For the 2013 model year, the Lexus ES350 is in its seventh-generation and is slightly larger outside and roomier inside. The 2013 Lexus ES offers more features and for the first time, there is a hybrid version. This week we’ll be testing the standard model with the gas V6 engine. While the 2013 ES350 is certainly been updated both inside and out, it still keeps plenty of the components that have made it a popular car for the Lexus brand. It’s been updated, but not to the point of being a disadvantage in terms of new bugs that need to work out.
The biggest update can be seen on the inside of the cabin. This new generation ES350 features more room in the back seat where legroom has increased by four inches making it much easier for tall adults to ride comfortably in the back. The interior also features real leather on most models and the wood trim is real Bird’s Eye dark maple. And the door panels are hand-stitched which definitely creates a more luxurious feel to the luxury sedan.
ES350 standard features
Standard features include NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, piano-black cabin trim, moonroof, power front seats, smart key/pushbutton start, power windows and locks, power heated mirrors, AM/FM/CD/MP3/iPod/USB audio, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels. A panoramic sunroof and 18-inch wheels are available for ES350.
Extra luxury packages
This 2013 ES350 tester came with the available Ultra Luxury package ($2,935) that included leather seats, front passenger seat memory, panorama sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, ambient cabin lighting, power rear door sunshades and tilt and telescoping steering wheel. A heated steering wheel, backup camera, premium 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and navigation are also available on the ES350. In winter driving here in Colorado, the winter package is a must. Just turn on the heated steering wheel and the driver’s hands are warm in an instant.
Still quiet and comfortable
The Lexus ES has always been known for comfort and luxury on the inside. It remains a quiet haven for the driver and passengers to escape the noisy outside world. This new generation ES350 continues in that Lexus tradition. In the week of driving the ES350, most of it was spent commuting from the foothills west of Denver, to the city. The ride was comfortable and the quiet cabin keeps things stress free even in traffic. The 2013 Lexus ES is easy to drive and eliminates many of the negatives from driving. The new ES350 wouldn’t be considered a true drivers car, but it’s much more enjoyable to drive than before.
The suspension and steering have been updated
The Lexus ES350 is motivated by a smooth 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic. The combination has worked well for Lexus and they keep the same drivetrain without making any changes for 2013. It’s not a sports sedan in power, but it works well for the luxury sedan. It does provide near best-in-class fuel economy with an EPA-rated 21/31 mpg city/highway.
The biggest difference can be felt in the suspension and steering. Both have been revised to make the 2013 Lexus ES a better performer in the corners and offer a sportier drive. The goal for Lexus has been met, but don’t expect sport sedan performance. The ES350 is still far more luxury sedan than driver’s car. But for those looking for pure luxury with some sport, it’s a good balance. There isn’t a sport model offered and the sole performance upgrade 18-inch wheels with one-size wider tires. The 2013 ES350 features front-drive, which automatically takes it out of the sport category. The rear-wheel-drive GS is the better choice for sporty handling.
The 2013 Lexus ES is quiet, comfortable, and luxurious. It offers a fair suite of standard features and many options are available. It delivers a reassuring ride, benign handling, decent to excellent fuel economy and an enviable reputation for reliability. The ES insulates its occupants from the world outside and will transport four adults comfortably, calmly and reliably to your destination with minimal distractions from the outside world. It is roomy, safe, easy to drive and well finished in attractive materials. It makes a compelling argument for anyone who needs a four or five-passenger luxury sedan.