The new Lexus ES: The midsize luxury sedan that punches above its weight

Last year, after the country struggled to reach the more liberal General Community Quarantine (GCQ)—after harrowing hard lockdown months of ECQ and MECQ—I got to test drive the previous-gen Lexus ES for a week. Noteworthy with that experience was that the ES came immediately after a four-day test drive of the previous-gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Needless to say, the midsize Lexus ES is not in the same size league as the full-size S-Class. But I’ll be darned if the ES wasn’t a match in terms of delivering a refined and ultra-smooth driving experience. The sheer silence inside the spacious cabin, the sumptuous seats that cosset your body, the tactile feel of the finest materials, the oh-so-supple suspension that absorbs any road imperfection, the imperceptible engine and gearshifts—all hallmarks of the Lexus brand were wonderfully on display in every ride or drive in the ES. The sleek sedan shape with that compelling spindle grille front end is just the eye candy on a truly delicious cake.    

And now, the latest iteration of the ES focuses on strengthening these qualities, refreshing the car’s styling, improving ride and responsiveness, and introducing new, technology-led equipment features.

Since it was first unveiled in 1989, 2.65 million Lexus ES units have been sold worldwide. It remains one of Lexus’s core models and accounts for 1/4th of its vehicle sales in 2020.

Notable improvements can be found inside of the cabin as all Lexus interiors are designed to blend a driver-centric cockpit with spacious and comfortable areas for the passengers.  Lexus calls this concept “Seat in Control,” a simple idea that says, from the moment you get in, all the controls you need are within reach and all the information you want is in plain view. In true Lexus fashion, the new ES embraces continuous improvement with human-centered updates to the Lexus Multimedia System. Additional interior updates include a streamlined instrument panel design that is an example of seamless cabin integration.

Improvements were also made from behind the wheel. The ultimate goal is to deliver a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and more confident than ever before.

The new ES continues the Lexus Driving Signature philosophy with additional performance updates, including an enhanced rear suspension member brace further improving torsional rigidity, handling stability, and ride comfort. The ES brake system has also received updates on both petrol and hybrid models. The brake pedal shape has been enlarged on all ES models to improve foot stability and confidence when the pedal is depressed. On ES gas models, the vacuum brake system master cylinder and booster have been optimized to provide a more linear brake pedal feeling and response. The regenerative and hydraulic brake control characteristics of the Electronically Controlled Brake System (ECB) on ES hybrid models have also been optimized to improve pedal feeling when the brake pedal is released.

The new ES improves on the quality and elegance that has been well received by ES customers. The exterior has evolved into a more modern look by way of a newly designed front grille and new headlamps, while the interior has adopted new interior colors.

Two variants have been launched locally:

Lexus ES 350 Premier (Php 4,728,000)

The ES 350 delivers strong and efficient performance from a 3.5-liter V6 engine that offers 302ps and 356Nm of torque. Mated to this is an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic transmission. Power is put to the ground through 235/45R18 tires.

Other features unique to the ES 350 Premier variant are rain-sensing wipers; automatic trunk operation with a kick sensor; semi-aniline leather seats, driver and front passenger 10-way power seats, and front-seat ventilation systems.

Front and center is a 12.3″ Electro Multi Vision Touch Display which has Apple Carplay, Android Auto,  Smartphone Linking and Miracast. Audiophiles will appreciate the high-end 17-Speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound. Wireless charging comes standard as well.

The ES 350 Premier is equipped with Lexus’s most advanced safety technology. The Lexus Safety System (LSS) addresses the three most common accident types: frontal collisions, lane departures, and nighttime accidents. Dynamic radar cruise control; adaptive high beams; lane-tracing assist with  lane-departure alert; blind-spot monitor (BSM); and rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) work in conjunction with an entire suite of standard luxury safety features.

Lexus ES 300h (Php 3,758,000)

With significantly enhanced supple ride quality that has been an integral part of the ES DNA, the new ES also exhibits a newfound sportiness which thoroughly captures the ideals of the new generation of Lexus. At the heart of the car’s more athletic nature is the brand’s latest driving technology, namely, the GA-K platform and new-generation hybrid electric system.

After thoroughly analyzing human movements and responses, Lexus engineers have created a car that, as much as possible, serves as a natural extension to the driver’s body. The engineers focused especially on precisely executing the driver’s inputs, immediate vehicle response, and creating a comfortable cockpit.

The 2.5-liter inline-4 engine of the ES 300h is equipped with laser-clad intake valve seats. Power and torque are rated at 178ps and 221Nm, respectively. The ES 300h rolls on 215/55R17 tires.

The ES hybrid electric system achieves excellent fuel efficiency and powerful acceleration due to the new hybrid transaxle with improved efficient internal power flow and a higher-efficiency power control unit. A new, more compact hybrid battery is located beneath the rear seats, contributing to ideal weight balance and low center of gravity, while maintaining cargo space. Total system output of the gasoline engine and electric motor is 218ps.

The interior features synthetic leather; 8-way power adjustment for driver and front passenger; HEV indicator; 8” Touch Display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smartphone Linking and Miracast; plus, a 10-speaker premium sound system.

On the safety front, ABS, EBD, and traction control come standard alongside a host of safety features expected on a Lexus luxury sedan.

The new Lexus ES was designed for the luxury-car buyer looking for a comfortable executive sedan with European character and nimble handling. The new ES family builds upon this recipe for success with numerous multimedia, safety and, style, updates.

To learn more, visit the Lexus website at or visit our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram @lexusmanila. To arrange a consultation with your personal sales consultant, visit the Lexus Remote page at

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