SINCE its debut in 1990, the Lexus ES has become the second bestselling model for the Japanese automaker after the RX sports utility vehicle. However, in a highly competitive segment, the Japanese mid-size luxury sedan has yet to achieve the same status as its German counterparts including BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. But that may change soon.
Now into its seventh generation, the team at Lexus promised to shake things up. From design to performance, features, and comfort, the newly improved luxury sedan will be giving its rivals a run for their money. Here are 5 things you need to know about the new 2019 Lexus ES.
The new iteration is looking better than ever. It’s longer, wider and it sits lower than the outgoing model. Building on the all-new GA-K platform, the new ES features a distinctive downward slanted lower hood design that exhibits a dynamic and sporty profile which complement its newfound performance capabilities. While the new design gave the new ES a sportier stance it also enhanced the driving performance of the car as well as the stability and rigidity of the chassis.
The styling of the rear end is kept clean, with LED lamps wrapping around the quarter panels to create a continuous styling line look when viewed from any angle. The innovative design continues through the underneath and on the sides of the car to direct airflow smoothly and more rapidly around the body to improve handling, high-speed control and fuel efficiency while reducing noise and vibration. The iconic spindle grille design concept has been tweaked to feature vertical fins that ripple outwards, emphasizing the sharpness of the nose and accentuates the wide stance with a dynamically bold surface movement.
“A further expression of Lexus’ design direction and commitment to crafting vehicles that provoke excitement, emotional connection, and passion, the Lexus ES is the first core model that expands the brand’s future to a broader audience after the LC flagship coupe and LS flagship sedan.”
Comfort and Control
Setting a new precedent for the new sedan, the engineering team led by Yasuhiro Sakakibara was tasked to achieve a higher level of performance, comfort and driving experience than any of its predecessors. The upgrades included an exceptionally rigid front-wheel drive chassis that rivals the GA-L rear-wheel-drive platform used for the LC coupe and LS sedan in terms of torsional stiffness.
Other improvements included the use of high-tensile steel to reduce weight, an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, and a rack-mounted electric power steering. The design of a new V-brace mounted behind the rear seat allows the engineers the flexibility to tune the ES with new levels of precision.
“We want every kind of driver to feel a sense of complete control when they are behind the wheel of the ES,” says Yoshiaki Ito, chief test driver for Lexus. “It’s a level of comfort that goes beyond merely delivering a smooth ride.”
The cabin space in the ES has just gotten much quieter, thanks to the covering of the floorboard with partial PUR foams, both inside and outside, and the A, B and C pillars. For the ES 300h, there’s even a special 3-layered padding at the firewall, called Hybrid acoustics to further absorb the noise from the chassis and engine.
Luxury and comfort have long a been a hallmark of the brand. Some of the new features in the new ES includes the Climate Concierge which automatically monitors the temperature of three separate climate zones and adjusts the ventilation system.
A large 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display to access to audio, climate and various systems including Navigation while the 10.2-inch full-color Head-up Display, the largest available in its class, projects key information including navigation, speed, current gear, and rpm onto the windshield. Other innovative features include a wireless charger tray located in the center console, and the next- generation Mark Levinson PurePlay sound system, a world’s first in an automobile.
Safety is high on Lexus priority list. With the Lexus Safety System+ the package offers several features including 10 airbags setup, Pre-Collision System (PCS) with enhanced radar and camera capabilities to better detect incoming traffic and pedestrians, and a two-stage adaptive high beam system to provide enhanced illumination while reducing glare for vehicles ahead.
The Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA), also part of the safety package, employs a high-resolution camera to monitor visible lane markings and determine the vehicle’s position within a lane. In the event of a lane departure or potential departure due to swaying, the system will attempt to alert the driver with audible and visual warnings and steering-wheel vibrations. If the driver doesn’t respond, Steering Assist takes temporary corrective measures with a slight pull on the steering wheel.
The two new variants in the ES line-up, 250h and ES 300h, possess one of the most thermal efficient engines by the Japanese automaker. With the all-new in-line 4, 16-valve DOHC, VVT-iE (intake), VVT-i (exhaust) configuration, it can produce more power without increasing fuel consumption or emission. The 250h generates a total output of 203 bhp (brake horsepower) at 6,600 rpm while the ES 300h achieves 214 bhp at 5,700 rpm. A new fourth-generation self-charging hybrid drive system which further improves fuel efficiency, responsive performance and minimal emissions were also available on the 300h.