Lexus ES: Sixth Generation

Review Roundup: The 2019 Lexus ES 350 & ES 300h

Lexus ES 350 2019

The first reviews of the seventh-generation 2019 Lexus ES sedan are popping up around the Internet — yesteday, I posted an extensive technical overview of the new model, but let’s see some more subjective opinions of the new model.


From the CNET review by Chris Paukert:

None of those metrics really tell you how the new ES feels while generating those numbers, however, but the answer is “pretty darn good.” Lexus makes a big deal about how much sportier this new XV70 generation is to drive than before, and indeed, it breeds driver confidence like no ES before it. That’s particularly true of the F Sport, which not only adds visual drama with a blacked-out mesh grille, unique lower fascias, model-specific wheels, rear spoiler and dark-finish taillights, it also nudges the dynamic quotient upward.

Chiefly, that’s because the ES 350 F Sport is available with Adaptive Variable Suspension derived from the system on the LC Coupe. Lexus says the system features no fewer than 650 individual levels of damping, which helps keep the car level, whether it’s being pitched hard into a corner or negotiating a suburban speed bump. However, the standard ES with its novel new “swing-valve” passive shocks works well, too.


Lexus ES F SPORT

More praise for the ES F SPORT from Tony Swan of Car & Driver:

Although its powertrain is the same as that of the standard ES350, the F Sport feels much more the athlete, thanks primarily to suspension tuning, highlighted by adaptive dampers. Developed by KYB, the new Adaptive Variable Suspension employs damping that responds rapidly to changing road-surface conditions based on multiple presets, and it’s most noticeable in the Sport and Sport+ driving modes. The action is an adaptation of conventional shock technology, with a new internal valving system.

The upshot is an ES sedan with level cornering attitudes, eager responses, and precise, tactile steering, all of which is augmented by 19-inch wheels fitted with available summer performance tires. It adds up to the first ES that can claim to be a sports sedan with somewhat of a straight face.


Will Kaufman of Edmunds is more critical of the ES F SPORT driving experience:

Turn-in is sharp, and the car doesn’t feel front-heavy when you pitch it into a turn. It grips impressively, cornering flat and giving the driver more confidence than seems proper in a Lexus ES. In fact, the F Sport doesn’t remind you it’s a front-wheel-drive car until you get on the gas.

Without a locking front differential, there’s some torque steer under acceleration, and the front tires struggle a bit for grip coming out of a corner. Further, the eight-speed automatic has not be sufficiently retuned from the regular car, and even in Sport+ it’s too quick to upshift. Lift off the gas pedal in a turn and the car has to downshift again when you’re ready for some acceleration.


Lexus ES 300h

Jake Lingeman from Autoweek prefers the ES 300h hybrid over the gas-powered models:

I jump in the hybrid next and, like the new Porsche Panamera, this might be the one to buy. Though it only has 215 hp, off-the-line speed is good with help from the electrics and on the road it’s library quiet. The engine kick-on is almost imperceptible, except when you’re flooring it, which means the 2.5-liter four revs near redline with the CVT adjusting the ratios. That sends a little snarl and vibration into the cabin. At cruising speed though, you could whisper to your passenger next you without a problem.


Alisa Priddle of Motor Trend calls the ES a “joy to drive”:

There is no bad choice. All performed well at absorbing bumps, big and small, and the adjustable dampers kept the car steady even in harder cornering. We were pleased that the F Sport did not share the stiff and rigid ride we’ve experienced with some F Sports in the past. Maybe the marriage of ES comfort and F Sport does find a sweet spot.

The electric power steering, now mounted on the steering rack, was a joy to drive. It was responsive without being too heavy or flighty.

Comments
Bryan
is it a spare or a run flat?
It's a spare! Thank God

Saw it myself :)
asoksevil
This British reviewer has confused people since he thinks the ES is an E Class competitor, which it isn't and the source of all the complaints about flimsy and plasticky touch inside the car (to me the ES is better than the C class or 3 Series in terms of quality levels). In the European market, the ES doesn't have a direct competitor per se, as it is way longer than the C Class or 3 Series but comes at a relatively similar price. With this offering, the Lexus entry level sedan line up has two distinct categories, one for sporty, smaller and RWD (Lexus IS) and then the more comfy, roomier, larger Lexus ES.

