2015 ES 300h New Car Test Drive
The recently redesigned Lexus ES 350 gets a couple of technology upgrades for 2014 and offers several new interior options, including bamboo trim.
The seventh-generation Lexus ES was launched as a 2013 model boasting a roomier rear seat with enough space to easily transport four six-foot individuals. The lineup includes the Lexus ES 350 and Lexus ES 300h hybrid.
The 2014 Lexus ES 350 gains LED fog lamps along with its high-intensity discharge headlamps. Along with other models in the 2014 Lexus lineup, the 2014 ES 350 integrates Siri Eyes Free Mode, with technology licensed from Apple. New options for the 2014 Lexus ES 350 include Bamboo interior trim selection and heated/ventilated front seats with 12-way power adjustments.
We found the Lexus ES quiet and comfortable and easy to operate. On the road, it's smooth and quiet, a good car for commuting to work while listening to music.
The Lexus ES 350's 3.5-liter V6 is smooth and quiet and generates 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Combined with the 6-speed automatic, the 3.5-liter V6 yields EPA ratings of 21/31 mpg City/Highway.
The Lexus ES 300h hybrid mixes the good points of an ES with fuel economy in the region of 40 mpg. It shifts seamlessly between battery and engine power.
Lexus ES shoppers have plenty of other cars to shop in this equipment and price range. Audi A6, Hyundai Azera, Acura TL, Lincoln MKS, Buick LaCrosse, and Volvo S60 are the primary competitors. If you don't need many of the ES's extensive options, a well-equipped Volkswagen Passat, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Toyota Avalon or Kia Optima Limited may get the job done.
The 2014 Lexus ES is offered in two variants, the Lexus ES 350 gasoline V6 and the Lexus ES 300h gasoline-electric hybrid. Both are front-wheel drive.
The Lexus ES 350 comes with a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic. Standard features include NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, piano-black cabin trim, moonroof, power front seats, smart key/pushbutton start, power windows and locks, power heated mirrors, AM/FM/CD/MP3/iPod/USB audio, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels. For 2014, Lexus has integrated into the ES 350 Siri Eyes Free Mode, with technology licensed from Apple. Bamboo interior trim is available.
The Lexus ES 300h hybrid employs a 156-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motors, 245-volt NiMH battery pack and a continuously variable automatic transmission. It is equipped much like an ES 350 but adds a vehicle proximity notification system (a noisemaker for public awareness when running on electric-only power), rear spoiler, deeper rear valance, badging, slightly different instrumentation and bamboo interior trim.
Options are ganged into three packages available for both models: The Premium package upgrades to leather seating, maple wood trim, driver memory system, and power tilt/telescope steering wheel; Premium requires an audio or navigation upgrade. The Luxury package builds on Premium with HID low-beam headlights, leather interior trim, heated/ventilated front seats, power rear sunshade, and park assist. The Ultra Luxury package further adds a panoramic glass roof, rain-sensing wipers, heated wood steering wheel, passenger seat memory, driver's seat cushion extender, ambient lighting, manual rear-door sunshades, and power trunk lid. Standalone options include many of the items in packages, plus 17- and 18-inch wheels, radar cruise control with pre-collision system, blind spot/cross traffic alert systems, and lane departure assist/auto high-beam.
Safety features on all Lexus ES models include 10 airbags including front knee and rear-seat side that are compatible with properly installed child seats, plus electronic stability, braking and traction controls. Optional safety features include Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which helps detect vehicles in side blind spots and alerts the driver to rear cross traffic when backing out of a parking spot.