By Rick Popely on October 9, 2013
Most significant changes: Siri Eyes-Free Mode hands-free technology for iPhone 4S and 5; LED fog lights; available bamboo interior trim
Price change: $100 increase
On sale: Early October
Which you should buy, 2013 or 2014? 2013
The Lexus ES 350 sedan was redesigned for 2013, and it gained the ES 300h hybrid model that uses the same system as the Toyota Camry Hybrid, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The ES 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V-6.
For 2014, Siri Eyes-Free Mode is newly available on the ES 350 with the optional display audio or navigation system. It works with the iPhone 4S and 5 and allows voice-operated features such as playing iTunes, composing and listening to text messages, and hearing emails, calendar information and directions.
The optional high-intensity discharge headlights now include LED fog lights. Bamboo interior trim, which is already offered on the ES 300h, is a new option for the ES 350, and heated and ventilated front seats are available with the standard simulated leather upholstery.
The ES 350, a plush front-wheel-drive sedan based on the Camry, has long been the most popular Lexus car model and ranks second in brand sales to the RX SUV. The starting price is an enticing $37,380, including a $910 destination charge, but that doesn't include leather, heated seats or a navigation system — options that can add thousands of dollars to the cost.
Though 2014 models are starting to go on sale now and the price increase is minimal, plenty of 2013s remain available. Dealers may be willing to offer generous discounts to move older models.
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick