The Lexus ES line dates back to 1989 when the luxury automaker released the ES 250. As the engine size grew to a 3.0-liter and then to a 3.3-liter, its name changed to the ES 300 and ES 330, respectively. Starting in 2007, a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine became the base configuration and Lexus renamed it the ES 350 to no one's surprise. Coming into the 2013 model year, the ES 350 is completely restyled, giving the popular midsized luxury sedan a new look and feel.
The 2013 Lexus ES 350 comes in just one trim level and is does carryover the 3.5-liter, V-6 engine from the 2012 model year, meaning the 2013 model produces 268 horsepower and 248 foot-pounds of torque. Also carried over is the ECT-i six-speed automatic transmission However, the addition of low-friction materials to the drivetrain jumped its fuel economy to 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, compared to 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in 2012. The drivetrains are rather similar, but the 2012 and 2013 ES 350s are drastically different in outward appearances.
Lexus revamped the ES 350’s front fascia for the 2013 model year, giving it the now-signature trapezoidal grille area, and far more aggressive headlight assemblies. On the back end, Lexus wrapped the taillights around the rear quarter panels a little more and added in harder body lines on the rear quarters. Lexus also added in a Drive Mode Select feature to the 2013 ES 350, which allows the driver to choose the driving style that suits him or her best: Normal, Eco or Sport.
Competition for the 2013 Lexus ES 350 is steep, given it sits in a crowded segment: mid-size luxury sedan. The first competitor that the ES 350 must face is the Acura TL, which boasts a 280-horsepower, V-6 engine at its base level and still achieves 29 mpg highway. The next competitor for the ES 350 is the INFINITI G sedan, which features plenty of pop from its 327-horsepower V-6 engine and up to 27 mpg highway. Finally, the ES 350 has to take lumps from the Cadillac CTS sedan, which features a pair of peppy V-6 engines and a notorious name in luxury.
The 2013 ES 350 certainly has a lot on its plate as it rolls out with its newly restyled body and interior for the 2013 model year.