The 2009 Lexus ES 350 is another class offering from this manufacturer with a big reputation for style, luxury, performance and reliability. The ES is a premium mid-sized car that is classed as 'near-luxury' yet delivers more luxury than many true luxury sedans. It is, quite simply, a beautiful place to be after a hard day of work, and although it is most certainly not sporting and does not pretend to be, it offers the kind of whisper quiet and effortless driving experience that makes it seriously hard to beat. Nevertheless this is a growing and extremely competitive class with the likes of the new Hyundai Genesis, Infiniti G37 and the redesigned Acura TL constantly raising the bar. In the end though, for well under $40,000, the Lexus ES represents great value for theÂ money.
2009 Lexus ES 350 Performance
The Lexus ES is the upscale version of the Toyota Camry and sports the Camry's 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 272hp and 254lb-ft of torque. Transmission is through a 6-speed automatic that includes a manual shift option and gear shifts are seamlessly smooth and timely. Although this is by no means the biggest engine in the class, it performs as well as any, and reaches 60mph in an impressive 6.4 seconds.
The four-wheel independent MacPherson suspension provides an incredibly smooth ride for cruising, with the payoff being that road feel is minimized, making it feel even less sporty. However if a comfortable ride and almost unbelievably quiet interior is what you are looking for then this is the car for you. In cornering this front-wheel drive is stable and does not exhibit undue body roll, but as a cruiser it never quite feels comfortable taking on the twisties at speed. Braking is strong, but with the tendency to be a little spongy in sudden stops.
Fuel economy on the 2009 Lexus ES is brilliant at 19/27mpg and is better than previous years thanks to the electronic sequential fuel injection system that optimizes fuel efficiency and minimizes emissions. It is also better than the class average. Reliability on the Lexus ES is excellent and in-line with Toyota's reputation, and remains a major selling point for many drivers.
2009 Lexus ES 350 Interior and Features
The Lexus ES interior is living-room comfortable with more soft-touch and padded surfaces than the average sofa. The wood trim gives a genuinely up-market feel, and the overall build quality cannot be faulted. This is Lexus' real speciality and they deliver it with all the flair that they have become legendary for. The seats are luxuriously bolstered and ventilated for superior comfort and even the back seats are comfortable with plenty of leg and head room even with the power moonroof option. Trunk space is not class-leading but is adequate for most uses at 14.7cubic feet, however the pass-through from the back seat makes carrying longer items possible.
There is just one trim in the 2009 Lexus ES and that offers 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, 10-way powered front seats, heated mirrors, full power accessories, keyless access and start-up, 8-speaker stereo with 6-disc CD and MP3 player as well as digital media compatibility and universal garage door opener. Standard is high quality cloth upholstery, but additional options include the soft leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, premium Mark Levinson 14-speaker surround sound system, voice-activated navigation system with rear-view camera, satellite radio, adaptive cruise control, park assist and adaptive Xenon headlights. These all come at a premium but the leather upholstery is well worth the extra investment for the superior luxury feel they bring to the cabin.
2009 Lexus ES 350 Safety
Lexus has a big reputation for safety and the ES is no exception with five perfect stars in all front and side impact situations except side impact for the rear passenger which came in with four stars. This is thanks to the large range of standard safety features that includes electronic stability control and anti-lock disc brakes for maintaining control in emergency situations. Dual front, front seat side and full-length side curtain airbags are standard with the option of adding rear-seat side airbags. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control incredibly manages to adjust driving speed according to traffic conditions, and the Lexus Pre-Collision system detects when a crash is imminent and prepares the brakes and seatbelts, raises windows, closes the sunroof and primes the airbags for impact.
- Electronic stability control, ABS brakes
- Dual front, front side and side curtain airbags
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Pre-Collision system
Overall the 2009 Lexus ES is a class-act in the premium mid-sized sedan class. It remains virtually unbeaten even by the likes of the European heavy-weights Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series in its sheer luxury, performance and overall style in a value package.