NEW FOR 2014:

– NuLuxe synthetic leather seating surfaces are standard
– Siri Eyes-Free voice control added

The quintessential Lexus sedan is carried over mostly unchanged after a year of being on the market. Sharing its platform with the Toyota Avalon, the ES offers buyers stretch-out rear legroom, a comfortable ride, and a serene cabin thanks to a surprisingly aerodynamic body and plenty of sound insulation.

In addition to the creamy-smooth 268-hp 3.5-litre DOHC V6 engine that has been powering the ES for years, there is also a new fuel-efficient hybrid model. Its 2.5-litre four-cylinder is the same unit that can be found under the hood of the Camry Hybrid, and makes 200 horsepower. What the ES 300h hybrid lacks in outright refinement, it gains back in fuel economy: a Prius-like 4.7 L/100 km. Why it took Lexus so long to bring a Hybrid ES to market is beyond us, but it’s a logical choice for many ES customers. Where the ES 350 features a six-speed automatic, the ES 300h mandates a CVT transmission. Both are front-wheel drive.

Both V6 and hybrid ES models come well-equipped with many standard features: keyless access with push-button start, 10-way power adjustable heated NuLuxe seats with heating and ventilation, garage door opener, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, power moonroof, LED daytime running lights, and an eight-speaker sound system with USB, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes-Free voice control.

There are four upgrade packages on offer to ES 350 buyers.

The Premium Package includes a power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated wood steering wheel, a 7-inch infotainment display system, driver’s seat memory, reverse camera, rain-sensing wipers, and wood trim.

The Leather and Navigation Package drops the NuLuxe upholstery for the real deal, HID headlamps, an upgraded stereo system, and a larger 8-inch display screen for infotainment and navigation.

The Touring Package builds on the Leather and Navigation package with stylish 18-inch wheels, premium leather seats, power trunk, passenger seat memory, a panoramic sunroof, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and premium illuminated entry.

The Technology Package brings the added element of active safety to the ES’ repertoire. As the range-topper, it adds radar cruise control with pre-collision auto-brake, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, back-up sensors, and automatic high beams.

The ES 300h is similarly equipped to the base ES 350, but it receives a back-up camera as standard, as well as the upgraded 7-inch colour Lexus Audio Display, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, and driver’s memory seat. There are three additional upgrade packages which build on it.

The Navigation Package adds, as you’d expect, navigation, with a larger (8-inch) screen. Also included are an in-dash DVD player, a heated wood steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers.

The Leather Package adds genuine leather upholstery, HID lights, power rear sunshade, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and premium illuminated entry.

The ES 300h Technology Package features radar cruise control with pre-collision auto-brake, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, back-up sensors, and automatic high beams. It also gets a power-adjustable under-thigh bolster for the driver, premium leather upholstery, power trunk, and passenger seat memory.

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