 17-inch aluminum wheels, power tilt and telescopic wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control with automatic recirculation, six-CD/MP3 satellite-ready stereo with auxiliary input jack, heated ten-way power leather seats, auto-dimming rearview and exterior mirrors, water-repellant front door glass, power sunroof, variable intermittent wipers, fog lamps, and driver and passenger front knee airbags.

Available options are bundled into packages: there’s a $3,600 Premium Package that includes adaptive high-intensity discharge headlamps, rear seat side airbags, wood steering wheel, passenger seat memory and rain-sensing wipers; and an $11,400 Ultra Premium Package, which builds on the Premium Package with navigation system, backup camera, Mark Levinson stereo, panoramic glass roof, power sunshades, premium leather upholstery, variable driver cushion length and premium wheels.

While it shares the Camry’s platform, the ES 350 provides numerous upgrades, with Lexus-specific styling cues, suspension tuning, sound deadening and interior features. The ride is comfortable but handling is still very sharp, and performance from the 3.5-litre is snappy. There’s a $5,475 price difference between the most expensive (non-hybrid) Camry and the base ES 350, though, so test-drive them both to see which one suits both your driving preferences and your budget.

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