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There’s nothing ‘near’ about the luxurious ES 350, nothing ‘entry’ about a luxury car that is better in virtually every way than the original 1990 Lexus LS 400 flagship and more powerful than most in its class. Compared to the previous-generation model, the 2007 ES 350 is bigger inside, resting as it does on a wheelbase two inches wider than before, which translates to added room front and back, and a more comfortable ride. Luxurious amenities like real wood trim, matched perfectly in grain and color, a panoramic roof, and more also helps to vault the ES 350 to the head of the class.
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Given the amount of standard features and option packages that are available, buying a Lexus is not too complicated, and the 2007 ES 350 is no exception. Offered in one body style with either a moonroof (standard) or an optional panoramic roof, which stretches into the back seat, there’s also just one powertrain choice: a 3.5-liter V6 engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. With the main ingredients simplified ES 350 shoppers can focus instead on interior amenities and safety upgrades.
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Exterior-10 spoke wheel
The 2007 Lexus ES 350 comes with standard seven-spoke wheels. Ten-spoke wheels, pictured here, are available as an option.
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Safety features in all 2007 Lexus ES 350s include eight airbags: dual front and front knee airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and front seat-mounted side airbags. Optional safety features include a Pre-Collision System (PCS) and an Intelligent Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS).
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Lexus has gone hog wild on this whole “L-finesse” design theme. Now, with the debut of the 2007 ES 350, every Lexus car has received the L-finesse treatment, save the upcoming LS, with its short rear deck, dramatic hood line and long snout. It looks good, too, when applied to the extended wheelbase (two inches) of the new ES. Though the vehicle is actually close to the same length as the outgoing model, it looks longer, and the interior benefits from the increased wheelbase dimensions.
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Aside from safety, much of the new technology behind the ES 350 is dedicated to improving the experience, with a Lexus-first panoramic glass roof option and an available new, graphically advanced and easy-to-use navigation system. The ES 350 is also offered with the now-familiar SmartAccess keyless entry and vehicle start system.
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For an entry-level luxury vehicle, the Lexus ES 350 offers some equipment not often found at its price point, making the car worth a closer look. Standard items include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC), which automatically adjusts the throttle and brakes to control wheelspin. The ES 350 also comes standard with eight standard airbags, including knee bags for driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions.
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Additional standard highlights include 10-way power seats, cloth seats (two types of leather are optional) and a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel that offers a clear view of the large, easy to read instruments. As one would expect, controls are simple to use and intuitively placed throughout, there’s plenty of legroom in front and in back, and a pass through to the trunk.
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With a new exterior along the lines of the new Lexus “L-finesse” design and interior refinement that’s surprising – even for Lexus – the 2007 ES 350 is an exceedingly well-executed new introduction.
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There’s little doubt that ES buyers are also looking for comfort and high quality materials, and on that score the new ES 350 is a smash hit. Materials, seats and attention to detail are beyond reproach, beyond any entry, or “near” luxury tag, and well beyond the price you’ll pay for such comfort. Case in point: the real walnut wood grain trim is matched not just by color but also by grain, with each individual ES 350 wood grain set coded and matched as it goes through production.
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For those who do like the trendy stuff, there’s also the center console storage area, which at first seems to be a typical lift-up box but is instead a sliding unit. At the click of the front button, the compartment slides back and up, revealing its contents and making it easy to retrieve items. Once done, just push in another button on the front of the compartment and it closes with a reassuring snap.
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The driving experience from behind the ES 350’s wheel is a darn sight more spry than most would expect. As we learned, the engine is nicely powered, and the power is managed capably by a lighter six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting. The result is plenty of power when needed, capable acceleration with virtually no torque steer, smooth shifts, and little to no lag between gears.
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