First Drive: 2010 Lexus ES350

Don Sherman

Unpretentious Dynamic Behavior

The ES 350 excels in providing a smooth, unperturbed ride. Throttle response is crisp and forceful, begging the question 'who needs a V-8?' in some minds. The torque-managed transmission shifts are barely noticed in normal driving. There is ample grip to attack back roads with vigor and safe, predictable understeer waiting to greet the driver when the adhesion is spent. This is an excellent automobile for ordinary drivers and quite acceptable for enthusiasts who commute long distances and don't expect every trip to be a thrill ride.

The Lexus ES 350 is content in its cruising lane status and never anxious to mix it up with more sporting alternatives such as the Acura TL, Audi A4, BMW 3-series, or Infiniti G37. It's quiet, comfortable, dependable, and easy to dispose of if and when the mood strikes for a newer or more assertive ride. Driving enthusiasts may consider this car beneath their dignity but they seldom hesitate to recommend it to any friend or family member seeking a smart blend of value, prestige, and creature comforts.

2010 LEXUS ES 350

Base Price: $35,675
As-Tested (estimated): $40,000

Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 272 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 254 lb-ft@ 4700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel

L x W x H: 191.1 x 71.7 x 57.1 in
Legroom F/R: 42.2/35.9 in
Headrom F/R: 37.4-37.8/36.8-37.0
Cargo capacity: 14.7 cu ft
Curb weight: 3580 lbs
EPA Rating (city/highway): 19/27 mpg

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