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Carwow Review: The Lexus ES 300h

Lexus ES Review Carwow

Mat Watson from Carwow is one of the top car reviewers in the world, and this throughly entertaining look at the Lexus ES 300h is a perfect example of his craft:

Comments
Berto3818
@Gecko I know all the issues sir so it it easy for me to point this out. My whole point is why are the individuals who keeps reviewing the cars pointing this stuff out? it makes no sense to time after time to ding the infotainment. it makes no sense to ding time after time the rear head room.. thats the design of the car.. We know it and so do they.. I'm not venting at all.
The reason reviewers continue to call out the infotainment system is because they don't like it, and it's their job to point it out. While you or I might not find it frustrating, the backlash against Remote Touch is valid and widespread. Also, every review has to be treated as a clean page, Carwow or Motor Trend are speaking to people interested in buying a new car, not to brand enthusiasts.

Berto3818
@GeckoAs a lexus enthusiasts i believe it is our job to call this out. Gotta protect the name you know?
While I write about Lexus every day, I don't believe in blindly following any brand. If there's an issue with a product, it deserves to be pointed out. I'm an enthusiast, not a fanatic. :D

Ian Schmidt
I still maintain that the vaunted German systems are just as bad, it's just people have been trained by the media to think they're acceptable. This is why everyone regardless of brand wants CarPlay/Android Auto, because those two kneecap the OEM infotainment and move it out of your way.
I also think reviewers like to balance the good with the bad, and frankly Remote Touch is an easy target.
S
I was at the Lexus dealership yesterday and checked out the car, it was an F Sport model.

Looking inside the trunk I was shocked to see a bare uncovered metal frame at the top, along with the housing for the rear speakers.

I can 100% confirm that my ex IS 300h, cheaper and a segment smaller, had that part covered (unlike basically every other direct opponent).

I’m not ok with the shortcuts Lexus has taken lately in order to save money (ie. the all hard plastic rear door panels of the UX - a car that can cost up to 50.000€ which is very close to the IS) and I really hope it’s a temporary thing...even though I know it isn’t.

Toyota increase its quality and Lexus goes down (a little). It’s sad.
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Sadman
Toyota increase its quality and Lexus goes down (a little). It’s sad.

The ES has been taking flak in China as well for reduced quality. Really makes me rethink my purchase options.
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    RAL
  • March 21, 2019
Yep, I was surprised to see exposed metal works and rear speaker in the trunk. Lexus shouldn't assume we're not going to notice just because this is not visible from a standing position facing an open trunk! And disappointing are the easily scratched hard plastics throughout the interior. My '07 and '08 ES had little to no hard plastics where I am finding them in recent ES models. That is hard plastic surrounding the 12.3 inch display on the upper dash! I am hoping I really didn't hear a plastic on plastic squeak coming from that area yesterday after the car sat in the sunlight while I was having lunch!

And as long as I am complaining, I think it is inexcusable that the rear turn signals are not LED! Beautiful 3-D tail lights mixed with cheap dim turn signals! This is true even with the premium triple beam headlight option. Lexus has a way of cutting cheap corners to leave room for upgrades on the refresh. Case in point: our '15 NX had ambient rear turn signals, and though the headlights were LED, the high beams were non-LED. Our refreshed '19 NX has all LED. I can understand such practices in Toyota, but Lexus shouldn't cut these little cost saving corners!
Totally agreed. If it's a bean counter thing, raise the price another hundred or whatever would cover using the right parts. It's not *that* expensive to do things right.
Sadman
I was at the Lexus dealership yesterday and checked out the car, it was an F Sport model.

Looking inside the trunk I was shocked to see a bare uncovered metal frame at the top, along with the housing for the rear speakers.

I can 100% confirm that my ex IS 300h, cheaper and a segment smaller, had that part covered (unlike basically every other direct opponent).

I’m not ok with the shortcuts Lexus has taken lately in order to save money (ie. the all hard plastic rear door panels of the UX - a car that can cost up to 50.000€ which is very close to the IS) and I really hope it’s a temporary thing...even though I know it isn’t.

Toyota increase its quality and Lexus goes down (a little). It’s sad.
hm, i am pretty sure 5ES has a lot better overall interior quality than IS300h which was down on previous gen.

