The rivalry between the Buick Lacrosse and the Lexus ES350 may never become the stuff of automotive legend, but for a certain subset of consumers – wealthy men aged 65+ living part time in South Florida – the two vehicles are carefully cross-shopped to determine which car has the plushest ride, quietest cabin and parcel shelf best suited for stacking Kleenex boxes and adjustable-back baseball caps.
Now, the great conjecture machine known as the blogosphere (in this case, GM Authority) is reporting that the new Lexus ES, due out as a 2013 model, will make its
Chinese domestic rival look “laughable. That according to one “well-connected auto industry executive”. Based on what we’ve seen from the Toyota product stable, the anonymous gentleman may be on to something.
According to the article, the new ES will grow in size (it’s roughly half a foot shorter than the Buick) and become the quietest car Lexus has ever made. Given that most ES owners wear some kind of digital watch, you won’t even be able to hear anything tick, a la the Rolls-Royce cars of old. The “killer app” here appears to be the inclusion of a hybrid system. The Camry Hybrid is listed by the EPA as returning 40/38 mpg city/highway, but according to the report, the new ES will get “…high 40s on the highway and even better in the city…” Compare that to the Lacrosse eAssist, which gets 25/36 mpg.
With TTAC’s staffers (myself included) having had seat time in the new Camry and the new Lexus GS, we may be able to draw some conclusions regarding the next ES. Jack was suitably impressed with the performance chops of the new GS, but noted that it was liable to lose out in the all important status race. Fortunately for Lexus, the ES customer seems to be cut from a more practical cloth – after all, they are cross shopping against a Buick.