Lexus ES: Sixth GenerationReviewsVideos

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
Well, AWD is rumored to come... I was just pointing how all these people who want AWD on the internet, in the end very few will buy AWD version.

But with worldwide models, AWD is more important now for ES. Not just snowy areas of USA but also Japanese love their AWDs.

edit: I would also guess it might be interesting for Russia, one of the best Lexus markets in the world... but i dont expect crazy numbers there.
Sakura
A RWD owner wouldn't substitute having RWD for AWD.

An AWD SUV will make more sense too because it has more clearance.
There is a difference between F4-T (FWD-based AWD) and F4-L (RWD-based AWD), where the buyer of the later won't substitute for the former. And no buyer complains about the new E AMG or new M5 being AWD only. It is likely, should there be a hypothetical GS-F with turbo V8, it will not sell because of the lack of AWD. If cars sell thanks to Marketing, RWD is so yesterday. Anyone not interested in AWD, will not care if it is FWD. Proof by case is the BMW X1, that never sold as well.

As for SUVs, unfortunately they do not have significantly more clearance.
L
Krew just out of curiosity does Lexus ever make feedback driven changes between the time the media drives the vehicles and production? Im talking most about the downshifting delay on the 8 speed transmission which every single reviewer to date has pointed out as a major buzzkill. I understand no major transmission changes would probably be made but one or two reviewers said this could be corrected with a software update. Any thoughts?
lsu5508
Krew just out of curiosity does Lexus ever make feedback driven changes between the time the media drives the vehicles and production? Im talking most about the downshifting delay on the 8 speed transmission which every single reviewer to date has pointed out as a major buzzkill. I understand no major transmission changes would probably be made but one or two reviewers said this could be corrected with a software update. Any thoughts?
I can answer with confidence that this is a no, unless the downshifting issue is a pre-production flaw.
Transmission integration is actually very complicated because it affects the ride quality, fuel consumption, and emissions a lot. It will not be as simple as changing some code in the ECU. Will a quicker dowshift cause more jerky ride? Will the accelerated rev change impact the chemical composition of the exhaust? In the case of turbocharged engines, will it increase stress on the turbocharger? The drivetrain engineer will have to make sure these areas are not affected.
It's not changing the software that is time-consuming. It's the validation.

Or this could be a non-issue at all, since their transmissions are known to learn the driving style of the owner over time. Maybe the press just doesn't have enough time to have the transmission adapt to more aggressive driving.
Someone made a good point that Lexus sells a ton of these FWD only. That said if they are going to move the ES over to the sportier spectrum there is going to be a desire for more than FWD. AWD is obviously mostly sold in the NE, PNW and Central area....the biggest sales areas are the South Florida and Southern Cali regions ....

I do believe the take rate on the AWD Acura TLX is around 15% as a comparison.
One reason why manuals can be better. Automatic (CVT) is better suited to hybrids and electrics.
lsu5508
Krew just out of curiosity does Lexus ever make feedback driven changes between the time the media drives the vehicles and production? Im talking most about the downshifting delay on the 8 speed transmission which every single reviewer to date has pointed out as a major buzzkill. I understand no major transmission changes would probably be made but one or two reviewers said this could be corrected with a software update. Any thoughts?
The Camry V6 launched with a few complaints about the shift logic, and I'm sure the ES uses the exact same transmission. There have since been 2 TSiBs for the fix and Camry owners are quite happy now. I assume the ES should be good to go for production - maybe these were early prototypes that had not been reflashed for press drives (unfortunately).
Gecko
The Camry V6 launched with a few complaints about the shift logic, and I'm sure the ES uses the exact same transmission. There have since been 2 TSiBs for the fix and Camry owners are quite happy now. I assume the ES should be good to go for production - maybe these were early prototypes that had not been reflashed for press drives (unfortunately).
good to know, thanks for the info.
Lexus has really nailed the design here. The last generation I was a fan A pillar back intially and more so after the MMC. Nothing awkward about the front here.
S
ssun30
1) First point is false. The hump is much more pronounced than a regular exhaust hump. The height is what you'd expect from a RWD or AWD car. If they didn't prepare it for the axle then they are just wasting valuable leg room in the rear.
Well - I haven't step inside the Lexus ES yet. But from pictures - the hump size is similar to those of the Acura 1G/2G TSX and 3G TL, which never offered AWD. My biggest point of all this is - a lot of people are using a "hump" as evidence for AWD when there are tons of cars with "humps" that never got it.

