When you think of Lexus, what do you think? If you are like most people, you would think about no-holds barred luxury, and zero corners cut. Well, with the 2013 Lexus ES350, most of that is still true. However, there were some corners that were cut. It's up to you to decide if this would be the car to earn a spot in your driveway.
At first glance, you will easily notice that it looks like no other ES before it, and most likely no other ES ever. On the front, you have the now Lexus family face, the spindle grille. For most people, it is a love it or hate it feature. Or, if you are like some people, it may grow on you after time. The headlights are also a key design feature on the front, with LED running lights, ala Audi.
Moving on to the sides of the vehicle, the most noticeable feature of the car is how bland the sides are. There is one character line that runs down the side, but you have to be looking for it to see it. Wheels also play a huge part, and the wheels on this tester filled the space out well, without looking cartoonish, like certain other automakers' larger wheels do.
Onward to the rear of the silver ghost. Lexus also gave the tailights on the new ES a healthy update, with LED lamps as optional. The rear of the car is somewhat bland, however, if you are buying a luxury car, chances are that you are more concerned about the inside of the car than on the outside. With that being said, let's take a look at the inside of this car.
When you first get a look at the interior of the ES350, you may notice a few things, from the large screen in the dash, to the somewhat bland interior design theme. Let us start with the seats. When you first sit in the car, you will notice that the seats are rather comfortable, and provide ample support. However, after you spend any long amount of time in it, they do start to become a little uncomfortable. With that being said, maybe just a touch more padding could be added, and everybody would be happy. Moving to the steering wheel, you might happen to notice that it is standard Lexus fare, with cheap feeling silver-painted plastic adding to the feel that you bought a slightly more expensive Camry XLE.
Going up to the gauges, you will notice that there is a screen in the middle, flanked by the tach, and the speedometer. This screen houses some basic information, like mileage, and some more important info, like the LDA (Land Departure Assist) screen, which will blink to show you which side of the vehicle is out of the intended lane.
Moving to the right, towards the passenger, is the giant screen on the dash. This screen contains all of the other information about the vehicle, like navi info, and your entertainment options. The screen is easy to read, and doesn't appear to have any issue with glare, as it is set deep into the dash. However, a small complaint is with the mouse-like control that you use to get around the menus. It is overly sensitive at times, and at other times, requires a firm nudge to get to the other side of the screen, as they can be split into 2 at certain times. There is deep storage in the armrest, which could easily swallow some smaller objects. Overall, the interior isn't a bad place to spend time, but for the money you are paying for this car, there should be better materials used.
Driving a Lexus isn't like driving any other car. Most Lexus cars tend to float/soak up the bumps. With the 2013 ES, this is mostly true. It soaks up bumps well, but leaves you maybe feeling a little rattled, and wondering if it was worth paying more than a similarly equipped Camry. Power is plentiful, with the 3.5 liter V6 producing 276 horsepower. That gives you excellent power for around town, and a healthy amount for highway crusing. You won't win a lot of stoplight races, but you will win the race to avoid the gas pump. With EPA numbers at 21 city/31 highway, you will have money leftover for the daily stop at Starbucks. Even with mileage numbers like that, acceleration is still rather grin inducing, with sound of the engine providing most of that grin.
Handling is an up for this car, until you go around the most sharp curves in the area. At speeds, the car will tend to push, and not want to continue to turn, rather it will want to keep going straight. With snow on the ground, it handles it with ease, thanks to the Michelin Primacy tires on all 4 corners. Brakes also feel surprisingly well after several hard stops, with no real fade being noticed.
Safety is something that Lexus takes seriously, like any automaker should. With things like 8 airbags being standard, you know this is true. The standard safety feature list also includes; VSC, ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop technology, and Safety Connect. The optional safety feature list is also just as impressive, with things like the previously mentioned LDA, Blind spot monitor with cross traffic alert, and Intuitive Parking Assist. If there was one thing that Lexus cut back on, it certainly wasn't the technology that they put into the car.
Overall, the 2013 Lexus ES350 is a decently nice car. However, with some interior materials feeling cheap and cheesy, it might make you wonderwhat else they cheaped out on that you can't see. With performance to put a small smile on your face, you might feel a little bit better about paying for the car that has long been called a warmed over, and more expensive Toyota Camry. Also, the Lexus does have some tech features like LDA, that you won't find on the Camry, or few other competitors in it's class.
With those points being said, what say you, the faithful leader? It really is up to you to decide if the car is worth the money, and if it earns a spot in your garage. At the very least, it is a car that deserves a test drive. Lexus does have one thing over any other maker, and that is the dealer experience. Lexus is second to none when it comes to customer satisfaction at the dealer. That is just further food for thought.
If you have any questions or comments about this review, or anything auto related, feel free to leave them at the bottom of the page, or you can e-mail me at email@example.com. Also, you can find me on facebook: James Granlund, or on twitter: @JamesGranlund. Remember Cleveland, Drive Safe!