Now sure, you can find some pieces that you like better before, but overall it is a much, much...much better than old ES.

As to the top of the trunk, both G30 and W213 have exposed metal in the trunk top, and most of german cars do too these days, so I dont see german media mentioning that part anymore.
RAL
And as long as I am complaining, I think it is inexcusable that the rear turn signals are not LED! Beautiful 3-D tail lights mixed with cheap dim turn signals! This is true even with the premium triple beam headlight option. Lexus has a way of cutting cheap corners to leave room for upgrades on the refresh. Case in point: our '15 NX had ambient rear turn signals, and though the headlights were LED, the high beams were non-LED. Our refreshed '19 NX has all LED. I can understand such practices in Toyota, but Lexus shouldn't cut these little cost saving corners! We do notice!
ES does have all LEDs in some markets on Luxury models. For US they try to keep the price lower by missing some options, in general that has worked really well for them.

back in 2014, very few cars had all LEDs though... Generally Lexus does well with LEDs these days, most germans/competition have halogens standard.
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    RAL
  • March 22, 2019
spwolf
ES does have all LEDs in some markets on Luxury models. For US they try to keep the price lower by missing some options, in general that has worked really well for them.

back in 2014, very few cars had all LEDs though... Generally Lexus does well with LEDs these days, most germans/competition have halogens standard.
With all due respect, I don't see this as a question of options. The areas I am mentioning mostly concern where Lexus has lowered the bar. When I invest in a $50.000+ vehicle I am not expecting the bar to be lowered. Regardless, I am with Ian, charge the extra bucks to do it right. How much more could it be? It is a Lexus for goodness sake. I am prepared to pay a premium. It is 2019, not 2014. It should be all LED regardless of what the Europeans do. And there should be no plastic-on-plastic prone to squeaking when the temperature goes up. Overall, I agree with you that it is a much, much better ES by far! All the more reason not to cut corners where they've not been cut before.
RAL
With all due respect, I don't see this as a question of options. The areas I am mentioning mostly concern where Lexus has lowered the bar. When I invest in a $50.000+ vehicle I am not expecting the bar to be lowered. Regardless, I am with Ian, charge the extra bucks to do it right. How much more could it be? It is a Lexus for goodness sake. I am prepared to pay a premium. It is 2019, not 2014. It should be all LED regardless of what the Europeans do. And there should be no plastic-on-plastic prone to squeaking when the temperature goes up. Overall, I agree with you that it is a much, much better ES by far! All the more reason not to cut corners where they've not been cut before.
I mean as a buyer, i also agree with you, however you have to look at what competition does at similar prices, Lexus does not exist in a vacuum.

Only Lexi that dont cut corners are LS/LC, everything else does otherwise they would be 90k cars too.

Lexus USA is famous for not wanting to compete within the lineup and so you get much less features on certain cars than worldwide, but then again, it is also the one that sells the best so obviously it works for them.

For instance both ES Luxury and ES F-Sport Premium in Europe have led blinkers and they are sequential too.
R
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    RAL
  • March 23, 2019
Due respect ... we will just have to agree to disagree
Okay hell naw. I have to politely say no to the notion that German infotainment is poor. I've used the most recent generation of iDrive system in the F31 BMW 320d. And holy f*cking sh*t did I try to have any excuse to use that godsend of a system. It is so intuitive, useful, quick, has very crisp and beautiful graphics. Most of all, and believe me, it gave me so much joy as it was fun to use. Any opportunity that I had to work with the system, I would immediately use it. I mean, my lord is that system legendary.

Now I've played with Lexus' infotainment as well, I don't understand the hate. It just needs getting used to. It could be better, but it isn't that bad.
F
Ian Schmidt
I still maintain that the vaunted German systems are just as bad, it's just people have been trained by the media to think they're acceptable. This is why everyone regardless of brand wants CarPlay/Android Auto, because those two kneecap the OEM infotainment and move it out of your way.
I was surprised few years ago that my friends Mercedes C (210) and VW Passat (2011) didn't have bluetooth to play music. Even my old 2010 Peugeot 207 had bluetooth music ability. It's even better than in my girlfriend's new škoda Octavia.
Logic review
I like May Watson's reviews
He said it's quality is not as good as it's European main competitors E/5/A6/S90/XF and this is the truth, we all know that Toyota and Lexus concern more with the fit and finish of there RWD cars than the FWD ones
Also we all know that the ES won't hold a candle in handling and performance compared to the Europeans.
ES is a total marketing mess!!!
I
You are brainwashed by those who have been defending #Dieselgate. They have even driven you to believe that Lexus didn't pay attention to Es300h, when the opposite is true.

