By Cars.com EditorsJune 23, 2015
About the video
Editor's note: This review was done in February 2014 about the 2014 Lexus ES 350. Little of substance has changed with this year's model.
This cars.com video shows a 2014 model that got very few changes for 2015. You can compare the two model years on cars.com. Thanks for watching and enjoy the video. (car door slamming) (lively music) Hi this is Joe Bruzek from cars.com.
The entry-level luxury sedan segment is filled with small sporty cars. We're here with the 2014 Lexus ES 350, and it's neither small nor sporty, but that's not a knock against it. Its size is actually one of its greatest strengths, and that happened in 2013 when the ES 350 was redesigned. It went from being based on the Camry platform to being based on the larger Toyota Avalon platform. And let's take a look on the inside where that helped the most. Lexus uncorked 4.1 inches of rear seat leg room when they switched to the Avalon platform in 2013 and it's hugely noticeable. The backseat is very, very comfortable and the front seat here is positioned where I would drive. And this is how much leg room I have. It's very comfortable and the low exhaust hump in the chassis is also great because there's not this huge divider here between the seats. And even if you had to put someone in the middle row, they would have plenty of room as well. And this is not the kind of room that you're going to find in the entry-level luxury sedan segment. We were fortunate to test the ES 350 and the GS 350 side by side. And for me, one of the more notable standouts on the interior was seating comfort, and I was much more comfortable in the GS. For my personal taste, I like a lot of lower back support, and I just didn't find that in the ES, which impacted comfort on the long haul. I've been pretty satisfied with how the interior looks. I think a lot of materials are nice, especially this optional bamboo wood trim around the interior, but other editors weren't as satisfied, especially with the quality of materials on the dashboard and some of the consistency and also the faux leather seating compared to the optional, real leather seating. But for my tastes, I think it looks great. One of the things that you'll have to look at, though, is you have the Toyota Avalon, which has a very upscale interior, very similar to the ES 350, at a much discounted price. The ES 350 is a very comfort oriented vehicle. It rides smooth, there's a little body roll, plus it's only front-wheel drive. It doesn't beg you to be thrown into corners. It's respectful at what it does, but it is no performance car. But that doesn't mean it's slow. The 268 horsepower V6 is very potent, even in the large sedan. And it's even muscular sounding, which is kind of odd because it's a V6, but it has a very healthy acceleration and sound when you romp on it. What's great about the V6 is that it's powerful, but it also runs on regular gasoline, and it gets its best mileage and its best horsepower using regular and not premium, like some of the other competitors. What's unfortunate is that you have this great V6, but it's only front-wheel drive, and not from a performance aspect of it needs to be a rear wheel drive. It's just that, it's spinning its tires pretty frequently in the wintry conditions that we've been driving it in. Traction control been getting a huge workout. And there's no all-wheel drive option. The ES 350 can be loaded with technology and connectivity with your phone. And all of it is controlled through the Lexus Remote Touch interface. Now it's this little thumb pad, it works like a mouse, and I like the way it works. You have to use it, see if it fits your comfort level, but I'm very comfortable using this while driving. A lot of cars are including text message functions through the car where you can respond to a text message via the vehicle's controls. And Alexis has one of those features and they give you 15 pre-programmed responses. The ES 350's trunk space is also notable, just like the inside, because of how much room it has, but we found it easier to fit gear into this trunk than the Lexus GS. Now, that's kind of where the ES 350 is notable, and that's with how much room it has for the money. A lot of time you'd have to step up a few notches in price to get this much room on the inside and the trunk. For around $37,000 with destination, you're getting a ton of room for not a lot of money. (car engine roaring)