A Weekend Family Road-trip in the 2014 Lexus GS350 F Sport
Two weeks ago I was offered to test drive the 2014 Lexus GS 350 F Sport and write my impressions. As I was going to make a trip to Atlanta from Hickory, NC for the Easter Weekend, I thought this would be a good opportunity to drive it on highways, small cities and in a large city such as Atlanta and share my opinion based on solid data.
As a result we drove the 2014 GS 350 F Sport two times to Atlanta from Hickory, NC (5 hours each way) and also to Charlotte, NC (1.5 hours each way). Total I drove about 1200 miles. While most people may look at this stylish beautiful car as a sports vehicle I looked at it from the perspective of a driving my family in it, let’s say going to a long distance trip.
There were five of us driving together: my wife and our three children, aged 10, 6 and 1.5. When you drive with a family safety is your first concern. As I mentioned above we were going to Atlanta for the Easter as I am also involved in a Christian ministry in a community there.
GS 350 F Sport Safety
Lexus has equipped the GS with 10 airbags. All together there are 18 airbags and sensors. This also includes side airbags for rear seat passenger (very important when driving children) and knee airbags for the front-seat passenger and a driver.
Luxury Interior and Stylish Exterior
If you are looking for a luxury sports sedan you should at least test drive the new GS 350 F Sport. The car is well built. Interior is spacious, really nice. It comes with comfortable seats. Our three children comfortably seated in the back (including a car seat) and endured the 5-hour drive with no problems.
It’s upscale and stands out as a premium vehicle.
Exterior look is intriguing and quite impressive. If you compare it with the very first generation of the GS 350 you will see how far the 4th generation is gone.
Some Cool Features
If your phone is compatible you can connect it to your GS 350 in order to enable hands-free operation and drive safer. As our cars become technologically more advanced use the hands-free operations as much as you can, including voice commands for navigation and radio.
First you need to register in the system to use the Bluetooth. Press the MENU button on the Remote Touch. Then select “Phone”, then choose “Yes.” Follow the instructions on the screen. Some smartphones may require additional prompts. If so, refer to your smartphone’s user manual for additional information on how to connect your Bluetooth-equipped smartphone to your car.
Use this and driver safer. Forget about pushing buttons to select your favorite radio channel or to set up driving directions to your destination. Use the Voice Command System.
Simply push the Voice Command button, which is found on your Lexus’ steering wheel. Remember one important thing: you must always wait for the beep or screen icon before speaking. If you want to Cancel it, simply push and hold the switch. Numbers must be recited in single digits. You can always use “Go Back” if desired outcome is not shown.
- Find nearby gas stations
- Enter and Address
- Go Home
- Fuel Prices
- Sports Scores
- Stock Quotes
- I am hungry
- Phonebook calls: Say contact first and last name.
The voice command can also find nearly coffee shopts for you as well as restaurants according to your taste (For example, Barbeque, Fast Food, Italian, Ice Cream, Pizza etc…) as well as beauty Salons, Parking, Schools and Hospitals. My personal advice here, stop your vehicle, make your commands, find your desire destination and then continue driving. It will be safer for you and for fellow drivers on the road.
The Voice Command also has a Mobile Assist feature which will allow you to activate Apple’s Siri. To activate this feature you need to first connect to the system via Bluetooth.
Driving mode select switch
One handy feature that I particularly like was this driving mode select switch option, found on driver’s right side. My GS 350 came with four modes.
- Normal mode – Just press the switch to set it to Normal Mode.
- ECO Mode – This was my favorite. It helps to achieve lower fuel consumption. Driving in this mode is useful and effective when using trips that involve frequent accelerating.
- SPORT Mode – This mode helps with a better acceleration response by controlling GS 350’s transmission.
- SPORTS+ Mode – Really improves the steering performance and gives a better sense of driving stability. When driving in this mode, the system simultaneously controls steering, suspension and transmission. Lexus, in 2014 GS’s Owner’s Manual says this mode is “suitable for sporty driving.” I don’t know that many roads in the United States where you can unleash the power of SPORTS+ Mode, but I used SPORT and/or SPORTS+ modes when entering busy highways and when the entrance required quick acceleration. Then I switched back to ECO mode. As you can see my average fuel consumption is more economical than the average highway and city fuel economy number shown on Monroney.
SNOW Mode – Don’t think of this only for winter. Use this mode when driving on slippery roads, such as snow or rain.
Controlling Vehicle-to-vehicle distance and Parking
In my driving of the 2014 Lexus GS 350 two other features came very handy. One was the vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode. A special radar sensor detects the presence of cars up to approximately 400 ft. ahead and maintains a suitable following distance from the vehicle ahead. When the car is too close to another vehicle ahead, the display will flash and the buzzer will sound to alert the driver. This may happen when another driver unexpectedly cuts in front of you.
We live in Hickory, NC, a mid-size town where finding a parking place usually is not a problem. But when driving to large cities where parking places and space are limited GS 350’s Intuitive parking assist system comes very handy. The vehicle has front front and four rear sensors. They measure the distance between your car to nearby obstacles when parallel parking or maneuvering into a garage and display need information on the screen helping the driver to use the limited parking space in the most effective way without hurting the vehicle.
2014 GS F Sports MPG
City and highway combined average fuel economy is 23 miles per gallon. Inside the city is 19 and on highways it’s 29. I did little better getting a city and highway combined 26 miles per gallon because I was mostly driving on ECO mode.
The Price of the 2014 Lexus GS 350 F Sport
The MSRP for the 2014 GS 350 F Sports starts at $53,280. But normally GS 350 (not the F Sport version) starts at $47,700. If you like blind spot monitor, which I would recommend, add another $700. F Sport package is another 6,130 dollars. Navigation with 12.3-inch screen and Lexus Enform with details is another $1,735 dollars. Intuitive Park Assistance feature is about 500 dollars.
Sub-total is $56,765. Lexus also charges 910 dollars for delivery, processing and handling making the 2014 GS 350’s total price at 57,675 dollars.
Overall I had a very positive experience driving the 2014 GS 350 for about 1,200 miles throughout the valleys and hills of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Here comes a luxurious sports sedan which can very well serve any midsize family needs with great look, spacious interior and a big trunk. The road manners are quiet, handling is impressive and features are generous. This vehicle is a strong contender among midsize luxury sport sedans delivered with reliability and reputation.