It’s been a few years since a Lexus was voted most popular, but the 2014 Lexus ES 350 model might just have what it takes. With a starting MSRP of just above $35,000 and an EPA rating of MPG around 21/31, it’ll appeal to those with luxury taste who are also watching their budget.
The ES 350 got a massive makeover in 2013, and there’s nothing shockingly new for this year’s model. But that tempting bamboo interior trim, those heated seats, Siri Eyes Free technology, and LED fog lamps are starting to turn some heads.
A gentleman’s or lady’s lounge on wheels, this model is designed to be an escape even during that morning commute. Those usually dependable breathing exercises might have had you barely squeaking by in rush hour; sitting in the lap of luxury might be the real ticket to relaxation.
This front-drive sedan is mounted on a 111-inch wheelbase and boasts a 3.5 liter, 268 hp V-6 engine under the hood. This means faster and smoother merging and passing, which is what every driver desires.
When it’s time to exhale, the 350 does so through a dual exhaust system via chrome-finished tips that hint at the power inside. A spacious trunk makes weekend golf outings easy, and a durable pull-down grip ensures ease of use for all drivers.
For a little extra (just under $40,000), a gas-electric hybrid version is available, which promises 40 mpg both in the city and on the highway. You just need 87-octane fuel, which means you’ll enjoy cost savings at the pump as well. With a six-speed auto transmission, power is smoothly delivered. A manual shift is also an option, but early testers report no torque steering even when they accelerated on wet surfaces.
Weighted steering makes things even better, the road feels smooth, and a comfortable ride is complemented by an all-independent suspension.
Give it a spin
While this clearly isn’t a sports sedan (it’s a bit nose-heavy for that), it handles incredibly well with gas-pressurized shock absorbers and both rear and front stabilizer bars. Vehicle stability systems smooth out any other potential bumps in the road. The vehicle comes standard with auto dual-zone climate control, the Lexus audio system, piano black trim, and power front seats.
Bigger door handles welcome you to a luxury-laden interior full of electronic conveniences. Push-button start and the latest technology make this model a clear win. For anyone who’s been experiencing Lexus nostalgia, this is a great way to get reacquainted with the manufacturer.