Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350 is soft-riding royalty that’s lost its crown

Filed under: Sedan, Lexus, Reviews, Luxury

2010 Lexus ES 350 – Click above for high-res image gallery

The entry-level luxury sedan segment doesn’t command the enthusiast attention of, say, the ultra-premium luxury sports sedan. But if you ask automakers to choose between the two, we’d wager that most would rather have a best-in-class $35,000 sedan than a world-beating $70,000 sports tourer.

The reason? Very few fortunes are made selling a few thousand highfalutin’ rocket launchers, but bottom lines can easily be bolstered or crippled based on the success or failure of a plush, high-volume cruiser. Luxury marques from Acura to Volvo have experienced varied levels of success at the low end of the luxury market, but few have enjoyed the consistent sales dominance of the Lexus ES. In the past decade, Toyota has cranked out over 600,000 copies in the U.S. alone, with another 650,000 units shipped around the world. And those sales have traditionally been overwhelmingly of the retail variety with little or no incentives. Not bad for what many consider a glorified Toyota Camry.

Enthusiasts take note: Lexus didn’t reach such lofty sales levels with a rear-wheel-drive architecture or pavement-punishing quantities of horsepower. The road map to success for the ES has been simple: a soft, compliant ride; a pampering interior; and unmatched quality. The fifth-generation ES350 has built nicely on those attributes with smoother power, a quieter cabin and more technology. But the competition is still striving to overtake the ES in sales, so Lexus has gone and given its top-selling sedan a mid-cycle refresh for 2010. We spent a week in a Starfire Pearl ES350 to see if it still had the goods to remain a top option in the entry-level luxury segment.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350

Photos by Chris Shunk / Copyright (C)2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350 is soft-riding royalty that’s lost its crown

Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350 is soft-riding royalty that’s lost its crown originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Jul 2010 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bloomberg: Mercedes to overtake battered Lexus as U.S. luxury leader?

Filed under: Car Buying, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Earnings/Financials, Luxury

2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan – Click above for high-res image gallery

After a decade at the top of the U.S. luxury vehicle sales charts, Lexus may soon be unseated by the previous leader, Mercedes-Benz, as well as BMW. While Lexus sales have been recovering this year from the dismal first half of 2009, Mercedes-Benz has been climbing even faster.

One possible reason for this disparity is the string of recalls Lexus has been hit with this year, including accelerator pedals, floor mats, leaking gas tanks and defective valve-springs. Another reason is the sales strength of Mercedes’ updated bread-and-butter vehicles, including the new E-Class.

In June, Lexus sales were up just 2.7 percent compared to 25 percent and 15 percent for Mercedes and BMW respectively. Unless Lexus cleans up its act quickly and manages to convince customers that its quality problems are behind it, Toyota’s premium brand could fall behind both German brands.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan

Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright (C)2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Bloomberg: Mercedes to overtake battered Lexus as U.S. luxury leader? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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