Used 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan Review

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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2013 Lexus ES 350 remains the standard-bearer for a relaxed, luxuriously insulated form of transportation. The competition has narrowed the gap over the years, though, so it's hardly your only option for an entry-level luxury sedan.

  • Pros

    Powerful, velvety-smooth V6; comfortable ride and composed handling; luxurious high-tech interior; generous rear legroom; excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Mouse-based electronics interface is distracting to use.

  • What's New for 2013

    The Lexus ES 350 has been completely redesigned for 2013. It has been joined by the ES 300h hybrid model.

Full 2013 Lexus ES 350 Review

What's New for 2013

The Lexus ES 350 has been completely redesigned for 2013. It has been joined by the ES 300h hybrid model.


The Lexus ES has always been a car whose loyal owners simply trade in one for another when it's time to buy another car. Each generation has been designed to a familiar formula of ample midsize proportions, solid reliability, simple controls, a comfy ride and enough luxury features and ambience to justify its price over the mechanically related Toyota Camry. Well, the 2013 Lexus ES 350 represents a new generation. Does it carry on the family line?

There are no worries here, because the new ES 350 maintains that familiar formula. Even its exterior styling is an evolution of the previous car. Lexus has adopted some styling cues from the new GS, but the ES's silhouette is instantly familiar. The interior is a more radical departure, however, as the anonymous design of the old car has been replaced with a far more modern and visually interesting one. The controls are a little more complicated than before -- especially with the love-it or hate-it Remote Touch electronics interface -- but that's simply a result of the increased number of electronics features that must be controlled.

Mechanically, the new ES 350 is once again related to the latest Toyota Camry, but is now closer in size to the also-related Toyota Avalon. All three cars share various engine and other mechanical similarities, but the differences are sufficient enough to disprove the common refrain that the ES 350 is just a Camry with a Lexus badge. More importantly, the ES 350 boasts a more structurally rigid body than before as well as suspension and steering changes. This makes it feel more buttoned-down and solid, while also more responsive to driver inputs. The ES 350 has always been both appreciated and admonished for the isolated way it goes about its business, and we doubt that will change. However, the new car makes the driver feel a little more in control -- especially when the new Sport mode is engaged -- and that should always be considered a good thing.

In total, the 2013 Lexus ES 350 should continue to please its loyal customer base while being updated enough to remain relevant in this competitive entry-level luxury sedan segment. The old car was getting very stale, and those willing to look around a bit were likely to find the Buick LaCrosse and Hyundai Genesis provided a similar formula with plenty of advantages -- price being the primary one. The new-for-2013 ES 350 has caught up in most respects, but those aforementioned rivals and the Acura TL should still be considered. Whether you're on your sixth ES or a first-time shopper, the ES is no longer our automatic pick in this class, and this has everything to do with the strength of the competition.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 is a midsize luxury sedan that seats five people.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, LED running lamps, foglamps, a sunroof, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, vinyl upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Safety Connect emergency communications, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Lexus Display Audio package adds a large central screen, the Remote Touch electronics interface, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and HD radio with iTunes tagging. The Navigation package includes all of the above items plus a navigation system, voice control, real-time traffic and weather, and the Lexus Enform suite of Internet-based apps. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system can be added to the Navigation package.

To the Display Audio and Navigation packages you can add the Premium package, which adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, real wood trim and a wood-trimmed steering wheel. Or, you could add the Luxury package, which includes all of the Premium items plus xenon headlamps, parking sensors, extended leather trim, heated and ventilated seats, and a power rear sunshade. The Ultra Luxury package goes one step further by adding a panoramic sunroof, a power-closing trunk, automatic wipers, a 10-way power driver seat, passenger seat memory functions, manual rear door sunshades, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting and the Mark Levinson system. This package requires the choice of either special 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control (includes the pre-collision system), a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a power-closing trunk, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, xenon headlamps, heated front seats (with the standard vinyl upholstery), a heated steering wheel and a power rear sunshade.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the ES 350 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is on par with its competitors. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.


Every 2013 Lexus ES 350 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also included is Lexus Safety Connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and an emergency assist button.

Optional equipment includes parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot monitor that includes a rear cross-traffic alert system. The optional adaptive cruise control includes the pre-collision system, which primes the seatbelts and brakes when it senses an impending collision.

In Edmunds brake testing, the ES came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is average.

In government crash testing, the ES 350 earned a top five-star rating for its overall performance, with five stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the ES the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2013 Lexus ES 350's cabin is a far more modern, stylish environment than that of past models. There's still wood trim on hand, but it's more subtly applied and looks more like the genuine article. The analog clock in the center of the dash is a classy touch that breaks up the otherwise high-tech environment. Of course, the quality of materials depends on whether you opt for one of the luxury packages, but build quality is excellent in typical Lexus fashion.

