Lexus ES350, Acura Premium Compete in Luxury Car Step-Up – Bloomberg

20 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Lexus ES350, Acura Premium Compete in Luxury Car Step-Up – Bloomberg
Lexus ES350

, Acura Compete in Luxury Car Step-Up

upon a time, trading in reliable foreign car for an entry-level ride was an obvious process. You a Toyota Camry. A Lexus ES was in future. Die-hard Honda types stepped up to an Acura .

Yet the point to luxury has changed, as inexpensive cars now offer of gadgets once only on pricier vehicles. South ’s Hyundai and Kia have muscled the scene, using the same the Japanese once did — good cars at even prices.

Which might one wondering: What constitutes an level luxury car these and where do Lexus and Acura fit in?

To get a of that question, I tested the latest Lexus ES and a brand-new model, the ILX.

The all-new, sixth-generation Lexus starts at $37,000, and is also as a hybrid. The Acura ILX. is $32,000 with an optional package. It too can be had as a hybrid.

The 2013 ES has traveled a long road its 1989 inception as a slightly Toyota Camry. The big luxury then was real wood in the The ES would eventually become best seller in the U.S. a of reliability, subdued looks and an ride.

Japanese Crafting

shift. The new ES gets a significant a firmer suspension and more drive. Being boring, it out, isn’t so luxurious all.

My test car, an prototype with black and interior, had real wood and and the quality was nice indeed. The that wraps around contours is hand- stitched by craftsmen.

The 300h hybrid model is with a synthetic material calls “NuLuxe.”

The ES has never a young person’s car, ranking as one of the entry-level sedans in the lineup. One is reminded of this by the uncomfortable pairing of a round, clock hovering under the eight-inch navigation screen.

Lexus is clearly banking on finding luxury in the digital Its navigation screen is controlled by a device mounted on the center and you can hook up a smart phone to the and access applications like radio, OpenTable and Yelp.


Safety options a system that alerts about to back out of a parking lot to passing behind, as well as departure and dynamic cruise

More interesting is the better-tuned The ES350 is front-wheel drive, so you can about it being a hot sports Yet the 3.5-liter V-6 is sufficiently sprightly, 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque.

Gas mileage is 21 city, 31 highway, the hybrid (which has a four- gets 40 and 39.

Compared to previous the new ES350 is simply more to drive. And it even looks good with the new, funky Lexus grill and end.

While the ES now rides on the larger Toyota Avalon the brand-new Acura ILX is on the same as its cousin the Honda Civic.


The new generation Civic, went on sale last has fallen far short of expectations, a lackluster ride and two recalls of defects. The company is rushing out an fix with a redesign for 2013.

a suggestion for Honda: Take cues from the ILX. A sedan with a conventionally-raked and a longer hood, it fixes the oddities of the current Civic. a nice interplay of creases and along the body and rear.

Though the ILX name is new, are hints at former Acura that I was fond of, like the The ILX Premium model I tested, starts under $30,000, has a engine with 201 hp and a sweet manual. Oddly, you cannot get an transmission with the 2.4-liter

That will disappoint a buyer.

The Premium model is a car for who like to drive. The engine high (over 7,000 the stick is fun to use and the car is engagingly responsive.


Sadly, the standard ILX with a 2.0-liter four- with only 150 hp, and a decidedly five-speed automatic. Even the BMW 5 is now offered with a four-cylinder but the lackluster power on the 2.0- ILX is disappointing.

The ILX’s top-of-the-line technology brings navigation with Bluetooth and access to Pandora. an upmarket car, but not really a one. Cross- shoppers take a look at the $28,000-plus (000270) Sonata Limited, has a 274-hp turbo four and heated front and rear

Lexus ES350

As an aside, Hyundai’s $35,000 sedan is a credible entry to the field, making a likely to the Lexus ES. It can be had with either a V-6 or a

Still, Corolla drivers appreciate the trade-up to the ES, while can credibly hang onto its mantle. Honda drivers who to shift using a stick a nice new option. Others want to keep on looking.

The 2013 Lexus ES350 and Acura ILX Premium at a Glance

3.5-liter V-6 with 268 horsepower and 248

feet of torque; 2.4-liter with 201 hp and 170

drivability; great transmission makes for an


Worst features: Overall doesn’t compare to

European lack of automatic transmission on


Target buyers: looking to step into

(Jason H. Harper writes autos for Muse, the arts and section of Bloomberg News. The expressed are his own.)

To contact the of this column: Jason H. at or follow on Twitter

To contact the editor responsible for column: Manuela Hoelterhoff at .

Lexus ES350
Lexus ES350
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