CarCorner Review: 2013 Lexus ES350 & ES300h

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By Cathy Droz and Bill Zervakos –

The new ES models have some changes worth noting both inside and out. On the outside, the new spindle grille, which will be standard on all Lexus models, stands out. You will notice the grilles are edged by wide headlamps, a dramatic new look that truly compliments the spindle shape.

Now for the rear: the ES350 accentuates dual exhausts, which will totally separate and distinguish itself from the 300h. There is a spoiler on the hybrid but not the ES350, which will help in separating them as well. I figure the hybrid needs every bit of aerodynamic configuration to get the drag ratio it needs. It will also give you the gas mileage, which is estimated at 40 miles-per-gallon. There is a metal hydride battery pack between the rear seats and trunk. Unlike the gasoline driven ES350, the hybrid has the electric mode, which operates for short distances. I can’t help but think that Lexus is the most advanced or at least the most daring and forward thinking with luxury hybrids. The company that offered the Toyota Prius to the world just keeps adding an “h” to its models and improving technology.

The ES350 sedan and the ES300h were my chariots for four hours as I took them through their paces both on the local streets and busy freeways of Dallas. I was impressed with the longer wheelbase as it added four inches of leg room in the second row of seats for both ES models. Not that I needed it at 5’2”, but many of the male journalists are over six feet. Oh! This was cool, the front seats have larger side bolsters and I could actually feel the difference; much like I was getting a hug or soccer save when turning the corner. The chilled seats? Fantastic! On top of all of this, drivers can program the key fobs to remember seat and mirror position as well as climate control.

Lexus uses a mouse control unit for navigation and other functions. There is an optional Lexus Enform so that the driver can pair his smart phone with the vehicles to use apps like Bing, Open Table, Movie Tickets.com, Pandora and Yelp. (So much fun to play with). Of course Satellite radio and my favorite, a larger navigation screen, which I find to be just the right size for my eyes at my young age.

The second row of seats don’t fold flat, but a pass-through on the ES350 gives enough cargo space for sports equipment and trips to Home Depot. The 350 can fit the things I need daily and even on the weekends with carting the grandkids things. The ES300h doesn’t have as much room, but you save so much money on gas, you can have your luggage or sports paraphernalia shipped ahead.

I enjoyed all of the sights as we traveled through Dallas testing the ES vehicles. Here are some of the places we passed while enjoying the luxury ride of Lexus. Turtle Creek, Highland Park, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Trinity River, Pioneer Plaza, Dallas City Hall, School Book Depository where Kennedy was assassinated, Dallas Museum of Art and Baylor Hospital – to name a few. Just like the new TV series “Dallas,” the Lexus ES series just gets better and better with time.

For more on the ES300h and ES350 go to www.lexus.com.

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