2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport First Drive | Review | Edmunds


SPEAKER: With the new ES,
Lexus has set themselves a pretty difficult task. They’re trying to
not only please the existing fans of
this car, but to attract a whole new audience. And to that end,
they haven’t just redesigned it to make it look
sleeker and more aggressive, they’ve added a whole
new trim level– the first ever Lexus
ES 350 F Sport. Now, I know that the
front end of this Lexus is creating some mixed
opinions, but there’s no denying this new car
is a lot sleeker looking. The wheelbase has actually
also grown about two inches. So we’re going to
hop inside and see how that’s affected
the interior space and check out the new design. This interior has been
completely redesigned and it’s a big improvement
over the outgoing model. There are a lot of visual cues
from Lexus’s higher end cars– means there’s just a lot of
high end visual touches in here. Also, just the materials
have been handled well. Everything’s textured. Everything feels
good on your hands. There are some hard
plastics around, but all these touch points are
covered in quality materials, and it feels more upscale
than the outgoing model. One of the big obvious
changes in this car is the new infotainment system. Gone is a little joystick, and
now you have this track pad. It’s got its own drawbacks. There are things that I don’t
like about using this system. That said, it
looks a lot better. This giant screen up here
has some sharp graphics. It improves the look
of the interior. The other upgrade you get
here is Apple CarPlay. For the first time ever,
a Lexus has Apple CarPlay. There’s no Android Auto yet. Word is that it’s
coming and will be included as a software update. So you don’t have to
worry about buying one– if it doesn’t have it now,
it should in the future. This is the F sport, so there
are a few differences in here from the standard car. These seats are different. The new seats in the standard
car are very comfortable. I like them a lot. There’s four way
adjustable lumbar, there’s a good
amount of padding, and they’re nicely contoured. These seats are a
scootch less comfortable, but I’ve still been in
them for a couple of hours and I’m pretty happy. I’m way happier than I have been
in most other sports buckets. The seats are also
heated and ventilated. All of that is hooked into
Lexus’s climate concierge service, which will
automatically adjust seat heating and cooling and
steering wheel heating, along with the AC. And that’s a good
thing, because there are fewer buttons in here. I appreciated in
the outgoing model just how many hard buttons
there were to control everything so you didn’t have to deal with
the infotainment interface. Some of the
adjustments here, you have to go through this
interface to make them. So having a good automatic
climate control system is pretty important. Here in the backseat,
I can really see how that extra two inches
of wheelbase has paid off. I have a ton of knee room here. The one issue I have is that
if I sit up all the way, my head starts to
brush the ceiling. I’m a little tall. I think that most
passengers are not going to have an issue with that. I think most adults are going
to be pretty happy sitting back here, even on longer drives. Speaking of which, why don’t
we find out how it drives? SUVs may be all the rage. We all have heard about
Ford saying that they’re not going to make any more sedans. And I think that’s really sad. It’s great that Lexus is still
dedicated to making sedans, and this new ES is a
good example of why. The ride and handling
characteristics of this car are just really impressive. For this new ES, the V6
engine makes more power. It now makes 302 horsepower
and gets from zero to 60 in an estimated 6.6 seconds. The old six speed
automatic has been replaced with a new
eight speed unit that also improves fuel economy. The new hybrid gets
15 extra horsepower for a 215 total system,
now coming in at 44 miles per gallon combined. That is a really
impressive number. Those standard cars– the
ES 350 and the ES 300H– both also get
redesigned suspension. There’s some new
mechanical trickery there that I’m sure Dan
Edmunds would be thrilled to talk to you about at length. I will just cut to
the chase and say that it improves both cornering
stability and the ride. I always thought the
ride in the old ES– once you got onto choppy
pavement on the freeway, it just started to
feel kind of busy. The F sport gets
adaptive suspension. It gets some sound
boosting for the exhaust. So you get more of an aggressive
exhaust note in the cabin. You get a unique gauge cluster
here and a sport plus mode. The adaptive suspension
has really impressed me. It just sort of blows me away. This car handles
bumps spectacularly with the adaptive
suspension setup. Also, the way that it turns
in is really surprising to me. The engineers were
talking about how they’re trying to capture more
of the feel of a rear drive car. And well, when you get
on the accelerator, you can tell this is still
a front-wheel drive car. The way that it
pulls and the way it accelerates out of turns– the way that the car loads up
and the way that it rotates actually feels much more
like a rear-wheel drive car. It’s not all wine
and roses, though. There is the issue of
the eight speed gearbox. In normal driving,
it is just fine. There is no problem with it. It’s unobtrusive. It shifts smoothly. It downshifts quickly. But in the F sport– when you’re trying to
drive aggressively, there’s a little delay. It still wants to upshift. It’s not keeping you in
the power band the way that I’d like. And that means that
when you try and get on it coming out
of a corner, you’ve got to wait for it to downshift. And that just sort of spoils a
little bit of the sporty feel. It’s also– shifting with the
paddles doesn’t really work. It’s not direct shifting. What you’re doing is
selecting the highest gear that you want the car to be in. So the car can still
shift underneath that. But when you’re
driving the F sport, the attitude of the
shifter just doesn’t match that really
impressive handling. Lexus has also done a lot of
work to make the ES quieter, on top of improving the ride. There is now sound deadening
material absolutely everywhere in this car. There are even optional
sound insulating wheels that have a little
resonance chamber in the rims to absorb the noise of impact
and vibration from the tires. And it all works. This car is also much quieter
than the outgoing car. In keeping with Lexus putting
more safety technology in everything, the new ES comes
standard with the full suite. You get blind spot
monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control,
and automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping
assist all standard. And the adaptive cruise
control in this new generation can actually bring the
car to a complete stop, instead of cutting out
at about 25 miles an hour like the old generation did. Overall, this is a really
successful update for the ES. I think the traditional
buyer is going to be really happy with everything. As much as I still don’t
love this touchpad interface, it’s an improvement
over the old system. And Apple CarPlay and
hopefully, Android Auto are really nice to have
in this car, finally. It’s quieter. It’s more comfortable. The interior materials are
nicer and the interior design looks more upscale. I also think the F sport– it has some strengths
that make it appealing. That adaptive
suspension is great. I think that alone is probably
worth the cost of entry. But, if you’re looking
for a sports sedan outside of that really
surprising handling, it still leaves
something to be desired. We don’t have official
pricing for the new ES, yet. It should be about the same
price as the outgoing model. They’re saying
about $39,000 MSRP. So expect it to play in
that same range of about 40 to the mid 50s. So this new Lexus ES is quieter. It’s more comfortable. It’s nicer on the inside. It’s better to drive. The technology has improved,
I mean, really in every way. This is a better car
than the outgoing ES. The F Sport handles really
well, but that gearbox just holds it back a little bit. We’ll know more when we
finally get the new Lexus ES to our test track and do
a full rating and review. And then we can give
you our final verdict. For more information, be sure
to stay tuned to edmunds.com And if you like this
video, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

64 thoughts on “2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport First Drive | Review | Edmunds

  • June 7, 2018 at 11:04 am
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    First comment 🙂

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  • June 7, 2018 at 11:17 am
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    Starts video….
    Not Carlos.
    Stops video.

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  • June 7, 2018 at 11:19 am
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    Great review. Thanks! Re: the back seat headroom—how tall are you?

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  • June 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm
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    That black interior does not show well in the video. Maybe it's the lighting, but it does not look premium. Hard touch plastics on the dash in a Lexus!!!??? The design of the dash reminds me of a 1990s Ford Taurus, in a bad way. Pass.

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  • June 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm
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    nice front wheel drive v6 camry

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  • June 7, 2018 at 12:52 pm
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    It looks really nice. Looks nicer than the ct6

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  • June 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm
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    i wished the back seats folded…it would have been 1st time on ES to have folded seats and could have been a breakthrou

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  • June 7, 2018 at 3:41 pm
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    Looks really cheap. Maybe it's just me but that black doesn't look well.

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  • June 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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    Am I the only one who noticed that some of the indicators for the safety systems are straight out of a Corolla? Come on Lexus get your shit together

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  • June 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    I couldn't go past 5 minutes because I dozed off

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  • June 7, 2018 at 4:23 pm
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    it looks good

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  • June 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm
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    We dont do that here.

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  • June 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm
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    "I'm a little tall". You mind saying how tall you are for actual reference? Jerk..

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  • June 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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    what is up with those knobs up above the dash?

