When I first saw the new 2016 Lexus ES 350, the grille immediately made me recall the Cylon Centurions, those warring cybernetic robots from the 1978-1980 television series Battlestar Galactica, who were hell-bent on the genocide of the human species. Well, even if it has one of the biggest noses of all midsized luxury cars and it totally remind me of a chrome-plated foot soldier from the evil Cylon Empire, the Lexus ES is not a bad robot. It is a well-crafted entry-level luxury sedan that is all about refinement and relaxation with an emphasis on comfortable and quiet, providing a very smooth and serene driving experience, not the mechanical malicious foils attempting to erase all traces of humanity.
I’m a Bear lover and often travel in the company of some big hairy guys, so of course, being the gentleman that I am, I always want to make my bear buddies feel as comfortable as possible. The Lexus ES affords me that opportunity with options like a panorama glass roof, which can provide a broad swath of light to the rear-seat passengers. My friends also liked the class-leading legroom and rear-side and rear-window sunshades – for when you need a bit more privacy and darkness, if you know what I mean…
Other interior designs and special features include the classy looking analog clock in the center of the matte-finished bamboo-trimmed dash. Also nice is the Lexus Remote Touch system, which is essentially a mouse-like device that controls Navigation, Climate, Apps Suite and 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package. Although using the ultra-sensitive controller can make for a somewhat clumsy experience and can be distracting while driving, once you get the hang of it, the navigation package is very intuitive, can display the names of businesses nearby and includes the option to call directly to an establishment thru the hands-free calling feature. While recently on a road trip, my boyfriend was starting to get a bit cranky from not eating (that Snickers bar kind of cranky). Using the navigation system, we found a restaurant along our route, were able to call ahead to make reservations, got seated and avoided a relationship-busting temper tantrum. Thank you!
Unlike its forebears, the 2016 Lexus ES is considerably quicker and more powerful – when the drive mode selector is in Sport Mode, the gauge cluster lighting changes to a fiery red and the powertrain alters for more dynamic throttle mapping and stiffer steering. The six-speed sequential-shift automatic electronically-controlled transmission delivers power quickly to the front-end without any steering-jerk. It’s no F-Series but the 4 cam, 24 valve, 3.5 liter V6 can get-up-and-go, generating 268 horsepower, giving it a 6.5-second time from 0-60mph with a top speed of 130 mph.
For the safety minded, some of the noteworthy items are the Enform Safety Connect, stolen vehicle location, automatic collision notification, – and lastly, the scary and weird (IMHO) intuitive parking assist feature, which is meant to monitor blind spots, cross traffic and pedestrian movements so that you don’t bump into anything while parking. Maybe it was just a bit to sensitive for me.
So whether you are a harried commuter or a weekend road-tripper, the Lexus ES 350 is a pleasant midsized luxury sedan that can be seen as a piece of kinetic sculpture that has a sublimely comfortable drive.
2016 Lexus ES 350 Stats
- Luxury vehicle
- Scores: 4.5/5Edmunds.com, 8.2/10The Car Connection, 8.2/10Kelley Blue Book
- Model: 2016 Lexus ES
- MSRP: From $38,100
- Curb weight: 3,571 lbs.
- Horsepower: 268 horsepower
- MPG: 21 city / 31 highway
- Dimensions: 193″ L x 72″ W x 57″ H
- Engine: 3.5 L V6
- Warranty: 4 year/50,000 mi basic, 6 year/70,000-mile powertrain