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.
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.
The Honda Fit distinguishes itself from all other subcompacts with its impressive practicality thanks to four-door hatchback versatility and ingenious interior packaging.
The Fit offers five-passenger seating and a unique second-row "Magic Seat" that either folds flat with the cargo floor, or flips up to carry tall items behind the first row of seats. The Fit is available in two trim levels, base and Sport, both are powered by a 117-hp 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive and a choice of a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Sport gets steering wheel mounted paddle shifters when equipped with the automatic transmission. Standard safety features include six airbags, security system, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. The Sport adds many niceties such as alloy wheels, fog lights, leather steering wheel, and keyless entry. A navigation system is optional on the Sport.
The Volvo XC70 is a crossover wagon providing comfort and stability on the road, and security and peace of mind on rough roads or when the weather turns bad. New for 2014 the XC70 has been updated inside and out.
A very functional wagon, the XC70 features higher ground clearance and SUV styling. Available in all-wheel or front-wheel drive the XC70 3.2 features a 240-hp 3.2-liter inline-six. A 230-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine is available. The all-wheel drive XC70 T6 includes a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. Both engines are paired with a Geartronic six-speed automatic transmission, allowing driver selectable shifting. With seating for 5 and a flat folding back seat the XC70 offers great versatility and maximum cargo capacity. Safety features include electronic stability control, side-impact and side curtain airbags, and anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth and Hill Descent Control.
For 2014, the Volvo XC70 has been refreshed and updated.
With the Mini range expanding to a new 2-seater and a 4-door all-wheel-drive family hauler, it's beginning to look more like old times again (remember the Mini Pickup Truck?). But truthfully, it's the core vehicle that carries the brand, the Cooper Hardtop, which is still one of the best front-drive cars money can buy. With its surprisingly affordable entry price, the Mini impresses with its build quality and fuel economy you'll get from the standard Cooper's 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. The fun starts, however, at the 181-bhp turbo Cooper S, and gets addictive should you choose to go the 208-bhp John Cooper Works route. The cargo-friendly Clubman and open-air Convertible can be had in all three trims too, but the posh, $52,000 Goodwood special edition (co-developed with Rolls-Royce) is reserved just for the original.