2009 Lexus ES350 Pebble Beach Edition – Test drive and new car review – 2009 Lexus ES 350 Pebble Beach Edition

27 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Lexus ES350 Pebble Beach Edition – Test drive and new car review – 2009 Lexus ES 350 Pebble Beach Edition
Lexus ES350

The Bottom Line

Pros

Everything a Lexus should be: Handsome, smooth, quiet and comfortable

Offers similar options to those found on high-end Lexus models

Reasonably priced

Cons

Leather seats are an extra-cost option

Not very involving to drive

Description

ES 350 is the entry-level Lexus model; shares mechanical bits with the Toyota Camry

Price range: $35,145 – $46,625

Lexus ES350

Model tested/price: ES 350 Pebble Beach Edition, $41,995

EPA fuel economy estimates: 19 MPG city/27 MPG highway

Best rivals: Lincoln MKZ. Infiniti G37. Hyundai Genesis Sedan

Guide Review – 2009 Lexus ES 350 Pebble Beach Edition test drive

Lexus builds very nice cars — posh, smooth, quiet and relaxing — and the ES 350 is the most cost-effective way to surround yourself with all that Lexus goodness. Critics dismiss the ES 350 as a glorified Toyota Camry. and maybe it is — but so what? The ES 350 is designed to coddle, not to thrill, although it has plenty of power and holds the road quite nicely.

If using the guts of a Camry helps keep the cost down, well, so be it.

Pricing for the ES 350 starts at $36,425. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The actual base price is $35,145, but that’s with cloth seats — and who the heck wants a Lexus with cloth seats? The $1,280 Premium Package is the cheapest way to get leather.

I tested the $39,115 Pebble Beach Edition, which includes special paint and trim and several options (including heated and cooled front seats. rain-sensing wipers, and rear seat airbags) plus the buyer’s choice of gift packages (Callaway golf clubs and balls, a leather luggage set, a $200 gift certificate for Viking Cooking Schools, etc.). Personally, I’d skip the Pebble Beach edition and spend my money on some of the ES 350’s cooler options, like the Mark Levinson DVD-audio system, touch-screen navigation, or active cruise control, which automatically matches the ES350’s speed to the car ahead.

The biggest thorn in the ES 350’s side is the Hyundai Genesis. a significantly bigger car that offers V8 power and rear-wheel-drive — though not as many high-tech gizmos — for about the same price as the front-wheel-drive ES 350. The Infiniti G37 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are better to drive, and the 2010 Lincoln MKZ does everything the ES does, and nearly as well. But if what you want is a quiet, comfortable car with handsome styling, first-class amenities and a proven reputation for bulletproof build quality, the ES 350 is still the one to have. — Aaron Gold

Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
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