The Lexus ES, originally a part of Toyota’s effort to penetrate the luxury market by adding high-end features to a reliable lineup of sedans. As time went on, and Lexus reached into the upper echelons of the luxury market, the ES grew distant from its Camry underpinnings on the surface, but retained a position as a solid competitor to domestic and import brands. For 2013, the ES moves to a platform shared with the larger Avalon, and the lineup also expands to include the ES300h, the first ES hybrid. Is the ES hybrid the car the luxury market was asking for?
Lexus has officially taken the wraps off the 2014 Lexus IS F Sport, which showcases a bold and radical update for the IS that successfully builds upon the themes that defined the current generation model and also sharpens its focus in the marketplace as it looks to take on competitors such as the Mercedes C -Class, Cadillac, ATS, and BMW 3 Series.
Remember the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis of 2009-2010? I’m sure Toyota hasn’t forgotten it. Nearly every model in the company’s lineup was recalled to replace floor mats that could have trapped the vehicles’ accelerator pedals, making it difficult to slow or stop the vehicles (unless owners turned off the cars or shifted them to neutral). Toyota has now proposed firmly putting the matter in its rearview mirror with a comprehensive settlement proposal that is slated to be reviewed by U.S. District Judge James Selna, who is presiding over the current class-action case on the matter. Continue Reading →
I’ve commented elsewhere on the fact that Japanese cars, even the finest of them, have always suffered from a certain blandness, not to say lack of character, so that you could be driving your Acura, Infiniti, or Lexus along a thoroughfare teeming with car lovers (an unlikely scenario, admittedly) and not a single head would turn, whereas the driver of, say, an aging Jaguar S-Type would draw the gaze of the most jaded. (I know whereof I speak, being that driver.) Face it: Jags have character and Toyotas don’t.
Once upon a time there was a French hatchback, and a very nice hatchback it was. It was called the Renault 16, and it caused a revolution in automotive design and functionality whose reverberations can still be felt. It wasn’t the first hatchback—the Kaiser Traveler and Renault’s own 4L came before—but it was the first mass-market, middle-class hatchback to sell in large numbers: over 1,845,959 R16s were produced during the car’s 15-year lifespan.
Lexus automobiles have a [deserved] reputation for being tuned for comfort and isolation than for performance, sport, or even fun. They are typically among the quietest on the road, and they’re able to gobble up mile after mile of highway driving, coddling their driver and passengers in buttery-soft leather, numb steering, and soft brakes. There are many people for whom that description holds appeal.
For the subset of the general population repulsed at the idea of experiencing complete isolation in one’s luxury automobile, Lexus has begun to branch out a bit from its softness. There’s the IS-F (a car we love), IS 350 F Sport, LFA supercar, and now the GS 350 F Sport.
Next time you’re in the Kalahari Desert or the Hindu Kush, check out the cars. Chances are you’ll see two kinds: Land Rovers and Toyota Land Cruisers, with maybe the odd Jeep Wrangler or Nissan Patrol lurking in the background. But if the UN peacekeeping forces are anywhere nearby, they’ll be exclusively in Land Cruisers, of which the UN has bought approx. 12,000 copies over the years. Why? That’s easy: Land Cruisers are big and practical and they don’t break down. Go-anywhere durability has been their stock in trade since 1953, when an early-model Land Cruiser scooted up Mount Fuji, setting a record for the first and highest automotive jaunt up Japan’s sacred mountain. “The Land Cruiser,” opined the New York Times, “may be the world’s most admired off-roader.”
The Lexus ES, the brand’s popular entry-level luxury sedan since its introduction nearly 23 years ago, is all-new for the 2013 model year, following the introduction of the latest Toyota Camry last year. Equally as important for the sixth-generation ES is the introduction of a hybrid option for the first time: the ES 300h. For Lexus, the brand that made the hybrid luxury vehicle a green commodity, some of its recent efforts (see: the recent fate of the HS250h) did not bear copious fruit. Is the market clamoring for an ES hybrid? Lexus recently invited Autosavant to sample both models at a regional event in northern New Jersey. Continue Reading →
Today we talk about Mopar’s in-car wireless charging pad and the price of the upcoming Dodge Dart. Next up, is an app from Lexus that will let you try their navigation before you buy the car. Then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and their goal to put an end to all power-braking. We talk about the next generation Mustang, just like the rest of the internet today. Finally, we plan to say goodbye to the Chevrolet Avalanche.
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