2015 Lexus ES 350, Lexus 300h: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Backup camera now standard, new optional multimedia system

Price change: TBA

On sale: September

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014

Lexus is making some small changes to its most popular sedan for 2015, but they may not add up to enough to sway buyers from a good deal on a leftover 2014.

2014 Lexus ES 350 Expert Review

If you're a multimedia maven, though, you'll want to wait for the 2015s. A new multimedia system, similar to the one introduced last year on the IS 250/350 and other Lexus models, includes a customizable home screen, 3-D maps and a bird's-eye view for the navigation system, traffic guidance, the ability to cache 15 minutes of radio broadcasts for later play and other features.

By Rick Popely | July 14, 2014 | Comments (3)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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The 2014 Nissan Rogue is still No. 1 on our list of most-read reviews this week, but a quartet of newcomers has joined the roster to shake things up a little. Debuts are led by Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger's near-gushing critique of the much-improved 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan at No. 2. Other fresh faces include the 2014 Lexus GX 460 at No. 5, the 2014 Honda CR-V at No. 7 and the 2014 Lexus ES 300h at No. 9. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 Nissan Rogue
2. 2015 Chrysler 200
3. 2014 Infiniti Q50
4. 2014 Subaru Forester
5. 2014 Lexus GX 460
6. 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
7. 2014 Honda CR-V
8. 2014 Jeep Cherokee
9. 2014 Lexus ES 300h
10. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman

By Matt Schmitz | March 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Lexus ES 300h Review

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Lexus' midsize hybrid sedan was new for 2013 and got some minor updates for 2014, but they didn't really make the ES 300h more likable, says Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley. Hanley says the sedan is still disappointing this year, with a firm ride, distracting controls and uncompetitive fuel economy.

2014 Lexus ES 300h Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | March 21, 2014 | Comments (6)

Toyota to Build First Lexus in the U.S.

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Toyota launched its Lexus division in September 1989 with two 1990 models at opposite ends of the spectrum: the LS 400, a rear-drive V-8 flagship, and the ES 250, a front-drive cousin to the plebian Camry. In their first month, the two cars combined for 4,135 sales. Fast-forward nearly 25 years and Toyota has sold 4,397,799 Lexus cars and SUVs in America. Lexus led all luxury-brand sales from 2000 to 2010.

All without building a single car here.

That's right. Toyota, whose Kentucky- and Indiana-built Camry has led Cars.com's American-Made Index for four years in a row, imports its Lexus cars from Japan and Canada.

That's about to change, however. The automaker announced today it will build the ES 350 — five generations past the 1990 original — in Georgetown, Ky., to the tune of about $360 million invested. Toyota's 1,300-acre plant, its largest in North America, already assembles the Camry, Avalon and Venza, not to mention various four-cylinder and V-6 engines and other components. It employs 6,600 and builds some 500,000 cars a year; the ES will add 750 jobs and another 50,000 cars to the plant's annual capacity.

By Kelsey Mays | April 19, 2013 | Comments (2)

Best Hybrids for the Money 2013

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Gas prices remain volatile, but even so, no one expects prices below $3 per gallon ever again, and many parts of the country consistently see prices near or above $4. As much as ever, shoppers need to know how effectively hybrids deliver efficiency for your dollar — if they do at all.

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating to reflect efficiency bang for your overall buck.

It's simply the combined city/highway mpg divided by the base price (MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that number by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 16, 2013 | Comments (22)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Buick LaCrosse

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The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist doesn't offer the Volkswagen Passat TDI's value or the high-end Lexus ES 300h's fuel economy, but Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger says it "pleasantly" splits the difference between practicality and price. The mild hybrid version of Buick's largest sedan improves gas mileage with its lithium-ion battery pack and 15-kilowatt electric motor combined with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; the result is seamless acceleration and a "pillowy" ride. While the LaCrosse's lush interior draws nearer to "luxury" than "near-luxury" competitors, backseat comfort and cargo space may necessitate hanging on to that hyphen.

2013 Buick LaCrosse Review
By Matt Schmitz | January 22, 2013 | Comments (3)

2013 Lexus ES 350 and 300h: Car Seat Check

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For 2013, the Lexus ES 350 received a redesign that included a new exterior look and an upgraded interior. It also welcomed a hybrid counterpart, the ES 300h, for the first time. For the Car Seat Check, we installed car seats in the 300h, but the results can be applied to the ES 350; both sedans have seating for five and the same interior dimensions. The 300h's battery pack does eat into the trunk space, though. The ES 350 has 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space, but the 300h has 12.1.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By Jennifer Newman | December 4, 2012 | Comments (4)

2013 Lexus ES Joins NHTSA's Five-Star Club

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Lexus' midsize sedan is the latest vehicle to be awarded the top rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2013 ES 350 earned an overall five out of five stars in NHTSA's crash tests.

The composite score for the ES was composed of mostly five stars across the different areas of crash testing, but it did earn four stars in the rollover test. The sedan earned fives in overall driver safety, frontal crashes and overall side crashes.

For 2013, the Lexus ES grows longer, gets fresh styling and adds a hybrid model to the lineup. Both the ES 350 and the hybrid ES 300h versions received a combined five-star rating from NHTSA.

Related
2013 Lexus ES Review
2013 Lexus ES 350, ES 300h at the 2012 New York Auto Show
More Safety News on Cars.com

By Jennifer Geiger | December 3, 2012 | Comments (1)

Consumer Reports Finds Faulty Release Inside Trunks of Lexus ES, GS

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If you own a car from the last 10 years, you've probably noticed a glow-in-the-dark trunk release on the inside of the trunk. That's to help anyone who happens to find themselves inside the trunk escape from it. It's been a federal requirement for all cars in the U.S. since Sept. 1, 2001, following a 1998 summer where 11 children died from inadvertent trunk entrapment. Since its implementation, no children have died in the trunk of a car that has the release.

Consumer Reports noted the release inside their 2013 Lexus ES and GS sedans could snap off, however. One editor's 4-year-old son wanted to test (under supervision) the emergency release, which snapped off. The publication found that in the ES 350, ES 300h and GS 350 sedans, the release lever could break if you pulled it toward the driver's side of the car. Lexus parent, Toyota, told Consumer Reports that the Lexus IS has a similar release design. Consumer Reports spot-tested other test cars in its fleet and found no such issues.

By Kelsey Mays | October 12, 2012 | Comments (4)

Dodge Dart, Lexus ES and Two More Named Top Safety Picks

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list of Top Safety Picks has grown by four cars. The 2013 versions of the Lexus ES, Dodge Dart, Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru XV Crosstrek have earned IIHS’ top award.

To earn the safety nod, a car must receive the highest score of Good in front, side, rear and rollover crash tests. The rollover test looks at a vehicle’s roof strength. To pass this crash test, a car’s roof must withstand a force of four times its weight.

The ES and Santa Fe have been redesigned for the 2013 model year. Both the ES 350 and ES 300h, a hybrid, have been named Top Safety Picks, besting the 2012 ES 350 that earned a Marginal score in the rear crash test. The 2012 Santa Fe also was a Top Safety Pick.

The new-for-2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek’s crash-test scores are no surprise since it’s based on the Subaru Impreza, which is also a Top Safety Pick. The Dart is also new for 2013.

Related

Tougher IIHS Crash Test Could Mean Fewer Top Safety Picks

Roof-Strength Ratings Offer Insight on Rollover Safety

More Safety News

By Jennifer Newman | October 3, 2012 | Comments (1)

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