2013 Lexus ES 350 - Review (CarConnection)
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    2013 Lexus ES 350 - Review (CarConnection)

    The 2013 Lexus ES 350 joins the hourglass fray, with the brand's latest styling drama fronting its new redesign. It's also joining Toyota's overall drive to add hybrid versions to all its models by 2020, with the addition of the new ES 300h sedan.

    Both the ES 350 and ES 300h keep the family ties strong to the Toyota Camry. For the ES 350 that means a 3.5-liter V-6 with as-yet-unreleased power figures, and a six-speed automatic. The comparable Camry makes 286 hp. The ES 350 remains front-wheel drive.

    For the new 300h, there's a new 2.5-liter hybridized four that sounds very familiar. Running on an Atkinson cycle, Lexus says the ES 300h will offer a transmission with four driving modes including Sport, Eco and EV, the latter for driving on battery power alone.

    The estimated combined fuel economy for the hybrid's drivetrain is 40 mpg. For reference, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid's EPA numbers are 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined (or 40 city, 39 highway, and 40 combined for the XLE version).

    Lexus says this new generation of entry-level sedans has better handling, through a better body structure, new front springs and a retuned rear suspension. A tighter steering ratio's been dialed in, and the car weighs 90 pounds less than before. It sounds like the incremental improvements made to the GS 350, which we found very agreeable. The base tires are 17-inch, low-rolling-resistance treads on either car; 18-inchers are optional, presumably on the gas-only ES.

    The ES sedans are bigger now, too, with 1.8 inches more of wheelbase, and an inch more in overall length, which nets more interior space, Lexus says. The angle of the steering wheel has been reduced for a better driving position; knee room and leg room have been improved, the former by almost three inches, and foot room under the front seat is better too, Lexus says. And to keep its premium feel above and beyond the Camry clear, the ES gets more sound-absorbing materials, fluidic engine mounts and a tuned engine intake.

    But it's the new styling that's the most striking feature of the new ES, and we think it's Lexus' most successful look in its current lineup. The predatory grille's just the beginning here; it leads into a thick, muscular body that's the polar opposite of the current slim-hipped car, and details like LED running lights distance it completely from the Camry--it's much further from the Toyota than, say, the new Fusion is from the Lincoln MKZ.

    Inside, the ES sedans are said to have more attention paid to ambience, with wood trim and available ambient lighting. Artificial leather is standard, but real leather is an option, as is a semi-aniline treatment for the most upscale versions. Maple and bamboo wood are among the trims offered, along with piano black plastic.

    The features that round out the new 2013 Lexus ES lineup range from conveniences like an updated Remote Touch interface with an optional navigation system, to a power trunk closer, and Lexus' Enform connectivity suite, which enables mobile apps like Pandora and Facebook. Standard audio includes satellite radio and USB connectivity as well as Bluetooth; upgrades add HD radio, audio streaming, a DVD audio/video player, and Mark Levinson speakers and amplifier.

    Safety equipment on the ES sedans now includes options for blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, and automatic high-beam headlights to go with ten standard airbags.

    We'll bring you more on the 2013 Lexus ES 350 and ES 300h as details surface--stay tuned for first drives later this year.

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  3. #2

  4. #3
    that wood grain needs to go.

    also that clock was a nice touch, stolen from Infinti haha

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