ES 300h features less expensive materials than Ls500h. But it's reasonable.
What is not reasonable is that ES300h is on a different league in terms of refinement compared to Ls500h!

Furthermore, at ES300h price range all European competitors use subpar cheapo materials, which is embarrassing but that's how it is. ES300h is not exception, but still has more quality than competitors. It is the most important car in Lexus history and don't have any illusion about that.

Btw, should stop this foolish agenda arguing about which manual controled infotainment system is better. The only ones that make sense are those who interact the natural way a human co-driver would, such as full time alexa.
S
maiaramdan
Also we all know that the ES won't hold a candle in handling and performance compared to the Europeans.
ES is a total marketing mess!!!
This can't be further from the truth. Have you even driven a 7ES alongside a S90/A6/5 series/E-class? It is one of the most driveable and dynamic full-size sedan you can buy, unless your definition of handling is lap times, which none of the products you mentioned are designed for anyway.
I said it before a lot of time and will say it again now

ES belongs to Toyota not Lexus

Toyota didn't create Lexus for this purpose
2019 Lexus ES 350 First Test: Luxury Sedan Revisited
Comparing the new F Sport to the regular V-6

Lexus is slowly infusing more emotion into its lineup, first with the introduction of the RC and LC coupes and then the youth-oriented UX crossover. Now it's attempting to bring some of that piquancy to the ES, which has long been haunted by its "staid sedan" image. Entering a new generation, the 2019 Lexus ES benefits from more powerful engines and a new F Sport variant. After driving the hybrid ES several months ago, we tested two V-6 models, one with the F Sport badge, to find out whether Lexus has successfully reinvigorated its midsize sedan.

The transformation starts with some skillful plastic surgery to the front face. You definitely won't mistake it for anything other than a Lexus, but the standard grille has changed with more fluid vertical lines that replace the previous model's boring straight horizontal bars. F Sport variants receive an interesting mesh pattern, and in the rear, a trunk lid spoiler. Look for slimmer headlights and taillights on all models, as well as sharper window trim. Sitting on a new platform, the sedan is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. It's the same length and wheelbase as the Toyota Avalon, and you can feel its large size in tight turns.

We tested two front-wheel-drive versions: the highly contented ES 350 with the Ultra Luxury package and the ES 350 F Sport. Both come with a 3.5-liter V-6 making a healthy 302 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Our F Sport model distinguishes itself with 19-inch wheels instead of 18-inchers. It also has an adaptive variable suspension—available as an exclusive option on this trim—with extra drive modes including Sport, Sport+, and Custom.

The F Sport may have a few extra performance goodies, but at least when you look at the numbers, it performs quite like the standard V-6 model. No matter which option you choose, acceleration will be on target with other comfort-oriented luxury sedans with V-6 engines. In the 0-60 run, the Ultra Luxury hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, and it took the F Sport model 5.9 seconds. The 2018 Acura TLX SH-AWD split the difference with a time of 6.0 seconds in A-Spec guise. Another rival, the 2017 Kia Cadenza SXL, took 6.5 seconds. Even slower, a 2019 Lexus ES 300h tester sauntered to 60 in 7.8 seconds. The difference is excusable, however, as it has a four-cylinder hybrid powertrain making just 215 hp.

The sedans did fine in the figure eight. Each clocking a time of 26.2 seconds at 0.67 g, the two Lexuses rounded the bends more quickly than the Acura (25.8 seconds at 0.71 g) and the Kia (27.6 seconds at 0.63 g). The hybrid Lexus was slower: 28.4 seconds at 0.60 g.

