How a Lexus ES 350 Saved Christmas

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You probably saw a Christmas tree strapped to the roof of every other car the day after Thanksgiving. Discounted trees fly out the doors of hardware and department stores quicker than pants unbuckle after an excessive turkey dinner. I planned to snag one of those door-buster trees on Black Friday but didn't have the most cargo-friendly tree hauler: a 2015 Lexus ES 350.

Related: How to Transport Your Christmas Tree Safely

In my deal-hunting crosshairs was a 7.5-foot-tall, LED-lit artificial tree with 1,433 branch tips on sale for $79 from $199. Even boxed, I wasn't too hopeful the tree would fit in the sedan's trunk because the ES 350 lacks a folding backseat. Knowing it had no chance in the trunk, the plan was to fit the box in the cabin straddled across the backseat and over the reclined front passenger seat.

Then the inevitable happened: the store sold the last tree minutes before I walked in. The last tree standing was a scraggly, hastily assembled floor model on which I made an offer to store management. Deal accepted, but the store simply took the tree off the display rack and stuck it in a shopping cart. Now I have a shopping cart stuffed with two parts of a partially assembled tree, no box and no folding backseat. Ah, yes, the holidays.

By Joe Bruzek | December 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Lexus ES 350, Lexus 300h: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Backup camera now standard, new optional multimedia system

Price change: TBA

On sale: September

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014

Lexus is making some small changes to its most popular sedan for 2015, but they may not add up to enough to sway buyers from a good deal on a leftover 2014.

2014 Lexus ES 350 Expert Review

If you're a multimedia maven, though, you'll want to wait for the 2015s. A new multimedia system, similar to the one introduced last year on the IS 250/350 and other Lexus models, includes a customizable home screen, 3-D maps and a bird's-eye view for the navigation system, traffic guidance, the ability to cache 15 minutes of radio broadcasts for later play and other features.

By Rick Popely | July 14, 2014 | Comments (4)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2014NissanRogue

Our top five most-read reviews again went unchanged, with the 2014 Nissan Rogue predictably holding the No. 1 spot while newcomers the 2015 Subaru WRX, and the 2014 Audi S4, ES 350 and Cadillac ELR dominated the bottom half. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Nissan Rogue
2. 2015 Honda Fit
3. 2015 Audi A3
4. 2014 Honda CR-V
5. 2014 Subaru Forester
6. 2015 Subaru WRX
7. 2014 Infiniti Q50
8. 2014 Audi S4
9. 2014 Lexus ES 350
10. 2014 Cadillac ELR

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | May 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2015SubaruWRX

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! OK, it really wasn't much of a fall for the 2014 Nissan Rogue, but a No. 2 finish this week, after so many weeks at No. 1 that we lost count, sure feels like a crushing defeat. The conqueror? Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays' critique of the frugally fast fave, the 2015 Subaru WRX, accelerating straight to the top in its debut. Another 2015 model also bowed this week, the 2015 Honda Fit subcompact, in at No. 3, while the 2014 Lexus ES 350 sedan joins the pack at No. 10. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2015 Subaru WRX
2. 2014 Nissan Rogue
3. 2015 Honda Fit
4. 2015 Chrysler 200
5. 2014 Toyota Venza
6. 2014 Subaru Forester
7. 2014 Honda CR-V
8. 2014 Lexus ES 300h
9. 2014 Infiniti Q50
10. 2014 Lexus ES 350

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | April 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Lexus ES 350 Video

Deviating from the small-and-sporty tendency of its entry-level luxury peers, the 2014 Lexus ES 350 instead emphasizes the roomy-and-comfortable. Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek notes that the sedan's spaciousness comes from its switch to the Toyota Avalon platform from the Camry, and the result is legroom your backseat passengers just won't get with competitors. Front-seat comfort and interior material quality were debatable for our editors, and the lack of optional all-wheel drive is unfortunate, but Bruzek says under normal driving conditions, the ES 350's muscular 268-horsepower V-6 won't disappoint. Watch the video.

