It’s been an amazing week. I was invited by Lexus to attend the espnW Summit in Tucson, Ariz. Lexus is the official sponsor of the Summit and gave a handful of lifestyle bloggers and media the opportunity to drive the new Lexus ES.
I enjoyed learning about the 2013 Lexus ES, especially the fact that they’re offering a hybrid option and incorporated so many eco-friendly features in this model – including sustainable bamboo in the interior panel and Nu-Luxe seat upholstery, a leather-like fabric that’s made with no VOCs. And I was impressed to learn that Lexus was the first carmaker to introduce a luxury hybrid back in 2005, and has continued to develop hybrid cars ever since.
I had a chance to test-drive the Lexus ES hybrid, and frankly it was one of the sweetest rides I’ve ever had. It has a lot of pick-up and transitioned speeds so smoothly. There’s an option to drive on “eco” mode, which maximizes the car’s fuel efficiency – as well as on “normal” and “sport,” which maximizes the car’s power (and not so fuel efficient). There’s even an “EV” model, which shuts the car off completely – if, for instance, you were trying to stealthily drive into the garage without waking up the kids after bedtime.
The details in the car were just amazing. For instance, the stitching on the steering wheel and dashboard are hand-stitched by Takumi masters in Japan. These highly skilled craftsmen must pass an origami test before they can work on the Lexus stitching. They have to fold an origami cat within 90 seconds with their non-dominant hand. I joked with the Lexus team that I think my 7-year-old son might be a future Takumi master – he can fold origami cranes just by memory.
Other details on the new Lexus ES include:
- Dynamic radar cruise control, which is like cruise control on steroids. This version actually follows the vehicle in front by three different presets so if the car in front slows down, the ES will slow down too
- Park Assist, built-in sensors that beep when backing up or going around corners
- Inform technology that utilizes apps from a smartphone such as Bing for point-of-interest landmarks (such as the nearest coffee shop), Pandora for music, MovieTickets.com, Yelp for restaurant recommendations, and more.
- Destination Assist, live-person navigation.
- Pre-collision, a cool technology that will sense when a collision is imminent and will slow down and cinch seat belts to protect the driver and passengers.
- Key presets for each driver on seat adjustments, etc.
- And lots of hands-free options like Bluetooth
It was incredibly roomy both in the front and back seats. The ES would easily pass the “kick test” which is whether my 5-year-old son can kick the back of my seat while sitting in his car seat in the back. I was tempted to drive off with it because it was just gorgeous.
All Lexus cars and parts, with the exception of the RX model, are manufactured in Japan. The Lexus EX gets 31 miles per gallon (MPG) and retails for about $36,000, while the ES hybrid gets 40 MPG and retails for about $38,800. I was surprised that the ES was so affordable – especially the hybrid model.
The other perk of buying a Lexus is the personal assistance. When you buy a Lexus, a delivery specialist will make sure you know how to use the car and all of its features. And if it’s too much to learn at one time, customers are invited to come back to the dealer at any time to get help from a technology specialist, modeled after Apple’s Genius Bar concept.
Want to test drive a Lexus ES yourself? Download the Lexus ES app for iPad from iTunes. The app is like a virtual or a gamer’s version of an owner’s manual.
I was invited to attend the espnW Summit by Lexus, but I was not compensated to write this review. I received information and specs about the 2013 Lexus ES from the Lexus team, but otherwise all opinions are my own.