The Lexus ES line of sedans is among the automaker’s top sellers, with its luxurious appointments and comfortable styling. However, the critical push has been modest. With the 2013 Lexus ES350 and ES300h hybrid – the latter being Lexus’ first gas/electric ES – the critics are taking notice.
The 2013 Lexus ES350 and ES300h’s new look
The 2013 Lexus ES line indicates that Lexus is prepared to up the style quotient, notes Car and Driver. A new spindle grille, LED running lamps that point the way like an arrow, L-shaped tail light detailing and a smoother body flow together naturally. The Lexus ES350 and ES300h have been lengthened overall by an inch, and the wheelbases have grown two inches to 111.0, which creates both a more planted look and added interior space. In the rear, the ES350’s bumper makes room for twin exhaust tips, while the ES300h offers a modified look that includes rear spoiler and a more hidden exhaust pipe. Seventeen-inch wheels will come standard on both sedans; the ES350 will have the option of 18-inch.
Curb weight is down in the ES350 by nearly 90 pounds, to 3,549. The hybrid ES300h reportedly will weigh about 3,660 pounds.
An eye on comfort
Sight lines are greatly improved in the new ES models, notes Lexus. The horizontally layered dashboard is also much more attractively arrayed, which contributes to ease of use. Dash redesign includes a repositioning of the steering wheel and the second-generation iteration of Lexus’ Remote Touch Interface. For passengers in the rear of the 2013 Lexus ES350 or ES300h, comfort has been increased considerably, with 0.6 inches more legroom and 2.8 inches more knee-room when compared with last year’s models.
Lexus’ NuLuxe seat upholstery combines with two grades of leather and trim materials to create an interior environment that is both pleasing to the eye and environmentally friendly, writes Car and Driver.
Electronics options abound
Fifteen-speaker surround audio, ambient interior lighting, hard disk-based navigation system, power rear-window shade and trunk closer are among the multitude of electronic options on the Lexus ES350 and ES300h. Standard on all 2013 ES models is a one-year subscription to Lexus’ OnStar clone, Enform. Enform includes Safety Connect and various other attendant applications.
Safety is no blind spot
Ten-unit airbags are standard on both new ES models, including driver and front-passenger knee airbags. Blind-spot camera, rear cross-traffic alert, unintended lane change sleep warning and other radar-based systems intended to prevent collisions provide ES owners with a safe luxury ride.
2013 Lexus ES350 and ES300h under the hood
A 3.5-liter, six-speed automatic V6 comes standard in the 2013 ES350. The ES300h will offer a 2.5-liter gas-electric combo engine, a hybrid version of the engine appearing in the Toyota Camry. According to Lexus, the ES300h will boast an EPA-combined fuel economy rating of 40 mpg, which will put the vehicle near the top of the luxury-hybrid class.
Pricing yet to be determined
Prices for the 2013 Lexus ES350 and ES300h hybrid have not been released, although industry insiders expect that the gas-powered sedan will start at about $39,000 when it goes on sale this summer.