By on April 4, 2012



The steamy erotica novel “50 Shades of Grey” is apparently inciting the passions of housewives across Manhattan. Good to know that Lexus has something for the good people of Boca Raton, Florida, in the form of the new Lexus ES.

The ES350, with its 6-speed automatic gearbox and 3.5L V6 is a restyled, lighter version of the usual ES. A car that gets dumped on by those whose ego outweighs their real-world experience. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it achieves its goals competently.

The big news this year is a new ES Hybrid, dubbed the ES300h. Using the 2.5L 4-cylinder and Hybrid Synergy Drive from the Camry Hybrid, the ES300H will supposedly hit 40 mpg combined – let’s see how the ES and the upcoming Lincoln MKZ Hybrid square off against one another. New Lexus family styling both inside and out means a GS-esque look for the exterior, and the slightly infuriating Lexus Remote Touch controller that will be a challenge for less tech-oriented members of the AARP – and believe me, there are many who appreciated the ES350 precisely because it didn’t have an iDrive or MMI stalk.


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31 Comments on “2013 Lexus ES: 50 Shades Of Beige...”

  • avatar

    This car is not about “the driving experience” anymore than 85% of BMW’s or MB’s sales are about “the driving experience” – the object is a reasonably luxurious car which serves as a perfect appliance. My neighbor, who drove Mercedes for years because of the label is now driving an ES330 which he loves; there’s little doubt that Lexus will sell these almost like Camries for those sufficiently discerning to want their Camry experience up market.

  • avatar

    “A car that gets dumped on by those whose ego outweighs their real-world experience.” Well my wife has one and I like the exterior and interior of the current one. I love the stereo and ULITMATE package all glass roof. I love the quicker than it looks acceleration. I just hate the way it steers, rides, brakes and squats, and turns. My wife doesnt mind these things cause she likes appliances. I do not.
    ” and the slightly infuriating Lexus Remote Touch controller that will be a challenge for less tech-oriented members of the AARP – and believe me, there are many who appreciated the ES350 precisely because it didn’t have an iDrive or MMI stalk.” This is very true. The ES has the best touch screen NAV in the business. I have wised my CX9 had the same NAV since they are made by the same folk but Mazda must have cheeped out.

  • avatar

    “I before E except after C” doesn’t apply to beige. ;-)

  • avatar

    I’m surprised how much I like the looks of it.

  • avatar

    I’m I wacky do say that it kinda looks a lot like a Hyndui Genesis or Equus or whatnot?

    I guess its better styled than the last version. Still a good car and still will sell plenty…although competition now comes from Buick, Lincoln, Acura (I think) and maybe the Azera?

  • avatar

    Entry luxury done right.

  • avatar

    40 MPG combined??? I thought TTAC ran a story about Lexus bragging how the new ES hybrid would get high 40’s highway and over 50 MPG in the city.

    …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…

  • avatar

    Lexmouse is a thousand light-years ahead of alternatives such as iDrive. Just try to use one once or twice. It’s sublime.

    It has some disadvantages for sure. For example, one must use an armrest when driving it, therefore the car must provide that armrest, which places constraints on the interior design. Even when you have the armrest, wife may be hogging it. Or, you may be an amputee. So, different strokes for different folks for sure. But what’s slightly infuriating for real is pigheadedness of journos who cannot recognize a great UI when it smacks them in the face.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 here. I’m not a fan of the variety of interfaces as all of them take away from the primary job of driving, but using the Lexmouse in a parked GS350 I found it far superior to even the latest version of i-Drive. Haven’t used COMAND, but haven’t heard much good about it.

  • avatar

    I’ll make my prediction now that if the hybrid is similarly priced to the V6, then I expect the ES300h will outsell the ES350. Then perhaps Lexus will realize the mistake of introducing the HS250h. It will be interesting to see their pricing strategy.

    Also, being the owner of an 02 ES300, I find that car to be way too sporty, too hard sprung, and has too much feedback through the steering wheel. It’s no LS430. I’m aware I’m in the minority though.

  • avatar

    Lexus, why did you make the ES look like a GS inside and out (from the front, at least) except with FWD underpinnings? The ES has always been an an anti-GS, for those who care solely about their vehicle being the luxury version of an appliance, with no regard to its sporting pretentions, motive force, or driven wheels.

