Athleticism meets elegance in all-new 2019 Lexus ES
By Christopher A. Randazzo
Longer, lower, wider, quieter – and with more power and better fuel economy. Toss in more luxurious and better looking and that pretty much sums up the all-new seventh-generation 2019 Lexus ES sedan.
I have to admit, this new ES is one of the best looking in the car’s history – which happens to coincide with the launching of the brand back in 1989. I thought the ES of the ’90’s model were very attractive, but after the 2001 model, things got a little too bubbly and rounded for my taste. Now they are taking on a sleek look, making it the most aggressive looking ES ever.
The ES continues to come in two variations – the regular ES350 and the hybrid version, the ES300h. Both share the same appearance, unless if you opt for the F Sport package on the ES350 (this being the first time ever offered on the ES) which adds a black mesh grill and trucklid spoiler.
As before, going with the ES350 gets you a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood, but there is a nice bump in horsepower from lasts years 268 hp to 302 hp this year. Torque is rated at 267 lb-ft. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous six-speed unit. These changes help make the ES350 be a little quicker than before. The F Sport package adds in 19-inch wheels, and exclusive to the F Sport is an adaptive variable suspension which includes extra drive modes that Lexus refers to as Sport, Sport+, and Custom.
The ES350 that Lexus had me in recently did include the F Sport package, as well as an adaptive vehicle suspension and navigation package, bringing the total MSRP just shy of $53,000. Starting price for the all-new ES350 is $39,750.
Driving the new ES350 in regular mode feels much like the previous generation, but with a little more power. But switch to the Sport+ mode and you’ll feel the steering wheel tighten up, the ride getting firmer and the exhaust note get a little more aggressive. The adaptive dampers in the suspension take over allowing for quicker (and more level) handling around corners along with an overall athletic feel – something I have never experienced before in previous ESs. While there are no horsepower gains with the F Sport package, the package transforms the ES from a mere luxury sedan to sports sedan.
Along with the performance, another big surprise that I found in the new ES was it’s interior. In the past, the ES has always been the “entry-level” luxury car in the Lexus brand. Well there is no entry-level in this interior. Open the ES and the door panels and center console are all wrapped in indulgent and cushiony leather that look so soft you just have to touch it to believe it. And if it’s not covered in leather, it’s probably set in wood (or both like the steering wheel). A huge 12.3-inch screen dominates the top of the dash, with the signature Lexus analog clock to its left. Like in the past, a touchpad-controller is used to navigate through the infotainment system – an either you love-it or hate-it system. There is even a heads-up display (HUD) so you can monitor your speed without your eyes ever leaving the road. And being that the new ES sits on a new platform, it’s longer and wider than its predecessor, which translates into more interior room, meaning there’s not a bad seat in the house.
The ES sure has come a long way from its start back in 1989. Back then it was a rebadged Camry that was even available with a manual transmission. Over the years, it has grown, matured and gained a strong fan base. Today, the all-new 2019 Lexus ES350 is better than ever – showing that it can be luxurious and sporty – without compromise.
By The Numbers:
2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport
Base Price: $ 44,035.00
Price as Tested: $ 52,904.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5 liter V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower (total): 302 hp
Torque: 267 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 22 city / 31 highway mpg
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