2019 Lexus ES
From its debut in 1989, the Lexus ES has been Lexusí top-selling
sedan, one that prioritizes refinement and solitude over driving
thrills. While endearing to older drivers who prefer a comfortably
sedate sedan, it did little to attract younger buyers who
understandably thought that ES was an acronym for Elderly Shuttle
rather than Executive Sedan, its true nom de guerre.
more than 90 countries, Lexus is about to release the redesigned
2019 Lexus ES, which employs an all-new platform that it shares with
the 2019 Toyota Avalon. In fact, the 2019 ES shares the 2019 Avalonís
113-inch wheelbase and 195.9-inch overall length. This means the ES
has grown 2.6 inches longer, 0.2 inches lower and 1.8 inches wider
than before. The wheelbase has also grown by 2 inches, allowing for
an exceptionally roomy cabin, particularly in the rear seat. In
fact, according to Lexus, the ES has more rear seat legroom than the
flagship Lexus LS sedan. Overall size is larger than a BMW 3-Series,
but smaller than the 5-Series.
length is put to good use. Looking like a miniaturized LS, the ES
gracefully embraces Lexusís kinetic new styling, a look
highlighted by the brandís distinctive spindle grille and L-shaped
LED taillamps. Lexusí design chief Koichi Suga describes it as
new platform and updated appearance, the ESís chief attribute
remains intact. To ensure the ES is even quieter than its
predecessor, sound-deadening insulation covers 93 percent of the
floor pan, up from 68 percent. This explains why the ES is
extraordinarily quiet at all speeds. Hybrids are noticeably noisier
thanks to their low rolling resistance tires, although not by much.
Its sheer silence might seem at odds with Lexusís attempts to
inject the ES with a more exciting demeanor, but thatís not the
case. The old car didnít possess a scintilla of excitement,
whereas the new one possesses a pulse, although how much of one
depends on which model you choose.
The ES 350 is
powered by a double-overhead cam 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 302
horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 34
horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque from the previous V-6. Fuel
efficiency is up as well. While final EPA numbers arenít
available, Lexus estimates average fuel economy of 26 mpg. A new
eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode is
standard; a manual transmission isnít available. The ES 300h
Hybrid comes with an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle
gas engine mated to an electric motor and continuously variable
automatic transmission rated at 215 horsepower. Fuel efficiency is
estimated by Lexus at 44 mpg, although test drives of the new ES
300h saw fuel economy reach 45.9 mpg. Finally, thereís a new
F-Sport model that employs the V-6 engine with the eight-speed
transmission but adds front and rear adjustable performance dampers,
19-inch wheels with 235/40 all-season tires and a rear spoiler.
Other models have 17-inch wheels, although 18-inchers are optional.
in three very different personalities. The ES 350 is responsive and
powerful, although the transmission chooses a high gear and then
hesitates before downshifting when more power is needed.
Nevertheless, it runs 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. In contrast, the ES
300h makes the same run in 8.1 seconds. Although noticeably slower,
most buyers will be happy with this model.
youíll find the new ES is somewhat more engaging than the outgoing
model. The suspension isnít floaty yet still masterfully absorbs
bumps. Credit the carís unique shock absorbers that have a mini
piston inside the larger shock to handle smaller bumps on moderately
smooth surfaces that donít require much shock travel. The bigger
piston handles the larger bumps. Body lean is evident during
cornering, but itís well controlled. Push this car and youíll
find its limits are higher than youíd expect. This is particularly
true of the F-Sport, which is a credible, fun-to-drive sports sedan
thatís more than capable of putting a smile on your lips by
providing athleticism never associated with an ES.
the eight-speed transmission still acts with the annoying
fuel-efficient shifting found on other models. The Hybridís
continuously variable transmission lacks the rubber-banding common
in this type of transmission, when the engine revs but the car doesnít
the ES, youíll find the instrument panel centers around an
eight-inch infotainment interface that uses a touchpad on the center
console. While itís an improvement from the joystick previously
used by Lexus, itís still not as easy to use as other systems that
employ a touchscreen or knob. An eight-inch screen with a 10-speaker
Pioneer audio system is standard; a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio
system and 12.3-inch screen are options. The new ES is Amazon Alexa-enabled;
Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging come standard.
The 2019 Lexus
ES350 goes on sale in September.
confident that we have created a new expectation of what a luxury
car should be," Suga said during the carís introduction in
Nashville last week, and itís no idle boast.
For the first
time, the Lexus ES isnít an Elderly Shuttle; itís an Excellent
3.5-liter DOHC V6
economy: Not available
capacity: 16.7 cubic feet