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2013 Lexus ES

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2013 Lexus ES Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.5

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 marks the sixth generation for the luxury automaker's mid-size sedan, its number two best-seller behind the RX SUV. The car has been revamped outside and in, and is available for the first time as a hybrid – the ES 300h. The sedan's base engine is a V6 that carries over from the previous generation yet is still potent enough to effortlessly move this 5-passenger, front-wheel-drive car. The new design gives the 2013 Lexus ES a more aggressive exterior, but its ride still heavily favors comfort rather than the sporting nature of a BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS or Acura TL. Strong reliability and above-average predicted resale value bolster the ES' good reputation.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a mid-size sedan that's quiet, comfortable and filled with amenities, the Lexus ES is among the top in its class. The 2013 ES further benefits from the strong reliability record of its parent, Toyota, and the availability of a high-mileage hybrid model.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Want your luxury sedan to offer some thrills on twisty roads? A better choice would be the BMW 5 Series, Acura TL or Cadillac CTS, which have tighter driving dynamics than the cushy Lexus ES. Those looking for even more value should consider the Buick LaCrosse.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.5
  • 8.0
  • 9.5
  • 8.3
  • 8.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#23

out of 36

Fuel Economy

#18

out of 35

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.2 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2013 Lexus ES Low/wide front photo What's New for 2013

For its 6th-generation debut, the 2013 Lexus ES has a slightly larger design with fresh sheet metal, more interior amenities, better fuel economy, and a hybrid model named the ES 300h that uses a 4-cylinder gasoline engine and battery-powered electric motor to achieve up to 40 mpg.

Driving the ES
2013 Lexus ES Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The 2013 Lexus ES 350 drives much like its predecessors, which is to say marshmallow-soft and very quiet. If you seek a car that acts as a cocoon from the...

outside world, the 2013 ES 350 and 300h hybrid should be on your shopping list. With its 268-horsepower V6, the ES 350 has a 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds, which means it can swiftly get up to speed on freeways and has good passing power once there. That, though, is pretty much where its dynamic driving behavior ends. Even when the car is set to "sport" mode via a new rotary dial, the ES feels soft. The hybrid ES 300h has less power, but adequate acceleration, and here the "sport" setting helps much more in getting the car up to speed. Transitions between the hybrid's electric motor and gasoline engine are very smooth, except when in "eco" mode, in which the throttle response feels muted and the powertrain nervous. Both cars are exceptionally comfortable.
Favorite Features

HYBRID POWERTRAIN
The 2013 Lexus ES 300h hybrid essentially replaces the HS 250h, but the ES 300h's powertrain is much more refined. The car is rated at 40 mpg combined, and from our experience that number is realistic.

CREATURE COMFORTS
The Lexus ES has a host of options that can make it an oasis on wheels. Some of our favorites include the heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and Mark Levinson audiophile sound system that pumps out 835 watts through 15 speakers.

2013 Lexus ES Details
2013 Lexus ES Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

No Lexus is Spartan when it comes to interior amenities, and for 2013, the ES has upped the ante. The cabin's design is much improved over the prior model, which was starting to appear dated. The more contemporary design boasts clean lines and soft surfaces. All models now receive a dial above the shift knob that can set the car to "normal," "sport" or "eco" modes, and hybrid models have a button that allows the car to drive a short distance on battery power alone, similar to the Toyota Prius. The seats are comfortable for four adults thanks to a roomier back seat.

Exterior
2013 Lexus ES photo

One look at the front of the 2013 Lexus ES is all it takes to know this is a new car. It is there that you'll see the spindle grille that is defining new models in the Lexus lineup. On the sides, flared fenders and a high beltline give a slightly aggressive impression. Around back, the snubbed trunk flows smoothly from the C-pillars. The ES 350 has twin tailpipes peeking from beneath the bumper, while the ES 300h hybrid has just one that is hidden below a spoiler running under the bumper. The Lexus ES rides on low-resistance tires and 17-inch alloy wheels, with larger wheels optional.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even a base model of the 2013 Lexus ES comes well equipped with push-button start/stop, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter and smog sensor, a moonroof, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, HomeLink garage door opener, and an 8-speaker AM/FM/6-CD/satellite radio audio system with USB and iPod inputs. Seats are now trimmed in Lexus' NuLuxe material, with leather optional. On the safety front, the 2013 ES has 10 airbags, a backup monitor, and a service that offers emergency assistance at the touch of a button, and Lexus' Automatic Collision Notification in the event of an accident.

Optional Equipment

The Lexus ES can go from good to grand via a handful of packages or by checking off the boxes on individual options. Among the amenities you can add are a navigation system, heated and ventilated seats, a panorama glass roof, a power rear sunshade, and a Mark Levinson premium sound system. Drive-centric options include lane-departure warning system, radar-based cruise control, parking assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

Under the Hood
2013 Lexus ES Engine photo

Lexus ES 350 models use a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes an ample 268 horsepower and is connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Though this is the same engine and transmission as the prior model, fuel economy has improved through the use of low-friction materials. ES 300h models use a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and battery-powered electric motor that creates a total of 200 horsepower. The hybrid model uses an automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT). Both models can run on regular 87-octane gasoline.

