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A technician's short review of the '13 es

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A technician's short review of the '13 es

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Old 08-08-12, 08:43 PM
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diagtime
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Wink A technician's short review of the '13 es

If you want to know about a car, ask a technician. We drive cars all day. Every Lexus, every day, in every situation. We know things you don't wanna know. countless miles in every mile. And in every mile, we are listening and feeling for anything unusual. Especially guys that specialize in diagnostics.

So....a couple of weeks ago.....one of our service writers talked about how excited he was for the new ES to arrive. I laughed a bit, and told him he sounded like a salesman. After all, in the service department, we're mostly "car guys." We tend to get more excited about cars like the GS, LS, and even IS. The RWD cars. The ES however, has always been a good, reliable, and sensible car. It's the #1 seller for very good reasons. I just don't think excitement is one of those reasons.

Maybe excitement isn't the right word; but after inspecting and driving both of the new ES models, SOMETHING inspired me to register to a forum and post my thoughts..........

My expectations of the new ES were simple. I thought it would be a modified and refreshed version of the last ES. In many ways it is.........but there are a few ways where it is SO MUCH BETTER. I'll start with the big one.

1.THE WAY IT DRIVES AND RIDES. the last ES did not have a firm suspension, but it also wasn't very refined. Feedback can be felt from minor imperfections in the road. bumps would tweak the steering wheel (bumpsteer). Larger bumps gave a slight shake to the chassis. Most of you might think i'm crazy about that.....but i'm not. I'm picky and I pay attention.
-The 2013 ES is completely different. If you want to know what they changed in the suspension, ask a salesman. I'm sure they can tell you all about it based on what they read in a brochure. But whatever Lexus did, it works. The new ES rides beautifully. It really "irons out the road". The suspension absorbs all those imperfections you could feel in last year's ES. You don't hear the bumps, you don't feel the bumps, and the bumpsteer is virtually gone. The chassis feels rock solid. The blows taken by the suspension do not transfer to the cabin of the car. This car drives so much more like the GS and the LS. It never will feel quite like its big brothers, but for a front wheel drive car, the ES is moving from a sensible, reliable, and luxurious car.......to a truly pleasant place to be. Considering how much time we spend in our cars, I think they should be pleasant places to be.

2. THE ES300H. ....So it has a little more horsepower than the HS250h. it's also a little bigger. I Figured it would also by a slug. Fair enough, considering the fuel mileage. Again, the new ES caught me off guard. The ES hybrid jumps off the line and keeps on pulling. It won't keep up with the overpowered ES350, but it's no slug. 200hp? Maybe so, but it feels like more.
-Fuel mileage......Like all lexus hybrids, I'm sure it will get the advertised 40 mpg and maybe more. The keys to getting this mileage are very light throttle and light braking. That's true for any car, but it's even more important in the hybrids. Also, what Toyota likes to call the "Atkinson cycle" engine, is only more efficient under very light loads. This efficient load level is so light that it wouldn't really work without the aid of the electric motors. Point is, if you want good mileage in a Lexus hybrid, relax and be easy on the pedals. If you can do that, the system will reward you with absolutely ridiculously good mileage.
-Hybrid reliability. I used to be a doubter. I used to tell people how much the HV batteries cost and what else could go wrong. Well guess what......It's just not happening. Sure there were some issues with the inverter on the early RX400h. Lexus took care of that with a recall. Other than that, our hybrids keep on goin. The batteries are fine, the transmissions are fine, the cars are fine. I'm sure you can find remote cases of problems, but as far as overall reliability, I'll put the hybrids up against our normal cars.......and they keep improving the hybrid technology significantly. I doubt even Toyota/Lexus knew just how reliable the hybrids would turn out. In fact, I recommended my own mother to buy one. Her GS450h now has 125,000 miles on it. It's been a real hassle too. In those 125k, I've had to replace two headlight bulbs, a parking sensor, and fixed a dash rattle. Maintenance Hog!!

