Earlier this year, I had the chance to test drive the fuel-efficient Lexus ES 300h luxury hybrid, and the latest car to show up in my driveway is the non-hybrid 2017 Lexus ES 350. My overall thoughts proved to be very positive for the ES 300h as an efficient and spacious luxury sedan with no pretensions of sportiness, so I didn’t expect too many surprises on the ES 350. With that in mind, I used my week with the 2017 Lexus ES 350 to see if whether the sacrifices made for fuel economy (added weight and squishier brakes) are worth it for the hybrid model.
2017 Lexus ES 350 Exterior:
Visually, the differences between the 2017 Lexus ES 350 and its hybrid counterpart are minimal. The only major styling change between the versions of the ES is the rear fascia, which gets stylish integrated exhaust outlets on the ES 350, giving the ES a more eye-catching look. The overall styling of the 2017 Lexus ES is understated and caters to buyers looking for traditional, old-school luxury sedans, but the ES still looks great when compared to rivals like the Cadillac XTS and Volvo S90. This tester was about as stylish as the ES could get, too, with optional 18-inch, high-gloss wheels to go along with the Eminent White paint job.
2017 Lexus ES 350 Interior:
The interior of this 2017 Lexus ES 350 is proof that automakers don’t have to go tech crazy in order to deliver a flawless cabin. Opening the doors reveals a stylish interior with tan perforated leather on the seats and door panels and the bamboo accent trim on the instrument panel and steering wheel; this bamboo is one of four available accents offered on the ES 350. As always, the cabin materials are where Lexus has always excelled, and the interior of the ES 350 features high-quality materials on every touch point.
Options on this tester include the $2,590 navigation and Mark Levinson audio system, the $1,670 Luxury Package, $500 dual panel glass roof and power sunroof, $400 one-touch power trunk lid and $210 power rear sunshade. Lexus offers all of the expected technology inside the ES including the easy-to-use Remote Touch controller to operate the infotainment system, and the large center display screen. The interior is sizable, too, with plenty of space (100.1 cubic feet of overall passenger volume) for five adult passengers, and even enough legroom for taller occupants to stretch. Heading golfing with your buddies? The 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space is more than enough to fit a foursome-worth of golf bags in the trunk.
2017 Lexus ES 350 Powertrain:
The 2017 Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty of power to motivate the 3,571-pound sedan to a top speed of 130 mph and a Lexus-claimed 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds – a full second faster than the ES 300h. This engine pairs to a six-speed automatic transmission helping to give the ES 350 EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway**.
As expected, acceleration and braking are both improvements over the ES 300h, and the ES 350 has the same smooth, ultra-quiet ride quality. Compared to the CVT of the hybrid, the automatic transmission helps make the ES 350 more engaging to drive. That being said, this car is more about being a smooth highway cruiser than being a corner-carving sports sedan, and this attribute alone is likely what has kept the ES as the best-selling model in the Lexus lineup.
2017 Lexus ES 350 Safety:
New for 2017, the 2017 Lexus ES 350 now comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+. This suite of driver assistance technology such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist. This tester also added $500 Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and $500 for Intuitive Parking Assist. The ES 350 received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety along with a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2017 Lexus ES 350 Overall:
If you’re in the market for a luxury sedan, Lexus has you covered. There’s everything from sporty models to fuel-efficient models and everywhere in between including the 2017 Lexus ES 350. You definitely get a lot of luxury with the ES 350, and this shows with its starting MSRP of $38,900*. Taking a page from its European rivals, Lexus offers numerous options (both packages and a la carte), and the almost $10,000 of options was evidence of this. Still, the amount of equipment and luxury you’re getting on this 2017 Lexus ES 350 made the as-tested price of $48,090 seem very reasonable.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2017 Lexus ES today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.