A 2017 Lexus ES350 pulled into our cozy driveway for a week’s worth of cruising around town. Built just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road in Georgetown, Kentucky, the luxury sedan showed up in an anonymous Atomic Silver paint with high-gloss 18-inch wheels. Starting at $39,875 and climbing into the high $40s, our car as-tested came in at $46,058 (Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio – $2,590; 18″ Wheels – $880; Premium Package – $730; Blind Spot/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert – $500; Park Assist – $500; Illuminated Door Sill – $379; Wood/Leather Steering Wheel – $300; Body Side Moldings – $199; Carpet Trunk Mat – $109).
It’s hard to mistake a Lexus from the front these days; there’s no shortage of lines, curves, and angles to keep the eye busy. Perhaps it is trying to make up for the rest of the car being as exciting as unflavored yogurt. Our guess, however, is Lexus did that intentionally for the target demographic, whose average age we suspect to be around the six-decade mark. The chrome accents up front are a nice touch without being too “blingy” and the 18-inch wheels look nice, but the bright silver finish doesn’t go that well with this particular exterior color.
The comfortable interior is covered in leather, broken up by wood accents. The Mark Levinson stereo sounds great, but the user interface and control are frustrating. Though the overall look is a bit busy, buttons are easy to read and use. This may not be the most exciting place to be, but it is an easy place to eat up a lot of miles.
As is expected, this thing rides on the plush side. Bumps are soaked up with ease with the trade-off being plenty of body roll. Steering is light but not annoyingly so, though the steering wheel is on the large side. The brakes go unnoticed which is to say they do the job just fine.
Under the hood is a 3.5L V6 that produces 268-hp and 248 lb-ft of torque of regular pump gas. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that performs well and doesn’t get in the way. Fuel economy is rated at 21 city, 30 highway, and 24 combined. We saw 25.4 in our time with the sedan.
If you’re wondering what happened to the Cadillac’s of the 90s and early 2000s, they live on in this ES350. It’s powerful enough to get out of its own way without creating any grandpa-racers. It’s well-appointed and comfortable with more tech than the average retiree can handle. It’s a solid choice in this specific niche, but offerings from Lincoln or Buick may be better options for a less polarizing look.