The climate controls are still quite simple to use, but those for the audio system have become more complicated due to the increased number of available media types. When you opt for the Display Audio or Navigation package, you get the Lexus Remote Touch system, which is essentially a mouselike device that controls a cursor on a large centrally located screen. We've found this interface to be likable in that it's very similar to using a computer mouse, but the ultra-sensitive nature of the controller can be distracting while driving, and we recommend playing around with it before taking an ES 350 home.

Space is ample all around, with the ES 350 coming closer to the Avalon in size than the Camry to which it has traditionally been compared. Backseat legroom, in particular, is very impressive, but taller occupants will find their heads touching the roof in ES 350s equipped with the optional panoramic sunroof. The trunk offers 15.2 cubic feet of space, which is average for a midsize car. The rear seats do not fold down, however, and only a pass-through is offered.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Lexus ES 350 delivers a refined driving experience that's bolstered by a V6 engine that's smooth and responsive. No one will ever deem the new ES sporty, but few people will expect it to be. Instead, this year's more precise steering response and feel is a welcome improvement that everyone should appreciate. The ES's Sport mode further sharpens steering and throttle response, but the resulting driving experience feels like it would be a normal mode in many other cars. The actual "Normal" mode would be a comfort setting.

At highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably silent, mostly devoid of wind, road or engine noise. Bumps and ruts in the road are now better absorbed than before, but don't expect complete isolation or the floating sensations many assume the ES exhibits.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 14 reviews) Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My first lexus

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This is my first Lexus. I have an 08 Infiniti G37 coupe. I am very pleased with the car. It is quiet fun to drive especially on ling trips. The navigation electronics takes getting use to and its true either love it or hate it. We love it once learned how to use it. The dealer was more than helpful eith any questions we had. Since I am retired my wife and I drive rather than fly. We reciently drove from Houston Tx. to Boothbay Maine. The car was a pleasure to drive we averaged 28 MPG! I would definately recommend this car.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

Very disappointed for this es350.

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Very disappointed for this ES350, it's 19km now. I bought it for its serene and comfortable reputation, this vehicle is not quite at lot. 1. The car vibrates when it stopped and the engine is engaged, the vibration makes me so uncomfortable that I have to switch to neutral whenever stopping before traffic light. I took it to dealer to check, I was told it's rotor's problem. I don't think that's the case because it vibrates also when I don't press breaker.

3 of 14 people found this review helpful

After 5 bmw5 series-why i changed

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

After owning five BMW 5 Series over a period of 25 years I finally made the move. I test drove the new 2013 BMW528X and it was wonderful. Quite an upgrade from my 2009 528e I was offering in trade. Then I visited a Lexus dealer and test drove an 2013 ES350. It was love at first drive. The steering wheel was beautiful. The overall feel matched the BMW. Performance felt easily as good also. The appearance is truly special. The BMW was the same old, same old ,although a little improvement . I guess I just needed a change. The fit and finish inside and out is perfect. The clincher was that it was $14,000 less, net of trade. I have always found my BMWs depreciated too much over 5 years.

5 of 10 people found this review helpful

An honest reliable review of lexus es350, $44,592

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have had two Lexus cars before and was very happy with them. DESIGN-The new design is Very Nice inside and outside. NAVIGATION-I especially like that large navigation screen - it is so much better than the previous ones that were smaller. RIDE-The ride is much more stiff. I think they were right to do this, it makes driving the car much more safe than the "cushy" ride that can be dangerous in emergency situations. POWER-Its good, but for this new car and more powerful engine would have been very nice. GAS MILEAGE-I am getting 22 mpg overall because I push the gas peddle down a lot.

1 of 18 people found this review helpful

Lexus versus camry

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This is a good car but it is no better than the 2013 Camry XLE. Ours is fully loaded with premium Nav and prem. sound system. It is all leather and rides the same as the ES350. Our Camry has more chrome and tinted windows. It has remote start. Our Camry is loaded with every option available and has more features than the first two trims of the ES350. We rented the ES350 along with the Camry, Avalon, Accord and Altima. We drove each car 200 miles. We did this because we got burnt on a 2010 impala. In fact the Nissan Altima had the best ride and comfortable seats of all the cars we rented. They have Zero Gravity seats and they are the best. Just couldn't trust that CVT Transmission.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

A 30-year-old guy buys es 350?

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Vehicle: 2013 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I just turned 30, and previously drove BMW 320, MINI Cooper and Lexus IS 250. As you can see, I am a typical young guy with some money to be spent on cars, loving sporty cars. I was looking to replace my IS 250 and was looking at GS 350 and Audi A6 at first. While searching, the new ES 350 came along. I wouldn't have even considered ES 350 previously since it looked just too much of a grandpa's car. The new styling got me. Comparing the three cars, I noted that ES 350 was the best bang for the buck. Yes, it does not drive like a sports car. For that matter, I like the new GS 350. However, it has more space and its ride is slick and balanced. Switching to Sport mode does help fun driving.

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Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 31
  • highway
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Lexus ES 350 Sedan in VA is:

$140.00 per month*

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