2019 Lexus ES review with video

 

The basics:

Base price: $45,000 + taxes
As tested: $59,500 + taxes
Average fuel economy over a week: 10.3 L/100 kms (23 US MPG)
Competitors: Acura RLX, Buick Lacrosse, Lincoln MKZ, etc.

Until this week, I’d never heard the term “entry level flagship” before. That’s how a Lexus Canada employee described the new seventh generation ES to me. It seems oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Flagship is generally reserved for the highest end car in a company’s line-up. A car that shows off what the brand can do. But climb into the latest iteration of the ES, and the term suddenly makes sense. Although it has a very respectable starting price, it’s packed with a lot of firsts for the company. For the full rundown, click on the video above or scroll through the report card below.

Pros:
– The new ES looks so much edgier than its predecessor – that spindle grille off the front, a sweeping coupe-like roofline, careful attention to detail in the interior, it all really pops
– This new ES is the first Lexus car to adopt the company’s new global design platform. And the payoff is a smooth, quiet, composed and still pretty sporty ride
– It’s also the first Lexus to include Apple CarPlay (better late than never)
– Also new for 2019, the latest generation of the Lexus Safety System, with pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise and lane keep assist. And while I previously found these systems in Toyota and Lexus cars to be a little jerky and twitchy compared to others out there, they’re now really responsive and smooth
– The 3.5 litre V6 in the ES is nothing new. But that’s part of its charm. This engine is the same as the V6 found in the Camry and it is a tried and tested, bulletproof tank (if not the most efficient choice). It’s also more than powerful enough for off-the-line performance and confident highway driving
– If fuel economy is a key factor for you, the hybrid version of the ES, the 300h, is now just $1,500 more expensive than its V6 sibling. It has a starting price of $47,000 Canadian and an anticipated fuel economy around 5.3 L/100 kms or 44 US MPG. That makes it a fuel sipping, luxury choice without breaking the bank
– Standard equipment in the ES is excellent. For $45k, you get all those autonomous safety features I mentioned above, ventilated and heated front seats, which are also 10 way adjustable, a smart key with push button start, an 8 inch infotainment system screen with Apple CarPlay, paddle shifters, a new digital instrument cluster in front of the driver and LED headlights
– And if you want a sportier ES, there are now two F-Sport trims available for the first time in 2019. They give you things like an F-sport steering wheel and gauges, a rear spoiler, F-Sport seats, adaptive suspension and bigger 19 inch wheels
– Now, I found the interior of the previous ES a bit bland and stodgy. No more. It looks and feels fantastic with tonnes of different materials and textures layered over one another to make the cabin very luxurious and dynamic
– The biggest beef that I had with the outgoing ES was its seats. They were rather flat-bottomed and unsupportive but that has been more than rectified for 2019 – you could cruise for days in this car
– The ES is about 2.5 inches longer for 2019 and that translates to just under an inch more leg room in the second row, taking a spacious car and making it even more so. And while I was worried about that coupe-like profile, it has plenty of headroom for adults, too. Our rear facing car seat test comes out with a rock solid 30 inches from the back of the front passenger seat to the glovebox
– The trunk has 473 litres of space and was more than enough room for our standardized trunk test

But unlike outgoing hybrid versions of the ES, which gobbled up a fair bit of cargo space in the boot for all the batteries, the capacity in the 300h is now exactly the same as what you see here

Cons:
– The downside to the classic V6 in the ES is fuel efficiency. We’ve averaged 10.2 L/100 kms, that’s 23 US MPG, sticking mostly to city roads. That’s not stellar
– It’s great to have Apple CarPlay now in the ES but you’re still out of luck if you’ve got an Android. Toyota has just announced that they WILL start putting Android Auto into future cars, but not yet
– And we still have the ancient, feeling, unintuitive trackpad for using the infotainment system. It has way too many menus and steps for doing really simple things
– And while it’s cool that we now have wireless charging as an option, I’ve found it finicky to get my phone out of the dock, which would get on my nerves if I was doing that ten times a day as an owner
– It’s cool to see a centre pass through for longer items but be forewarned, it’s really small. Even a single pair of powder skis is probably would be tough to squeeze through there

Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 4.5/5 (61 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 4/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 4.5/5

Family Wheels overall score: 39/50= 78%

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