Ace of Base: 2017 Lexus ES 350

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2017 lexus es 350

This will not be my most popular Ace of Base. Why? Well, the general consensus of most gearheads is Lexus sedans are awash with gravitas, exhibiting all the excitement of a sleepy sloth and the soul of plain oatmeal.

That’s you and me, though. The harsh light of reality reveals a legion of people in our nation with their Diamond Anniversary in the rearview mirror and a regular booth at the Golden Corral. Their backs ache and their feet hurt. Truth be told, they’d probably rather not be driving at all, preferring to stay home and watch NCIS reruns.

As we know through their unending, plodding, and infuriating inhabitation of the left lane, the default choice for many of these silver-haired retirees is the Toyota Camry, generally in beige — sorry, Predawn Gray Mica. Buyers of this ilk are not ones to go without their creature comforts; witness the existence of Snuggies and the E-Z Lift Chair. A respectable percentage of all Camrys sold are the high-zoot XLE model with a V6 mill under the hood. It stickers at $35,260.

This brings us neatly to the base, $38,900 Lexus ES 350. The current ES and Camry share platform bits, but the ES is also heavily related to the Toyota Avalon, sharing its 111-inch wheelbase. Forgoing all the option packages does mean drivers will have to suffer the indignity of not having a sunroof or the Mark [s]Stevenson[/s] Levinson sound system, but the ES demographic shouldn’t spend too much time in the sun, anyway. And SiriusXM’s “’50s on 5” will sound just fine through the standard stereo.

That $3,640 gulf between the Camry XLE and a base $38,900 ES 350 becomes all the more reasonable after exiting yet another appointment with that insufferable eye doctor and shuffling behind the wheel. Depending on one’s exterior colour choice, buyers can select from no fewer than four different interior colour combinations on the base model, from stoic blacks and greys to a peanut-buttery flaxen hue. Lexus hides the platform sharing well, with nary a major switch or dashboard display shared with the Toyota commoners.

The center display, it must be said, is mounted far-and-away up on the dash, peppered with icons and colors which simply look like out-of-focus hieroglyphics to the Ben-Gay set. The rest of the interior errs on the conservative side of handsome. An analog clock sits between the two centre vents, just like certain Infinitis and the timer on the wall at bingo.

Stand-out $0 Matador Red and Nightfall Mica are the anti-beige choices here, although the embodiment of Bert from Sesame Street is available as Satin Cashmere. The name Autumn Shimmer sounds like a stage performer strutting her stuff during amateur hour but is actually a striking shade of bronze.

Start checking off the superfluous option boxes and the price quickly creeps uncomfortably close to fifty large. At that price, excellent alternatives exist just a pencil’s width away. However, for those looking to grab a bit of attention in the 55+ park, the chrome Lexus spindle grille on a base ES 350 may do nicely. Your shuffleboard teammates will simply think you spent the grandkid’s inheritance on new wheels.

Reliability, comfort, and a luxury badge on the nose of a (kinda) cheap set of wheels? Sounds like a good Ace of Base candidate to me.

Not every vehicle at the lower end of its price spectrum has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Naturally, feel free to roast our selection and let us know if there are other models you’d like included in this series.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. Dealers may sell for less. Don’t forget, NCIS is on at 9:00.

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4 of 82 comments
  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Oct 26, 2016

    You won't get any hate from me. This car is a fantastic ace of base. It really is the ideal choice for the majority of luxury cars buyers who, in reality, don't care about performance, handling, or drive wheels. This will tick all the boxes. Standard Leather, standard premium luxo interior, standard nice paint, standard creamy smooth delicious six cylinder engine - all features lacking in equivalent German offerings while offering a softer quieter cushier ride then them or pretty much any competitor. The sunroof, btw, is also standard. It's the panoramic that's an option. So all that plus a fantastic dealer experience - do you need anything else? Oh, maybe space and a commanding seating position, which is probably why this car's CUV platform mate, the RX, is the ubiquitous go to vehicle in any upscale suburban area.

  • Ghosting Ghosting on Jan 12, 2018

    This is why Asia is a better place to be old. There is very little reverence for the elderly. It's more like contempt. I get that you were trying to be funny, it just wasn't.

  • FreedMike Soon to be trending on Youtube: "Aftermarket supercharger F150 cars and coffee crash".
  • Lou_BC Vehicles tend to "soft fail" i.e. a component gradually wears to the point of complete failure. Sure, some rather abrupt failures occur but not typically in the steering, brakes, or wheel bearings.
  • MaintenanceCosts Curious about this number for certain Toyotas, particularly the Sienna and RAV4 Prime. Both still seem to be almost unobtanium, especially in fully loaded configurations, a couple years after their introduction.
  • 2ACL Giving a lay pickup 500+ horsepower never resonated with me. Even in a straight line, you'll still get thrashed by less powerful cars because they don't need to push as much air. And you're typically speed limited into the low 100 mph range because so little of the truck is engineered to go that fast.Think I'll get my dumb speed fix elsewhere.
  • Lou_BC VW has had a stellar reputation with their electronics and now they go full EV. What's not to like? ;)