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Camry XLE V6 v. Lexus ES 350

thechosonthechoson Member Posts: 32
edited March 2014 in Lexus
A friend of mine is trying to make this decision, so I'm posting here to get some advice I could relay to him...

I keep hearing that the ES is just a "rebadged" Camry. To what extent is this true?

I got to drive an ES around pretty nicely during the Taste of Lexus event, and I was impressed. Obviously nothing like a BMW or even my own Maxima, but the handling was very secure, better than what I was expecting from the "cheapest" Lexus.

So anyways, what do you guys think? Does the XLE Camry drive as nicely as the ES350?


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    210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I'd say the two are pretty close, so you can base your choice on personal preference. I'm a value buyer, so I'd go with the lower priced Camry.

    But if you like more gadgets and the prestige of the Lexus nameplate (plus arguably better dealer service) and don't mind paying for the privilege, then get the Lexus.

    By all means, test drive both before buying.
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    thechosonthechoson Member Posts: 32
    Thanks for the response.

    My friend is looking at Entry level type luxury cars.

    And it seems like the Camry is the closest to the ES350, at least more so than say an Accord is to a TL or an Altima is to a G35
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    mdamesmdames Member Posts: 79
    I have driven the Camry XLE V6 and I own a 2007 ES350. Although they may share the same platform and engine, they are light years apart in my opinion. Drive the Camry then drive the Lexus. There's no comparison. The ES is far and away a cut above the Camry. The ultra quiet ride. The fit and finish, incredible technology. Don't get me wrong, the Camry is a fine car. And if price is a big factor, you won't go wrong with that vehicle. But if you're looking for more luxury, the ES easily tops the Camry, in my opinion. The telling is in the driving.
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    jaspalbjaspalb Member Posts: 84
    I agree with the view above. I have driven several models of Camry over the last 20 years. I now own ES 350.
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    stlpike07stlpike07 Member Posts: 229
    I agree too. Its is hard for me to imagine the Camry surpasing the Lexus. I have an '07 Camry and have driven the new Lexus too. I love my car, but it isn't the Lexus.

    Also, a Lexus is more of a "status symbol" than a Camry, so if you can comfortably afford the Lexus I would go with the Lexus.
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    seikoseiko Member Posts: 5
    I test drove the two cars back-to-back and since the Toyota and Lexus dealers are on the same stretch of raod in my city, I drove the two vehicles on an identical route. The biggest difference that stood out to me was how much quieter the ES350 is under all driving conditions. Both are great cars,
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    stlpike07stlpike07 Member Posts: 229
    I believe that is because Lexus (and BMW, Mercedes, etc.) dynomat and foam the entire vehicle to reduce outside noise. I'm not sure if Toyota does that to the same extent. If you dynomat and foam any vehicle it will be extremely quiet......it is just expensive to do, especially aftermarket.
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    tjazz321tjazz321 Member Posts: 8
    I tested both extensively before deciding and it seemed apples and oranges. ES hands down, not only for luxury, but also interior space (at least perceived space), driving position, and yes--performance. Better road manners, a heavier feel, better balance in curves, etc. Every bit as fast and crisp, but more refined. I do think in this case you get what you pay for. The choice for me was actually between ES and Avalon touring, and ES won out, for a few thousand more than the Avalon.
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    tammy10tammy10 Member Posts: 15
    I disagree that there is a significant difference. My husband has an XLE, I have the 350, both are two months old, I've driven both extensively.

    Besides the extra year bumper to bumper, differences in appearance and a few other tiny features (my husband's car is similarly equipped), I think they drive the same and neither is clearly more quiet.

    Indeed, my 350 is louder than my 9 year old 300. The insurance premium is the same the same too.

    BUT, the Lexus brand is historically better at holding it's value.
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    raphaelhomraphaelhom Member Posts: 19
    I drove both today and frankly I'm not sure which was quieter. They really didn't seem like that different of ride to me. The lexus was a bit tighter and the camry a little more comfortable on the freeway bumps.
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    raphaelhomraphaelhom Member Posts: 19
    Doesnt one require premiup fuel and also much more expensive maintenance costs? Any other obvious differences? Any difference in the soft ride between the two?
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    carrelman2carrelman2 Member Posts: 80
    My wife drives a 2003 Camry XLE V6 I have the 2007 ES350. The radio in the Camry is much better, The lighting in the ES is not bad it's TERRIBLE, the heated seat controls are impossible. The ES requires Premium gas and costs about $10,000 more. It's not worth it.
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    zekeman1zekeman1 Member Posts: 422
    :confuse: If there is so much difference in the two, and features you didn't like, why did you buy the 350?
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    music4kpmusic4kp Member Posts: 9
    I agree. He should have done his research before buying such an expensive car. I test drove my '07 ES350 before purchasing it over a year ago, and found that it was the best car I've ever owned. As for the radio in his wife's Camry being better, he probably doesn't have the Mark Levinson...just a guess.
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    tango19tango19 Member Posts: 4
    Just noticed this old thread.

    I just retired my old '94 XLE V6 (even though it was still running great!) In the early '90s the XLE with leather was pretty much the same car as the ES. I used to park next to a coworker who had the '94 ES and I used to laugh that other than very slight cosmetic differences, they were the exact same car.

    So I looked at getting a fully loaded XLE this time ("fool my once...") I drove both cars many times, and to me the difference between a fully loaded XLE and a UL packaged ES is night and day. Just pulling the door shut on the ES got my attention. The ES feels like you are closing yourself in a vault (in a good way). Everything in the ES, from plastic knobs to the leather just oozes quality and luxury.

    The ride itself is not that much different (although the ES definitely has the edge), but the quiet, finesse, and attention to luxury details really pampers you in the ES. The ML audio system is superb. I never thought I would hear a clear difference between MP3s (line out from iPod) and CDs. I was wrong. The detail of the uncompressed AIFF CD files is quite apparent, and now I find myself buying CDs again rather than simply downloading from iTunes. (Tip: when listening to music on the ML system - as opposed to a DVD movie - be sure to turn off surround sound otherwise the bass will not be tight and accurate.)

    The Camry is a fine car, just not nearly as luxurious and joyful as a UL ES. Yes the ES costs more, but you really do get what you pay for, in fact, as far as luxury sedans go, the ES is a bargain.

    Needless to say I bought an 08 ES with UL package and actually enjoy my daily commute now!
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