3. THE INTERIOR. It's the little touches that count. The new ES may have teamed up with the new RX to steal the 2013 GS's steering wheel, but so what? It's a nice steering wheel...... and i can't explain why I like it so much, it's just nice. It's the one thing the driver is always touching, so it's kinda important. It feels solid and it looks like someone actually took time to design it.
-The dash is leather, or a great imitation of it. I'm sure a salesman can straighten that up for you. Either way, it's nice. The edge of it also features hand stitching. I don't think the stitching has a functional purpose, but only 20 people in the world are allowed to do the stitching. sounds like a really boring job, but for us, it's a nice touch. You can tell also. you can see very slight differences in the stitching between cars in certain spots. I like that. I like the idea that human care was put into the building of a car. Not just a bunch of robots.
-I wish the screen was bigger like the GS's...but it's still nice. There are several ways the interior is overshadowed by the new GS........but let's be honest. If they make it too close to the GS, GS sales would be hurt . By the way....with the remote touch mouse pointer thingy......turn the feedback force up to 5. Unless you find it fun to accidentally click the wrong thing on the screen. That goes for the GS and RX as well.
-By the way, I'm a big guy and drive with the seat set way back. I looked behind me in the new ES and found that another full size adult could sit comfortably behind me. Yet another little surprise/

4. RELIABILITY. No need to name specific cars, but there have been times in the last 10 years where Lexus may have been a little slack in this department. Sales were good, but Lexus paid dearly for their oversights. They are still paying for those oversights. Since then, they've put less faith in computer generated tests and put more resources into actual people testing the cars. Thing started to turn for the better with the new LX and GX.....which were both good cars before. But the real sign of improvement came with the 2010 RX. Every car has little issues here and there, but the 2010 RX has proven that Lexus is back on track with reliability and quality. So far, the new GS has continued with recent trend. All new cars have growing pains, but the 2013 GS has has far less than it's predecessor.
-I expect nothing less from the new ES. I'm sure we'll find glitches every now and then, but I really believe this is going to carry on the ES tradition or reliability. It also helps that the engine and transmission have been around for 6 years.

5.THE LOOKS. I'll let you guys argue about the spindle grille. I think it's necessary though. you may love it or hate it but at least it's noticeable. Imagine a normal person driving.....and any 2012 Lexus pulls up behind them. It's not striking, it's not imposing, but unless that person knows cars very well, they probably won't take notice and they certainly won't recognize it as a lexus. Same scenario, but any 2012 Audi shows up in the rear view mirror. Even a blind person would know that an Audi just pulled up behind them......... So that's what Lexus wants. They want to make their cars recognizable at a quick glance. They want people to know that a Lexus is in their rear view mirror. Love it or hate it, the spindle grille is here to stay.
-Side note.......do you like the look of the new GS F-sport??? younger people almost always say yes. Younger people don't understand why all GS's don't look like that. I agree. However, it seems that many "mature" people (aka 55 years old or more), find the GS F-Sport too tacky and flashy. They're wrong......obviously. But paramedics better be standing by when they get a good look at the 2013 LS. Especially the F-Sport. Who knew Lexus would ever make an LS that looks like it's going to attack you? I say excellent work Lexus........now would you please put a manual transmission in a car that has more power than a blender!!!!!!!!!!!

Good night
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Old 08-08-12, 08:47 PM
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Great writeup and welcome!
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Old 08-08-12, 08:52 PM
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good stuff.. waiting for my black on black H
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Old 08-08-12, 08:56 PM
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Definitely a great write up. And pretty much summed up my thoughts of the new ES as well. I was highly considering the GS as my next lease.. but the ES is looking like a good option as well. I really like the direction Lexus has taken its lineup and i cant wait to see whats next.
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Old 08-08-12, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RTIS250 View Post
Definitely a great write up. And pretty much summed up my thoughts of the new ES as well. I was highly considering the GS as my next lease.. but the ES is looking like a good option as well. I really like the direction Lexus has taken its lineup and i cant wait to see whats next.

