August's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars


The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport topped last month's fastest-selling cars — a list that mixed the usual influx of redesigns and introductions with a lot of older cars. The 2013 Toyota Corolla, Honda Fit, Mini Cooper, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen flew off dealer lots last month. All but the A3 saw sales increases, with the Corolla, Fit and Cooper up more than 25% apiece. But all five cars have been on the market for some time since their last update, and none offer major incentives. One possible factor is gas prices, which have risen 20 cents in the past month. All five cars have variants with combined EPA mileage of 30 mpg or better.

Response to the redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe has been "nothing short of remarkable," Hyundai sales chief Dave Zuchowski said in a statement Tuesday. However, sales for the nameplate — whose redesign sprouts a new Santa Fe Sport derivative that's lumped into the same sales figure — fell nearly 50% for the month. What gives?

By Kelsey Mays | September 6, 2012 | Comments (0)

Mercedes, Lexus and Audi Fail Latest IIHS Crash Tests


The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and two Lexus sedans — the IS 250/350 and the outgoing ES 350 — failed the latest round of IIHS frontal tests.

As we reported Monday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new offset frontal-barrier test simulates a 40-mph collision with a rigid barrier that overlaps just 25% of the car. The test simulates a front-corner collision with a tree, a pole or another vehicle, a scenario that is responsible for almost 25% of front crashes that seriously injure or kill someone in front, IIHS says. The new test will augment the agency's existing frontal test, which crashes a car at 40 mph against a deformable barrier that overlaps 40% of the front.

"Outside of some automakers’ proving grounds, such a test isn’t currently conducted anywhere else in the United States or Europe," IIHS said in a statement, noting that despite an increasing number of cars that score well in frontal crash tests, some 10,000 highway deaths still come from frontal collisions each year.

By Kelsey Mays | August 14, 2012 | Comments (30)

Lexus Announces Pricing for 2013 ES Models

2013 lexus es 350
When the redesigned Lexus ES 350 goes on sale later this summer, it'll start at $36,995, including an $895 destination charge. That's a 1.7% decrease compared to model-year 2012 versions. Its hybrid sibling, the ES 300h, will cost $2,750 more at $39,745. 

The ES 350 gets a little longer for 2013 and now uses the brand's new spindle grille and a revised suspension. The previous version's 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission carry over.

By Jennifer Geiger | July 16, 2012 | Comments (7)

Daily News Briefs: June 15, 2012


The World Health Organization says diesel fumes cause lung cancer, according to The New York Times. The fuel's exhaust is considered to be more carcinogenic than secondhand cigarette smoke, said WHO, adding that it is a likely cause of bladder cancer. The American Cancer Society will probably reach the same conclusions soon, the New York Times reports. The ruling could have an impact on American workers heavily exposed to diesel exhaust, such as tollbooth attendants, the newspaper says. The study could also have an impact on the public's perception of diesel vehicles, which have grown more popular over the past decade. Diesel advocates note that the WHO study mainly focuses on older diesel technology and not vehicles that use low-sulfur or ultra-low-sulfur fuel, which is mandatory in the U.S.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | June 15, 2012 | Comments (2) Reviews the 2013 Lexus ES

Lexus redesigned its popular ES for 2013, giving the luxury sedan similar styling to the pricier GS. Its fresh look should attract plenty of buyers, as should a first-ever hybrid ES 300h that Lexus expects to get 39 mpg in combined EPA ratings, says Industry Analyst Kelsey Mays. The ES' interior has some hits and misses. However, the car handles better than its predecessor, and the ES 350's familiar V-6 has power to spare.

2013 Lexus ES 350 review

By Kelsey Mays | May 31, 2012 | Comments (21)

Lexus Discontinues the HS 250h

Weak sales and a new hybrid on the horizon have prompted Lexus to cancel its HS 250h compact hybrid sedan.

"Production of the HS 250h ceased in January 2012. Lexus continues to monitor sales for each product and we make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment," spokesman Curt McAllister told

Sales of the HS 250h have been tapering off for a while. Last year, Lexus sold just 2,864 units compared to 10,663 in 2010. So far this year, sales are down 40% compared to 2011; just 28 were sold in April.

Though Lexus claims it's not a replacement for the HS, the brand's ES 300h hybrid sedan is due later this year. Power will come from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid system and a two-speed continuously variable automatic transmission. Lexus says the ES 300h will likely achieve an EPA-estimated 40/38 mpg city/highway. The EPA rates the HS 250h at 35/34 mpg.

Research the 2012 Lexus HS 250h
2013 Lexus ES 300h at the 2012 New York Auto Show
More Lexus News

By Jennifer Geiger | May 18, 2012 | Comments (2)

Are Sedans the Forgotten Family Car?


With no minivans in sight and spending a day checking out crossover after crossover at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, I had to ask myself whether there were other family-friendly vehicles I'd overlooked. I naturally pictured minivans, crossovers and SUVs.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

But wait, what about the good old family sedan? There are plenty of updated four-doors to choose from here at the auto show, and sedans, from subcompacts to midsizers, have been getting roomier.

So, why don't I think of sedans as family cars? Why have they dropped off my radar?

By Sara Lacey | April 11, 2012 | Comments (7)

2013 Lexus ES Video

The Lexus ES is all new for the 2013 model year, and for the first time it features a hybrid powertrain option that can reach 40 mpg, the automaker says. The new ES looks more stylish than before — it borrows many cues from the redesigned 2013 Lexus GS — and it features a more high-end interior that will help further distinguish it from its platform mate, the 2012 Toyota Camry, according to Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder.

By Colin Bird | April 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Lexus ES: Photo Gallery

2013 Lexus ES

The 2013 Lexus ES is all-new for the model year, featuring a sportier look and stylish interior.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

The new ES also brings with it its first hybrid powertrain that’s borrowed from the Toyota Camry Hybrid. It likely will be capable of 40/38 mpg city/highway.

By Colin Bird | April 6, 2012 | Comments (4)

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.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 4, 2012 | Comments (1)

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