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 Hyundai Sonata is a four-door, five-passenger sedan which has an established reputation for being well built and excellent value for money. The Sonata features a stylish coupe-like exterior and modern interior.
The front-wheel drive Sonata is offered in five trim levels: GLS, SE, SE 2.0T, Limited, and Limited 2.0T. The GLS and Limited are powered by a 198-hp 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine. The SE features dual-exhaust which increases the engine output to 200-hp using the same 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine. The SE 2.0T and Limited 2.0T feature a 274-hp 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine. The standard transmission on all trims is a six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC. Standard features include motor driven power steering, air conditioning, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and Blue Link. Standard safety features include electronic stability and traction control, brake assist, six-airbags, occupancy classification sensor, and active front head restraints.
For 2013, the GLS trim is now standard with the six-speed automatic transmission. Also, the optional Premium Package offered on the Limited trims, now includes a panoramic sunroof.
The Mustang may be retro inspired, but it remains one of the most widely recognized, respected, and desired nameplates in the automobile business. Today's Mustang still delivers the bold styling, rear-drive performance and affordability that have been Mustang hallmarks for decades.
The Mustang is available either as a coupe or convertible. Each is available with a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 or a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed automatic is optional. A 302 Boss coupe with a 444-hp 5.0-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission is also available. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, side-impact airbags and sequential LED sequential tail lamps. The Mustang can be equipped with alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated power leather seats, satellite radio, navigation system and more.
The Mustang is a carry-over for 2014.
Not much has changed on the six versions of Aston Martin DB9s that are available. The big news, perhaps, is that the 6-speed manual gearbox is no longer available, so the only transmission now is the 6-speed Touchtronic that most buyers have been choosing. The close observer may also note that the traditional 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels are no longer available and the 10-spoke is now standard. The powerplant remains the 5.9-liter V-12 with 48 valves, and it is a sweetheart of smoothness and ample power. The 2+2 interior does offer room for small children but the rear seats are mostly used for parcels. The quality of interior materials and finish is excellent, and last year's addition of the Adaptive Damping System has been well received.