This is because Lexus EU calls it GS replacement... realistically this is what customers will be doing too.
asoksevil
This British reviewer has confused people since he thinks the ES is an E Class competitor, which it isn't and the source of all the complaints about flimsy and plasticky touch inside the car (to me the ES is better than the C class or 3 Series in terms of quality levels). In the European market, the ES doesn't have a direct competitor per se, as it is way longer than the C Class or 3 Series but comes at a relatively similar price. With this offering, the Lexus entry level sedan line up has two distinct categories, one for sporty, smaller and RWD (Lexus IS) and then the more comfy, roomier, larger Lexus ES.

This is because Lexus EU calls it GS replacement... realistically this is what customers will be doing too.
spwolf
This is because Lexus EU calls it GS replacement... realistically this is what customers will be doing too.
While it is "replacing" the GS as the model to be offered, it is not replacing the segment the GS was competing in. This message should also be conveyed thoroughly to EU customers because this car does not have the GS price tag but IS price, therefore, the quality is commensurate to that price. For instance, he was pointing out that some parts of the ES were flimsy while it wants on the A6. That comparison should have been made with the A4.
spwolf
This is because Lexus EU calls it GS replacement... realistically this is what customers will be doing too.
While it is "replacing" the GS as the model to be offered, it is not replacing the segment the GS was competing in. This message should also be conveyed thoroughly to EU customers because this car does not have the GS price tag but IS price, therefore, the quality is commensurate to that price. For instance, he was pointing out that some parts of the ES were flimsy while it wants on the A6. That comparison should have been made with the A4.


asoksevil
While it is "replacing" the GS as the model to be offered, it is not replacing the segment the GS was competing in. This message should also be conveyed thoroughly to EU customers because this car does not have the GS price tag but IS price, therefore, the quality is commensurate to that price. For instance, he was pointing out that some parts of the ES were flimsy while it wants on the A6. That comparison should have been made with the A4.
I am pretty sure those parts were also due to preproduction status... And it is not his fault Lexus EU is comparing it to the GS.

I think it is very good thing and thats what sales people will do too - plus obviously there is a huge price differences between really well equipped A6/E/5.

But otherwise, most of these base models or at least under 60-70k models dont have overall nicer interior at all.
asoksevil
While it is "replacing" the GS as the model to be offered, it is not replacing the segment the GS was competing in. This message should also be conveyed thoroughly to EU customers because this car does not have the GS price tag but IS price, therefore, the quality is commensurate to that price. For instance, he was pointing out that some parts of the ES were flimsy while it wants on the A6. That comparison should have been made with the A4.
I am pretty sure those parts were also due to preproduction status... And it is not his fault Lexus EU is comparing it to the GS.

I think it is very good thing and thats what sales people will do too - plus obviously there is a huge price differences between really well equipped A6/E/5.

But otherwise, most of these base models or at least under 60-70k models dont have overall nicer interior at all.
spwolf
I am pretty sure those parts were also due to preproduction status... And it is not his fault Lexus EU is comparing it to the GS.

I think it is very good thing and thats what sales people will do too - plus obviously there is a huge price differences between really well equipped A6/E/5.

But otherwise, most of these base models or at least under 60-70k models dont have overall nicer interior at all.
As far as I know, Lexus told the press that the ES is competing against the C Class and 3 Series. The guy just heard that since they are discontinuing the GS in Europe, the ES would be replaced model (which it is) but does not occupy the same segment as the GS.

I too hope these preproduction defects are gone by the time it makes it to the final assembly, I would love to see how a product that costs £10-15 less can be an equal challenger. Similar to when the LS debuted and it was better than the S Class and far cheaper.
spwolf
I am pretty sure those parts were also due to preproduction status... And it is not his fault Lexus EU is comparing it to the GS.

I think it is very good thing and thats what sales people will do too - plus obviously there is a huge price differences between really well equipped A6/E/5.

But otherwise, most of these base models or at least under 60-70k models dont have overall nicer interior at all.
As far as I know, Lexus told the press that the ES is competing against the C Class and 3 Series. The guy just heard that since they are discontinuing the GS in Europe, the ES would be replaced model (which it is) but does not occupy the same segment as the GS.

