Boasting a sportier visage, bolder rear styling, refined interior décor, updated finishes and enhanced dynamics, the new ES really is a package that lives up to its ‘more is more’ billing. According to Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing at Lexus: “The ES has established an enviable reputation for space, ease of driving, value for money and sheer comfort. The designers have now successfully built on that by making the latest incarnation more elegant and endowing it with an altogether sportier, fresher attitude.
“We’re confident the new Lexus ES will remain the leader in its class, while attracting considerably more driveway attention.” To complement the impactful new form, two new 17-inch wheels with directional spoke patterns have been developed. A branching dark grey metallic, multi-plane machined 20-spoke wheel is standard on the ES 250, while the ES 350 is distinguished by a 10-spoke rotary design with machine finish over medium grey.
New exterior colours join the ES palette: Sonic Quartz (white), black and deep blue, each featuring Lexus’ innovative cutting-edge paint technology designed to allow the paint’s clear coat to heal itself even from light damage. Each of the eight colours were carefully selected to reflect the ES dynamic surface and is brought to life by the renowned, multi-stage paint process that gives Lexus models their deep, jewel-like lustre.
Lexus frankly has no equal when it comes to fit and finish. Sweeping dashboard architecture, intuitive ergonomics mated with the finest materials and a suite of standard spec, the ES cultivates a feeling of sheer quality with every touch.
New trim enhancements to cabin-facing door surfaces and the centre console unite the interior in upscale feel and design cohesion. Colour-matched upholstery appears along the centre console as well, coupled with a new leather boot-enclosed gear selector.
A new, smaller-diameter sporty steering wheel provides better driving engagement. A larger 4.2-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) colour multi-information display conveniently places vital vehicle information, as well as multimedia information, front and centre.
Other stand-out features include wall-to-wall leather with high quality stitching and new embossed pattern. The ES also shares many features with the GS, such as the analogue clock, ambient lighting and the Nano-e climate system. Additional standard niceties include a moonroof, remote keyless entry, power seats with seat heaters (driver’s seat memory), electrochromatic mirror, back guide monitor with smart camera (new) and PDC.
The ES is the benchmark in its class for ride comfort and overall driving composure. In fact, the words most often bandied around are sublime, magic carpet ride, hushed and relaxing. The new 2016 ES upholds that tradition – dare we say it, even enhancing comfort – but provides a refreshing twist in the form of enhanced dynamics.
Lexus engineers have applied structural reinforcements to foster stiffness in the vehicle’s unibody construction. Adapted from the Lexus IS sports sedan, this form of chassis tuning arms the ES with enhanced ride quality and interactive handling.
Additionally, this ES adds a sound-reducing layer behind the dashboard to better isolate engine noise from the cabin. Under the skin it’s business as usual, which means you’re getting a finely fettled machine adhering to the very highest standards of quality and performance, with the ES 250 being powered by Lexus’ 2.5 litre Dual VVT-i twin-cam four-cylinder engine that produces 135kW at 6 000rpm and 235Nm of torque at 4 100rpm and a standard six-speed auto.
The Lexus ES 300h sees a 2.5 litre single VVT-i twin-cam Atkinson cycle four-cylinder unit (118kW at 5 700rpm and 213Nm of twist at 4 500rpm) joining hands with a 105kW electric motor that’s fed by a 650V nickel-metal hydride battery for a combined 151kW output.
Believe it or not, the new ES carries a smaller price tag than the outgoing model. This was made possible by some clever editing of features. Well, one feature only… in-car navigation. By removing this particularly pricey feature, Lexus has been able to prune prices by R14 700 on the ES 250 and R16 600 on the ES 300h:
All models in the ES range are covered by a four-year/100 000 km warranty and eight years and 195 000km warranty on the hybrid battery for the ES 300h.
On the maintenance front, the ES 250 and 300h come standard with the Lexus Distance Plan Plus.