The 2013 Lexus ES350 isn't afraid to try new things. Unlike its conservative predecessors, the rejuvenated ES cuts a modern, edgy figure. But does it still deliver the expected luxuries? You bet it does. Here are five reasons why the 2013 ES350 is our favorite ES yet.

1. Dynamic New Styling

One look at this car, and it's clear that bolder styling was a priority. The details are particularly daring in front, where the angular hourglass grille and the chiseled fascia draw unprecedented stares. Remember what the previous ES looked like? We've already forgotten. But the new ES announces its presence with authority.

2. Up-to-Date Technology

The previous ES350 actually came standard with a tape deck, but you'll have to go digital if you get the new one. In other words, leave your mix tapes at home, but do bring your iPod or USB music device, as these technologies are fully integrated into every 2013 ES350. Many ES models will also have Lexus's Enform mobile app integration, which includes Pandora Internet radio. The Remote Touch Interface is another worthwhile extra, providing comprehensive access to infotainment functions with its unique mouse-like controller.

3. Powerful and Fuel-Efficient V6

Boasting a silky-smooth 268 horsepower and 31 mpg on the highway-3 mpg better than last year-the ES350's world-class 3.5-liter V6 demands no compromises. Indeed, the ES is about as fast as, say, a Porsche 911 from the 1980s, yet it's as fuel efficient as a modern family sedan. Whether you're passing rapidly on a two-lane or settling in for a long freeway haul, this lovely V6 never feels out of its element. No wonder Lotus uses it in the Evora exotic sports car.

4. Big Back Seat

Lexus has expanded the ES350's wheelbase by almost two inches, and back-seat passengers are the main beneficiaries. The ES is now a bona fide full-size car in terms of passenger space, giving it a real advantage over the smaller European luxury sedans at this price point. Sure, you could get a Mercedes-Benz C-Class instead, but your full-size friends will thank you for choosing the Lexus every time they ride in back. Incidentally, the ES's corporate cousin, the Toyota Camry, rides on a shorter wheelbase, so the ES's cabin is meaningfully larger than the Camry's for the first time ever.

5. A Ride Fit for Royalty

Many so-called luxury cars have been given stiff rides in hopes that those magazines you see in airports will call them "sporty." Well, Lexus knows what luxury shoppers want. The 2013 ES350 may look aggressive, but it retains that quiet, buttery-smooth ride that has always set this model apart. This is a "set it and forget it" kind of car-an ultra-refined cure for the common commute.

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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as and He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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