    And I’ll reserve judgement until I sit in one, but from these photos it looks like Lexus has gone the way of the Taurus with the massive center console/armreset that makes a full-size vehicle feel like a mid-sizer.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    “let’s see how the ES and the upcoming Lincoln MKZ Hybrid square off against one another”

    The MKZ is out for one day and it’s already being mentioned with the big boys.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, sure. Both are based on competent midsize sedans, both have sold reasonably well if my New England observations are anything to go by, and both have been newly redesigned. The battle should now be even more interesting given that the MKZ(ephyr) was previously eating the (fairly small) lunch of the company most associated with mass-market hybrids, but now the class-standard ES offers a genuine competitor to that model as well as the V6.

      • 0 avatar
        M. Ellis

        They need to rename the MKZ the Zephyr. I cannot remember the differences between all the Lincoln models, nor all the Lexus models, etc. BMW, yes, and the same for Mercedes, but every other luxury brand is a jumble.

        This will not happen, of course, but it would be something that would actually separate Lincoln from the pack: actual names for its premium cars.

  • avatar

    The outrage over the ES not being an LF-A is always hilarious. Internet loudmouths who never buy the cars they demand companies build looking to force their preferences on everyone else makes me laugh.

    ES is a great car for folks who don’t care about clipping apexes or trail braking. Why it bears the brunt of “criticisms” that could be levied onto any luxury car is beyond me.

    This car looks great and I’m sure it will drive smooth and relaxing too.

    • 0 avatar

      So true!!! About time more people said it.

    • 0 avatar

      I created a login just so I can respond to your comment.

      I thought TTAC was going to be different from all the other sites that judge a car based on 0-60 and quarter mile times. But I was wrong.

      Its funny when you read articles like this, you would that everybody drives a 3 series. I am sure more than 99.9% of the “online car enthusiasts” have never tracked their car, and never tested their car’s 0-60 time. I really want to know what they all drive. Every car enthusiasts site should require their registered members to disclose their (and their spouse’s) daily drive.

      People hate something just because its popular to hate, there is no rational in that.

      Disclosure: I dont own a Lexus, never did. Saab has been my vehicle of choice.

      • 0 avatar

        I actually do have a BMW (335) and have tracked my car. Having said this, I think you’re on the money and that the wider issue of the car as a specific tool is infrequently discussed in user forums. The Lexus noted will provide lots of people with a luxurious, safe and highly satisfying ride even if it is NOT a 3-series. I’ve owned my 335 now for five years and certainly the turbocharged engine is enormously enjoyable, the handling is to my taste and the satisfying shifts of the manual transmission are exactly what I am looking for. I also realize I occupy a tiny part of the market and understand, whenever I drive a car like the Lexus, or your Saab, that there are lots of criteria one should use in evaluating a car. 0-60 times and skidpad numbers are only a small part of the whole experience.

        And now that my 335 is out of warranty, I’m thinking I would trade all of those great driving experiences for the reliability of the Lexus. Maybe it’s not a great car, but certainly a notable and decent vehicle.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    I actually really like the looks of this. Sleek, without trying too hard (no ‘surface excitement’ or tack-on bling), and the interior is much more obviously not a Camry’s.

    Not my kind of car, but I’d be happy to get one as a rental for an 8-hour slog.

  • avatar

    Very elegant interior, really liking the IP. At least in the photos.

    Which makes me wonder, if Lexus interiors can be so tasteful, why are Toyota interior often so tasteless?

  • avatar

    ES looks better than GS. I dig it.

  • avatar

    The looks are very aggressive considering this car’s role in the Lexus lineup, it’s always been an even more refined and quiet Camry of sorts but the exterior definitely looks way more aggressive than before. Hope that the suspension has been tuned up a little so it’s not writing checks it can’t cash.
    Really curious as to how they’re differentiating the new ES and Avalon since supposedly they’re gonna share a platform now.

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve always shared a platform. Avalon has been based on the Camry platform since it was intrdouced.

      • 0 avatar

        @tekdemon: I understand your point. 84Cressida is marginally correct. The new ES is on an extended platform, which it now shares with the Avalon and that is based on the Camry’s. Will it change the audience for either car? The Avalon’s interior room alone made a better case for itself when tried against the current ES, and an even better case than the current ES made against a loaded Camry. I know of a few folks who considered shelling out the bucks for the ES, but settled on the Avalon because of its size and perception as a “big car”. We shall see.

  • avatar

    Wow it looks even duller, plainer and more slab sided than the current one which I didn’t think was even possible. The front is totally the opposite and looks like something out of a sci-fi flick. The interior looks interesting save for the dreary black and gray color choices. Lexus along with other companies seriously need to start offering some different interior color choices other than the war depression generation black and gray look that are really starting to bore consumers to death these days. Time for something different guys.

  • avatar

    Revisiting the thread about the Lincoln MKZ from the other day, one look at this car tells you why the MKZ has a good shot at being a success.

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