Secondly - all this talk about the future process of the ES is tiring. We are all speculating on a car that isn't even on sale yet. That's where I'll agree with you - lets wait and see. No one knows if the car is going to have AWD or Turbo.

Side note - I'm not saying the car isn't going to go Turbo. I'm saying it won't go Turbo in 1-3 years like some people here are alluding to. 1-2 years to switch out an engine is ridiculously bad business. At that time-point - they are better off just introducing it with a Turbo.

ssun30
It has nothing to do with the core image of the car, or trying to favor the enthusiasts for that matter (seriously, what kind of enthusiast would choose a turbo 4 vs. a naturally aspirated V6?).
The Lexus ES has a core image. Its design to be a Lexus ES. I think we tend to forget the Lexus ES is designed as a non-enthusiasts type vehicle. The Lexus ES is sold insanely well because the core image of the car appeals to tons of people. There is a reason why Toyota is very careful with this 7G ES. Evidence of it is: the price and the design.

What kind of enthusiasts would choose a Inline 4 Turbo over N/A V6? Tons would. This is why the STi and EVO sells so well. This is why the Civic Type R sells over sticker and people demanded it in the USA. This is why the S12, S13, S14 and S15 are so popular.

To restrict being a car enthusiasts to V6 and above is merely false.

Levi
There is a difference between F4-T (FWD-based AWD) and F4-L (RWD-based AWD), where the buyer of the later won't substitute for the former. And no buyer complains about the new E AMG or new M5 being AWD only. It is likely, should there be a hypothetical GS-F with turbo V8, it will not sell because of the lack of AWD. If cars sell thanks to Marketing, RWD is so yesterday. Anyone not interested in AWD, will not care if it is FWD. Proof by case is the BMW X1, that never sold as well.

As for SUVs, unfortunately they do not have significantly more clearance.
RWD is not so yesterday. RWD is still the main drive-train of choice among purist car enthusiasts. If RWD is so yesterday, car enthusiasts would be flocking to FWD and AWD cars now. The difference with high performance cars with insane amount of torque, such as AMG and M cars, are that they need the AWD to put down the power. They will perform poorly if AWD isn't equipped. There is a reason why Teslas are all AWD as well. A RWD Tesla just shred its rear tires.

SUVs, on average, have more clearance. My comment was directed towards AWD ES. I was referencing - if a person needs AWD, they wouldn't buy it on an ES but rather on a SUV. You'll get more space and clearance.
But car enthusiasts are the one percenters among car users.
S
Levi
But car enthusiasts are the one percenters among car users.
Yeah. Car enthusiasts is a small percentage of people.

That's why I was saying the Lexus ES doesn't appeal to them. Its one of the reasons, I think, the Lexus ES won't get AWD. How much profit will Toyota really get from introducing a AWD Lexus ES? Enthusiasts will welcome it, like myself, but I would never buy one still.

The Lexus ES is made to cater to the masses - thus why I think the Lexus ES will stay relatively vanilla so Toyota can keep their cash-cow.
Sakura
Yeah. Car enthusiasts is a small percentage of people.

That's why I was saying the Lexus ES doesn't appeal to them. Its one of the reasons, I think, the Lexus ES won't get AWD. How much profit will Toyota really get from introducing a AWD Lexus ES? Enthusiasts will welcome it, like myself, but I would never buy one still.

The Lexus ES is made to cater to the masses - thus why I think the Lexus ES will stay relatively vanilla so Toyota can keep their cash-cow.
Why wouldnt ES appeal to car enthusiasts?

And there are plenty of RWD cars with high performance, they dont need AWD, and with AWD you will lose a lot of that feel that makes RWD special. But hey, I guess they will be able to stomp the gas pedal to merge into the highway fast.
Sakura
Yeah. Car enthusiasts is a small percentage of people.

That's why I was saying the Lexus ES doesn't appeal to them. Its one of the reasons, I think, the Lexus ES won't get AWD. How much profit will Toyota really get from introducing a AWD Lexus ES? Enthusiasts will welcome it, like myself, but I would never buy one still.

The Lexus ES is made to cater to the masses - thus why I think the Lexus ES will stay relatively vanilla so Toyota can keep their cash-cow.
As car enthusiasts are a small percentage, not much is lost by not targeting them, however they can be very profitable in terms of margin.

