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Looking at the sales figures alone, the ES fills an obvious slot in the market that no other automaker has really chosen to take on. Priced more like the compact IS, the ES is sized like the GS but offers the comfort and convenience now-sporty Cadillac once coveted.

By todays standards, it is a Japanese Buick, much like its distant Toyota Avalon cousin, albeit sporting a fancier badge and more opulent amenities. But with an impressive redesigned Buick LaCrosse on the horizon, Lexus should take this opportunity to tighten up the ES driving characteristics to keep it competitive. The automaker has proven, with the LS, that it can make a car that glides down the road but doesnt whimper at the sign of a corner or provide the kind of feedback that might turn buyers off of a BMW.

Button this one down for the next-generation model and youll remain top dog in the segment, Lexus.

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