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2012 Lexus ES 350 Sedan Review


The ES 350 entry luxury sedan continues to be a Lexus favorite with its comfortable cabin and smooth ride. With a plethora of standard amenities, such as 17-inch wheels, moonroof, 10-way power adjustable front seats, leather-trimmed seats and a multi-information display, the ES continues to impress new and loyal consumers.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
The ES 350 cruises into the 2012 model year virtually unchanged except for the new Nebula Gray Pearl exterior, which replaces Smoky Granite Mica; and the discontinuation of Peridot Mica.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance
The ES 350's aluminum 3.5-liter V6 produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,700 rpm using 87-octane regular fuel. The ES has EPA fuel economy estimates of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. The chain-driven camshafts employ Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
The six-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) provides a sequential manual shift feature for a more involved driving experience when desired. Shifting strategy adapts to driver input, with rapid downshift response.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Chassis/Body/Suspension/Tires/Brakes
The ES 350 owes its smooth, quiet ride in large part to a rigid unibody structure that allows the four-wheel independent suspension to be tuned to provide responsive handling agility and ultra-smooth ride quality. The low 0.28 coefficient of drag (Cd) helps minimize wind noise while also helping to maximize highway fuel efficiency. Standard 17 x 7-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a split five-spoke design carry 215/55R17 all-season tires. A full-size spare wheel/tire is available.
Standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control system integrates the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist (BA) safety feature. The VSC cut-off switch is useful if it becomes necessary to extricate the car from deep snow or other difficult conditions, such as mud or sand.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Safety/Security Features
The ES 350 features Smart Stop Technology, a brake override system, as an additional measure of consumer confidence. The braking system enhancement automatically reduces engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.
A reinforced front- and rear-structure passenger compartment forms the foundation for passive safety in the ES 350. In addition to dual-stage front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags, the Lexus Supplemental Restraint System includes rear seat-mounted side air bags, side-curtain airbags that extend from the A-pillar to C-pillar and a knee airbag for both the driver and front passenger, for a total of 10 airbags throughout the cabin.
The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce collision damage. The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. The multi-information display within the combination meter will show a car icon with the selected following distance.
If, based on a variety of inputs, PCS determines that a collision is unavoidable, the system preemptively retracts the front seat belts and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal. Active Braking can automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to react to system warnings.
The optional dual-swivel Lexus Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) helps illuminate a turn or curve as the driver steers into it. A medium-to-high speed mode (over 19 mph) allows both the right and left front headlamp bulbs to swivel toward the direction of the turn at the same time.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Luxury/Comfort/Convenience
Lexus' craftsmanship and attention to detail provide true luxury by design in the ES 350. Standard leather-trimmed seating is available in three colors. A one-touch tilt/slide power glass moonroof is standard, as well as a dual-zone automatic climate control system, 10-way power front seats (with standard driver memory) and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
The standard multi-information display, located in the combination meter, is easy to operate. Its main feature is a trip computer that provides outside temperature, driving range, fuel consumption and average speed readouts. An Eco Driving indicator helps encourage economical driving. The display also includes an oil maintenance reminder and system warnings.
The standard leather-trimmed steering wheel integrates easy-to-use controls for the audio system, trip computer, and multi-information display, as well as voice control for the available navigation system when so equipped. Heated exterior mirrors help melt away morning fog or frost, while rain-sensing windshield wipers help the driver see more clearly.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Convenience details abound throughout the ES 350, including illuminated front cup holders and an interior lighting system. An illuminated entry system lights the interior foot wells and the exterior with puddle lamps. The auto-dimming rearview mirror features an integrated digital compass.
The SmartAccess keyless entry and push-to-start ignition system allows the driver to enter and start the car without needing to remove the access fob from pocket or purse. In addition, when the system recognizes one of the two key fobs, it adjusts the seats, mirrors and steering wheel based on the driver settings associated with that particular key fob. The standard HomeLink® transmitter can control compatible garage-door openers and home-security devices. Using the Lexus Memory System feature, the driver can tailor numerous vehicle preferences, including lighting, power windows and moonroof, steering wheel, and door lock control.
The standard Lexus Premium Audio system includes an in-dash, six-disc CD changer, Automatic Sound Levelizer, iPod®/USB connectivity, Bluetooth® hands free phone capability and music streaming, and an integrated SirusXM Satellite Radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included). When connected to the USB port, the iPod can be controlled through the audio system or steering wheel controls, while information such as names for the artist are displayed.
Luxury Options
The customer can "layer" luxury in the ES 350 by adding the Ultra Luxury Package, or by selecting from a number of standalone options which include heated and ventilated front seats, HID with AFS, and Intuitive Park Assist (IPA). The IPA system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car's front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display.
The Ultra Luxury Package includes a panorama glass roof; perforated semi-aniline leather-trimmed seating; double-contrast stitching for the seats, console and door trim; power rear sunshade; passenger memory; the HID/AFS lighting system; and a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. Exclusive Liquid Graphite-finish 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels add a distinctive touch. Vehicles with the Ultra Luxury Package also have an exclusive Black and Saddle interior.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
The available touch-screen Lexus Navigation System with rear back-up camera allows the driver to enter a destination using the updated Voice Command casual-language voice recognition. The system integrates control for the Lexus Personalized Settings feature and adds Bluetooth phonebook download.
Voice command, a casual-language-based voice recognition feature, is standard on navigation-equipped vehicles. This technology allows the driver to give fewer and more flexible, conversational commands in a specific order for easier access to audio, climate, and navigation system functions to help drivers focus more on the road ahead.
The optional Mark Levinson® Premium Audio System is available in conjunction with the navigation system. This leading-edge design uses 10 channels of amplification with 300 watts total output at only 0.1 percent Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). The system plays through 14 speakers in a 7.1-channel surround sound speaker architecture. The Mark Levinson system can play conventional CDs and DVDs, and MP3-formatted CDs. DVD movies can be viewed on the navigation system's color seven-inch touch screen when the parking brake is engaged.
The Lexus ES 350 also offers a telematics system, Lexus Enform® with Safety Connect®, available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are included on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles while Lexus Enform with Safety Connect is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—every day of the year.
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services includingNavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, and Stocks. SiriusXM services offer complimentary 90-day trial subscriptions and require separate audio and data subscriptions.
Exterior Design
The ES 350’s elegance is reflected in its distinct front fascia that features arrowhead-shaped headlamps, integrated fog lamps, and chrome grille and grille surround. Chrome body side molding further underscores the car’s refined character and demonstrates its dynamic design. The arrowhead shaped design motif is also echoed in the large tail lamps. Side mirrors with integrated turn signals accent the ES 350’s classy exterior.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Interior Design
Built on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, the midsize ES 350 provides a roomy and inviting interior. The driver and passengers are treated to intelligent, elegant luxury, with touch points that convey quality and controls that respond fluidly.
The high level of Lexus craftsmanship is immediately evident in the ES 350, with bright, clear Optitron® gauges, premium wood, as well as polished metal and leather accents that echo prestige-luxury models.
2012 Lexus ES 350 photo2012 Lexus ES 350 photo
Warranty
All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.

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