Published on February 25th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Lexus ES 250 luxury test drive that was surprising
The Lexus ES is not some new model from the Toyota luxury division. Yes, Lexus is owned by Toyota and the ‘ES’ is not a new nameplate. This latest version of the ES comes after nearly thirty years of success and it is the seventh-generation Lexus ES.
Previous ES buyers will find the new ES more spacious and quieter while a new generation of customers will be introduced to a sedan with sharpened performance, advanced active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment.
Lexus ES Design
A key element of the redesigned Lexus ES is the all-new Global Architecture-K (GA-K) platform. More than just an engineering achievement, the GA-K platform gave the designers the flexibility to create an ES that’s as visibly striking as it is enjoyable to drive. The result is an ES sedan that is longer (+2.6 in / 65 mm), lower (-0.2 in / 5 mm) and wider (+1.8 in / 45 mm) than before with wheels that have been pushed closer to the corners thanks to a two-inch longer wheelbase and wider tracks front (+0.4 in / 10 mm) and rear (+1.5 in / 37 mm).
To complete the transformation of the front fascia, this ES gets slim headlamps with distinctive “L” shaped marker lights.
In profile, the ES has a dynamic yet fluid shape that starts with the low hood line made possible by the GA- K platform. From there, the roofline remains low and sleek thanks to the relaxed A-pillar that flows smoothly to the sharply slanted C pillar. A long, uninterrupted shoulder line that extends from the top of the front wheel arch all the way to the corner of the trunk serves as a contrast to the smooth arc of the roofline and gives the ES a refined sense of sportiness.
The rear of the Lexus ES is clean and sharply chiseled, with LED taillamps that wrap around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle. The lights feature a distinctive three-dimensional, L- shaped design that gives each cluster an eye-catching depth.
Lexus ES Performance
Designed primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering dynamic handling. That foundation is the newly developed GA-K chassis. It’s an exceptionally rigid front-wheel drive chassis made from several grades of high-strength steel. The GA-K chassis also incorporates far more structural adhesives than the previous ES chassis as well as the addition of laser screw welds. A total of 785 inches of adhesive is used throughout the structure, more than twice the amount (324 in.) used previously. Laser screw welding, a construction method shared with the LS sedan, is used in 120 locations throughout the GA-K chassis to further solidify the already robust structure. Additional measures are used to improve front-end stiffness including a strut tower brace, multiple reinforcement panels for the strut towers themselves and new radiator support braces.
Lexus ES Suspension
A level of comfort that goes beyond merely delivering a smooth ride. Newly developed Dynamic Control Shocks are capable of responding to even the smallest movements thanks to a non-overlapping auxiliary valve that allows damper oil to flow in either direction before entering the main valve.
The rear suspension design utilizes a trailing arm, multilink setup that also benefits from the responsiveness of the new Dynamic Control shocks. Higher placement of the trailing arm mounting point and a larger bushing size results in better ability to help dampen road irregularities. Wider spacing of the stabilizer bushing mounts also contributes to overall roll reduction.
A new rack-assist type Electric Power Steering (EPS) system is used to deliver a more precise steering feel. Unlike the previous ES which used a steering-column-mounted assist motor, the new EPS setup mounts the assist motor directly on the steering rack which returns more precise feedback to the steering wheel. The new layout also allows for additional adjustability of the steering wheel itself with 1.2-inches of additional tilt and 1.6-inches of additional telescoping range.
In Eco mode, fuel consumption is prioritized by reducing the engine responses to the throttle and suppressing the use of the climate control system. For more aggressive driving, Sport S+ mode adjusts the throttle, transmission and steering parameters along with the adaptive dampers. In Custom mode, drivers can choose three engine and transmission programs (Eco, Normal, Sport), two steering and suspension programs (Normal, Sport) and two climate programs (Eco, Normal).
Lexus ES Power
This ES 250 has a high-efficiency 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. Constructed with lightweight aluminium, it has a long-stroke design, laser-clad intake valve seats and advanced intelligent variable valve timing (VVT-i) to achieve high-speed combustion. It has a high overall thermal efficiency of 38 per cent.
Lexus ES Transmission
Compared to the previous 6-speed automatic, the 8-speed Direct Shift transmission has a wider range of ratios designed to return improved mileage and more responsive performance. For instance, the first gear ratio in the previous 6-speed was 3.30:1 while the new 8-speed offers a 5.51 first gear. On the high-end, the new 8-speed allows the engine to run between 250-300 rpm lower at 60 mph compared to the 6- speed thanks to a taller final drive ratio (2.56) made possible by the more flexible transmission ratios.
Although the transmission’s shift programs can be altered through the Drive Mode Select system, it also uses AI Shift Control at all times to align the transmission’s shift points with the driver’s intentions. By constantly monitoring the vehicle speed and the throttle position, the AI Shift Control system can shift early during relaxing driving or hold gears longer when it contributes to a more engaged and predictable feel. A related system called Direct Connected Downshift allows the transmission to skip gears when large throttle openings are detected such as when making a passing maneuver on the highway.
Lexus ES Interior
From the moment you get in, all the controls you need are within reach and all the information you want is in plain view. Armrests slide comfortably under your elbows and buttons can be pushed without taking your hands off the wheel.
In the ES, the idea is taken a step further by placing all the main information displays within the driver’s line of sight. This includes the ultra-sharp LCD instrument panel that features a large analog tachometer, digital speedometer and easy-to-read multi-information display.
