Details of 2013 Lexus ES 350, ES 300h released
With the new spindle grill, the two models get the latest refinements and quality enhancements in the Lexus entry-level offering. The new Lexus Hybrid Drive is sure to impress those still concerned by the fickle nature of gasoline prices.
“Since its introduction in 1989, the ES has been the benchmark luxury sedan for quality, reliability, ride comfort and value,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The new ES 350 and the first ever ES hybrid raise the bar once again.”
Engine, Transmission, Drivetrain and Performance
This marks the first time, the Lexus ES with Lexus Hybrid Drive will be available. Driven by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine, the ES 300h is anticipating EPA economy ratings approximating 40-mpg city and 39-mpg highway in a remarkably flat and efficient fuel economy for all normal driving modes. It develops 200 total system horsepower with the addition of the electric motor.
The low friction engine utilizes a high compression ratio (12.5:1) along with an advanced power management system to increase overall efficiency. Featuring an electric water pump and power steering system plus an integrated hybrid electric motor/generator, this engine uses no accessory belts, thereby improving fuel economy and enhancing already remarkable reliability.
The ES 350 is driven to excellence by a 3.5-liter V6 with Dual VVT-i engine delivering 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm along with 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. The sequential six-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission with intelligence provides pristine performance and seamless shifting. Additional low friction materials add to the car’s efficiency in achieving EPA-fuel economy estimates of 21-mpg city, 31-mpg highway.
Both models come with a drive mode selector including Normal for everyday driving, Eco for optimized fuel economy and Sport for increased throttle and steering responsiveness. On the ES 300h, the instrument panel replaces the hybrid power monitor with a tachometer – it also has an EV mode allowing short drives at low speed on all-electric power, like most Lexus/Toyota hybrids.
Chassis, Body, Suspension, Tires and Brakes
Changes to the suspension, along with a stiffer body and a surprising steering ratio add precision handling to the entry-level luxury of the 2013 Lexus ES.
In front, the suspension deploys opposite-spiral coil springs that enhance straight-line stability. The rear-end suspension geometry has been improved with shock absorber damping aspects to enhance comfort. The steering gear ratio was reduced from 16.1:1 to 14.8:1 to provide a more responsive and direct feel to its handling. High tensile strength lightweight steel increases body rigidity along with added bracing and spot welds. Airflow has been smoothed beneath the vehicle, improving stability and aerodynamics to further improve fuel economy,
Both ES models will come with standard 215/55R17 low resistance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. The ES 350, however, will offer optional high-gloss 17-inch wheels and also 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels with corresponding tires.
Safety and Security
The latest in high-tech safety features are available on the ES models including a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) to help detect visually hidden vehicles, alerting a driver to rear cross traffic when emerging from a parking spot. An available Lane Departure Alert comes with automatic high beam dimming and the Lexus Pre-Collision System that uses wave radar to detect certain obstructions ahead and prepare for a possible collision.
A complete 10 airbag system comes standard, including front seat passenger knee, front and seat-mounted airbags, as well as rear seat-mounted side plus front and rear side-curtain bags. The front seats are designed to limit excessive head movement in some rear-end collisions, thereby lessening the incidence and decreasing the severity of whiplash-type injuries.
Lexus Safety Connect, now comes with an improved Roadside Assistance package, Emergency Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Location services, as well as Automatic Collision Notification. It is offered on all new Lexus vehicles with a one-year trial subscription.
Luxury, Comfort and Convenience
The new ES models’ environmental impact is reduced by use of NuLuxe seating surfaces, though genuine leather is available, as is semi-aniline leather for a refined look and feel. Interiors come in Black, Light Gray, and Parchment, while. trim colors and materials include Piano Black, Espresso and Bird’s-eye Maple, along with Bamboo in the ES 300h.
An optional HDD Navigation System includes voice command, rearview camera, eight-inch screen as well as the well-documented Lexus Enform system and App Suite, featuring the availability via smartphone of Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp and Facebook Places. Apps are updated through cloud-based downloads, so new apps and content can be added as they become available. (A one-year subscription to Lexus Enform with App Suite is included with the nav package.)