Behind the Wheel

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Review: This is the ES variant you should be buying

The 2020 Lexus ES F-Sport is the flashiest ES model.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

There is only one Lexus ES 350 you should consider buying unless the prospect of mundane drivability excites you – the 2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport.

The ES sits in the Lexus lineup between the IS and LS. It's a midsize sedan that is made in America and available in three models – ES 350, ES 350 Hybrid, and ES 350 F-Sport. There are a variety of trim levels for buyers to choose from for 350 and 350 Hybrid models.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport The ES 350 F-Sport has a different grille than other ES models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

On the outside, it's immediately apparent that the 350 F-Sport has the better grille and wheels (19-inchers) than the other ES models. There's also black finish mesh on the front fascia and available triple beam headlights. Those enhancements make the ES appear more sophisticated and sassier.

As the saying goes, it's not the size, it's how you use it. All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain achieves 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The oomph is enough for the ES, but not anything that will excite.

ES 350 models have Eco, Normal, and Sport modes. The ES 350 F-Sport replaces Sport mode with Sport+ and Custom. The Sport+ mode lengthens the amount of time between shifts and allows the driver to achieve a torquier behind-the-wheel experience, adjusts the throttle response, and changes the steering parameters. This is one of the keys to the 350 F-Sport's success.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Lexus has given the ES 350 F-Sport spotter seats than what are other ES 350 models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Combine the engine engagement with an adaptive variable suspension that is similar to the system in the Lexus LC and LS, and the ES's drive experience shines (for an ES). Don't mistake the enthusiasm for quickness. The ES still takes 6.6 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph and it only comes in front-wheel drive.

The ES serves valiantly as a daily driver in any model. Its trunk is spacious and there's a good amount of passenger space for four adult occupants.

While the materials in most of the cabin of this particular model are right with its price point, the entire interior experience is clouded by the Lexus track pad way of navigating the infotainment system. Thankfully, the ES is one of the few Lexus vehicles that has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so use of the track pad is not often needed.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport The ES 350 F-Sport is available with a red leather interior.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Other high points of the model include the available 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and the good amount of unobtrusive safety technology that works well including blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

The 2020 Lexus ES F-Sport starts at $44,635. With the options boxes checked, it can get near $50,000 including destination and delivery charges. That price seems fair for the model. It's pricier than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry but less costly than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The ES is priced most similarly to the Infiniti Q50's midgrade models. Top-tier models of the Q50 have significantly more horsepower befitting the higher rate.

Sure, the ES F-Sport isn't as

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The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is made to be trail-ready

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

If you want to go off-roading but you’re apprehensive behind the wheel? Jeep is introducing the Jeep Adventure Academy, a program that provides hands-on, off-road driving instruction to Jeep 4x4 owners.

"Off-roading is a rite of passage for Jeep 4x4 owners and the new Jeep Adventure Academy will provide key knowledge every off-roader can use for hitting the trails," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand, FCA - North America. "The new Jeep Adventure Academy underscores the Jeep brand's commitment to delivering Jeep 4x4 vehicles that provide owners with a sense of capability, safety and security to handle any condition or adventure with confidence."

2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Jeep Trailhawk models are trail-tested ahead of their retail salePhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Academy kicks off this October and will take place at select locations nationwide. Instructors from Jeep Jamboree USA will lead the program alongside off-roading experts.

Each Academy session will focus on several essential areas of off-roading instruction, including 4x4 system basics, driving techniques, trail etiquette, vehicle preparation and equipment, how to properly read terrain and challenging obstacles, safety tips and more.

The Jeep Adventure Academy will take place during the first three weeks in October at the following locations:

  • Holly Oaks Off-road Vehicle Park, Holly, Michigan: October 2-4
  • Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, Seymour, Missouri: October 9-11
  • Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, Hollister, California: October 16-18

Registration is available at jeepadventureacademy.com. A one-day session starts at $99 and requires Jeep 4x4 vehicle ownership. The academy sessions will be led by professional staff from Jeep Jamboree USA, an organization that has been conducting off-road adventures since 1953.

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Famed puzzle maker Ravesburger has created a new Lamborghini-themed 3D puzzle.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

The Lamborghini Huracán EVO is the most successful V10-powered Lamborghini ever. Now, the supercar is getting the Ravensburger 3D puzzle treatment. The 3D jigsaw puzzle faithfully replicates the Huracán EVO V10 car in a 1:18 scale.

The puzzle is mounted to a replica chassis. Lamborghini fans will be able to pick out the car's signature Y-style front bumper and Y-shaped embedded in the headlights. It also has the hexagonal details of the traditionally sized Lambo and wears a Arancio Xanto orange paint job. The low-slug profile of the puzzle gives it volume though it measures just 26 cm in length.

Ravensburger Lamborghini Huracán EVO 3D puzzle

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Ravensburger is making the puzzle available with 32 high-quality feature accessories, such as the axles and four rotating wheels that faithfully replicate the Aesir rims found on the real car, along with front splitter and rear diffuser.

The puzzle contains 108 numbered pieces.

Ravesnburger recommends that the puzzle is best for adults and children ages 8 and older. It is sold in Europe for €34.99. In the U.S., a Lamborghini Huracán EVO goes for upwards of $208,000.

Earlier this year, Lamborghini bounced that it had pattered with Lego to create the Lego Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. That model includes a V12 engine; a moveable rear spoiler; front and rear suspension; and steering powered by a wheel complete with the Automobili Lamborghini badge. There's also scissor doors, which open to reveal the intricately recreated cockpit, with a fully-functioning eight-speed sequential gearbox controlled by a movable paddle gearshift.

Lego also sells LEGO Technic versions of the 2020 Land Rover Defender and Nissan GT-R. Additionally, LEGO recently started selling a replica of Dom's Chargerfrom the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Additionally, a Ducati motorcycle model was recently sold by the company.

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