The Lexus ES sedan line has a history of reshaping the entry-luxury segment, and the sixth-generation ES models introduced for 2013 raised the benchmark again, with increased interior room, a new hybrid, higher fuel efficiency in the V6 model and even more flagship-type amenities.
While the ES 300h hybrid has understandably taken the efficiency spotlight with its 40-mpg combined EPA fuel economy estimates, the ES 350, with a 268-horsepower V6, remains the sales leader in the line and is itself highly efficient.
New for 2014, the ES 350h gains LED fog lamps and adds the availability of bamboo interior trim, which was already offered in the ES 300h. In addition, customers who do not prefer leather can now get heated/ventilated seats in perforated NuLuxe trim. Genuine leather-trim is available, as is semi-aniline leather for a more refined look and feel.
Lexus filled the larger space with comfort, features and design details that belie the “entry luxury” label. The ES 350h comes standard with 10-way adjustable power front seats, automatic climate control, NuLuxe interior available in parchment, light gray or black and elegant piano black trim for instrument panel, doors and upper console. Lexus offers espresso bird’s eye maple for the trim or, new for 2014, bamboo. Also available, 12-way heated/ventilated power front seats allow the seat cushions to extend by 1.4 inches for added leg support.
The silken-smooth 3.5-liter V6 powering the ES 350h will take car from zero to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds, and its 248 lb.-ft. of peak torque ensures quick, seamless response in everyday driving. Efficient use of fuel is another key talent of this highly responsive engine. It’s interesting to note that this engine, a full liter larger in displacement than the original 1990 ES 250’s V6 and with 71-percent more horsepower, also is rated much higher in fuel efficiency.
The ES 350h’s six-speed automatic transmission also gets much credit for the outstanding combination of performance, efficiency and quiet ride.
The ES 350h driver can tailor powertrain response and other settings to suit conditions or the mood. ECO mode adjusts engine response and climate-control settings to help maximize fuel economy. Sport mode sharpens throttle and transmission response for a more engaging driving experience, while Normal mode is designed to provide an ideal balance of performance and efficiency.
What’s New for 2014
LED fog lamps included with HID headlamps
Available Bamboo interior trim selection
48-month/50,000 mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.
72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.
72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.