The outgoing Lexus ES was not quite a looker compared to the models it competes with. This is set to change for the new generation of the ES; Lexus has hooked up the model with a great dose of sportiness and introduced an F-SPORT package to the sedan. Although demand for sedans is falling, the ES is still quite popular; in 2017, Lexus sold over 50,000 units of the ES compared to around 8,000 units of the Lexus GS. Due to the poor performance of the GS, there are rumors that Lexus plans to discontinue the model to remain with the ES as the sole mid-sized sedan of the brand. The 2019 Lexus ES is underpinned by a new platform referred to as GA-K (Global Architecture-K). The new chassis is more rigid.
2019 Lexus ES Exterior
From the first glance, it is evident that the new ES is more exciting than the current variant. The design seems to be inspired by the LS sedan. The model has a huge version of the spindle grille and aggressive detailing all over its body. The sedan is also longer by 2.6 inches, wider by 1.8 inches and sits lower by 0.2 inches than the outgoing model. The ES wheelbase is also 2.0 inches longer. Courtesy of the larger wheelbase and wider tracks, engineers were able to push the model’s wheels closer to the corners. The model’s proportions and new stance give it an attractive look.
About the grille, while the ones on standard ES 350 and 300h models have vertical bars that spread out from the middle, the ES 350 F SPORT features a blacked out pattern that feature “L”-shaped clusters and matching cutouts at the corners.
Unlike previous generations, the new ES has a fast roofline that gives emphasis to the model’s enhanced aerodynamics and lower stance. The rear looks sharp and clean. The LED taillights wrap around the sedan’s quarter panels resulting in a continuous design. Models with the F-SPORT package feature a rear spoiler, a darkened lower valance as well as an F-SPORT badge.
17-inch wheels are standard for ES 350 and 300h models with an option for 18-inch units. The ES 350 F-SPORT on the other hand comes standard with 19-inch wheels that look like those of the LC coupe.
There are 12 exterior colors to choose from including Moonbeam Beige Metallic and Sunlit Green which are new for 2019. F-SPORT models feature an exclusive Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0 to complement the model’s high-energy looks.
The ES interior features a driver-focused cockpit; the center display screen, an optional heads up display and instrument panel are all placed in a cluster in the field of view of the driver. The front passenger gets a spacious environment for enhanced comfort and relaxation.
Like the outgoing model, the new ES continues to offer a high level of passenger comfort at the rear. The model has a lower hip point and a cleverly built headliner to enhance headroom. The longer wheelbase on the other hand enhances legroom.
To set the F-SPORT cabin apart from standard models, Lexus has hooked it up with a unique metallic trim which is inspired by the traditional Japanese sword. The automaker has used Hadori aluminum to create wave-like patterns that result in a 3D look that varies according to the angle of view.
Leather seats are standard for all models.
The standard models will continue with traditional materials including Linear Dark Mocha, Matte Bamboo as well as Linear Espresso wood which are handcrafted for a luxurious finish.
For matters technology, the ES has been hooked up with latest systems including Apple CarPlay which is a first for a Lexus. The model has also been equipped with Amazon Alexa. Models with the factory-built navigation system also feature a 12.3-inch infotainment screen display that has an in-built Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot. Models without the system have a smaller 8.0-inch display. The automaker’s Remote Touch track-pad is used to control the systems.
The Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 is standard; it features lane-keep assist, automatic braking along with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, active cruise control and lane-departure warning. Blind-spot monitoring is optional.
Engine and performance
The 2019 Lexus ES 350 is still powered by a 3.5 L, V-6 that has been tweaked to deliver more power. The engine now produces 302 horsepower, an increase of 34 horsepower. The engine also produces 267 lb-ft of torque representing an increase of 19 lb-ft compared to the outgoing model. In terms of transmission, the engine uses a new 8-speed automatic unit (similar to the one on the new Toyota Camry and Avalon) in place of the previous 6-speed system. The ES still retains front-wheel drive.
The 2019 Lexus ES 300h hybrid drive-train has also been tweaked. The engine now features a lighter and more compact motor as well as a new nickel metal hydride battery. The new battery is mounted beneath the backseat freeing up the trunk for more cargo space. The motor combines with a 2.5 L, 4-cylinder petrol engine. The setup now produces 215 hp, 15 hp more than the outgoing model. The new drive-train is also more economical; Lexus claims the engine returns 44 mpg on combined drives (the current model returns 40 mpg on combined drives).
The F-SPORT trim uses the same engine as the ES 350 but it adds an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) similar to the one on the LC Coupe. The F-SPORT models also get the Sport+ drive mode that features engine sound enhancements.
Price and release date
The Lexus ES which was unveiled at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show will go on sale beginning this September. Lexus has not released the ES official prices but the starting price will not stray much from the current MSRP of $38,950.
The 2019 Lexus ES slots in a very competitive market segment with rivals such as Lincoln Continental, Volvo S90, Jaguar XF, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class.