2013 Lexus ES Review
Test drivers say the redesigned 2013 Lexus ES is more spacious and comfortable than ever, though some dislike its numb steering and quirky tech features.
The Lexus ES 350 is powered by a V6 engine, which most test drivers appreciate for its smooth, refined power delivery. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, and for the most part, automotive critics agree that it’s well matched to the ES 350’s drivetrain. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 21/31 mpg city/highway, which is an improvement over the 2012 model’s estimates. Additionally, the ES 350 achieves its estimates without premium fuel, which helps keep overall fuel costs lower than cars like the Acura TL. Few auto writers consider the redesigned ES 350 fun to drive, and they dislike the ES 350’s vague steering, but most note that the 2013 ES 350 still offers the comfortable ride they’ve come to expect from Lexus. Additionally, the ES 350 has one of the best reliability ratings in the class.
Though the 2012 Lexus ES shared much of its DNA with the Toyota Camry, the redesigned ES 350 is built on the same platform as the new Toyota Avalon. As a result, reviewers note that the 2013 Lexus ES 350 has more passenger space than ever before – particularly in the back seat. The new cabin also features an edgier design that takes many styling cues from the Lexus GS, and auto writers say that the ES 350’s build quality is top-notch. However, some write that features like leather and Bluetooth, which were standard on the 2012 ES, are now optional. Additionally, few reviewers like the ES 350’s available infotainment and navigation systems, saying that the controller is difficult to use, and that some functions are inaccessible when the ES is in motion.
- "Nope, the new ES doesn't wow us. In fact, in many respects it's downright disappointing, an uninspired effort, beneath what Lexus is clearly capable of." -- Motor Trend
- "While the styling is fresh and new, the powertrain and interior noise are on par with Lexus' ES mission statement." -- Road and Track
- "A soft suspension, specially insulated windows and plush quarters make the Lexus ES a car in which you can cruise long distances without fatigue." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Lexus needs to take a page from Audi: Ax the ventilated seats and faux-leather dashboards and invest in consistent quality instead." -- Cars.com
- "For us, though, the more aggressive styling and well-appointed interior just aren't enough to change our opinion of this, our least-favorite Lexus. It's a step forward from the outgoing car, but those sporty characteristics are only skin-deep." -- Autoblog
Other Cars to Consider
The Acura TL’s back seat and trunk space fall short of the ES 350’s, but reviewers say the TL’s balanced handling and powerful V6 should please shoppers who want a car that’s more fun to drive. Additionally, the TL comes with standard features like leather seats, Bluetooth and heated front seats, which are optional on the ES 350.
The Buick Regal can’t match the ES 350’s interior space either, but the Regal’s low price, composed road manners and numerous standard features make it a smart buy among upscale midsize cars. While Regal Turbo and GS models offer solid performance, the base Regal eAssist delivers some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class.
Details: 2013 Lexus ES
The 2013 Lexus ES 350 seats five and comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and front-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Only one trim is offered, though a number of option packages are available.