Another means to reduce driver distraction is the optional head-up display that projects relevant vehicle information onto the windshield. Fully adjustable to suit the driver’s preferred parameters, the color display.
If additional information is needed, the Lexus Multimedia System sits high on the dashboard in a position that minimizes distraction. Measuring eight inches wide on standard models and 12.3-inches wide with the available Navigation package, the Electro Multi Vision (EMV) display features crisp, easy-to-read graphics and a revised menu system. The optional navigation system blends on-board information with cloud-based data for the most accurate directions possible. The updated Remote Touch Interface (RTI) pad now has more usable surface area and vibration feedback to make it easier to use.
Lexus ES Cabin
What the driver sees is also enhanced by what he or she feels, as the driving position in the Lexus ES has been refined with a more natural steering wheel angle, revised pedal positions and standard 10-way power adjustable front seats. The steering wheel itself is borrowed directly from the LS and features an ergonomically shaped rim and optional wood trim and heating elements. Heated seats are also available for the driver and front passenger along with a new suction-type ventilation system that provides improved cooling in hot weather.
Rear seat passenger comfort has long been a hallmark of the ES and the seventh-generation model builds on that legacy by maintaining its expansive accommodations. Despite the sleek roofline, headroom has been increased slightly through the use of a lower hip point and a carefully configured headliner.
Due to the reconfigured rear suspension, cargo room has been increased over the previous model. The ES now boasts 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space along with additional underfloor side pockets for smaller items.
Lexus ES Luxury
In addition to the array of eye-catching paint colors available on the exterior of the ES, the interior features three color schemes, four types of trim and three different material options for the seats.
Staying connected has never been so important to Lexus ES owners, so there are now multiple ways to engage with technology in a safe and convenient manner. This new 2019 ES is the first Lexus product to offer Apple CarPlay™ phone functionality, enabling drivers to control their iPhones® through the dashboard display screen or with Siri Eyes Free® voice control. ES models with the optional 12.3-inch navigation display will offer CarPlay starting from launch, while the standard Lexus Multimedia display system will add CarPlay functionality. A 10-speaker Pioneer audio system comes standard
Lexus ES Safety Comes Standard
One element of the ES that hasn’t been radically transformed is its dedication to safety. Sharing a high level of safety, this all-new Lexus ES250 comes equipped with the famed Lexus Safety System + (LSS+). This sophisticated electronic driver aid encompasses the latest generation of Lexus safety technology aimed at reducing the occurrence and effects of traffic accidents. Items such as Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with Stop and Go Function are some of the most intuitive in the market and come standard in both variants. With its 3 Bi-Beam LED headlights, the Luxury version will have the added feature of Adaptive High Beam System (AHS) that channels the appropriate amount of light to darker areas of the road without blinding drivers in on-coming vehicles.
Lexus ES Driving
This is where you really begin to understand the Lexus philosophy. Very good comfort with added driving zest when needed. This ES delivers comfort from the moment you get comfortable in the driver’s seat. Rear passengers are awarded pampering levels equal to luxury sedans costing up to 50% more.
Ignite the 2.5L engine and all you hear is a whisper of the engine working smoothly. The high quality cabin with leather almost everywhere catches your eye and your hands can feel the quality materials as you take a few minutes to appreciate the level of attention the product designers had in ensuring buyers will have no second thoughts about buying this 2019 Lexus ES against its immediate rivals like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6 which are all more expensive by a long margin. The local assembled Mercedes E-Class E200 Sportstyle Avantgarde retails for RM329,888 and the BMW 520i Luxury at RM328,000 and finally, the fully imported Audi A6 S-Line retails for RM589,000. Meanwhile, this fully imported Lexus ES 250 retails for RM299,888.
So, after you get comfortable behind the well sized steering wheel and hear the whispering engine working, you want to get an on road feel of this luxury sedan. Once underway you immediately notice how easy this car works with its driver. Then you realize its sheer size as you work your way around the city traffic.
The sound insulation is very good in keeping the traffic noise away from the cabin and the rear passengers have an easy time conversing with you. The provided Pioneer sound system delivers a crisp tone and has enough adjustments to tune the sound level for each ear level.
Rear passengers are pampered with soft leather seats and plenty of legroom. Rear cooling is good and the provided sun blinds keep privacy tight.
Find an opening in Klang Valley traffic and take this Lexus ES 250 faster up to legal speeds and you will a smooth delivering engine and a super slick gearbox working for you. It really is a stress reliever for our daily inner city traffic conditions.
Lexus ES 250 Final Word
Most of you reading this will say that this ES is just a repackaged Toyota Camry 2.5 which retails for RM189,900 and you will not be all that wrong. But before you shut down any intent to pay about RM110,000 more for this Lexus ES 250, please visit a Lexus showroom and take this ES 250 for a test drive yourself to find out for yourself why it costs more and look around their workshop and service area to understand why some Malaysians will pay this premium price for the Lexus ownership experience which sadly many others have tried to copy but have not been able to replicate even up to 75%.
Lexus ES 250 Specifications
Engine: DOHC, 16V Dual VVT-I
Transmission: 8-speed Direct Shift Auto
Max Power: 204hp @ 6,600rpm
Max Torque: 247Nm @ 5,000rpm
Acceleration: 9.1 seconds
Max Speed: 210 km/h