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Video Review: 2013 Lexus ES 350
Stylish luxury… for non enthusiasts

lexus es 350 video review lead

I’d love to believe that every car built is designed with the idea of selling to someone who loves the act of driving. This is not the case, of course. That doesn’t mean these less-than-dynamic machines are bad. They’re built to appeal to a larger audience, and they’re designed to sell. One such vehicle is the 2013 Lexus ES 350. This latest iteration is the sixth generation of the ES, and it’s most certainly the best one yet. The exterior looks great, the interior is wonderfully laid out, and the driving experience is one of utter smoothness.

Still, it’s not for me.

[Disclaimer: Lexus tossed us the keys to its 2013 ES 350, included a tank of gas, and let us play with the car for a week. We’ve since risen to middle management and our 401k is looking up.]

  • dukeisduke

    People love to knock the ES, but it's a great car for its target market. My MiL drives a 2008 model, which replaced the 2005 she put 120k on before trading in on the '08. Before that, she'd owned Cadillacs, and they were money pits after going off warranty. The ESs have been bulletproof and get gas mileage the Caddies (a 1994 RWD Brougham, and a 2001 FWD DeVille) could only dream about.

    For enthusiasts, there's the IS. When it was introduced, the ES was freed up to target people looking for a comfortable entry-level luxery car, so Lexus could get sales to them as well as people looking for a BMW alternative.

    • dukeisduke

      luxery luxury

    • BobWellington

      I'd certainly hope a newer car would get better fuel economy than an older Cadillac.

  • dukeisduke

    A Hoon University t-shirt? Is that coming soon to the catalog?

    • I was gonna say, I want one.
      It's probably a blipshift shirt.

    • Here:

      • JayP2112

        Why is it just NOW I am learning of this site??

        • Scandinavian Flick

          The banner ad is on the top of the page above the Redusernab logo. I've ordered a few shirts from them, and I'm always sure to click the banner ad to get there so Redusernab get's the ref credit, especially since it's how I found out about them.

          I hope they changed their shirt supplier though. The last one I got was one of those stupid seamless tube shirts that fits like a muumuu… Gonna have to fix that one myself. I've been meaning to them about that.

          • wisc47

            I've been wanting to get a Blipshift shirt but since I don't buy a ton of clothes I'm super picky about them. One of the things I was worried about was the fit of the shirt, so thank you for the insight!

            • Scandinavian Flick

              Well… the one I'm referring to was from a different supplier. They notified me by email ahead of time in case I wanted to cancel. They typically use Anvil brand shirts, which fit fine. But for this one (Mister Donut) they had "shirt supply constraints" so they went with a Gildan brand shirt. The Gildan is utter shit. I'll be ing them before ordering again.

              For the record, I'm a bit abnormal at 6'4" but with a medium build, so most L shirts are too short, and XL shirts are too fat…

              • wisc47

                Yeah I've worn Gildan shirts before, not only is the fit atrocious but the quality of material is more suited for the rag bag…

        • Dude! They have been advertising on here for months!

      • krazykarguy

        I bought the La308 Ferrari shirt the other day… my first blipshift purchase, despite having known of their site since the Lego Stig shirt.

  • A fratenity brother just sold his startup to a major player and showed up to a reunion in a new ES. To each his own, I guess.

    In other news, the car de jure is a Lexus SC300 MT. Please help me find one that has not been modified.

    • Devin

      I just figure that the ES make a lot of sense for people old enough to have married children. It's comfortable and smooth, which is good for carting around old bones, reliable and you can fit a grandkid or two in there in a pinch.

    • Vavon

      By "car de jure" do you mean car du jour (as in French)?

      I'm not trying to be pedantic, merely asking as otherwise I have no idea what "car de jure" means.

      • I suspect you're correct in this context, but "car de jure" has a perfectly reasonable meaning of "car concerning or according to the law." I find it a handy concept with respect to some of the things I own which do, in fact, have titles and registrations, and therefore are legally cars (despite the occasional dissenting opinion).

        • Vavon

          Aha! Thanks.

      • I knew I misspelled it.

        • Hey, at least you spelled the incorrect Latin phrase correctly.

          • That's de facto.

            • Oh, very nice! It is indeed.

        • I actually thought that you meant it, given your profession!

          • What do you know about the 1990s Olds 98?

            • A fair amount–they are the Olds version of the Park Avenue that I have, but from the preceding generation. For specific questions, I know where to look for answers. They were available with the supercharged 3.8, but I think most were NA. With the SC, the 4T60-E trans is probably going to be a weak spot. Brakes are probably not very good, with 11 inch rotors up front and the standard rear drums that GM used on almost all FWD cars from 1984-2005.

