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Redesigned 2013 Lexus ES gets less bland, new hybrid

Consumer Reports News: June 01, 2012 05:08 PM

Lexus has released more details about the upcoming redesign of its bread-and-butter ES sedan. For the first time, the ES will be available with a four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain in the ES300h—borrowed from platform-mate Toyota Camry. The ES350 will employ the Camry's 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6.

The hybrid will deliver an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city and 39 highway, for a combined 39 mpg overall. (We got 38 mpg overall with our Camry Hybrid.) The ES 350 is rated at 21/31/24. Both ES versions will have a choice of Sport, Normal, and Eco driving modes. The hybrid also has an "EV" mode that allows driving short distances at low speeds (and with light accelerator openings) on electricity, without starting the gas engine. The ES hybrid effectively replaces the unpopular HS 250h, which is being phased out.

2013-Lexus-ES-350-pr-dash.jpgWhile known to be comfortable, quiet, and reliable, in every generation the ES has been criticized as bland and boring drive. To spice it up, Lexus made the steering quicker and revised suspension settings with the 2013 redesign. We look forward to testing this claim.

The "Lexus Enform system with app suite" is optional and includes the same apps as Toyota's Entune: Bing search, iHeartRadio,, OpenTable, Pandora internet radio, Yelp, and Facebook Places.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear traffic alert are also available to help drivers see other cars in their blind spots or approaching from the side in parking lots. Lane-departure warning is bundled with automatic high-beam dimming. A pre-collision system is also available, along with Lexus Safety Connect, which will automatically summon help after an accident.

The new ES goes on sale in mid-August.

Eric Evarts

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