2019 LEXUS ES 300h Road Test, Review
LEXUS quietly let loose the brand new ES saloon with no fuss or fanfare.
Some say it is pretty, others say it is busy. I think the handsome coupe-like profile looks the business.
The smooth riding LEXUS comes only in a hybrid drivetrain with two trim levels, Luxury and Sports Luxury. It has been lavished with technology, comfort, and design.
Much of what you now experience has been borrowed from the LS Saloon and LC Coupe. Although they are rear wheel drive and ES is front wheel drive, the latest LEXUS is meant to be no less enjoyable from the driver’s seat than it is from any of the passenger seats.
Did LEXUS succeed in their aim?
The all-new ES is the Japanese car maker’s mid-size sedan. It continues a long line of ES models which many have termed “a fancy Camry.” Both use the same TNGA (GA-K) platform and share much of the same technology, but there it ends.
17” alloys are standard, with 18” on the top model. The roof is lower by 5mm. Width has been increased by 45mm, and the wheelbase is 50mm longer. For those wanting a big boot, you’re in luck. It is now a generous 454L. The boot gets auto opening on Sport Luxury.
A complex hourglass grille and headlights follows the signature look of the LS and LC coupe. It can be polarising, and some will not like it. ES is in-your-face, building on the group’s president, Akio Toyoda’s wish, not to “build boring cars any longer.”
As you move along the doors, you pass a coupe-like silhouette to a voluptuous rear end that squats over the wheels like a cat ready to pounce. Adaptive Matrix headlights are standard on the top model with both grades gaining LEDs on both beams. L shaped daytime running continue the corporate look. If you look hard, you’ll find “L” shapes all over every LEXUS model. That’s what LEXUS says, but I’m fairly sure you’ll find angles on most cars, it isn’t as if you could avoid it.
LED tail lights, like those in LS, have 3 distinct lines that trail “L” shapes across the rear end.
There are 10 colours to choose from, including two new colours. Glacial Ecru is designed to mimic light reflected off fresh snow, and Radiata Green is inspired by ocean water in sunlight.
Features and technology have major advancements over the old model.
There is a full list in the summary, but a few of the tastier traits are:
- High resolution 12.3” centre LCD
- 12” HUD in front of the driver
- reviewed infotainment system
- Mark Levinson sound with 17 speakers (Sport Luxury)
- 10 speaker Pioneer Sound system (Luxury).
- Auto lights and wipers
- Electric parking brake
The wipers stop when the doors are open to make sure hapless occupants are not splashed when they get out. That’s not only thoughtful, but handy too.
All grades have climate control (3 zone on sport luxury), auto wipers and lights, electric steering column adjustment, and DAB+ radio.
The foot operated parking brake has been replaced by electric activation. Previously, the driver had to try to find the foot lever deep in the bowels of the footwell by feel. Now it is a simple button on the centre console.
Sport Luxury adds auto boot opening, heated steering wheel, and heated, reclining rear seats, and a moonroof.
As in the LS, the centre console lid hinges on either side so either driver or passenger always has the lid opening their way.
Shiny interior surfaces have been kept to a minimum to reduce glare and reflection from sunlight. Chromed plastic can looks cheap, so LEXUS has textured some of the plastic with an interest organic design and flecked colour palette.
The infotainment system interface continues to be