2013 Lexus ES350
By Nauman Farooq
If you are in the market for a car that has all the luxuries and comfort of a full-size sedan, but at about half the price (and a bit smaller in size), then the new Lexus ES350 will be the car for you.
This new-for-2013 model has all the features you could possibly wish for. Features like exquisite leather seats, which in the front are not only heated, ventilated too, a feature not often seen in a car of this class. Then you have power operated everything, even the steering column which tilts and telescopes (optional). As an option you can get the navigation system, which then comes with a reversing camera (which is actually part of the Premium Package). Then you also get a panoramic sunroof (on the top spec Technology Package model), to enjoy what’s left of our sunshine at this time of the year.
The good news doesn’t end there. This car has a smooth-as-silk six-speed automatic gearbox, which sends the power to the front wheels. The power is also quite impressive. The car is fitted with a new 3.5-liter, V6 engine which produces 268 hp, which is quite enough actually. So make no mistake, this car can carry its weight and yours along quite easily.
So, all looks good then, you should rush out and buy one, if you have about $50,000 to spend on a car. But that is not the end of the story.
You see, while this car is very impressive with its features, the joy of driving is missing. This car in my view is a bit too soft. There is no feeling of being connected to the road. Sure that does mean you feel isolated from all the harshness of the world, but for me, this is a bit too isolated.
Yes, while some of my older friends would love how quiet it is on the highway (at 115 km/h if you turn the stereo and climate control off, you hear nothing but some faint sound of the wind, you don’t even hear the engine), me, I’d rather prefer getting a sensation that I am moving. This car made me feel as if my entire body was under an anesthetic, but that might exactly be what some people are looking for.
I don’t like the handling either. The soft nature of the car spoils the fun here too. This car rolls through corners, and on every off ramp, I had to make far too many steering corrections to keep it on my intended line. So if you want a car to take through some back roads just for the fun of it, this one won’t do.
So, the car is not fun to drive, but that is OK, not everyone wants a fun-to-drive car. Lexus does know its customer base well and has thus engineered a car to keep its existing clientele, but perhaps it won’t win over many new ones with this new 6th generation ES-model.
To please their current customers, it has features like the keyless entry and ignition, which means the key can stay in your pocket, you walk up to the car and it unlocks, step inside, foot on the brake, press the ‘Engine Start’ button and it fires up. Surely these kind of features will appeal to those who like being pampered.
They will also love its new interior, which does have a much classier look than the model it replaces. It will also appeal to those who like buying hybrids, because for the first time, the ES-model will be offered as a hybrid: the ES300h.
If all this sounds good to you, you can go to your local Lexus dealer now and get your hands on the new ES. Prices for the ES350 start at $39,500; while pricing for the hybrid ES300h starts at $43,900.
Personally, I’d rather spend this sort of money on the IS-series from Lexus, which offers similar luxuries with some driving appeal.
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