              Still a very dignified and comfortable car, and competent for its era.

              • You coming to Seconds Saturdays next month? I may have more questions.

                • Yup.

        • Jay_Ramey

          Besides, the car de jure is obvs a Crown Vic with dog-dish hubcaps and a blacked out grille.


  • Scandinavian Flick

    Aww, Jeff, you shouldn't have! *blush*

    <img src="; width="550">

    • Vavon

      I'm pretty sure those are for $kaycog and not for you!

      • CherokeeOwner

        Nah, if those were for $kaycog, there would at least be a Ford Raptor behind him. Or, if Glucker was ambitious, a Ford GT.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          Oh Miss Cog, it appears you have a suitor.

          <img src="; width="500">

      • Scandinavian Flick


        Nobody ever buys me flowers… *sniff*

        • Who says he bought them?

        • Vavon

          Don't be sad! 🙂

          <img src=";

  • Guest

    Is there not love for boulevard cruisers anymore?

  • Guest

    I find it hard to believe the reviewer loves cars as much as he claims. I suspect that what he really loves is the image some cars project since that seems to be his biggest issue. The idea that a Lexus owner, by reason of driving a Lexus, doesn't love cars and doesn't care about driving is disappointingly juvenile.

    • Kogashiwa

      I'm not sure how you watched that video and arrived at that conclusion. He actually gives it high praise for doing very well precisely what it is designed to do, namely to make driving as painless as possible, while pointing out that if you enjoy driving for its own sake there are other offerings in the same showroom that will suit you much better, the GS and (my choice) the IS. That's all. Nothing to do with image.

    • BobWellington

      I think that it's pretty likely most Lexus owners don't care about how fun their car is to drive, as long as it's comfortable and has a Lexus badge on it.

    • True… I started because I actually hate cars.

      Me thinks you should rewatch the video.

      • You've been doing a poor job of expressing and fostering a hatred of cars around here. Bloog harder!

      • Guest

        I did. I should say that I actually DO like the job you did of reviewing the car, but that just makes your commentary about how it's a car for people who don't love cars and who don't love driving (and who couldn't possibly tell a clutch pedal from a hole in the ground) seem all the more out of place.

        Maybe your idea of what qualifies a person as an "enthusiast" is just to narrow for me. More likely it's just that I'm in a grouchy mood an your humor was too deadpan for me.

        Now if you will excuse me I'm going to go into the garage and hug my car (a stubbornly reliable 1999 Ford Taurus).

  • I think it's a good review; Jeff gave solid praise where the car deserved it even though it's not a car for him.

    I also think everyone here would be supportive of someone who did have genuine enthusiasm for the ES. We all have such diverse tastes that it should come as no surprise when someone comes up with a previously-unimagined reason to love a particular car.

    And now for some ES criticism, I will note that in my region at least 75% of the slow drivers who get in my way are driving Lexus ESs. It's such a problem that I never willingly get behind an ES in traffic. I have also noticed that ES drivers are not as problematic in other regions.

  • BobWellington

    I find the outside of the car to be pretty bleh, but I actually quite like the dash. Steering wheel looks weird, though.

    • The dash is excellent

      • BobWellington

        Hey Jeff, I tweeted you about the second podcast not showing up on ShoutEngine. You no reply. My feelings hurt.

        I kid, but then again do I? The answer is yes, however, I would like to see that podcast show up. I added the RSS in Zune (yeah, Zune, I still use it and love it), and so it relies on the second podcast showing up on ShoutEngine. I also see it's not showing up in iTunes, either. I guess I can always download the MP3, but yeah, you know how it is…

  • craigsu

    So, from a devil's advocate non-enthusiast point of view, why not buy a fully optioned Toyota Avalon for just under $40K US MSRP instead of a near-base, mildly optioned ES350?

    • It's a rare creature that knows or cares enough to shop for the Avalon, but still doesn't care about cars/driving/image enough to drive an Avalon.

      I do know one guy who did that. 30 years ago he would've been driving a Buick, but now it's an Avalon.

    • Vairship

      I guess for some people L>>T

  • Drat

    The new ES is built off the new Avalon platform, not the Camry platform like the previous generation ES. To say it is a Camry with a nice suit is just flat wrong. Obviously, the reviewer does not care enough about cars to do a little research. Maybe the boring ES is the right car for him after all.

    • You are in fact correct.

      But you also sound like a dick.

    • dculberson

      Not only do you sound like a dick, but you're not actually right. The Avalon platform is the exact same as the Camry platform, just stretched a bit. They kind of obfuscate it in the marketing materials for the latest generation, but it's still the same platform. Trying to claim they're different platforms is like saying a Fox body Mustang is not on the same platform as the Fox body LTD – it's wrong.