Categorized | Wheels

2010 Lexus ES 350 A car for very old people to drive very slowly. Why does it have more than two gears?

Posted on 09 December 2009 by .

If kids were to design a car, I’m sure it would look something like a fur-lined bubble-gum dispenser on wheels. You see, they’re on a different agenda. What’s important for them is not reliability or credibility, but whether a car has any novelty features like tray tables, a fridge in the glovebox or a doughnut reheating device. They are more concerned with X-box or PS3 accommodation in the cabin as opposed to car seat anchors and airbags. The Lexus, ES 350 may be a bit thin on the pointless novelty front, but Lexus’s entry level family sedan is both satisfying and silent, in a slightly techy way. Not the prettiest of lumpen beetles for those who consider themselves to have normal eyesight, but the driving experience does makes sure that no bowel moments occur, even if you are the 60 year old grand pa who drives the grand children around town.

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Old Age is by extension, a description or nickname for someone or something that has endured and become comfortable or widely familiar, this phenomenon of old age holds true for ES 350’s sister car which lends the drivetrain and the engine to the big sedan. You guessed it right! Toyota Camry V6 and ES 350 shares the same 3.5L V6 power plant. Both get a brilliant six-speed auto gear box that slurs gears better than a drunk slurs words. You’ll be looking at a 0-100km/h time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 238 km/h. The engine is quiet, punchy and economical to run.

So it won’t cream a BMW when it comes to drilling an apex, but it will make you painfully aware that where a 3-series winds you up by encouraging you to go faster, the ES 350 will de-stress you with the gentle sound of silence. Run over pedestrians and you’ll be isolated from their screams by superb insulation and the bump thump of jaywalkers passes under the wheels virtually unnoticed.

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Can’t hold a candle to the handling capabilities of the premium Teutons, but the ES 350 can fling its rather lardy bottom around with surprising alacrity once you’ve got the hang. It’s never particularly encouraging about going fast though, any car this heavy on the servo-assistance isn’t that keen on making you No.1 on the highway.

The new ES 350 is a highly accomplished sedan, blessed with Toyota’s usual bombproof build quality and a little bit more flair than previous models. But, it becomes a lot pricier if you start to equip the car with optional packages. Built with a wonderfully anal attention to detail. Even other premium marques look at Lexus panel gaps and wince. The ES is a car that seems to try very hard at feeling well put together, and then fails slightly for us Canadians by tripping over small cultural differences. For instance, some of the interior color combinations look cheap and the wood is so over-processed, it looks like plastic. No really, quality is what Lexus does best. The ES is mechanically indestructible and its interior, although perhaps not as luxurious as European counterparts, but will age far better than you will.

Lexus has a bit of a retiree reputation in this country, but the ES is a more modern and individual proposition than all those old Cadillac sedans you see doing 20 km/h on a community church parking lot every Sunday. It is the soft rock music in todays world of R&B/Hip-Hop culture. ES is trying hard to be bold and the beautiful, but it lacks the pace of the modern world. It is perhaps old, dull and boring.

There is nothing worse than being boring, apart from being old and boring. So what are you waiting for? Here are some things to do to keep you busy at the weekend, in the holidays or if you just happen to drive a Lexus. So much to do, so little time, so best to start early. Make an origami frog, lie convincingly, operate as a spy or may be try to finish an action movie. Wait! may be you really deserve a Lexus if you think you are the life of the party even when it lasts till 8pm or if you are not grumpy but just don’t like traffic, waiting, animals, children or diversity…

So, you’re a teen then, and you feel the years are already starting to creep up on you. You look at your Lexus loving parents and think, “Wow, were they ever young and interesting?” and you realize that old age and boringness are creeping up on you too. What can you do to defend yourself? Sacrifice the lunch money for a $2.75 bus ride or may be show them a car brand like BMW, Audi or even Mercedes…. ahhhhhh!better. 

Just look at it. Does it excite you? Would you peep between your curtains at night just to watch it sit there on your driveway? You might with a 3-series, C-class or A4, but not with this – the design is frumpy by comparison.

All of the ES is very boring. Very Toyota-ish. It’d be nice to see the company inject a bit more fun into their cars. Remember, these are the people that built the Supra, the MR2, ran Celica WRC cars and still run a Formula One team. If even a tiny bit of that raciness filtered down to cars like the ES, it’d attract buyers who need all the practicality/safety/affordability of a sedan, without settling for an average drive. That’s what Audi and Mercedes are doing, so why can’t Lexus?

To me ES is the chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips or an Oreo without cream. It does the job, and thats all. Even the excitement, the passion and the love cannot balance the equation for the ES. So to return to my wonderful world of cookies: If only Toyota had added a layer of cream, or some chocolate, this new ES 350 could’ve troubled its opposition. Until a sportier version comes along, we’ll just have to dunk it in tea or a lake.

 

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Author: Sohaib Zahid

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