Driving With Dan: Lexus ES350h

Posted on: 8:48 am, December 28, 2012, by , updated on: 08:50am, December 28, 2012

(KTVI) – It’s sleeker and sportier but will the new Lexus ES350h appeal to a younger demographic? Post-Dispatch automotive writer Dan Weise has the answers.

1.)     The Lexus ES is all-new for 2013, totally redesigned and for the first time offering a hybrid version called the ES 300h. The gas version is still called the ES 350. We`re showing the hybrid.

2.)     Lexus`s goal was to make the car a little sportier to win over some younger buyers. The average age of the previous-generation ES buyer was 63. But Lexus didn`t want the change so radical that they would alienate loyal buyers of the past, who have made ES Lexus`s best-selling sedan.

3.)     The changes include sleeker styling, shorter overhangs, quicker steering, a slightly more athletic suspension and new driver-selectable driving modes: ECO, Normal and Sport. The hybrid adds a fourth mode — pure electric — for very short distances.

4.)     The most controversial change is likely the ‘spindle’ grille.

5.)     The ES 350 carries over its 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic, but changes just about everything else. The hybrid`s drivetrain is lifted whole-cloth from the Toyota Camry hybrid.

6.)     Rear leg room, thanks to a 1-inch longer length and 4-inch longer wheelbase, is up 4.1 inches.