Capsule Review: 2010 Lexus ES350

David C. Holzman
by David C. Holzman
capsule review 2010 lexus es350

It’s hard to fault the 2010 Lexus ES 350. There is no hint of rattle. The suspension feels as though it would take the worst New England washboard roads with aplomb. The steering is responsive and precise, and the handling crisp at modestly extra-legal speeds on Clifton VA’s marvelously twisty, hilly byways, despite 3,600 lbs of mass–almost parsimonious in this age of bloat–although you get the feeling you might begin to push the limits of crisp if you go much faster around here.

When you punch the gas the six-speed slushbox practically says “yes sir!” and salutes as it downshifts, and the melodiously burbling 272 hp, 3.5 L V6 blasts off. The ES has as much power as the South Seas had breadfruit back in Captain Bligh’s day. I mean, I can’t help thinking it would have blown The Rip Chords’ “Hey Little Cobra” right off of the track, along with the Stingray that the Cobra shut down back during the LBJ administration.

Oh, it would be nice to have RWD, as when you whomp the fun-pedal you feel the nagging symptoms of pull-power, a little bit of steering this way and that from cracks in the road, although I didn’t spin the tires once, a problem that plagued me with a VW Eos and other FWD fun cars. It’s actually amazing what this thing can do despite the absence of an optimal power train configuration. And if Heaven bestows it upon you, you are not going to sell it for the cash and hang onto your old WRX or whatever performance sedan from at least five years ago currently gives you your jollies.

Or maybe you might. Inside the Lexus there is space and comfort front and back, despite my elongated torso, which pushes my scalp to the roof in just about anything with a sunroof, and in this thing, too, though barely. But the damn greenhouse has such narrow slits that I feel like I’m in a space capsule, which would be fine if that were the moon down there. But it’s not the moon, it’s just Northern Virginia. Still, it’s beautiful out here in horse country. But even on the blasted Beltway, driving by Tyson’s Corner, I prefer to see my surroundings, and not just navigate through them.

Thanks to Will Meyer, of, Arlington, VA, for letting some maniac drive his car for TTAC

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  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on Jun 04, 2010

    The buyers of ES 350's are not in any way the same buyers of 3 series. The former want a more traditional luxury car (read road isolation) and the later want a performance orientated car (read road feel). To me it's ridiculous trying to compare the two cars as they attract completely different buyer segments.

  • Gottleib Gottleib on Jun 04, 2010

    mtysmsi you are absolutely correct. Lexus competes more for the Mercedes/Jaguar buyer while BMW is more competitive with Audi or Acura. i too hate the small window (gunsight look) that seems to be so prevalent. Currently I am holding on to my 2000 Avalon because the newer ones have about half the visibility of the earlier model. The more glass the better, can't stand the feeling of being in a capsule when I am driving.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )