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ES350 vs TL, any experience? Looking for advice

Old 04-15-2018, 09:28 AM
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Default ES350 vs TL, any experience? Looking for advice

Looking to discuss with fellow car nuts a decision I have to make. For starters, I buy higher mileage cars (90K+ miles) and maintain them myself, therefore target "premium" brands which have hit that sweet spot of depreciation with lots of life left. As an example my current daily is an '04 TSX with 207K miles which I've been driving for 9 years and bought with 90K miles. Looking to get something a bit bigger and a bit more grown up. Looking at two options:

1. 2012 Acura TL AWD with advanced packge, 97K miles. 1 owner car, extensive service history. $17500 out the door from a dealer.
2. 2007 Lexus ES 350 w/Ultra Luxury package and every option availble, 105K miles. This is a Florida car owned by a family member. $8000

My heart says TL, as the sporty upgrade to my TSX. My brain says keep the almost $10K difference for a rainy day and go with the ES350. Anyone have experience with either of these? Is the ES 350 truly an old mans car as I'm picturing it?
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:01 PM
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The ES350 really is not a fun car to drive. Reliable? Yup. But it's not at all fun.

The TL SH-AWD is a LOT more engaging to drive. The J37 (I believe) is in the SH-AWD model and makes good power (just over 300 hp) while still revving fairly well. The AWD system is a bit odd for most people - you have to actually ADD throttle in a corner to make it work to full effect, since it overdrives the outside wheels. My brother had the Acura RL and it took a bit of getting used to.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:12 PM
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Thanks JonBoy your feedback which mirrors the research I've done. I test drove the TL and was hooked...decent power, handling, braking and bit of growl. Interior was a bit "geeky" but I work in IT so could figure it all out. From what I read, the ES is like driving in a cocoon isolated from the world in a good and bad way with every tech gadget you'd want, smooth ample power, and a front wheeler.

Maybe I was hoping someone would say "I owned an ES and it handled surprisingly well" as financially that makes a ton more sense, or maybe sticking a bit more aggressive suspension on the the ES would cure it.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:02 PM
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When I lived in Texas (up to 2010), our VP had the latest ES350 and my boss had the TL SH-AWD (2009 model, but it's the same as your 2012). The ES350 was used to commute back and forth from Houston (where his family was) to a town about 2 hours north every weekend. For that, it was great - quiet, comfy, not bad on gas, etc. If you're just commuting and want a car that's peaceful and quiet, it's as good as you can get at that price. If you want some fun, though, it is sadly lacking. It's actually decently quick - 0-60 in the low 6s range? - since it has the typical big Toyota V6 in it, but it's still not compelling to drive.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:59 PM
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I'm with Jonboy on this one, its like comparing the accord to the Camry but more to the point. The Lexus drives nice and plush, it isolates and relaxes you. The tl is definitely more engaging and does it's best BMW impersonation. I like both to be honest, but if we were talking brand new right now I'd take the ES because the newer ones drives a but better.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:37 AM
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I'd buy the TL. 105k service isn't cheap if you're going to have someone do the work.

The AWD is mostly FWD, as jon mentioned it needs to be flogged to get any rear power above 40mph. In the snow at low speeds it's amazing and will power the car with only 1 wheel having grip.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:57 AM
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I'd keep the 10k in your pocket and buy the ES.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mosesbotbol View Post
I'd keep the 10k in your pocket and buy the ES.
Darn you voice of reason!
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:38 AM
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Neither. I'll take the 2007-08 TL-S
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:03 AM
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Why are you buying a car? You want a bigger daily driver? What does your commute look like? Are you carving up mountain roads on your way to the office or are you sitting in traffic and red lights?

I'd consider the $10k spend/savings based on that.
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