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Fresh from a complete remake last year, the 2014 Lexus ES receives only a few notable changes. LED fog lights replace the old fashioned bulb lamps, and heated and cooling seats can now be ordered with Lexus' faux-leather NuLuxe perforated seat trim. Apple's Siri Eyes Free technology is added to the equipment roster.
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.
The 2012 Lexus ES 350 is mostly unchanged from 2011, in which differences were also minimal after a facelift the year before. For 2012, the ES receives a new exterior color option, Nebula Gray Pearl, and is available in a Touring Edition that is limited to 2,000 cars and features a saddle-leather interior and high-gloss 17-inch wheels.
New features this year include side mirrors with integrated turn signals, revisions to the front and rear end, more center console storage, new 17-inch wheel options and a stability control cut off switch. Also new is an updated Lexus navigation system with Lexus Enform Voice Command, rain sensing wipers and the removal of the cassette deck from the standard audio. The Premium Sound system gains a USB port as well as Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming music capability.
The Lexus ES was one of the first Lexus vehicles, and after six generations it's second only to the RX crossover SUV in overall Lexus sales. While not as engaging to drive as a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or Cadillac CTS, the Lexus ES has a reputation for reliability, comfort and a strong resale value that continues to resonate. Lest we be accused of damning it with faint praise, we should point out the strong V6, the comfortable yet agile suspension, and the 40 mpg-plus you'll get in the hybrid model. The ES offers sharp styling that may be the most subtle incorporation of the new Lexus grille that we've yet seen, and its user-friendly interior is as comfortable as you could hope for.