Of course, numbers don't tell the whole story. Both models suffer from numb steering, among other issues. Road test editor Chris Walton called the handling course a "terrible experience" in the Ultra Luxury. "If I get on the throttle too soon coming off either skidpad, it spins the unweighted wheel and upshifts to third (botching the lap)," he noted. "Substantial dive under braking, but once the weight comes off the front tires, [there is] tremendous understeer in the corner (8 of 10) where the body motions are not well controlled and the throttle response is super lazy; it can be measured in seconds rather than fractions of a second." He said the F Sport had similar issues but better body control and slightly less dive while braking.

Although the test team noted front-end dive, the brakes bite down smoothly on demand, and the cars stopped straight. It took the Luxury model 119 feet, and just 114 feet for the F Sport. The stopping distances are on par with the Acura at 118 feet, and better than the Cadenza at 121 feet. Sadly, it took the hybrid Lexus 140 feet to come to a full stop.

Now that we know how the ES compares to other sedans, let's take a closer look at how well the F Sport lives up to its name. It exhibits a firmer ride and superior acceleration on the highway, and benefits from a heartier engine noise. But throttle response lags a little when getting up to speed. The F Sport's Sport+ mode makes a noticeable difference in steering feel, which is normally less than communicative on both models, even in their lesser sport modes. The aggressive transmission makes itself more noticeable on the F Sport model than on the Ultra Luxury, though the test team noted quite a bit of spacing between first and second gears, and second and third gears on the latter.

Unfortunately, the ES rides a bit louder than we'd like, particularly the F Sport model, which doesn't control wind noise as well. On both models, you'll hear quite a bit of road noise at 65 mph on the highway. That said, the sedans benefit from excellent forward visibility, with no bulky pillars in the way and side mirrors that are just the right size.

The Lexuses failed to live up to their EPA ratings in our Real MPG tests, though both came close. The Ultra Luxury achieved 20.3/35.8/25.2 mpg city/hwy/combined, below the EPA's 22/33/26 mpg. Results for the F Sport came back at 20.2/32.1/24.3 mpg, lower than the EPA rating of 22/31/25 mpg.

Despite the potential fuel economy setback, I'm normally more inclined to take an SUV than a sedan on a weekend getaway. Still, the ES Ultra Luxury proved a capable tour guide on a recent trip to Nevada. My passengers found plenty of legroom in the back seat, and though it doesn't cushion you from every bump in the road, the ride was comfortable enough to make the hours fly by. The cargo bay held luggage for four people, plus our bulky rock climbing gear. The long trip was the perfect time to test out the cruise control system. Turns out, it can be slow to get up to your preset speed when traffic has cleared and the car ahead of you has zoomed forward. As with many systems, it doesn't always get the spacing quite right.

But that's a small qualm when I think of the extremely comfortable seats. I was able to drive for five hours without back discomfort, whereas it usually takes only a few hours to get squirmy in the seats of my long-term Volvo XC60. Our tester came with semi-aniline leather seats, which are standard on the Ultra Luxury model. The F Sport's seats, which have extra bolstering, aren't quite as comfortable.

In either tester, the interior is a pleasant sight, with natural-looking wood accents on the Ultra Luxury and aluminum trim on the F Sport. And although the optional 12.3-inch central display has crisp graphics, it is frustrating to use. The touchpad is difficult to operate, and there are too many menus and too much toggling required just to select music. Lexus finally introduced Apple CarPlay on the ES, but it still doesn't offer Android Auto. Having an Android phone, I was out of luck, though calls came through pretty clearly with Bluetooth during my drives. The rearview camera proved handy while parking. I enjoyed the setting with one side of the screen providing a classic rear view and the other side giving a top-down look of the car pulling into a space.

While we may take issue with the handling, the Lexus ES has the luxury amenities to make drivers feel as pampered as luxury drivers should. The F Sport adds a little extra flavor to the model line in terms of slightly better acceleration, braking, and body control, but with some sacrifices to seat comfort, ride quality, and fuel economy. It doesn't move the needle that drastically when it comes to performance numbers. Like in the past, the ES is best at being a comfortable sedan, and that's not a bad thing.
https://www.motortrend.com/cars/lex...350-first-test-review-luxury-sedan-revisited/

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