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Car Review: 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan

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As Lexus continues to roll out hit after hit, the all-new 2013 ES 350 Sedan keeps folks at Lexus smiling! Just because this new Lexus is better in all aspects, that doesn’t mean the pricing has to increase, and Lexus did a good job of keeping this elegant sedan affordable for those seeking luxury but not willing to break the bank.

EXTERIOR

The new ES features a lower, progressive profile and clean, continuous styling lines from front to rear. All four corners are pulled tightly inward to the wheel arches, creating distinctive proportions. The wheelbase of the new ES has been lengthened by 1.8 inches, while the overall length of the vehicle has grown by just one inch, resulting in a more spacious interior. The new ES unmistakably bears the new face of Lexus with its distinctive, spindle grille. The LED daytime running lights and combination rear lamps reflect the “L” design motif. The ES 350’s rear bumper sports dual exhaust pipes. New exterior colors for the 2013 ES include Fire Agate Pearl and Silver Lining Metallic, which our test model sported.

The most obvious improvement is the front facia, as Lexus really nailed it with a signature front that looks to be something Lexus can brand with its luxury lineup. Our test model also sported 17-inch split spoke wheels with liquid graphite finish and lane departure alert with intelligent high beam headlamps.

INTERIOR

The modern interior of the 2013 ES has been designed to provide both a sense of openness and security. Sightlines and visibility are improved, controls are logically placed, and new cabin materials express a high level of craftsmanship. You get the feeling from the dashboard that you have entered a car that was truly designed with an executive touch. Designed with attention to ergonomics and driver focus, the cockpit features separate display and operation zones to help keep the driver’s eyes on the road. The instrument panel, with its long, layered look, places the main information display directly in the driver’s line of sight. Just below the center display is a self-illuminating LED analog clock. Controls are clustered beneath the information zone, on the steering wheel and on the center console.

The second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located on the center console. RTI reduces eye and hand movement, helping reduce effort and distraction. A newly sculptured seat enhances driver comfort, while the steering wheel angle has been reduced from 24 degrees to 22 degrees for a more natural control position. Fluid-filled engine mounts, new sound absorbing materials and a tuned engine intake minimize the intrusion of outside noise.

Greater rear seat legroom and knee room are the hallmark of the redesigned, more spacious cabin. Knee room is increased by 2.8 inches and legroom is increased by 4.1 inches. This was noticeable with those riding in the rear, who were appreciative of the legroom. The new design also offers additional foot room below the front seats. Available comfort and convenience features include manual door window shades, a power rear shade and a one-touch power trunk closer. Optional ambient lighting, discretely placed under the wood trim, softly illuminates the surfaces of the instrument panel and all four doors. The new ES features enhanced NuLuxe seating surfaces, developed to reduce environmental impact. Genuine leather is also available, as is semi-aniline leather for an even more refined look and feel. Our test model boasted black NuLuxe seating, which is all luxury and as comfortable as you can imagine. Interiors are available in Black, Light Gray and Parchment. Trim colors and materials include Piano Black, Espresso Bird’s-eye Maple and Bamboo.

The new ES features the next-generation Lexus Enform system. Lexus Enform provides seamless connectivity with Bing search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp and Facebook Places through compatible smart phones. Apps are updated through over-the-air downloads, so new apps and content can be added as they become available. One-year trial subscriptions to Lexus Enform with Safety Connect and the Application Suite are included. The standard Lexus Premium Sound System features eight speakers with Automatic Sound Levelizer, CD player, USB/iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and a SiriusXM receiver. The available Display Audio package adds a seven-inch screen, a backup camera, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, Bluetooth audio, phone transfer and a vehicle information display. The optional HDD Navigation System includes voice command and an integrated backup camera.

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PERFORMANCE

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan appears to combine the best of both luxury and sport, with performance that excites with smoothness of a throwback luxury mobile. The ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with Dual VVT-i. The six-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) provides enhanced performance, fuel efficiency and smooth shifts. Low friction materials further improve efficiency. Suspension and steering changes and a stiffer body deliver more precise handling. Opposite-wound coil springs on the front suspension enhance straight-line stability. Revised rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics enhance ride comfort. A reduction in the steering gear ratio delivers a more responsive and direct steering feel. Increased body rigidity is achieved through lightweight, high tensile strength steel, added bracing and additional spot welds.

Despite its larger size, roomier interior and additional luxury appointments, the weight of the new ES is reduced by almost 90 pounds. The 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan is equipped with standard 215/55R17 low rolling resistance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, and for the first time, available 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels. Fuel economy was impressive coming in at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg highway driving, and when we took the Lexus for a long ride up east, the great highway fuel economy was noticeable.

OVERVIEW

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 is responsible for carrying out the Newest Expression of Lexus Signature Design, and we must say, the 350 is doing a fine job of that! With all of the styling, luxury, performance and roominess, one would be surprised to learn that the sticker price of our loaded test model came in at a reasonable $43,605. A great car at a fair price means that Lexus dealers will be scrambling to get these luxury rides from the factory!

  

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