The Lexus ES 350 is somehow overlooked by many people in the Lexus line-up. It’s a midsize sedan that has suffered from the stigma that it’s merely a glorified Camry. While that may be true in the past, the ES 350 isn’t anymore a glorified Camry. Rather, it is now based on Toyota’s full size American sedan called the Avalon, which is only sold in North America and the Middle East, which somehow still qualifies the ES 350 as uniquely a Lexus and not merely a glorified Toyota in our market. It isn’t helped by the fact that the compact RWD Lexus IS 350 sport sedan and the midsize RWD GS 350 sport sedan are favored over this midsize FWD luxury sedan. Perhaps the market positioning of the ES is to be an entry level midsize sedan, in which the ES doesn’t have any competition with. Lexus has constantly updated the Lexus ES, bringing excitement over this sedan over the years, and this facelift elevates the adrenaline of this car even more.
The German brands, when it comes to facelifts, are generally hard to notice, especially BMW. Lexus, however, does things differently. Their facelifts are instantly recognizable, starting with this newly redesigned grille. It’s big, brash, and aggressive. Wrapped in satin chrome finish, the spindle grille is more “in-your-face” than ever. Full-LED headlamps with the ever so striking L-shaped LED daytime running lights complete the new, aggressive fascia of the Lexus ES. New LED tail light graphics and rear chrome garnish round up the exterior updates for the ES.
Inside, the interior has received relatively minor changes when compared to the exterior. An updated steering wheel design, new color 4.2 inch TFT LCD in between the gauge, are some of the updates that were made to the interior. The most noticeable among the changes, however, are the new two-tone color and wood choices for the interior, Topaz Brown, Ivory, Moonstone and Black in embossed leather. New interior trim choices have also been added in addition to the Bird’s Eye Maple that is fitted as standard, which are matte-finished Bamboo and Shimamoku, which first premiered in the Lexus LS.
Powertrain remains unchanged, still powered by a 268 hp 3.5 liter V6, mated to a 6-Speed Automatic. However, the new, sportier face is not only for show, as Lexus has updated the structure of the vehicle. Chassis bracing derived from the sporty Lexus IS has been adapted onto the ES, and sound insulation has been added behind the dashboard to further isolate engine noise.
Perhaps one of my favorite features in the new Lexus ES are the new color choices, namely Amber, Deep Blue, Graphite Black, and Sonic Quartz. What makes these colors so special? Well, apart from the fact that the new colors simply look cool, they have a self-restoring coat, which means the clear coat has the ability to repair itself even from light scratches and those infamous swirl marks.
Consequently, these updates have lead to a P100,000 price increase, now at P3,658,000, but considering the size of this sedan and the amount of features you get, the ES 350 still remains a good value.