As for AWD, I disagree, it is nothing for enthusiasts. It is on the contrary for the masses that it appeals. There have never been so many AWD cars, AWD is sold as a security measure and for driver's confidence.

spwolf
And there are plenty of RWD cars with high performance, they dont need AWD, and with AWD you will lose a lot of that feel that makes RWD special. But hey, I guess they will be able to stomp the gas pedal to merge into the highway fast.
Does the new M5 need AWD? No, but it has it. Has it lost the feel that makes RWD special? No, the previous RWD M5 already did not feel special.
Levi
As for AWD, I disagree, it is nothing for enthusiasts. It is on the contrary for the masses that it appeals. There have never been so many AWD cars, AWD is sold as a security measure and for driver's confidence.
Audi's always marketed AWD as an enthusiast thing, and good AWD systems can improve handling.
Ian Schmidt
Audi's always marketed AWD as an enthusiast thing, and good AWD systems can improve handling.
well Audi did that because most of their vehicles are FWD platform and are offered in FWD.
50k a year is about 4,200 a month. That seems pretty conservative to me, as the current ES has sold above those numbers. Lexus must be predicting further decline in the sedan market.
lsu5508
Krew just out of curiosity does Lexus ever make feedback driven changes between the time the media drives the vehicles and production? Im talking most about the downshifting delay on the 8 speed transmission which every single reviewer to date has pointed out as a major buzzkill. I understand no major transmission changes would probably be made but one or two reviewers said this could be corrected with a software update. Any thoughts?
ssun30
I can answer with confidence that this is a no, unless the downshifting issue is a pre-production flaw.
Gecko
The Camry V6 launched with a few complaints about the shift logic, and I'm sure the ES uses the exact same transmission. There have since been 2 TSiBs for the fix and Camry owners are quite happy now. I assume the ES should be good to go for production - maybe these were early prototypes that had not been reflashed for press drives (unfortunately).
These pre-production units that are driven during the press previews are not perfect, and it's possibly a flaw with these specific transmissions. However, it's also possible that the AI-shift software that learns driver preference is skewed by a couple weeks of auto journalists revving to the redline. This has been something I've noticed at past previews (the LS & LC specifically).

Then, as @Gecko says, perhaps this is something that will reach production and be resolved with a later mapping flash.
S
spwolf
Why wouldnt ES appeal to car enthusiasts?

And there are plenty of RWD cars with high performance, they dont need AWD, and with AWD you will lose a lot of that feel that makes RWD special. But hey, I guess they will be able to stomp the gas pedal to merge into the highway fast.
Why wouldn't the ES appeal to car enthusiasts?
You really think the ES screams car enthusiasts? The Lexus ES target demographic is a male of 50 years of age or older. The Lexus ES was specifically designed to be not a car enthusiasts car. It was never suppose to be one - that's why it never appeals to car enthusiasts.

The following is my personal opinion of why I wouldn't the Lexus ES as a car enthusiast:
1) FWD
2) Even if its AWD, its transverse layout FWD/AWD set up.
3) MacPherson Suspensions (cheap)
4) It doesn't handle well
5) Its not "nimble" - won't be fun on the edge or on the hills.
6) There will be torque-steer.
7) There will be horrible wheel-spin.
8) Its a Camry/Avalon re-skin. Its literally badge-engineering. Horrible to pay 50K for that.

Bonus one - this is just a pet peeve of mine: Its made in America next to the Camry/Avalon.
S
Levi
Does the new M5 need AWD? No, but it has it. Has it lost the feel that makes RWD special? No, the previous RWD M5 already did not feel special.
Yes. The new M5 does need AWD. It produces too much power not to have it. If the M5 today was RWD only, it'll never be able to put down the power.

RWD feels special in the way it drives. RWD feels special in some cars because some cars are tail-happy.

You can never compare the modern new cars to the OG way of RWD, Front Engine and Manual.
mikeavelli
Someone made a good point that Lexus sells a ton of these FWD only. That said if they are going to move the ES over to the sportier spectrum there is going to be a desire for more than FWD. AWD is obviously mostly sold in the NE, PNW and Central area....the biggest sales areas are the South Florida and Southern Cali regions ....

I do believe the take rate on the AWD Acura TLX is around 15% as a comparison.
Sakura
That's why I was saying the Lexus ES doesn't appeal to them. Its one of the reasons, I think, the Lexus ES won't get AWD. How much profit will Toyota really get from introducing a AWD Lexus ES? Enthusiasts will welcome it, like myself, but I would never buy one still.
One point missing here is that the ES is now a global vehicle, and there are multiple regions around the world where AWD is a very big deal (like up here in Canada and many countries in Europe). If the ES is to replace the GS effectively, it needs to have power to all four wheels both for performance and positioning.

