Hard to believe that twenty years ago this month Barry Bonds signed baseball’s highest single year contract ($4.7 million dollars) and Lexus introduced to the luxury car buying public the ES series of Lexus vehicles.
At first the joke was that the 2013 Lexus ES 350 was just a Camry with some extra fancy stuff on it, but the marketing folks at Lexus were planning for the future Lexus owners, by introducing them to the top-of-the line Toyota luxury car.
The new ES shares some of the new styling from the GS, including the spindle grille and LED tail lamps. You will see a few details unveil on the new luxury sedan such as it is slightly longer and wider than the model it replaces. The car’s 17-inch aluminum wheels have been pushed to the corners which helps high-speed stability.
This ES350 is powerful with a 268-horseposer V-6 engine and six speed automatic transmission. There is a dial on the center console that will allow the driver to switch between eco, normal and sport driving modes. The eco mode helps save on gas and the sport mode seemed more like driving on a race track. I liked the eco mode and my husband liked the sport with quicker steering, of course.
Lexus has their own name for their modern technology; it’s called Enform. Enform allows the driver to access apps such a Pandora, Bing, Open table and Movie Tickets using a smart phone and the car’s head unit. The new available technology for safety includes blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert and lane departure assist with intelligent high-beam headlights. Between smart phones and intelligent verbiage I better do brain exercises to keep up with this stuff. I used open table to make reservations downtown before the Suns vs. Lakers game and it was so easy.
The ES sits up to five adults comfortably. The rear legroom is roomer than before so your long-legged teens and friends fit just fine. Lexus with its keyless entry allows the driver to open the car and start the ignition without removing the key fob from purse or pocket. The mouse device on the center console controls many of the functions. If you use a mouse at your computer, this will be second nature to you. I liked the fact the screen was shielded from the bright sun of Phoenix, yet easy to focus.
The trunk was great for golf bags, luggage, sports equipment and a nice shopping spree. There are plenty of airbags for your safety and it includes factory roadside assistance and lodging if the breakdown occurs more than 100 miles from home. Now that’s a nice feature, do you think they set you up at a Ritz?
Prices start at $36,100 the one I tested was $43,605. Fuel economy is 21/31 mpg city/highway.
I have to admit, Lexus doesn’t change their look that much from year to year, but the new spindle grille is a nice exterior transformation and it’s not your daughter’s Camry.
For more reviews go to www.twofortheroadusa.com