2013 Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Review and Road Test

The ES has been Lexus’ best-selling sedan for 15 years yet the front-driver started life as something of a side-show. In 1989 the ES was a thinly veiled Camry, supposedly rushed to market because Lexus dealers couldn’t envision launching a brand with one vehicle (the LS 400) and were unwilling to wait for the SC and GS. This explanation makes sense to me and explains why the ES was the only FWD car in a brand created to compete with the Germans. Of course, this odd fit within a full-range RWD luxury brand is exactly why the ES sells. Wonder why Acura’s wares never had the sales success of the ES? That’s why.

The first ES was a Camry with an LS 400 aping nose job. Since then the ES and the Camry have been developed together on a common platform, but with every passing redesign the marriage has become more rocky with the two sharing less and less with one another. Like any couple “trying a separation,” divorce was inevitable. For 2014 the papers have been served and the ES is now shacking up with the Camry’s big sister, the 2014 Toyota Avalon. Oh the tongues will wag.

The platform swap means the ES has grown an inch in length, an inch in height and the wheelbase has stretched nearly two inches over the 2012 ES, making it two inches longer than the new GS. LS owners shouldn’t fear, the flagship is still the biggest Japanese luxury vehicle on the market. For 2013 Lexus has ditched the former ES’s suppository side profile for a blunter nose, taller greenhouse, longer hood ans shorter trunk. The new proportions make the ES look like one of the family rather than an accident that happened later. It also makes the new Lexus spindle grill look particularly good in my mind, not something I was able to say about the GS or some of the other mugs wearing the new grin.

For 2013 Lexus is now offering the same hybrid system used in the Toyota Camry hybrid in their best selling sedan. This is likely to become Lexus’ most popular hybrid as Lexus is expecting it to account for some 40% of ES sales. Watch with us as Alex L. Dykes walks around the ES, talks infotainment, interior, exterior, hops in the trunk for our exclusive trunk comfort index and takes it for a spin.

Muisic by Kevin MacLeod
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