2019 Lexus ES Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned for 2019
  • Shares a platform and powertrains with the Toyota Avalon
  • Longer, lower, wider, and larger than ever on the inside
  • ES 350 and ES 300h models return
  • New F Sport trim for the ES 350
  • 3.5-liter V6 in ES 350 makes 302 horsepower
  • Hybrid powertrain in ES 300h expected to get 44 mpg
  • New safety and infotainment systems
  • On sale in September of 2018


Introduction:

Lexus wants you to want the redesigned 2019 ES. As in: “I’ve gotta drive this thing, and I’ve gotta park it where everyone can see it, and I’ve gotta find a longer commute to work because it’s just so awesome!”

In other words, Lexus wants the next-generation ES to be an emotional choice as well as a practical one.

To transform what you think when you think Lexus ES, the new car gets more expressive styling, a driver-centric interior, and improved driving dynamics. There’s even a new F Sport trim engineered for fun.

Does the approach have potential? Let’s delve into the details and you can decide for yourself.

Exterior Features:

Take a look at the new 2019 Lexus ES. Do the words “provocative” and “elegance” come to mind? If so, consider the company’s handiwork a success, because they want you to see provocative elegance when you gaze upon this car.

All modern Lexus design cues are present and accounted for, draped over a new vehicle architecture that is, once again, shared with the full-size Toyota Avalon. You can choose the ES 350, the ES 350 F Sport, or the ES 300h, a hybrid that Lexus claims will get 44 mpg in combined driving.

The F Sport is, umm, the sporty version, with larger standard 19-inch wheels, a different grille that is appropriately blacked out, and other visual cues to set it apart as the one that is supposed to be fun. You’ll choose from 12 colors, but Ultra Sonic Blue Mica is reserved for the ES 350 F Sport.

Interior Features:

As is true of the exterior, the new ES’s cabin reflects current Lexus thinking as far as interior design, materials, controls, and layout.

It is more driver-oriented than before, with compact instrumentation, flowing forms, and an available widescreen infotainment display. Thankfully, Lexus provides traditional stereo and climate controls to make commonly adjusted functions easier to use.

Because the new ES is longer, lower, and wider than ever, it is also roomier inside, supplying true full-size accommodations at a relative bargain of a price.

Under the Hood:

Select the 2019 Lexus ES 350 for a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. An 8-speed automatic transmission directs the power to the car’s front wheels, and you can choose from several different driving modes, depending on your mood. The F Sport version adds a special Sport+ mode in keeping with its mission to raise your pulse.

Aficionados of excellent fuel economy will want the 2019 Lexus ES 300h. This is the hybrid version, and it gets a new gas-electric drivetrain including a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a smaller and more powerful electric motor, and a more compact nickel-metal hydride battery pack that is tucked underneath the rear seat in order to preserve trunk space.

Combined, the ES 300h’s drivetrain components generate 215 horsepower. That’s not a lot, but keep in mind that hybrids provide a punch of electrified torque right off the line, so unless you plan on drag racing people on a regular basis, you’ll be fine. And you’ll be getting a predicted 44 mpg in combined driving.

Additional engineering highlights include a new multi-link rear suspension design, an adaptive damping suspension for ES 350 F Sport versions of the car, more enjoyable rack-mounted electric steering, and a choice of 17-inch or 18-inch wheels for all but the F Sport, which gets standard 19s.

Safety:

In addition to its new vehicle architecture, which is more rigid than that of the car it replaces, the new 2019 ES comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 suite of driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies.

Lexus did not define the exact contents of this package, but it definitely equips the car with forward collision warning, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, and automatic emergency braking. Typically, these features are bundled with adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning and lane keeping system.

Bicyclist detection is new for 2019, and Lexus claims that the pedestrian detection system offers improved nighttime performance.

Technology:

Every 2019 ES will have an infotainment system with a Remote Touch Interface (RTI) track pad on the center console near the gear selector. The standard 8-inch and available 12.3-inch displays are not touch-sensitive, so ES drivers will need to use the RTI, or voice commands, or the various provided knobs and buttons to operate the system.

New for 2019, Apple CarPlay is included in every version of the ES, as well as Amazon Alexa integration. The larger screen is included with the optional navigation system, which is bundled with a Wi-Fi hotspot. The new infotainment technology supports over-the-air software updates to keep it current over time.