A day-to-day experience When you hear the word Lexus, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Boring, slow, lazy, seniors in Florida, maybe even all of the above. Perhaps that was true in the past, but the facts are that Lexus has done a lot to bolster its image.
When you hear the word Lexus, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Boring, slow, lazy, seniors in Florida, maybe even all of the above. Perhaps that was true in the past, but the facts are that Lexus has done a lot to bolster its image, just look at the IS-F and LFA as prime examples. Even more surprising is the styling used throughout the Lexus lineup, nothing boring going on there. But let’s be honest, not too many Audi and BMW drivers are looking to dump their German beauties for Lexus’ just yet. Or maybe they are, after they drive the new 2013 Lexus ES350.
Lexus’ best selling model is the RX SUV, but their best selling car is the ES Sedan. So when it came time to release the 6th generation ES, Lexus was caught between a rock and a hard place. Do they make a sportier sedan and try to attack Infiniti/Acura head-on or stick with the tried and tested Lexus formula? Lexus decided to go with the latter.
Many enthusiasts, including myself, were disappointed at the thought of another Toyota Camry with a Lexus badge and some leather. This “Toyota Camry” reference is one that Lexus engineers despise, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that while the cars of the past were not monozygotic twins, they definitely shared many of the same chromosomes.
However, even with all my preconceptions about this car, after driving it for a couple weeks, I believe Lexus has made the right call. For starters, the new 2013 ES shares its platform with the all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon, a decision that many believe is long overdue. The car can best be described in one word, smooth. The progressive power delivery, seamless transmission, and overall refinement make this vehicle a joy to live with. Even as a male driver in his early 20’s who loves performance, I came to appreciate the calm and relaxed feel of this car. I appreciated that the Lexus wasn’t trying to be a pseudo sports sedan, and stuck by what it does best. However, there are little glimpses of the Lexus trying to be “sporty,” mainly the “sport mode” which is frankly nothing more than an unnecessary gimmick. That aside, this car is comfortable in its own skin, and passes on that comfortable feeling to the driver.
Remarkably, Lexus’ genius has less to do with the car itself and more to do with the positioning of this car in the market place. In my opinion this car competes mainly with its Japanese kin, specifically the Acura TL and the Infiniti G37. Yet as Infiniti and Acura duel for “sporty” superiority, Lexus has the other half of the market dominated with no perfect rival. The reality is this, most individuals who can afford to spend $40-50 thousand on a vehicle are not 20-something year olds; and many of those consumers would prefer that after a long day’s work that their car makes them feel calm and relaxed. Calm and relaxed is what Lexus does best and definitely is the motto of this vehicle.
While Lexus has a long way to change its image, I don’t believe the ES needs to be the car to break the mold. The ES is a phenomenal vehicle and will continue to be a cash cow for Lexus, the only question that I leave you with is, why buy a GS over an ES?