We Drove the all new seventh-generation Lexus last week, which has had six succesful generations before this. The Lexus ES, which has just been voted a finalist in the Auto Trader Car of the Year 2018 competition, is a fine car. It has that type of presence, that seems to shout EXCELLENCE. Lexus ES is a long, sleek looking car, that trades on it’s good looks and refined styling. The new version boasts an all-new chassis, that promises a smoother drive, and coupled with the enhancements to it’s styling, stands it in good stead, for the forthcoming competition.
The Lexus is both longer and wider than it’s predecessor, which gives it the sleek, elegant look of a premium sedan. A spindle grille, which is a hallmark of Lexus, is still there and a sloping roofline to the rear emphasizes, the low coupe look. Its rear end looks pretty chiselled, with LED lamps that wrap around the quarter panels, to give it a good look from any angle.
Two different 17-inch and 18-inch wheel designs are available for the ES models. The ES 250 EX model is equipped with 17-inch multi-spoke cast alloy wheels and the ES 300h SE model runs on 18-inch Hyper Chrome Cast Allow noise-reducing wheels, featuring a turbine design. The hybrid model also features an integrated rear spoiler as well as auto-fold door mirror functionality when the car is switched off. (Incidentally both models feature bi-tone mirrors finished in a combination of anthracite black and body colour.)
LED low and high beam headlamps are standard on the ES 250 EX model. The slim, compact headlamp features a standard bi-LED unit with an integrated LED DRL in the classic Lexus L-motif. The LED lamp unit allows for a compact design and requires less energy, contributing to improved fuel economy. Another standard feature on both models is the Moonroof with Tilt & Slide functionality.
The Lexus ES range comprises nine colours; White Quartz, Platinum Silver, Mercury Grey, Opulent Blue, Black and Morello Red. New to the ES range is Sonic Titanium as well as ES-exclusive colours – Ice Ecru and Olive Green.
Inside the Cabin.
The cockpit features a very driver focused dash, which seems to sweep right across the entire width of the car. This is obviously a misnomer, but the feeling is there. It has a heads up display that keeps the driver focused. And the centre console features the menu controls, which are all very simple to use. A drive mode function is available, and the various modes are Eco, Comfort &,Sport, which all give a varied drive feel. The Lexus has more comfortable seats, with lumbar support.
The steering wheel of the hybrid, which comes from the LS has wood trim. In both the ES 250 and ES 300h, the Lexus Climate Concierge cooperatively controls the climate control system, seat heating and steering-wheel heating (hybrid only) to quickly provide the driver and each passenger with a comfortable environment.
As mentioned, heated front seats are available for the driver and front passenger in the ES 250 – the hybrid model also provides seat heaters for the rear passengers.
The cabin is a connected space, too, with the availability of a navigation system on the hybrid which includes a range of connected services. The navigation provides a 12.3-inch multimedia display and second-generation Remote Touch touchpad control; its voice recognition capabilities extend to a mobile assistant, allowing contactless driver’s smartphone control. The display features a reverse camera as standard kit, but the hybrid tops this up with a panoramic view display.
The standard combination meter features a 7-inch TFT LCD screen with a display configurable based on the driving mode. An Optitron-type meter is used for the water temperature and fuel gauges and lastly, a start-up animation plays across the combination meter, multimedia display and Head-Up Display, creating a visual welcome in the Lexus ES.
Naturally, cruise control is standard on the ES and, in the case of the hybrid, it includes radar functionality.
Performance & Engines
A new suspension lends itself to the Lexus having an exceedingly smooth drive. The performance is quite good in Sport mode, and then it can get going, however, I found it a little slack in other modes, which is surprising considering the direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. Outputs are pegged at 152 kW at 6600 rpm and 243 Nm at 4000-5000 rpm.
The fuel consumption on the ES 250 is a claimed- 6.6 litres/100km and it dispatches the 0-100 km/h sprint in 9.1 seconds and lastly, its top speed is clocked at 210 km/h.
ES models are equipped with ten airbags: 2 x driver and front passenger airbags; 2 x driver and front passenger knee airbags; 2 x driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags; 2 x front to rear-side curtain airbags; and 2 x rear cushion airbags.
Other features include; Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Departure Alert (LDA) – detects not only yellow or white traffic lane markings, but can also detect the edges of the roadway.
Adaptive High Beam System (AHS) – not only turns the headlight high beams on and off automatically for the driver, but its 24 individual LED light array is capable of adapting the light pattern to provide enhanced illumination while reducing glare for oncoming drivers
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) – incorporating Rear Cross Traffic Alert – this is supported with high definition cameras also aid for a crisp clear view.
Pricing & Service Warranty.
The Lexus ES 250 EX carries a price tag of R593,300 and the ES 300h SE model retails for R843,800. It has a best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. Vehicle service intervals are at every 15 000km, alternatively once a year.
Summing up, the Lexus ES is a very driveable car. It has great looks, beautiful interior cabin, with room to spare, very smooth drive feels like you are on air, has fair performance kudos, and a price tag that is not that scary, so it should do well in the Naamsa figures.