I too hope these preproduction defects are gone by the time it makes it to the final assembly, I would love to see how a product that costs £10-15 less can be an equal challenger. Similar to when the LS debuted and it was better than the S Class and far cheaper.
J
Thank You Krew., for a really well done article. I will be on the look out for your review.
J
Thank You Krew., for a really well done article. I will be on the look out for your review.
L
For those of you that have driven both the Regular and the Sport how noticeable is the difference? Reviews seem to be mixed on the sport being anything more than the extra styling, which I do like but will be hard to justify the upgrade for just that..
L
For those of you that have driven both the Regular and the Sport how noticeable is the difference? Reviews seem to be mixed on the sport being anything more than the extra styling, which I do like but will be hard to justify the upgrade for just that..
S
asoksevil
As far as I know, Lexus told the press that the ES is competing against the C Class and 3 Series. The guy just heard that since they are discontinuing the GS in Europe, the ES would be replaced model (which it is) but does not occupy the same segment as the GS.

I too hope these preproduction defects are gone by the time it makes it to the final assembly, I would love to see how a product that costs £10-15 less can be an equal challenger. Similar to when the LS debuted and it was better than the S Class and far cheaper.
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

I don't think the Lexus ES competes with the C/3 at all...
1) The Lexus ES is marketed as a luxury sedan while the C-Class and 3 Series are "Entry-level luxury" sports sedans. The Lexus ES isn't really "entry-level". The Lexus IS is... The Lexus IS is the true competitor to the C300 and 3 Series.
2) The Lexus ES is much bigger than the C/3.
3) The Lexus ES is much more luxurious than the C/3. Half the stuff offered on the ES doesn't get offered on the C/3.
4) The Lexus ES is performance figures are not good enough to compete with the C/3. The Lexus ES350 does a 6.6 0-60 which is only .3 seconds quicker than the Lexus IS300 Turbo (6.9 seconds).
5) If its considered as the C/3 competitor, where does that leave the IS? If Lexus cancels the IS, that's a bad business move. They'll lose so much business because if someone wants a RWD Luxury Sedan from Lexus they have to buy the GS or LS... These people might just jump to MB/BMW for the lower-priced RWD Sedans.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
S
asoksevil
As far as I know, Lexus told the press that the ES is competing against the C Class and 3 Series. The guy just heard that since they are discontinuing the GS in Europe, the ES would be replaced model (which it is) but does not occupy the same segment as the GS.

I too hope these preproduction defects are gone by the time it makes it to the final assembly, I would love to see how a product that costs £10-15 less can be an equal challenger. Similar to when the LS debuted and it was better than the S Class and far cheaper.
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

I don't think the Lexus ES competes with the C/3 at all...
1) The Lexus ES is marketed as a luxury sedan while the C-Class and 3 Series are "Entry-level luxury" sports sedans. The Lexus ES isn't really "entry-level". The Lexus IS is... The Lexus IS is the true competitor to the C300 and 3 Series.
2) The Lexus ES is much bigger than the C/3.
3) The Lexus ES is much more luxurious than the C/3. Half the stuff offered on the ES doesn't get offered on the C/3.
4) The Lexus ES is performance figures are not good enough to compete with the C/3. The Lexus ES350 does a 6.6 0-60 which is only .3 seconds quicker than the Lexus IS300 Turbo (6.9 seconds).
5) If its considered as the C/3 competitor, where does that leave the IS? If Lexus cancels the IS, that's a bad business move. They'll lose so much business because if someone wants a RWD Luxury Sedan from Lexus they have to buy the GS or LS... These people might just jump to MB/BMW for the lower-priced RWD Sedans.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
S
asoksevil
As far as I know, Lexus told the press that the ES is competing against the C Class and 3 Series. The guy just heard that since they are discontinuing the GS in Europe, the ES would be replaced model (which it is) but does not occupy the same segment as the GS.