Sakura
The Lexus ES is made to cater to the masses - thus why I think the Lexus ES will stay relatively vanilla so Toyota can keep their cash-cow.
I don't want to hype up the ES F SPORT as this grand performance car, but it's serviceable when looking for an engaging drive -- I think most people on this site will be pleasantly surprised by its ability. And as the person that started Lexus Enthusiast, I would buy an ES F SPORT in a second. :D
spwolf
3) MacPherson Suspensions (cheap)
And yet Porsche 718 and 911 get away with this.
krew
One point missing here is that the ES is now a global vehicle, and there are multiple regions around the world where AWD is a very big deal (like up here in Canada and many countries in Europe). If the ES is to replace the GS effectively, it needs to have power to all four wheels both for performance and positioning.
Right. Lexus dealers here in Maryland don't stock RWD cars for the most part, everything on the lot is FWD or AWD. And our winters are pretty mild usually compared to what you'd see in Boston or Toronto.
S
krew
One point missing here is that the ES is now a global vehicle, and there are multiple regions around the world where AWD is a very big deal (like up here in Canada and many countries in Europe). If the ES is to replace the GS effectively, it needs to have power to all four wheels both for performance and positioning.

I don't want to hype up the ES F SPORT as this grand performance car, but it's serviceable when looking for an engaging drive -- I think most people on this site will be pleasantly surprised by its ability. And as the person that started Lexus Enthusiast, I would buy an ES F SPORT in a second. :D
True. The Lexus GS is now a global vehicle. But I was more speaking in the context of the US-Market. The US-Market doesn't seem to demand the AWD system and statistics show the take-rate for AWD is low in America as well. I just question how Toyota will profit from introducing AWD ES to the US Market during a time of SUV craze and down-ward sedan trends. I feel like the Lexus ES AWD will get passed up by AWD SUVs in areas where AWD is needed.

In my opinion - the Lexus ES will never replace the GS. Not even with AWD.
Its true. The Lexus ES will be able to put down more power with the extra grip but I would hardly call it performance. If anything, a more powerful ES with a AWD will be a niche sell at best. Majority of core ES buyers won't even consider AWD or more power. Soyfan from Redline stated and I'm summarizing what hes saying here: majority of ES owners won't even floor it to a point where AWD is needed.

Toyota is a heavy business car company. They won't make something unless it draws net profit for share-holders. This is why I think if Toyota can get away without offering AWD, they would.
S
Levi
And yet Porsche 718 and 911 get away with this.
True. The Porsche 718 and 911 offer MacPherson struts. I don't like it that it does either. However - the Porsche 718/911 is built differently. Its built so that the disadvantages of the MacPherson doesn't really affect it. We can't say the same about the Lexus ES - you still feel the disadvantages of the MacPherson.

Its how some people say "FWD doesn't stuck at handling because of the Civic Type R." Well - the Type R is built differently compared to other FWD cars.

In your example of the Porsche - we are comparing Apple to Oranges.
Sakura
True. The Porsche 718 and 911 offer MacPherson struts. I don't like it that it does either. However - the Porsche 718/911 is built differently. Its built so that the disadvantages of the MacPherson doesn't really affect it. We can't say the same about the Lexus ES - you still feel the disadvantages of the MacPherson.

Its how some people say "FWD doesn't stuck at handling because of the Civic Type R." Well - the Type R is built differently compared to other FWD cars.

In your example of the Porsche - we are comparing Apple to Oranges.
Porsche's could have twigs for a suspension and they likely would still be considered one of the best driving cars around lol.
mikeavelli
Porsche's could have twigs for a suspension and they likely would still be considered one of the best driving cars around lol.
Run of the mill Porsches are way overrated. Are they cool cars to own? Yes. Are they cool cars to drive? Yes. Are they anything more special in driving experience than other small sports cars? Not really. To this day original Boxster remains the crappiest two seater I've ever driven.

I'm not sure why people expect the ES to be anything more than the ES it has always been. Sure all those GS replacements cancelation rumors have put the new ES in a tough spot, but it's still your grandpa's favorite land yacht.
Porsche uses struts for better packaging. There's not enough weight in the front to justify a more complex layout. They still make expensive struts out of forged alloy so they are not cheaping out.
It's hard to define what car enthusiasts are. So it can be said that the M5 is not an enthusiast's car. Most of its buyers are similar to the regular luxury buyer, namely successful family in their 50s, but with more budget to spare and more risk taking personalities.

S
Top