PINEHURST, NC — August 12, 2021 — Is it just me, or is this not a really striking image of a fine car? This, my friends, is the Lexus ES F350, a luxury four door sedan that almost any family can afford. Seriously.
Lexus has five types of sedans, the IS, the ES, the ES Hybrid, the LS, and the LS Hybrid, with various models in each. The ES line has 12 models alone, nine in the ES 250 or ES 350 design. The 250’s feature a 4 cylinder in-line engine with 203 HP and get about 28 mpg average. The 350’s have V6’s cranking out 302 HP and getting 26 mpg average. There are also three models in the Hybrid series that feature 44 mpg average. That’s 12 choices and, price wise, the all fall between $40k and $49K. The point? When it comes to ‘luxury sedans’, you have a lot of choices with Lexus. Can you say, “Affordable”? Or “Affordable luxury”? Isn’t that what all the current luxury car manufacturers are after in one way or another?
Come to think of it, maybe not. Once upon a time in another galaxy I hung out with a few people who bought the most expensive. If people were driving Cadillacs, they got BMW’s. If BMWs got popular, the bought Mercedes. If too many people were driving Mercedes, they bought a Rolls. People look at cars differently. Some people want a set of wheels to get them from point A to point B. Nothing wrong with that. Some people want a ‘practical’ vehicle, one that gets great gas mileage, can haul the kids to and from soccer, can carry a big dog – or two dogs and golf clubs, or antiques. Some people don’t care about gas mileage. But, truth be told, I bet a lot of people, who don’t have a really nice car, would like one, but think they can’t afford one. This could be that opportunity.
Our Lexus ES F350 Sport weighed in as third from most expensive at $45,800, not cheap, but not really that expensive in today’s ‘luxury’ car market.
And, quite honestly, the Lexus ES F350 came across as a luxury car. It rode like a dream, handled very well, certainly had enough pick up as the difference in the 250 and the 350 is about 100hp. With 302hp, the F350 had plenty of ‘go’. It was easy to enter and exit, a quality I need; plenty of head room, leg room, trunk space, passenger space – all good marks from me, and probably Laurie too, who will weigh in on the Lexus shortly.
I liked the good looks and aerodynamic lines of the vehicle. Part of ownership is seeing yourself actually owning and driving the car, and that was true for some reason with the Lexus.
Also included as part of our F350 Sport’s packages were heated and ventilated front seats, and the ventilated front seats were a life saver in some of the hot days we have been having. They were the best at cooling the back and lower extremities that I can recall. We had Rain-sensing windshield wipers and plenty of rain too, to see if the were as good as advertised. They were. We had the Power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, and a great Navigation system which worked very well with the Dynamic Voice Command. You pushed the speaker button, asked her to “Navigate to…” and away you went.
Before I carry on about all the things I liked personally, I have to address one concern. Much of the control of the radio, choice of screens, information about the car, and other things were controlled by the touch system in the middle of the console, a flat area that allows you to move the cursor around the screen and click on an icon you want to use –
The problem I had with this method of controlling what you wanted to do whether it was radio, or navigation, or display, was that it was very sensitive and took my attention away from the driving. Programming everything before you left the driveway would be one way to solve a lot of that problem, but many times, we need to make choices while on the go, and by ourselves. I didn’t find this methodology very helpful. Of course, it that’s the big negative, some time spent using it until one, in this case me, was familiar with it would make all the difference.
Of course, one of my favorite topics is always safety and the ES F350 Sport did not disappoint in that area.
We had the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Road Sign Assist (a nice feature on the very good Head Up Display), All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beams, 10 Standard Airbags, Backup Camera, Vehicle Stability Control, Blind Sport Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking. Feel safer? I do.
I enjoyed the Lexus ES F350 Sport. I felt good in it; I felt comfortable in it; I felt safe in it; and, well, I just liked it. We need that house with the four-car garage. No, I mean it.
Your turn dear!
It’s inconceivable to me, Johnny, that any car in the Luxury Class can have a suggested MSRP of only $40k. This is an eye-turner, a really beautifully designed car with all the bells and whistles. From the signature Lexus grill to the sleek design of the headlights, the ES F Sport screams “classic.” Available in blue, cranberry, white and five shades of grey—something I don’t understand, actually—this truly is a car for the ages. But not just any age. Like most Luxury four-door sedans, this is an “I’ve arrived” car because it reflects the personality of an individual who not only appreciates the finer things in life but most probably, worked hard to get them.
The inside is as beautifully designed inside as it is out, and it’s comfortable, has plenty of legroom, and the best air-conditioned seats I’ve ever experienced. On high, you feel a blast of cold air propelled by fans—or, at least that’s how it feels—and on these hot Carolina days, it’s utterly delightful.
As technology-challenged as I am (I still miss roll-down windows) the ES is Amazon Alexa compatible to do as you command, and the world’s first Mark Levinson ® PurePlay sound system, a new sound system that can even sense “the slightest breath an artist takes before the chorus or a hidden harmony you’ve never heard before” when you turn on the sound system.
This car does take some getting used to. The controls, the touch-system in the center console that controls the screen do take some getting used to. So does the GPS system. But these are secondary considerations when you think about all this car brings to you, the driver, and your passengers. Such a smooth, quiet ride! Such a joy to drive!
Johnny, can I have one for Christmas?
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In the PINEHURST area, contact:
JOHNSON LEXUS OF DURHAM at 1013 Southpoint Auto Park, Durham, NC 27713;
FLOW LEXUS OF GREENSBORO at 85 Norwalk Street, Greensboro, NC 27407;
JOHNSON LEXUS OF RALEIGH at 5839 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27626
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In the NEW YORK METROPOLITAN area, contact:
LEXUS OF MANHATTAN, 627 11th Avenue, New York City, NY 10036
RAY CATENA LEXUS, 1435 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, NY 10538
LEXUS OF MT. KISCO, 75 Kisco Avenue, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
LEXUS OF GREENWICH, 19 Railroad Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830
LEXUS OF QUEENS, 4040 Northern Blvd., Long Island City, NY 11101