I too hope these preproduction defects are gone by the time it makes it to the final assembly, I would love to see how a product that costs £10-15 less can be an equal challenger. Similar to when the LS debuted and it was better than the S Class and far cheaper.
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

I don't think the Lexus ES competes with the C/3 at all...
1) The Lexus ES is marketed as a luxury sedan while the C-Class and 3 Series are "Entry-level luxury" sports sedans. The Lexus ES isn't really "entry-level". The Lexus IS is... The Lexus IS is the true competitor to the C300 and 3 Series.
2) The Lexus ES is much bigger than the C/3.
3) The Lexus ES is much more luxurious than the C/3. Half the stuff offered on the ES doesn't get offered on the C/3.
4) The Lexus ES is performance figures are not good enough to compete with the C/3. The Lexus ES350 does a 6.6 0-60 which is only .3 seconds quicker than the Lexus IS300 Turbo (6.9 seconds).
5) If its considered as the C/3 competitor, where does that leave the IS? If Lexus cancels the IS, that's a bad business move. They'll lose so much business because if someone wants a RWD Luxury Sedan from Lexus they have to buy the GS or LS... These people might just jump to MB/BMW for the lower-priced RWD Sedans.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
lsu5508
For those of you that have driven both the Regular and the Sport how noticeable is the difference? Reviews seem to be mixed on the sport being anything more than the extra styling, which I do like but will be hard to justify the upgrade for just that..
I'll write more about this in my review next week, but there's a weight to the ES F SPORT steering that is missing from the standard model. I feel very confident saying the ES F SPORT is the car to buy -- driving experience is much better, but not at the expense of ride quality.
lsu5508
For those of you that have driven both the Regular and the Sport how noticeable is the difference? Reviews seem to be mixed on the sport being anything more than the extra styling, which I do like but will be hard to justify the upgrade for just that..
I'll write more about this in my review next week, but there's a weight to the ES F SPORT steering that is missing from the standard model. I feel very confident saying the ES F SPORT is the car to buy -- driving experience is much better, but not at the expense of ride quality.
lsu5508
For those of you that have driven both the Regular and the Sport how noticeable is the difference? Reviews seem to be mixed on the sport being anything more than the extra styling, which I do like but will be hard to justify the upgrade for just that..
I'll write more about this in my review next week, but there's a weight to the ES F SPORT steering that is missing from the standard model. I feel very confident saying the ES F SPORT is the car to buy -- driving experience is much better, but not at the expense of ride quality.
Sakura
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
Sakura
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
Sakura
No idea why Lexus said that - it makes them sound they like are high some strong drugs.

The reason the Lexus ES is seen as a GS competitor is because the GS is removed from EU sales and the ES will be sold there for the first time. On top of the ES having similar sizing to the E-Class/5 Series and hold similar luxurious features.
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
S
krew
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
Yup. The Lexus ES has always priced pretty similarity to the C-Class and 3-Series. But I don't think that really justifies a good comparison between these 3 cars. Other than price, the ES is extremely different compared to the C-Class and 3-Series and couldn't be further apart in competition. The Lexus ES is more luxurious and spacious than the C-Class and 3-Series and its also lacks sportiness, performance, and RWD of the C/3.

However - I do see how the ES can be disruptive. Its offering E-Class/5-Series size and features for C-Class and 3-Series money. But to me - that's still a E-Class/5-Series competitor because they are under-cutting the E/5 competition to gain business.
S
krew
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
Yup. The Lexus ES has always priced pretty similarity to the C-Class and 3-Series. But I don't think that really justifies a good comparison between these 3 cars. Other than price, the ES is extremely different compared to the C-Class and 3-Series and couldn't be further apart in competition. The Lexus ES is more luxurious and spacious than the C-Class and 3-Series and its also lacks sportiness, performance, and RWD of the C/3.

However - I do see how the ES can be disruptive. Its offering E-Class/5-Series size and features for C-Class and 3-Series money. But to me - that's still a E-Class/5-Series competitor because they are under-cutting the E/5 competition to gain business.
S
krew
The ES may have the size and luxury level of the E Class/5 Series, but it will be priced like a C Class/3 Series. This is why Lexus uses entry-level models as the comparison, and also explains why the ES is so disruptive in the market. It's a lot of car for the money.
Yup. The Lexus ES has always priced pretty similarity to the C-Class and 3-Series. But I don't think that really justifies a good comparison between these 3 cars. Other than price, the ES is extremely different compared to the C-Class and 3-Series and couldn't be further apart in competition. The Lexus ES is more luxurious and spacious than the C-Class and 3-Series and its also lacks sportiness, performance, and RWD of the C/3.

However - I do see how the ES can be disruptive. Its offering E-Class/5-Series size and features for C-Class and 3-Series money. But to me - that's still a E-Class/5-Series competitor because they are under-cutting the E/5 competition to gain business.
The fact that it doesn't fit neatly in either class is precisely why it's so disruptive.

I
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