Dec 122018
Lexus ES 350                                                                                            Photos by Valerie Menard

When Lexus launched in 1989, its lineup included two models, the LS and ES sedans. Over the last 29 years, the ES has evolved to become a favorite of luxury car buyers, taking the number three spot of top-selling luxury cars in 2017, according to the New York Daily News. With the seventh generation coming in 2019, there’s still time to grab the 2018 model. Latino Traffic Report recently tested the 2018 ES 350. Here are some highlights.

Accessibility sets the ES 350 apart in its segment. While certain features are offered in pricey packages, Lexus makes particular features available as stand alone options on the ES, like the blind spot monitor ($500), One Touch Power Trunk (right)  ($400), and Intuitive Parking Assist ($500) that were added to the test model.

Matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 268-horsepower and 248 lb.–ft. of torque powers every ES 350. For added convenience, it can run on regular-grade gas. The standard Drive Mode Select with Normal, Sport, and Eco modes also helps the ES achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. During the test-drive it earned an average of 21.8 mpg.

The standard Lexus Safety System includes semi-autonomous technology like High-speed Dynamic Cruise Control, a Pre-Collision and Pedestrian avoidance system, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, a.k.a. the ghost in the machine, and Intelligent High-Beam headlights that sense automatically when to turn on or off.

The subscription-based onboard emergency and information system, Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect, are free for 2018 for the first ten years. The former provides access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365 with a mobile connection, while the latter alerts the owner to specific factory-recommended maintenance while simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus dealer.

Standard creature comforts include ten-way adjustable power front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, NuLuxe perforated upholstery with Piano Black ornamentation, and a power tilt-and-slide moonroof.

The standard Lexus Display Audio system features an eight-inch screen and includes HD Radio, Bluetooth audio, a CD player, a vehicle information display, and complimentary traffic and weather data provided via HD Radio. The test model also included the Remote Touch Interface, part of the Navigation/Mark Levinson Package ($2,615) that included an intuitive mouse pad function in the center console to engage the infotainment system.

Additional options on the test model included the Ultra Luxury Package ($3,500) with wood interior trim, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic glass roof, among other features.

Pricing for the 2018 ES 350 starts at $39,975. The as-tested price came to $49,255.

 Sí: Richly appointed, the ES 350 leaves little doubt that it belongs in the luxury sedan segment.

No: The redesign is just in time because this model, inside and out, did look a little long in the tooth.


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