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2014 Lexus ES

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/10/2014 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2014

The 2014 Lexus ES line gains some minor changes after a full redesign for the 2013 model year, with LED fog lamps now included with HID headlamps, available heated/ventilated, perforated "NuLuxe" front seats, and Siri Eyes Free technology

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Vehicle Summary

The 2014 Lexus ES line is a family of midsize luxury sedans sold with a conventional V-6 gas engine or an available hybrid powertrain. It is only available in front-drive configuration.

Overview

The 2014 ES is available with either a 3.5-liter V-6 making 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque in the ES 350 or a 2.5-liter hybrid I-4 with a total output of 200 hp in the ES 300h. The V-6 engine is paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission while the hybrid powertrain is linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). While not a sports car, the ES, particularly the ES 350, provides brisk acceleration from a standstill. However, the lack of steering feel means that it remains comfort-oriented. Fuel economy is decent with the V-6 at 21/31 mpg city/highway, and the hybrid returns an impressive 40/39 mpg.

Interior space is ample for four passengers due to the ES line sharing the same platform as the Toyota Avalon. Refinement, however, is lacking with the car being "louder than expected" and a cabin made of materials that don't come up to par with the competition, with the exception of the large navigation screen. Available tech and convenience features are a 2014 ES strong suit, with options such as a 15-speaker 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, power closing trunk, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beam assist.

The 2014 Lexus ES has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and earned a good score on the four categories that the IIHS has tested it in (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

The 2014 Lexus ES line continues to excel at coddling its occupants with a comfortable ride and luxurious, well-appointed cabin made of high quality materials. In a 2013 First Test, we noted that the move to the Toyota Avalon's platform has increased trunk space and interior space exponentially "with more than four inches of added legroom in the rear seat." Where the ES line falters is its lack of refinement with a rough ride and excessive tire noise that detracts from the car's cushiness. We said in a 2012 Comparison Test that the ES 350 "was loud for a Lexus" and had "a lot of road noise" due to the use of hard low-rolling resistance tires on both variants.

You'll Like

  • Excellent acceleration in V-6 models
  • Impressive hybrid fuel economy
  • Cavernous rear seat room

You Won't Like

  • Numb steering
  • Loud cabin
  • Refinement not up to Lexus standard

Key Competitors

  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Acura TLX
  • Hyundai Azera
  • Kia Cadenza
  • Lincoln MKZ

Rating

2 star

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