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Test bench | Lexus ES: stepping out of the shadows

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In a market segment deserted by many competitors, the ES persists and always signs good results. And the withdrawal of the Avalon, sedan to which this Lexus has long been compared, allows it to come out of the shadows.

This time, no one will blame Lexus for forgetting its roots. Far from the overpowering HS250h, the distressing CT200h or the ephemeral SC coupé, the ES remains, with the LS, the only model whose origins go back to the creation – already more than 30 years ago – of this luxury branch.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

Toyota’s luxury signature has (finally) forged a real visual identity.

Long “conservative”, Lexus is gaining confidence. A few years ago, it was impossible to hold a Lexus in horror, but just as improbable to dream of it at night… Now, thanks in particular to its hypertrophied grille, the brand attracts attention, even if it means arousing a rejection reaction. Nothing is worse than the lukewarm water of indifference.

true identity

This time, Toyota’s luxury signature has forged a real visual identity. Too bad that, despite a remarkable level of finish and unparalleled equipment, the passenger compartment still lacks personality and a sense of ergonomics to match the ambitions of this car.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

The interior of the Lexus ES still lacks personality and a sense of ergonomics to match the ambitions of this car.

Pleasing to the eye, the dashboard is dressed in a dark coating reminiscent of stingray and sober veneers depending on the options checked. The instrumentation is well laid out and elegant. We will regret again and again the apathy of a touchpad and the complexity of the infotainment system.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

The ES holds the road well, offers a wide choice of engines and is distinguished by its ride comfort.

Thanks to its exterior dimensions, the ES is not stingy with space for the legs and elbows. Quality that is not necessarily found in the competition. We can also quibble about the seats, which are comfortable but not enveloping enough, the scarcity of storage space offered on board and the lack of modularity of the trunk.

The Lexus ES in brief

Price range: $46,200 to $51,900
Visible in dealerships: now

WE love

Ride comfort
Sobriety of the hybrid version
Smoothness of the V6

We love less

Unrefined four-cylinder engine
Reduced versatility
All-wheel drive limited to the least powerful model

Our Verdict

The pleasure is found elsewhere than at the wheel.

In terms of standard equipment, Lexus has also made a big effort, but there are still options. And these, alas, are grouped together and sold at exorbitant prices, like the “ultra luxury package” at $10,650… Considering the low impact of these accessories on the residual value of the vehicle, it is better to abstain check them off and limit yourself to the standard features.

To me, the boulevards!

The ES holds the road well, offers a wide choice of engines and is distinguished by its ride comfort.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

Of the three engines offered, the hybrid appears to be the most popular of all.

In town, its size isn’t too much of a problem to carve out a niche (parallel parking, if you prefer) without worrying too much. The ES is driven at your fingertips.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

The dashboard is dressed in a dark coating reminiscent of shagreen and sober veneers depending on the options checked.

Of the three engines offered, the hybrid appears to be the most popular of all. The atmospheric 2.5 L of the ES250 lacks tone and does not hesitate to storm at the slightest effort. However, it is to this engine that Lexus exclusively pairs the four-wheel drive train, making this the heaviest variant in the range. Moreover, the weight of the car penalizes the acceleration time which, confirms the chronometer, is not exceptional: more than 8 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

The ES250 benefits from a strong argument: it is the only one to benefit from four-wheel drive.

Hardly faster, the hybrid version has the merit of showing welcome energy sobriety. As for the V6, it’s not lacking in charms (flexible, vigorous, discreet), but these gains come at a price at the pump and, these days, that’s an aspect that can’t be overlooked. That said, the ES250 has a strong argument: it is the only one to benefit from four-wheel drive. The other ES (350 and 300h), they only drive their front wheels.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

Thanks to its exterior dimensions, the ES is not stingy with space for the legs and elbows.

Never mind, given the nature and character of this sedan, the hybrid engine is without a shadow of a doubt the most interesting variation, if not the most exciting. Able to travel a few kilometers at low speed by only requesting its electric power unit, the ES300h puts forward a consumption of less than 7 L per 100 km.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

We can blame the lack of modularity of the trunk.

Its fuel consumption (see Technical sheet) makes it possible to absorb a large part, if not all, of the additional cost imposed by its dual motorization. However, the motorist will have to do his part; to achieve real savings in consumption, it will have to keep its feet light. Easy, the ES encourages peaceful driving.

A letter that changes everything


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

Lexus IS

Not to be confused: ES and IS (our photo). The latter targets another clientele. More narrow, more financially accessible and above all sportier, the IS is based on a rear-wheel-drive architecture. It raises its hood to four, six and eight cylinder engines.

The origins


PHOTO PROVIDED BY LEXUS

ES in its infancy, in 1989

When it started in 1989, Lexus had two vehicles in its catalog. The LS, a luxury sedan, and another more compact, the ES (our photo). The latter has long been denigrated, not without reason, for being only a dressed-up version of the Camry. However, over the generations, the ES has forged an identity of its own, although it still shares several components with Toyota’s midsize sedan.

Share your experience

The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi Q3, BMW iX, Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Z, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Jetta (GLi). If you own one of these vehicles or are waiting for delivery, we would love to hear from you.

Technical sheet

Motor
Model ES250: L4 DOHC 2.5L
Power: 203 hp at 6600 rpm
Torque: 184 lb-ft of torque between 4000 and 5000 rpm

ES350 model: 3.5L V6 DOHC
Power: 302 hp at 6600 rpm
Torque: 267 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm

Model ES300h: L4 DOHC 2.5L
Power: 215 hp (176 hp + the equivalent of 39 hp from the battery)
Torque: 163 lb-ft of torque between 3600 and 5200 rpm

Weight
1695kg (ES250)
1655kg (ES350)
1680kg (ES300h

Ground clearance
150mm

Towing capacity
Not recommended

Gearboxes
8-speed automatic (ES250 and ES350), continuously variable automatic (ES300h)

Training modes
All-wheel drive (ES250), traction (ES350 and ES300h)

Tires
215/55R17
235/45R18
235/40R19 (F Sport)

Tank capacity
60L (ES 250 and 350)
50 L (ES 300h)

Recommended Gasoline
ordinary

Consumption
9.7L/100km (ES250)
10.5L/100km (ES350)
6.6L/100km (ES300h)

Dimensions
Wheelbase: 2871mm
Length: 4974mm1,
Height: 1451mm2
Width: 1865mm3

1 4975mm ES300h, 2 1455mm ES350 and ES300h, 3 Exterior mirrors excluded



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