The exciting new Lexus ES shatters preconceptions about executive saloons with a brave new approach to design, making it lower, wider and sleeker
Lexus Owners Club has been fortunate enough to road test the all-new Lexus ES 300h, and in this instance, we were given the F Sport version to trial.
This executive saloon is described as ‘combining a stunning coupé-like silhouette with the roominess and refinement of a flagship saloon, the ES delivers elegance and comfort in one exceptional vehicle’, first thoughts are that the ES definitely satisfies this statement.
As per most Lexus Hybrid powertrains, the motive power is provided by a smooth, if not a slightly ‘revvy’ engine, which delivers more than enough power to propel the ES to cruising speed with enough gusto to satisfy most drivers.
Gearing is provided by an E-CVT Automatic Transmission which is seamless in distributing the power to the road and allows for a very smooth ride, even under hard acceleration in Sport+ mode.
HOW IT WORKS - Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) is an intelligent transmission which offers an infinite number of gears within a broad range of ratios, allowing for automatic gear changes. By constantly analysing vehicle speed, road conditions, engine power and driver input, it selects the optimal (most efficient) gear ratio for that precise moment. When that moment passes, it moves seamlessly to the next ratio.
HOW IT WORKS - CVT works in harmony with the Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid technology, simultaneously handling inputs from both the petrol engine and the electric motor. Without the constraining effect of fixed gear ratios, the engine can be operated at its most efficient speed to either propel the car or charge the batteries. If the computer decides that the petrol motor is not needed for a time, it can be shut down and the E-CVT used to direct propulsion from the electric motors to the wheels instead
The 4th generation Lexus Hybrid Drive is incredibly fuel efficient, with the power being distributed via either engine and/or electric motor. The driver information screen gives a diagrammatic display of the power distribution occurring, switching from engine to motor and also back to the battery on regeneration cycles.
We managed an average of 35 mpg, mainly during Motorway driving with minimal energy regeneration occurring. This would have vastly improved if the car had been driven on town and extra-urban routes where the majority of the driving could have been on regenerated electric power and then the overall mpg would be a lot closer to the manufacturer's claimed economy figures.
The ES is quite a sizeable car with an overall length of 4975mm and a width of 1865mm which places it in the mid to full-size range.
Its height of 1445mm and ground clearance of only 150mm gives a low ride height and stability at higher cruising speed. Combine this with the coupé silhouette body design, Lexus has produced a worthy competitor in the mid-range executive market, possibly competing with Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar for the coupé look 4 door cruiser.
The F SPORT we road tested has a number of features inspired by the LC range including 19” alloy wheels and figure-hugging leather seats. This range also offers an Adaptive Variable Suspension system, similar to that found in the LC sports coupé which adds adjustable dampers at each wheel with 650 levels of damping force to provide ultimate control on any road surface.
The F SPORT model also offers 2 exclusive colour choices including F Sport white and Azure Blue
The general feeling when entering into the ES cabin is one of satisfaction that you have chosen a car with a quality finish and unrivalled comfort levels.
Equally, it does provide an awareness of being quite low to the ground when nestled into the supportive F Sport leather seats.
The usual Lexus refinement is evident throughout the interior, albeit the leather and stitching used on the seats and door cards through to the legroom and comfort levels within the interior space.
Everything has been thought of when it comes to the positioning of controls, armrests, seat adjustment and good all-round visibility with minimised drivers' blindspot areas.
The rear passenger area is equally as comfortable as the front seating area and ample legroom and head height for the majority of occupants.
The dash panel is clearly laid out and convenient for both driver and passenger use with many functions being controlled through the numerous steering wheel buttons.
The standard Lexus scroll pad works well but takes some getting used to if you are familiar with the previous trackball type.
Vehicle information and entertainment are displayed through the widescreen multimedia panel located in a high but unobtrusive position in the centre of the dash panel.
Our only criticism of the interior is that the seat runner mechanism is on display when the seat is in a mid-way to fully retracted position and it could also present an issue with clothing being drawn into a rotating screw thread. A lightweight plastic cover would go a long way to hiding this mechanism.
The boot load space is incredibly voluminous and with a low entry point allows for plenty of suitcases and other large items you may wish to transport.
A centre seat armrest allows access to the boot from inside and long loads can, therefore, be carried with ease.
A space-saver spare wheel accompanied by a comprehensive tool kit under the load area carpet which is more than enough to get you out of trouble if it is only a flat tyre that needs changing.
The only criticism within the boot area is the lack of cover on the hinge mechanism which looks somewhat unsightly but otherwise, it is perfectly functional.
Some of the previous Lexus models don't have this mechanism on display and is something to possibly consider for future production models.
The ES is equipped with the latest 2nd generation Lexus Safety System+, comprising advanced technologies that help prevent three of the most common accident types: rear-end collisions, lane departures and collisions involving pedestrians and which is designed to support driver awareness, decision-making and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds and conditions. The technology in the ES reacts to compliment the drivers senses helping prevent collisions before they happen.
A pop-up bonnet, activated by sensors mounted in the front bumper ensure that in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the impact raises the bonnet and by allowing more space between the hard components of the engine compartment and the pedestrian, the level of injury is reduced.
To top it all, the ES has also been awarded a 5 star Euro NCAP rating for safety.
ENGINE: 2.5 litre (2487) 4 cylinder inline, 6-valve DOHC, with VVT-iW (Intake) & VVT-I (Exhaust)
TRANSMISSION: E-CVT Automatic Transmission
POWER: Hp (kW) 218 (160)
TORQUE: Nm 221@3,600-5,200 rpm
CO2 EMISSIONS: (g/Km) 100 (combined)
MAX SPEED: (MPH) 112
0-62 MPH: (Secs) 8.9
COSTS & SPECIFICATIONS (effective from 1st February 2019)
ES 300h from £35,150.00
ES 300h F SPORT from £38,150.00
ES 300h Takumi from £45,650.00
A special thanks to Snows Lexus Hedge End for the loan of our ES 300h featured in this review
For more information about the ES 300h visit: https://www.snows.co.uk/lexus/new-vehicles/