2013 Lexus GS 350
Starting MSRP $47,250–$49,800
The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is race-inspired and feels sporty with its stiff suspension. With this redesigned midsize sedan, Lexus waves goodbye to the squishy and cushy and hopes to say hello to a new type of driver, the enthusiast.
But how does it work for the family driver? It works out well. My test car, a GS 350 F-Sport, came with the bells and whistles that make the average driver happy without sacrificing the performance that may interest enthusiast buyers. The five-seater is fun to drive with its 3.5-liter V-6 engine and nimble handling. The GS looks more modern with the updated spindle grille and squared-off taillights.
The GS F-Sport has the Lexus Drive Mode Selector that adapts drivetrain and in-car settings to Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+ modes. I was impressed with how much power the V-6 had in Sport S+ mode. The suspension and steering were tighter, but the steering eased up at slower speeds. In Eco mode, the GS drove more conservatively for better fuel economy, and I was reminded it was in this mode with a blue-illuminated instrument cluster. When in Sport S and Sport S+ modes, the gauge cluster was lit red. In either mode, braking was responsive yet not too grabby.
The 2013 GS 350 has a starting price of $47,775, including an $875 destination charge. My test car, a GS 350 with all-wheel drive and the F Sport Package, cost $58,897.
The new GS looks more assertive and modern. It leans forward, looking ready to race at any stoplight or highway fast lane. This is a refreshing change; I like its powerful, sinewy aesthetic.
The sedan's doors were easy to open for everyone in my family. Parents should note that the roofline at the rear doors slopes downward, making it difficult for parents to help little ones get in the car and buckled up. Head bonks and backaches will be the norm until your kids are able to get themselves buckled up.
The trunk is a good size, and parents should have few issues loading oddly shaped items like strollers and portable cribs into it. I liked the grocery hooks that folded down from the trunk and wished there was more than one set. Guess what doesn't fold down? The rear seats. There's a pass-through for longer items, but if you're planning on extra trunk space — don't.
The 2013 GS 350 has a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with direct injection, and it uses premium gas. It gets an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg city/highway for the rear-wheel-drive GS 350. The all-wheel-drive version gets 19/26 mpg. These fuel-economy numbers don't exactly scream eco, but maybe if you drive in Eco mode most of the time you can work out a better number.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
The F-Sport Package adds amazing 16-way power-adjustable front seats to the GS 350. There was every adjustment available, including side bolsters and thigh adjustments. I could move the bottom seat cushion forward or back to provide support and prevent fatigue. Add to that the ventilated seat option and this mama rarely wanted to leave the GS' cabin.
Lexus' Enform multimedia system is simple to use. A mouse-like joystick works in conjunction with the display, and the cursor will "snap" into place when you get near your choice on the screen. This is cool, but it still required my eyes to be off the road more than I preferred.
In the backseat, my kids didn't have all the seating options I did, but they loved the rear power sunshade that kept the sun off of them. The rear legroom was fine for them — they're 10 and 8 years old — but it should be noted that a rear-facing infant-safety seat required the front passenger to sacrifice some legroom. At 5 feet 5 inches tall, I would have been OK sitting in front of the rear-facing safety seat, but my 6-foot-tall husband would have been cramped.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
The 2013 Lexus GS 350 has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It received the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
There are two sets of Latch anchors in the GS 350's outboard rear seats. The anchors are easy to use, so are the three tether anchors on the rear shelf. Rear seat belts are partially recessed into the bench, which may be tricky for kids in tall convertible seats to use. Find out how the 2013 GS 350 performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.
The 2013 GS 350 has standard rear-wheel drive, antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, a backup camera, active front head restraints and 10 airbags, including rear-seat side-impact airbags. Optional features are all-wheel drive, night vision, front and rear parking sensors, head-up display, adaptive headlights, and lane keep assist and departure warning systems.
Get more safety information about the 2013 Lexus GS 350 here.
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