2014 Lexus ES 350: What’s Changed

By Matt Schmitz | April 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Lexus ES 350 Review

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The 2014 Lexus ES 350 is far from the automaker's most expensive car and nowhere near the priciest in the class. Still, Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek says if you seek a high-end car that lets you stretch out in plush comfort, you needn’t reach any deeper into your pocketbook than Lexus' midsize ES 350 sedan. Backseat legroom trumps the flagship LS 460's available space, while the cabin is dressed in classy, high-grade materials. Moreover, despite competitors' emphasis on sporty performance, Bruzek appreciated the ES 350's leisurely attitude. Read the review below.

2014 Lexus ES 350 Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Lexus' Pre-Programmed Texts Are More Than 'Yes' and 'No'

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Automakers integrating text message functionality into new cars is a trend cropping up in everything from Cars.com's former 2013 Honda Civic long-term tester to the 2014 Lexus ES 350 we recently tested. Even though the level of distracted driving while using such systems is still being debated, the connectivity is proliferating quickly.

AAA Study: Hands-Free Isn't Risk-Free

You probably know the basics: Drivers can listen and respond to incoming text messages through the car's multimedia and Bluetooth system via voice commands or preprogrammed reply messages. We're used to seeing "Yes," "No" and "I'm driving" responses. The ES 350's SMS Text-to-Speech With Reply feature takes preprogrammed responses to another level with 15 available replies.

By Joe Bruzek | March 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Lexus ES 350: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Siri Eyes-Free Mode hands-free technology for iPhone 4S and 5; LED fog lights; available bamboo interior trim

Price change: $100 increase

On sale: Early October

Which you should buy, 2013 or 2014? 2013

The Lexus ES 350 sedan was redesigned for 2013, and it gained the ES 300h hybrid model that uses the same system as the Toyota Camry Hybrid, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The ES 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V-6.

2013 Lexus ES 350 Review 

For 2014, Siri Eyes-Free Mode is newly available on the ES 350 with the optional display audio or navigation system. It works with the iPhone 4S and 5 and allows voice-operated features such as playing iTunes, composing and listening to text messages, and hearing emails, calendar information and directions.

By Rick Popely | October 9, 2013 | Comments (1)

Used-Car Prices Fall to Lowest Level This Year

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After rising slightly in April, late-model used-car prices dipped again in May. The average price for 2010 to 2012 used cars on Cars.com stood at $22,508 on May 1, a $159 decrease from April 1 and the lowest average price so far this year.

Of the 10 models with the biggest price drops in May, half of them were from luxury brands. Leading the list with the biggest price decline was the Lexus ES 350 sedan. After experiencing a run-up last month, its average asking price fell $2,682 to $30,735, an 8% decline. Lexus alone had three of the top 10 models, with the LS 460 full-size sedan and HS 250h hybrid both experiencing 3% price drops.

The top used-car price gains in May were more closely grouped than in prior months, ranging from 2% to 4%. Most of the top 10 advanced 2%, but two pickup trucks — the full-size Ram 2500 and compact GMC Canyon — saw 4% and 3% increases, respectively.

The chart below details the top 10 used cars from the 2010 to 2012 model years with the biggest price drops — as well as the 10 with the biggest increases. To be eligible for the list, a model had to have 500 cars in Cars.com's national inventory.

By Mike Hanley | May 24, 2013 | Comments (0)

Toyota to Build First Lexus in the U.S.

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Toyota launched its Lexus division in September 1989 with two 1990 models at opposite ends of the spectrum: the LS 400, a rear-drive V-8 flagship, and the ES 250, a front-drive cousin to the plebian Camry. In their first month, the two cars combined for 4,135 sales. Fast-forward nearly 25 years and Toyota has sold 4,397,799 Lexus cars and SUVs in America. Lexus led all luxury-brand sales from 2000 to 2010.

All without building a single car here.

That's right. Toyota, whose Kentucky- and Indiana-built Camry has led Cars.com's American-Made Index for four years in a row, imports its Lexus cars from Japan and Canada.

That's about to change, however. The automaker announced today it will build the ES 350 — five generations past the 1990 original — in Georgetown, Ky., to the tune of about $360 million invested. Toyota's 1,300-acre plant, its largest in North America, already assembles the Camry, Avalon and Venza, not to mention various four-cylinder and V-6 engines and other components. It employs 6,600 and builds some 500,000 cars a year; the ES will add 750 jobs and another 50,000 cars to the plant's annual capacity.

By Kelsey Mays | April 19, 2013 | Comments (2)

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