Recently we attended the launch of the luxurious seventh-generation Lexus ES. The ES follows the new LS flagship sedan and LC coupe with a bolder design. The range includes the ES 250 petrol engine model as well as the ES 300h. The ES 300h is powered by a new self-charging hybrid system. The ES comes into a highly competitive but declining segment. Notwithstanding this, Lexus believes that this latest offering provides enough value to the consumer to make them competitive in this segment. We think they are onto something, especially considering that the ES range is between the D and E Segment in terms of size but it is priced from R593,300.
The new ES is built on the all-new Global Architecture – GA-K platform. The car is longer (by 65 mm), lower (by 5 mm) and wider (by 45 mm) than its predecessor. The car features the spindle grille which has become a signature feature of Lexus’ vehicle design. The design features a rear-ward-sloping fast roofline which sets the car apart from previous generations. Two different 17-inch and 18-inch wheel designs are available for the ES models. The hybrid model also features an integrated rear spoiler as well as auto-fold door mirror functionality when the car is switched off. LED low and high beam headlamps are standard on the ES 250 EX model. The Lexus ES range comprises nine colours.
Inside the ES, the quality and luxurious nature of the car is unmistakable. The steering wheel itself is borrowed directly from the flagship LS. The ES 300h steering wheel comes standard with a wooden trim, as well as integral heating elements. In both the ES 250 and ES 300h, the Lexus Climate Concierge cooperatively controls the climate control system, seat heating and steering-wheel heating (hybrid only). The hybrid model also provides seat heaters for the rear passengers. Rear legroom is particularly impressive as it is generous. The driver and the front passenger also have enough legroom. The ES300h improves on its boot size due to the use of a smaller battery pack.
To keep you focused on the road, the navigation provides a 12.3-inch multimedia display that works well with the second-generation Remote Touch touchpad control. Cruise control is standard on the ES and, in the case of the hybrid, it includes radar functionality. To ensure rear passenger comfort, power reclining seats are available on the hybrid model. The standard interior trim colours comprise of Black, Chateau and Topaz Brown. A Rich Cream option is exclusive to the hybrid model and features matching cream and brown upholstery.
The ES 250 is available with an all-new direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. Power is at 152 kW with torque at 243 Nm. The fuel consumption on the ES 250 is 6.6 litres/100km and it manages the 0-100 km/h sprint in 9.1 seconds and lastly, its top speed is limited at 210 km/h. The ES 300h is equipped with a new, fourth-generation, self-charging hybrid drive system. Total system power is 160 kW and combined cycle fuel economy is from 4.6 l/100km. The ES 300h sprints from 0-100 km/h in a respectable 8.9 seconds and is electronically-governed to a top speed of 180 km/h.
Both the Lexus ES 250 and ES 300h are equipped with Lexus Drive Mode Select with three different drive modes. Normal mode provides an optimal balance between driving performance and fuel efficiency; ECO mode maximises fuel savings across all driving conditions by smoothing the throttle response, and by moderating air conditioning operation; Sport mode delivers quicker throttle response and increased power steering feel.
We drove both the ES250 and ES300h at launch. Both vehicles are not unbelievably quick but deliver good power at great comfort levels. The cabin is quiet, particularly in the E300h. The extra torque of the E300h is slightly missed when driving the ES250 although an ES250 buyer will not likely to be bothered by this having paid nearly R200,000 less. The comfort levels are high in both cars. The drive is engaging and the very responsive when you select Sport mode. The interior ambience contributes to the overall enjoyable driving experience as the luxury also translates into the drivability of the car.
The Lexus ES 250 EX carries a price tag of R593,300, and the ES 300h SE model retails for R843,800. This comes with an impressive 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan.
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