[New York Auto Show 2012] Lexus debuts 2013 ES including new 300h hybrid6:22 pm am April 5, 2012
As expected, the biggest news is the announcement of a hybrid ES, a move that should be the final nail in the coffin of the slow-selling HS 250h. This new hybrid is essentially the Camry hybrid in a nicer package, powered by the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder fitted with the ubiquitous Toyota hybrid system. As it does in the hybrid GS, Lexus will offer a sport drive mode, as well as an EV mode. Lexus estimates that the ES hybrid will have 40-mile-per-gallon combined fuel economy, matching that of the Camry Hybrid XLE (a number that presumably will give it best-in-class bragging rights).
The ES gets the new Lexus spindle grille treatment and a 1.8-inch longer wheelbase, but changes to the sheetmetal aren’t as dramatic as the upgraded cabin. The instrument panel now resembles the one in the GS, with a horizontal treatment and a big LCD screen, along with the love/hate Lexus Remote Touch Interface controller snuggling next to the gearshift in the center console. New seats boast a leather-alternative NuLuxe covering, although real hide is also available, along with premium semi-aniline leather. Somehow, Lexus has even managed to find an extra four inches of legroom up front.
The ES 350 will still mate Toyota’s proven 3.5-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic, driving the front wheels. But Lexus says it’s modified the suspension and steering in this generation of ES to improve handling – and it’s even cut the curb weight of the 2013 ES by 90 pounds.