What’s it up against?
This one’s tough to answer: The ES doesn’t really have many direct rivals aside from the Ford Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ, the Cadillac CTS , the Acura TL and the Volvo S80 since the segment is all-but ignored by the default German luxury carmakers – and even those four really take on different roles.
The redesigned MKZ has a capable chassis and a nice V6, but it trails the competition in terms of interior appointments. The CTS has wowed us over and over by being so, well, un-GM, but its rear-wheel-drive sportiness might turn some shoppers off. The controversial TL abandoned its conservative roots for 2009, but like the ES, it offers a lot for the money. The S80, also fresh off a makeover for 2010, might be the ES 350′s most direct rival thanks to its sophisticated and quiet demeanor, but we’d be surprised if there’s truly much cross-shopping between the two brands.
Lots of luxe for the cash – that’s the ES’ promise. You won’t find much that’s truly groundbreaking, but you will find the coddling of the larger LS in a less expensive package.
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