2013 Lexus ES 350 and ES 300h: Up Close

The Lexus ES 350 doesn't get much respect. It's never been snazzy looking, and it's the only Lexus car that's based directly on a Toyota, specifically the Camry. But the ES doesn't need respect because it gets something more valuable: lots and lots of buyers. The 2013 can only improve its success.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

The new Lexus hourglass grille, which the company curiously terms a spindle, looks good on this car — proving it's versatile enough for less aggressive applications. Even with the new front end, the ES isn't going to set anyone's heart ablaze, but both the gas-powered ES 350 and its new ES 300h hybrid version are classy, tidy packages from every angle.


The newly redesigned 2012 Camry's top trim levels overlap the current ES in cabin quality, but I think the upgraded 2013's interior will help justify the luxury model's higher price. As in the Camry, the backseat is roomy — and felt all the more so because I just tried out the backseat of Chevrolet's new 2014 Impala, ostensibly a full-size car.

To buyers, quality isn't just about the materials inside a car; it's about how easy and pleasant the car is to use. Thankfully, Lexus hasn't fallen into the trap that's ensnared many other brands: the trap of "capacitive" touch-sensitive panels in lieu of real buttons.

Sadly, the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface isn't as wise a decision. If I remember correctly, the first iteration of this controller had exactly one fan on the Cars.com staff: me. But in this car and the newly introduced GS, Lexus replaced the pivoting joystick-like pad with a sliding version. And with this, they've lost me, too.



the remote touch controller is no better than touch sensitive controls. Its not precise and its not faster than using regular buttons. Lexus came up with their own variation of the german controller interface, none of them are really a solution anyone was asking for.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App