The all-new 2013 Lexus ES350 is the six-generation of Lexus’ most popular luxury sedan and the new ES 300h with Lexus Hybrid Drive marks the first time the popular model benefits from the hybrid system. It features the signature Lexus spindle grille, a progressive new design and enhanced handling. It is sure to impress new and loyal Lexus ES consumers.
The ES 300h features a 2.5 liter, DOHC, all aluminum, in-line four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing on the intake (VVT-i). This new, low friction engine utilizes a sophisticated power management system and high compression ratio (12.5:1) to increase its overall efficiency. It is equipped with an electric water pump, electric rack & pinion power steering system and an integrated Lexus Hybrid Drive System comprising an electric motor/generator. As a result the engine does not require any accessory belts thus helping to improve fuel economy and overall reliability. The gasoline engine generates 156hp at 5,700rpm with 156lb.ft. of torque at 4,500rpm. Combined with the Lexus Hybrid Drive total horsepower is bumped up to a total of 200hp. With this gasoline/hybrid engine EPA mileage ratings are 40mpg/city and 39mpg/highway. After more than 425 miles of city and highway driving, I received, according to the trip computer, 38.8 combined mpg. That’s good news for a mid-size luxury sedan.
This high-tech gasoline/hybrid engine is mated to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), turning the front wheels that provides enhanced driving performance, which I wasn’t expecting, including very smooth, imperceptible shifts.
Further enhancing the fun-to-drive experience is the Drive Mode Selector dial located on the left side of the center console. Three modes are available-Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is best for everyday driving, Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode increase powertrain and steering responsiveness. When in the Eco or Normal mode the left gauge features a hybrid power monitor and when you change to Sport mode, you’ll see a full tachometer. It is a perfect way to see how well you are saving fuel in Eco or Normal mode, and the available and current RPMs in Sport mode. There is also an EV button that allows short distance driving in all-electric drive from the hybrid battery pack. The other button is to turn the traction control/vehicle stability control off/on.
I enjoyed the ride in any of the modes thanks to the fully independent suspension system. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup, gas-charged shocks, an anti-roll bar and opposite-wound coil springs that help with straight-line stability at high speeds. The revised rear suspension features dual-link MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar to keep body lean to a minimum. The new rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics further enhance ride comfort when traveling over poorly paved road surfaces. Increasing …read more