The 2011 Lexus ES is a mid-size luxury sedan. It competes directly with the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes C-Class, Acura TL and Lincoln MKZ. The latest version of the ES 350 has a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine under the hood. The ES 350 is a front wheel drive vehicle that can now run on 87-octane fuel, which is a big money saver at the gas pump.
The ES350 is available as a base model or with a number of optional packages. There is an optional navigational package that puts a voice controlled GPS unit in the vehicle and also upgrades the audio system. The Ultra Luxury package adds a number of interior upgrades as well as a Dual-Swivel Adaptive Front Lighting System.
The ES has a 268 HP, 3.5 liter V-6 under the hood. The engine can run on 87 octane fuel, which drops the horsepower slightly from 272 down to 268. The savings at the pump should more than make up for the decrease. The new engine has dual variable valve timing and is paired with a six speed automatic transmission. Manual shift control is also included. 2011 sees very few exterior changes on the ES. It was given a bit of an overhaul last year so the body was kept the same for this year. The ES sits on 17 inch wheels, has rain sensing wipers and a moon-roof standard.
The interior of the ES is complete luxury. Leather interior is standard and this year the dashboard has been covered in leather as well. Driver conveniences include push button start, 10-way adjustable front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. The standard audio system packs a 6 CD changer, Bluetooth and a USB connector for plugging in your iPod. There are a number of option packages as well as some standalone options. Heated front seats and a 14 speaker audio upgrade are popular options.
Like all Lexus vehicles, the ES is loaded with safety features. Traction and stability control are standard, as are anti-lock brakes. Electronic brake-force distribution makes stopping and turning efficient and quick. The Lexus Pre-Collision System takes advantage of an active cruise control system which can automatically maintain a pre-determined distance to the car in front of you. If the system senses an unavoidable crash about to occur, it retracts the seat belts and prepares the brake assist. Adaptive Front Lighting moves the headlights so they are pointing where the driver needs to see. The Standard Lexus Enform system has stolen vehicle location along with crash notification functionality.
The ES gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway.
The ES gets excellent reviews across the board but there is concern the vehicle is getting a little dated. Recent sales stats show the vehicle is selling on average about $4000 under MSRP. The performance is one of the best in class with the a quiet cabin and comfortable, supple ride being a big selling point. The interior, while excellent, is no longer the best in its class. In another blow to the Lexus standing, the ES failed to make the top three in the JD Powers Quality Survey. While the Lexus is still considered a great vehicle, the ES is no longer the market leader.