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  • June 7, 2018 at 6:46 pm
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    listen go drive one and you will change your mind on look feel ride price and reliability. all german cars or more or less vw and are over priced not very reliable and we all know american cars suck now. this is your best bet for 36k abd what are you gonna actually get for under 50k thats actually better. none of you drive over 80mph on a consistent basis or over 25miles so dont mention the speed excuse

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  • June 7, 2018 at 7:08 pm
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    40k for a fwd camry? pass… rather the is350

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  • June 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm
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    Its based on the same platform of the avalon. So is it any différence between this and avalon

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  • June 7, 2018 at 10:55 pm
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    fantastic looking Exterior….just make it RWD.

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  • June 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm
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    That color blue though…. amazing

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  • June 8, 2018 at 1:49 am
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    Black interior make cars look cheap.

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  • June 8, 2018 at 6:18 am
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    The black interior isn't doing anything for me

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  • June 8, 2018 at 6:55 am
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    That black interior looks awful. It looks more like a hazy economy car dark grey

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  • June 8, 2018 at 11:30 am
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    Have bought 2 Lexus cars in the past, but won't buy one of these. I just can't get past those "cow catcher" grills. Just looks butt ugly to me…

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  • June 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm
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    They should’ve added some accent trim that breaks up that interior and that shade of black pretty much everywhere in the interior just makes it look bland.

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  • June 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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    Japanese cars age like fine wine🥂 while German cars age like milk🥛 with a early experation date!!

    Ps…german cars depreciate much faster than a Lexus because out of warranty nobody wants to deal with a German cars electrical problems much less other things.🔩🔩🔧🔧💵💰👍🏽🇯🇲

    Reply
  • June 8, 2018 at 1:12 pm
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    this dark interior looks extremely awful and boring

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  • June 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm
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    Nice exterior and interior. I would buy it but I don’t like the touch pad. It’s very distracting and confusing to use. I’ll stick to idrive or audi’s mmi system. The knob/wheel just works the best with better tactile feedback and not taking your eyes off the road to figure out what you just touched.

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  • June 8, 2018 at 3:27 pm
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    why does every fucking motor journalist nag about the nav system in ALL cars????? If you can't handle the system don't blame the manufacturer/brand, blame yourself for being a stupid asshole not knowing shit about nav systems!!! It does its job!!! that's more than enough!!!! Quit nagging like a little bitch or find another job you dickheads!!!!! Fucking motor journalist, I don't give a shit what your opinion is about X car cus I know the verdict comes from you, your personal preference! Well guess what dickheads, I'm not like you, no one is, we're all different, so at the end your review don't mean shit!!!!! Now keep nagging like a little bitch!!!! Fucking motor journalists……..

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  • June 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm
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    My 2005 ES has 300,000 miles and drives like new. I don't need to add sport mode…

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  • June 8, 2018 at 6:45 pm
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    Since there's interest: There's 37.8 inches of rear headroom in the new ES, which is basically average for a mainstream sedan. The current Accord is 37.2" while the Camry is 38". On the upside, this is 1/10 more than the outgoing model, and rear headroom appears to not be compromised by the panoramic sunroof in the new model.

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  • June 8, 2018 at 8:39 pm
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    No AWD in a Lexus today? Camry roots, huh?

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  • June 8, 2018 at 10:56 pm
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    The F Sport design language looks nice and sporty. However, its just an appearance package. Granted that they have a V6, but 0-60 is worse than a 2.0t or their Camry? Cmon, this is SLOW.

    Please don't tell me "Lexus isn't going for performance" because if that is the case then that means Lexus literally is just selling this package to attract posers.

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  • June 9, 2018 at 2:00 am
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    Sharp looking car

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  • June 9, 2018 at 3:12 am
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    Ha ha. Sport Plus mode in a front drive car.

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  • June 9, 2018 at 6:47 am
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    I'm a young buyer. Im all in for the FSport package but does it have a rougher ride than a non FSport model because of the sport tuned suspension? I like a really smooth ride with the looks of the FSport package.

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  • June 9, 2018 at 6:54 am
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    petty shit about the rear seat head room – Sad about ford not making any sedans? Tell me the last time you owned a ford Sedan, thats not a mustang? Give me a break bro – Stop homogenizing your reviews to represent a german car – its not a BMW – its not trying to be – be real!~

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  • June 9, 2018 at 4:39 pm
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    The outgoing ES is pretty quiet already and this is even quieter? Jeez

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  • June 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm
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    This guy did a good job presenting, narrating, and reviewing this car! You guys complaining are ridiculous!

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  • June 10, 2018 at 4:30 am
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    I'd take The lexus gs. Imo it Looks much better!

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  • June 10, 2018 at 9:03 pm
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    Great car! I think it looks great and have heard it is roomy comfortable and filled with tech and safety features!

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  • June 12, 2018 at 12:56 am
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    Absolutely HATE the Lexus grille Ugly AF.

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  • June 20, 2018 at 12:32 am
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    The interior looks to blah to me.

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  • June 25, 2018 at 4:23 am
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    i've only ever owned japanese cars. have had my lexus ct200h 2013 with 70k miles and haven't had one issue, except for a head-light defect. no engine problems.

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  • June 25, 2018 at 6:40 am
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    Can we get at least a rear wheel drive and 370hp? I’d pick one up quick.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 4:19 am
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    Again, Lexus let everyone in your design department go, I left your brand after 3 Lexus. Can’t deal with these new looks anymore, it’s gotten out of hand. They don’t look good, have you seen the rear of the new LS ? Proportions are off and it looks plain odd. Cars at this price range sell a lot on emotions…Look at them, Ugh. New Cayman in the garage 🙂

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  • July 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm
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    gogo!

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  • July 2, 2018 at 4:50 pm
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    Lexus Gs is, and always will be, better than the es, which is just a tarted up Avalon, while the gs is a true sports sedan that feels much better to drive, and can do all of the functions the es can do. So do yourselves a favor and just get a gs

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  • July 2, 2018 at 8:01 pm
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    As a former 2014 Lexis GS 350F Sport owner, this ES is not a true F Sport, it is front wheel drive. What a disappointment. And who gives a crap about apple and android play! That seems to be what everyone is concerned about.

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  • July 10, 2018 at 1:59 pm
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    everyone that reviews for edmunds sounds the same

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  • August 20, 2018 at 5:32 am
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    Are these people expecting folded leather and etched glass interior from the LS in the sub-$40,000 ES?

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  • September 6, 2018 at 2:29 am
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    looks Good to me im All in.

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  • September 9, 2018 at 5:57 am
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    Beautiful

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  • September 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm
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    stop fking bashing the lexus es on the same things like hard plastics and infotainment. Seriously… the infotainment isn't hard to use at all if you're not a dumbass. I much prefer it over any wheel type because I'm a millennial who can appreciate a touchpad interface. Also hard plastics are seen in every car including the Mercedes E class…. in fact, fit and finish is far better in the Lexus in person than in the Mercedes (I've been in both). The mercedes reviews are so much more biased. BLABLABLA this is a lexus es… why don't we bash the hard plastics and infotainment immediately… dumb reviews.

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  • November 22, 2018 at 4:05 pm
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    Grew up in a family that only bought Toyotas (Reliable, efficient). Graduated, started making some bit of money and decided to upgrade from a 2005 Corolla. "Naturally", I visited the nearest Lexus dealership to take a look at the IS 350. Utter disappointment. Bought an Infiniti G37 sedan instead. Toyota/Lexus === reactive, Everyone else === proactive.

    Reply
  • December 8, 2018 at 4:33 am
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    I test drove one today. Missing sunglass holder near the rearview mirror, whereas my 2014 Toyota Highlander has it.

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  • December 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm
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    Needs Android Auto. Why do we still have only touch pad or only touchscreen? A touch LCD of that size costs about $10 more. Why not offer it with both on a $50,000 car – shouldn't impact the price that much. Lastly a $50,000 hybrid luxury car should compete with the accord hybrid $30k for acceleration. Why is it Toyota/Lexus still thinks the Prius glacial acceleration is acceptable. A $50,000 hybrid car should be at least 0-60 in 7 seconds or less.

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  • December 11, 2018 at 7:48 am
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    The old model was also very beautiful.

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  • December 21, 2018 at 7:41 pm
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    Oh they got my attention honey. They just moved my focus from the 5 series. Now that's serious

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  • January 5, 2019 at 2:43 am
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    the red interior looks much better. for 50k it should be faster…..

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  • January 21, 2019 at 7:37 pm
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    Stop

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  • May 5, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    I love my ES 350 .
    Im going to have one in my garage forever. It's the perfect car.

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  • August 5, 2019 at 2:07 am
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    everyone keeps forgetting about the physical heated and cooled seat buttons!!!

    Reply

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