It's no secret that Lexus is a division of Toyota and that many of its vehicles are based on more plebian Toyota products. So it stands to reason that when a new Toyota model bows, its Lexus equivalent will soon follow suit. Such is the case with the new ES 350. Based on the new Toyota Camry introduced last year, the all-new 2013 ES builds on this proven platform with oodles of luxury features and the refinement you'd expect from a Lexus. Now in its sixth generation, the new ES features edgier styling outside and standard NuLuxe synthetic leather inside. The real stuff is also available, as are a number of luxury option packages. Feeling green? Then go for the new Lexus ES 300h hybrid, for an EPA estimated 40 mpg city/39 mpg highway.
Lexus pulled the veil off its new ES today at the New York International Auto Show. There will be two models offered, the ES 350 and ES 300h. The ES 350 is powered by a gasoline 3.5-liter V6 engine with Dual VVT-i that produces 268 bhp. It comes mated to Lexus’ electronically controlled transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) that’s been designed to deliver good performance, smoother shifts and improved fuel efficiency through use of low friction materials. The ES 300h is a hybrid version of the sedan that features a new low-friction VVT-i-equipped 2.5-liter inline-4 Atkinson-cycle engine that utilizes a sophisticated power management system and has a 12.5:1 compression ratio. This engine, combined with a beltless electric motor, is designed to improve fuel economy and durability, and a near zero evaporative fuel system helps reduce emissions. Power will be 200 hp combined. The ES 300h hybrid offers four driving modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV, the last allowing short drives at reduced speed, using only the power from the hybrid battery pack. Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is suited to everyday driving, while Eco mode favors fuel economy. Sport mode increases performance and responsiveness. Lexus says the ES 300h will get 39/40 mpg city/highway.
The new ES ought to handle better than its predecessor, thanks to suspension and steering changes and a stiffer body. Opposite-wound coil springs on the front suspension enhance straight-line stability, while revised rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics enhance ride comfort. A reduction in the steering gear ratio delivers better steering feel. Increased body rigidity is achieved through lightweight, high tensile strength steel, added bracing and additional spot welds. Despite the car’s larger size, the weight of the new ES is reduced by almost 90 pounds.
The ES will be equipped with standard 215/55R-17 low rolling resistance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, and for the first time, available 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels.
The car’s exterior design adopts the new Lexus signature “spindle” grille, making it look remarkably similar to the new GS sedan, but this isn’t a bad thing. The new ES features a lower, progressive profile and clean, continuous styling lines from front to rear. The wheelbase of the new ES has been lengthened by 1.8 inches, while the overall length of the vehicle has grown by just one inch, resulting in a more spacious interior. Look for the new ES to reach dealer showrooms in August of this year.
The R-Class artfully avoids the minivan stigma by being billed as a "Sport Tourer." Thus, it has four sedan-style doors, a shapely silhouette (freshened last year) and standard 4Matic awd. Like other Mercedes models, the R350 gains a new 302-bhp 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6. A fuel-stingy 210-bhp 3.0-liter BlueTEC turbodiesel boosts potential highway cruising range to more than 500 miles. The cavernous cabin seats up to seven while topping the mighty GL-Class with 85.0 cu. ft. of cargo space. New standard features include the Comand system with navigation, Gracenote media, HD Radio and a 4-gig hard drive with Music Register. Keyless Go, a panorama sunroof, 20-in. alloys and a rear-seat entertainment system are on the extensive option list.
The Volkswagen Touareg sport utility vehicle is the largest vehicle in VW's line-up and offers all the luxury and off-road ability that one could need.
The Touareg is available in four trim levels, Sport, Lux, R-Line and Executive, each are powered be either a 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 240-hp 3.0-liter turbo-diesel (TDI) V6, both engines are mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. All trims feature 4MOTION permanent four-wheel drive, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, roof rails, Bluetooth, heated front seats, alloy wheels, and touch-screen navigation system. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring, rain sensing wipers and front fog lights.
For 2014, an R-Line trim has been introduced, and later in the model year a 10th anniversary trim will be available.
The ILX Hybrid is an all-new offering from Acura in the compact luxury sedan class, and the first ever hybrid model in the Acura line-up. The ILX Hybrid is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 111-hp when paired with a 23-hp electric motor. A 144-volt lithium-ion battery powers the motor, which allows for engine idle-stop operation. The ILX Hybrid includes a long list of standard features such as keyless access with push-button ignition, heated exterior mirrors, aluminum wheels, speed sensing wipers, leather steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth cellular and audio connectivity, Pandora internet radio, power glass sunroof, Homelink and a rearview camera. Standard safety features include electronic stability and traction control, active front head restraints, tire pressure monitoring, six airbags and anti-lock brakes with panic assist. An optional Technology package includes a navigation system, XM satellite radio and a 7-speaker sound system.