Lexus ES 350
3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg

Lexus ES 300h
2.5-liter inline-4 + hybrid electric motor and nickel metal hydride battery module
156 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm (gasoline engine); 200 total horsepower
156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm (gasoline engine)
EPA fuel city/highway fuel economy: 40/39 mpg

Pricing Notes

The base manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for a 2013 Lexus ES 350 is $36,995, including destination charge. In a stray from the norm, that price is actually 1.7 percent lower than the outgoing model. The MSRP on a 2013 Lexus 300h Hybrid is $39,745. At these prices, the Lexus ES is comparable to the Acura TL and Cadillac CTS, higher than the Buick LaCrosse, and below the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Infiniti M. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what buyers are actually paying for the 2013 Lexus ES in your area. Down the road, resale value of the 2013 Lexus ES is expected to remain strong.

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2013 Lexus ES Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 37 Ratings for the 2013 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Toyota skimped on this ine

By on Thursday, April 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Looks - Great Gas mileage"

Cons: "Lousy Radio somewhat over priced"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Gas Mileage great at 37 average. Has lots of bells and whistles as standard more if you want to pay. Good pick up for a Hybrid - Too soon to tell on reliability. Standard radio stinks on a car this expensive. Interior is above average well thought out."

I love this car more than my last 3

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"quiet ,comfortable,powerful.....can only criticize the armrest i.e. storage space to right of driver.....placed too far back & not easy to get into"

Excellent daily commuter (premium leather, navi)

By on Sunday, March 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "New sporty design, super comfortable, smooth ride"

Cons: "A bit weak in the cornering department"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I drove SUV's for the past 20 years and was waiting for midsize hybrids to hit the market before giving up the SUV for commuting. This car is EXTREMELY comfortable for a normal size person. My MPG doubled, so I now gas up only every 2 weeks rather than weekly, and that feels GREAT! (Getting about 36 mpg real life , but I do drive a lot of steep hills) The interior gives a luxury feel, and my kids love riding in the back seat. The smoothness of the ride is wonderful if you drive many miles and prefer comfort over handling (if you get a firmer riding car you can do corners faster but will feel every bump; this is your decision, although the handling and engine response do increase if you switch the ES300h out of ECONO mode and into REGULAR or SPORT mode) I have the standard "Premium " audio system with Navigation (as opposed to Mark Levinson). The Pandora app works fine, but the XM radio or iPOD sound qualities are superior to phone streaming on 3G. I took an old iPOD I never use and loaded it up,, leaving it in the glove out of site and plugged to the USB input. The car is designed to show iPOD and phone music nicely on the navi screen. Overall, sound system is extremely clear, only lacking in bass power (although you could add that, it might use up a lot of electricity for the big extra amp), and part of the fun of this car is when it switches into full EV mode , saving you on fuel. I highly recommend including the package with backup camera and parking assist sensors. The camera is very well directed to make backing into a tight space much safer. I drove the Avalon, and the car, although similar, was not the same quality level as the Lexus version, and also is a bit longer. The Lexus has a much better quality interior. For a car that is this comfortable and luxurious under 50k including tax and license, this one is a no brainer. My rides are now too short because I enjoy them so much I just want to keep going!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

First Lexus. Excellent quality. Few design quirks.

By on Thursday, March 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Excellent quality. Good acceleration for hybrid."

Cons: "Limited storage. Quirky controller/mouse interface"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had the ES300h hybrid for about a year. Just did a 1700 mile trip in two days and averaged 37.6 mpg. Comfortable except that driver's seat bottom could use more cushion. The Navigation/audio would be easier to use if there was a touch screen option. The mouse/controller stick is a bit quirky and sometimes you have to go through 3 or 4 clicks to get to where you want to. The CVT transmission seems to be too noisy when accelerating at 50mph or above. The Nissan Altima CVT seems more sophisticated and makes less noise at higher speed acceleration. Back seat is a little too low for adults for long mileage trips...but there is plenty of space back there. Front seats are very widely adjustable for comfort...except for lack of padding on the seat bottom. One thing that is a little peculiar...I started with 42 mpg in the ECO mode and it had slowly declined to about 38...probably because of more aggressive driving as I have gotten more comfortable with the car and not so focused on the top end of the hybrid mpg possibilities. Since then, I have switched to Normal mode for better acceleration (which is excellent-comparable to a V-6) and mpg runs around 36-37 both in town and on highway. You get to use regular gas, which is a big cost advantage. Overall an excellent vehicle."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best luxury vehicle.

By on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "N/A"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This lexus es 350 ride smooth and very quiet. Looks very luxury and sporty. Lots of room inside . By far better than a BMW, Mercedes, Audi (four circle). I have own all 3 vehicle including my lexus es350 and I am locked in for life on my Lexus"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

POSIBLY THE BEST LUXURY CAR ON THE MARKET IN THIS

By on Sunday, February 09, 2014

I want this car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "LOOKS, FEATURES, AND A TRUE LUXURY CAR,"

Cons: "NOTHING AT ALL. ITS PERFECT"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"THE TOTAL PAKAGE, LUXURY, LOOKS, HANDLING AND RELIABILITY. WHY BUY ANYTHING ELSE. THE HYBRID IS SIMPLY FANTASTIC, THE ENVY OF ALL OTHER LUXURY CAR MAKERS."

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