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Lexus gives ES model a new face, and a hybrid

Lexus' front-wheel-drive sedan, the ES, showed up at the 2012 New York auto show with a new look, larger interior dimensions, and a new hybrid version.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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Lexus ES under glass

At the 2012 New York auto show, Lexus introduces the new ES model under a glass structure that looks like it was taken from outside the Louvre. This new ES comes amidst a complete model revamp from Lexus.
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2013 Lexus ES 350

The most notable feature of the new ES is the pinched grille and LED parking lights in the headlight casings, a style finding its way throughout the Lexus model lineup.
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2013 Lexus ES 350

Despite the new look, there is little change under the hood for the standard version. As before, the ES 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
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2013 Lexus ES 350

Lexus gives the ES a longer wheelbase, which makes for more interior room. Because of its roomier cabin, Lexus boasts that the new ES competes with the Mercedes-Benz E-class.
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2013 Lexus ES 350

The rear styling looks to borrow a little bit from BMW. Lexus claims the new ES has better handling and more responsive steering than in previous versions. Toyota made similar improvements to the new Camry, which has many similarities to the ES.
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2013 Lexus ES 350

Lexus gives the ES its Remote Touch cabin tech interface, which uses a square joystick to move a pointer on the LCD. The new Enform system, with app integration, is also included.
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2013 Lexus ES 300h

The surprise announcement for the New York auto show was the addition of a hybrid model to the ES line. Making an ES hybrid means that the only Lexus models without hybrid versions are the IS and LX.
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2013 Lexus ES 300h

Lexus did not have to work too hard to develop the hybrid powertrain for the ES 300h. The 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four cylinder with complementary electric drive system is similar to what's found in the new Camry hybrid. With this hybrid system, Lexus says the ES 300h gets 40 mpg. Like the Camry Hybrid, it should also be good for 200 horsepower.
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2013 Lexus ES 300h

With the same body as the ES 350, the ES 300h also boasts a large passenger compartment. Lexus has done a very good job of fitting its cars with hybrid systems that do not impinge significantly on trunk or cabin space.
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2013 Lexus ES 300h

Besides the blue tinted badges, one unique styling cue for the ES 300h is a hidden exhaust pipe. Lexus de-emphasizes the exhaust by hiding it behind the bumper.
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11 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

2013 Lexus ES 300h

The ES 300h will get the same cabin tech package as the ES 350. Its instrument cluster will differ by showing a power gauge, and a power flow animation will be available on the center LCD.

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