The All-New Redesigned 2013 Lexus ES 350 & 300h
There have been five generations of the ES sedan since its introduction in 1989, and more than one million remain on the world’s roads. The folks at Lexus know that their entry-level luxury sedan could stand to be livelier if its going to attract younger buyers; but at the same time, they don’t want to alienate the traditional ES buyer, who averages 63 years in age, and have made the ES Lexus’ best-selling sedan.
So what we find is evidence of a trickle-down design and engineering shown to great effect with Lexus’ new ES 350 and 300h. Both from an exterior and interior stand point, the new ES takes many of its design cues from the elements introduced in the GS. As part of its complete redesign for 2013, this sixth-generation ES features sleeker styling, shorter overhangs, quicker steering, ECO, Normal AND SPORT driving modes and a tweaked suspension, all to provide a bit more masculinity and athleticism. The hybrid adds the additional low-speed, short-distance, pure-electric EV mode.
Also available only in the hybrid model is the bamboo interior trim option that was originally available in the new GS. Officials at Lexus say that if there is enough demand, the bamboo trim might be made available in the regular ES 350. They also went on to state that they have received positive feedback about the bamboo trim from journalists and consumers alike and are waiting for more data before moving forward to offer the option in models other than the hybrid.
What stands out most is the styling. The formerly conservative ES sheds its pinstripes in favor of Lexus’ new design language, sporting the signature spindle grille along with LED lights. In addition, the car is slightly lower and an inch longer, but the overhangs shorten on its 2-inch longer wheelbase. On the inside, the longer wheelbase results in an additional four inches in rear-passenger leg room.
The ES 350 retains its 3.5-liter V6, similar to the Camry, that puts out 268 horsepower and comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Powering the hybrid is a 2.5-liter I-4 Atkinson cycle four-cylinder along with Toyota’s hybrid drive system, where the combined total of the two produces 200 horsepower. The system employs a continuously variable transmission (CVT), borrowed completely from the Camry hybrid.
The hybrid launches from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 8.1 seconds which is a whole second slower than the 7.1-second sprint posted by the ES 350. Fuel economy in the hybrid is 40 city and 39 highway and a combined 40. The V6 posts 21 city, 31 highway, and 24 combined.
The long list of standard equipment for the ES includes a moon roof, keyless start, power everything, cruise-control, backup-camera, eight-speaker audio, and more. On the options list are Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, radar cruise control, navigation, 15-speaker/835-watt Mark Levinson audio and panoramic sun roof.
Overall, the all-new redesigned 2013 Lexus ES has surprised us with its sportier, bolder styling, more engaging driving dynamics, roomier interior, and it is still bank-vault quiet as a Lexus is expected to be. Slated to arrive in showrooms mid-August, pricing probably won’t be announced until closer to launch date. So continue to follow us on Twitter and check-in on our Facebook community to be one of the first to be notified as soon as it arrives.