My write up was about the ES because it surprised me and totally beat my expectations. I had high expectations for the GS and it has met those expectations. I like the GS better......but that's the way it should be when you pay more for it. Spend some time in both cars. You'll be happy either way.
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Old 08-08-12, 09:54 PM
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Lexus Enform- forgot to comment about that. Let's be honest........It's one of those things that sounds really cool at first but will probably get limited use. just like the voice command nonsense. BUT.....there are some cool things in the App suite. On every pre-delivery inspection we do, we have to connect our smartphones and update the app suite. So I get to play with Enform a lot......and here's what i like.
-Pandora and iHeartRadio. If you don't have Pandora, it's a great app and is worth trying. It's nice to have control of pandora from the car. (bluetooth audio requires songs to be changed via the phone). Pandora will likely be the most used app in the suite by a lot.
-Bing...why???? anyone who drives a recent Lexus with nav will tell you that you can't search for a destination while the car is moving. that can be annoying if you're on the road and want to search for something nearby. you have to stop. With BING, you still can't type in a search while moving, but you can click on the microphone to activate the voice search. And because it sends the voice clip over the internet to a server (like google voice or Siri can do), IT ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. Point is, you can search for a destination while driving and a couple of clicks later your NAV system will be guiding you there. Don't know if they meant to allow you to do that, but it can be quite convenient. And actually, I find it easier to use Bing to search for a destination even while stopped.
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Old 08-08-12, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by diagtime View Post
My write up was about the ES because it surprised me and totally beat my expectations. I had high expectations for the GS and it has met those expectations. I like the GS better......but that's the way it should be when you pay more for it. Spend some time in both cars. You'll be happy either way.
Being a Lexus tech of 12 years myself, ive been able to experience the cars the same way you have. Its always nice to be able to make a choice based on extended experiences rather than walking onto a lot and liking a car but not really knowing it deeply.
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Old 08-09-12, 08:56 AM
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diagtime, thanks for the write up, interesting reading. I've had two ES350's and haven't really noticed the bumpsteer except for really harsh conditions, but I would welcome a little more feel from the ride and especially in the steering.

I've read most of the early reviews on the 2013 and it seems like 1/2 of them say the ride/handling has improved and the other 1/2 say it hasn't changed much. I'm anxious to drive one myself since it's pretty subjective. All in all it's nice to have the new gen out there since the current has been around for 6 years now.
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Old 08-09-12, 09:47 AM
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Nice write up!
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Old 08-09-12, 10:55 AM
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Great write-up, and welcome to Club Lexus!
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Old 08-09-12, 11:12 AM
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Good writeup.

Yeah...I drive my 2010 all day everyday and really noticed no difference between how the 2013 rides and drives and how my 2010 rides and drives. Thats not a bad thing, because I think mine rides and drives great, but I got out of the 2013 and right back in my 2010...and if my eyes were shut I don't think I could have told the difference.
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Old 08-09-12, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SW10ES View Post
Good writeup.

Yeah...I drive my 2010 all day everyday and really noticed no difference between how the 2013 rides and drives and how my 2010 rides and drives. Thats not a bad thing, because I think mine rides and drives great, but I got out of the 2013 and right back in my 2010...and if my eyes were shut I don't think I could have told the difference.
in a lot of situations there isn't much difference. we have train tracks nearby. every test drive i take goes over them. I drive es350's all the time, obviously it's a very popular car. the train tracks were the place where i felt the biggest difference. the 2013 felt very insulated from the abuse the suspension was taking. also......and this is a hard thing to describe.....the chassis felt more solid on the rough stuff. very little chassis vibrations were felt in the seat and the steering wheel. A salesman told me today that the new ES chassis is 40% more rigid than the last. I believe it.

And if you think i'm crazy about chassis rigidity and vibrations.......go drive an sc430. if you run over a cupcake, you can actually see the steering wheel (and whole column) shake. ok maybe it has to be more than a cupcake..............but the SC has one of the least rigid chassis i've ever seen. when we put an sc430 on the lift we have to put the windows down. If we don't, the doors won't close. The chassis flexes that much......and you can feel it on the road. That is......if you're in tune with cars and are paying attention.
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Old 08-09-12, 06:19 PM
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I drove them again today, you're right there is definitely a slight improvement in rigidity...
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Old 08-09-12, 08:26 PM
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Thanks for the detailed write up. My Nebula Gray 13 ES is finally at the dealership and I am picking it up tomorrow at 11am. Will post pics soon from my driveway Sat morning. Looking forward to feeling the difference between my 2010 ES that I am trading in and the new 13 since I didn't care to test drive it since I wanted it either way....
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Old 08-10-12, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 7 SEVEN View Post
Thanks for the detailed write up. My Nebula Gray 13 ES is finally at the dealership and I am picking it up tomorrow at 11am. Will post pics soon from my driveway Sat morning. Looking forward to feeling the difference between my 2010 ES that I am trading in and the new 13 since I didn't care to test drive it since I wanted it either way....
Let us know what you think. I would be amazed if you aren't pleased. Nebula is a good color by the way. Somehow makes gray appealing. It's a good color on all of our new cars.
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