The Lexus ES sedan carries over to the 2018 model year with minimal change. This is because the luxury sedan was only taken through a comprehensive redesign recently. The sedan is the best selling Lexus car despite it being the only model in the Lexus lineup to retain a conservative design. The current generation of the ES was introduced in 2014 and underwent a comprehensive redesign for the 2016 model year. The 2018 Lexus ES sedan is designed for its smooth ride as well as a premium polished quiet cabin, not forgetting its affordable pricing. The model is offered with a conventional as well as a hybrid engine. The sedan is available in Standard, Premier (Replaces the previous Premium and Luxury trims) and Ultra Luxury trims.
2018 Lexus ES Exterior
The front end was upgraded last year and still looks fresh; thus, it carries over for the 2018 model year without any changes. It features Lexus’s trademark spindle grille with a brash chrome surround. The grille is flanked by new LED headlights with projector technology. The headlights clusters also integrate L-shaped LED DRLs. Fog lights are mounted on the outer lower corner of the fascia. Nothing has changed on the flanks; the model still features the same body-colored side mirrors and 17-inch wheels which can be upgraded to 18 inches.
At the rear, the sedan features new taillights that are now hosted in L-shaped clusters. There are a new trunk lid and rectangular-shaped exhaust tips. Other features carry over unchanged. The sedan will also be available in new color options including Eminent White Pearl, Nightfall MICA, Autumn Shimmer and Caviar.
Inside, the ES has a spacious and luxuriously trimmed cabin. The sedan comfortably accommodates five passengers with each passenger enjoying ample legroom. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable and there is an option for a 12-way power adjustable seat with lower seat-cushions for tall occupants.
In terms of safety, the Lexus ES is equipped with an active-safety system as standard for all models. The Safety System+ bundles together systems such as active lane control, adaptive cruise control, intelligent high-beam headlights and forward collision that comes with automatic emergency braking. Rear cross traffic alert, parking assist, and blind-spot monitoring are standard for top trims and optional for base trims. The sedan also features 10 airbags as well as a suite of stability control and traction control systems. The Lexus Safety Connect, a system that offers automatic notification after crashes to one’s roadside assistance company and locator service in case the vehicle is stolen is now free for 10 years.
Base models feature synthetic leather upholstery with the Ultra Luxury trim featuring semi-aniline leather. Standard features include a dual-zone climate control, a 7.0-inch infotainment system and a power moonroof. For 2018, the Premium and Luxury trims are replaced with a single trim called “Premier”. Compared to the Base trim, the Premier trim adds memory settings for the steering position and driver seat, power adjustment, heated and ventilated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a wooden door trim. It also features a Noble Brown interior trim with an option for Dark Mocha wooden trim.
The range-topping Ultra Luxury trim adds semi-aniline leather upholstery, a larger panoramic moonroof (optional for lower trims), ambient lighting and a Mark Levinson sound system.
Engine and performance
The 2018 Lexus ES still carries over with two engines, a conventional engine, and a hybrid setup. The conventional mill is a 3.5 L, V-6 that produces 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The hybrid drivetrain features a 2.5 L, Atkinson-cycle inline-4 that combines with Toyota’s, 2-motor hybrid system to produce 200 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. The electric motors allow the sedan to travel for short distance on electric power alone. The hybrid mill comes with an EV mode that shuts the engine when cruising at low speeds which is ideal for stop-and-go-city traffic.
Most enthusiasts, however, feel that Lexus should upgrade the model’s braking system; they feel that the ES 350 brake pedals should be firmed up while for the ES 300h, they would like the automaker to improve the hybrid system from the current system that uses a blend of regenerative braking and friction braking to capture energy. The system does not do a nice job and should thus be replaced with one that offers smooth and seamless transitions for the luxury sedan.
Price and release date
Prices have not changed significantly; the base 2018 Lexus ES 350 has an MSRP of $38,900 while a base ES 300h has an MSRP of $41,820. Sales commence in the last quarter of 2017.