Review: 2013 Lexus ES 350 – San Jose Mercury News

16 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Review: 2013 Lexus ES 350 – San Jose Mercury News

from the larger Toyota rather than the Camry, as ES generations have done the ES’ wheelbase by 1.7 inches and length by 1.6 inches versus the car. (Lexus is Toyota’s brand.)

The 2013 Lexus ES some substance for gimmicks its all-new design, but it should interest for adventurous styling and a ES hybrid version.

Characterizing an ES has been like trying to the flavors in oatmeal – a bowl of it from room at the Hyatt, but oatmeal nonetheless. best-selling sedan boasts handling improvements and refined quality in its sixth-generation redesign, but the is a mixed bag, and so is my verdict.

as a V-6 ES 350 or first-ever hybrid ES 300h, the ES longer and taller for 2013. It now from the Toyota Avalon’s platform rather than the with which it traditionally underpinnings. At a media preview, I both ES drivetrains alongside the generation.

The sharpest-looking ES yet

The front-wheel-drive ES Lexus’ spindle grille more of a fat hourglass – up drawing similarities to the recently rear-drive GS sedan. It’s a touch longer than pricier sibling, and its creased stand out like no ES before. is no ground-hugging F-Sport Package, as offers on a few other cars, but the ES none: It looks dynamic

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are with 18s optional on the ES 350.

How it moves

The ES 350’s 3.5-liter V-6 out with a muscular exhaust if standing on the gas. A Lexus told me it’s a few ticks than the last ES – a for better gas mileage – but the Lexus’ Drive Mode to Sport mode, as opposed to Eco or and sharper accelerator progression an even quicker climb. the six-speed automatic transmission suffers befuddling inconsistencies: it kicks down a gear or two for passing power; other it hunts aimlessly for the right

Sport mode reduces assist for palpably better feedback. The prior ES had a tendency for the to snap suddenly back to Its successor steers more with quicker reflexes.

A suspension with uprated and additional bracing also has added, but does little to the car’s modest body

Ride quality – a of the previous car – remains All ES models share the same tuning. An adaptive suspension, Lexus offered in two prior of the ES, is currently unavailable.

The ES remains drive only with no option unlike competition Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes. The Lexus GS offer the option.

The hybrid ES 300h pairs a four-cylinder with two motor-generators and a variable automatic transmission for 200 horsepower versus the ES 350’s 268 hp. At bore, the car hustles well but it lacks the passing confidence of a luxury badge, and the droning, CVT sounds anything but refined.

any full hybrid, the 300h can run on power at low speeds for short an EV mode, activated via Drive Select, raises the threshold the car transitions to engine power. Mode Select blocks EV if the car’s nickel-metal-hydride battery is too low or if you press the gas for too much power. on the pedal, even in EV mode, and the ES springs to full power in

Thanks to lower curb and better aerodynamics, EPA mileage in the ES 350 is up to mpg city/highway, an overall improvement of 2 mpg over the last ES. That’s the head of the luxury competition, out the Acura TL, Audi A4 and Infiniti G37 by 1 mpg or The BMW 328i and four-cylinder Lincoln MKZ eke out 1 to 2 mpg, however.

One plus: The ES fine on regular gasoline; competitors recommend or require

No rating for the ES 300h has been at this time, but Lexus it expects the combined rating to be 39 That would make it the efficient luxury sedan on the though the EPA has yet to give estimates for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Roomy cabin

The front have stiffer side which became apparent the prior ES. Where the prior front seats allowed too sliding, these hold you in without constraining on long-haul Although it moved to the larger platform, the ES’ cabin falls closer to that of the Camry: Total volume is cubic feet, up 5.2 cubic from the last ES, which in line with a moonroof-equipped

The biggest change comes in the which gains 4.1 inches of and 0.7-inch headroom. It’s back there, with knee room and no center hump. Manual sunshades in the and a power rear shade are but the rear shade requires to the driver, as the deployment controls are up only.

Heated rear and a rear climate zone both available in the Avalon are unavailable.

Trunk volume in the ES 350 is cubic feet, up 0.5 cubic versus the last ES. That’s the improved BMW 3 Series’ 17 cubic and the Acura TL’s surprisingly 13.1 cubic feet. of a hybrid, the ES 300h places its behind the rear seats, lowers trunk volume to cubic feet.

Like the generation, the ES 350 gets a center but no folding backseat; the ES 300h has no at all. A power-closing trunk is

Stop with the gimmicks

Lexus ES350

touches include piano-black or wood trim, with bamboo in the ES 300h, and optional lighting below the door and inlays. Lexus’ NuLuxe upholstery, offered in cars the CT 200h, is standard. Last ES had standard leather.

The NuLuxe synthetic, but it’s softer the often-stiff leatherette, aka vinyl, serve up.

Heated and ventilated are optional, but the ventilation borders on That’s ironic since the has cooled seats that your chaps to ice. the optional heated wood-and-leather wheel heats just the at 3 and 9 o’clock. Touch anywhere and the wheel stays cold.

calling foul: If Chrysler can the wood portion of the 300’s Lexus should, too.

The continue with an optional moonroof. It’s more two small roofs separated by a divider, with clunky sunshades that short won’t like yanking. – the Hyundai Azera and CTS – have near-continuous panels that let more with power sunshades to

The cabin trades last chrome inlays for silver and the faux-leather dashboard trim is more than a stitched which Lexus calls a slush mold. Other cars, including Lexus’ own CT have more-convincing dashboard and Chrysler’s sedan can come in genuine leather. Similar to the ES adds a classy vibe to the Camry, but in the pricier Lexus, it cheap.

The standard stereo includes compatibility, a six-CD changer this is the brand that a tape deck long the iTunes era – and Bluetooth operation. Options include a display that works a center-console knob or an 8-inch system that works Lexus’ second-generation Remote Interface. Both systems add HD and Bluetooth audio streaming, ought to be standard – and the changer dumped.

Remote plays out like a computer with haptic feedback to your pointer to the on-screen which include a suite of applications such as Yelp, and Facebook Places via Lexus’ system. While the ES lacks the expanse of the GS’ 12.3-inch it’s intuitive enough to when the car is stopped. Still, I well-sorted knob systems like Mercedes’ Comand easier to manage on the road.

Levinson audio is optional in cars.

Safety features

The ES has not crash-tested, but Toyota engineers they expect Top Safety status from the Insurance for Highway Safety and a harder-to-get stars out of five overall the National Highway Traffic Administration. Standard features head-protecting side airbags and override, plus the required brakes and electronic stability

New safety options include a spot warning system, cross-traffic alert and automatic headlights. Lane departure – but not mitigation – is optional. Per forthcoming federal the ES 300h has an audible warning to nearby pedestrians when the car is in EV below 12 mph.

Standard on the ES 350 include keyless access push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, front seats, a USB/iPod-comparable CD Bluetooth phone operation and leather upholstery. Real heated and ventilated seats, and rear parking sensors, a system and a panoramic moonroof are the options.

Lexus ES in the market

As of writing, Toyota’s luxury has yet to price the ES, which hits later this year. But the sedan ranged from the to the mid-$40,000s as options ballooned. No luxury sedan has the ES beat the board, but others chip at its various weaknesses.

The ES is no tarted-up the quality gains versus a Camry are apparent, and its strengths are This is the sharpest-looking ES in at least generations, and the hybrid’s 39-mpg EPA rating should all but guarantee interest. But too many surprise-and-delight fall flat.

Lexus to take a page from Ax the ventilated seats and faux-leather and invest in consistent quality

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