The Lexus ES (Japanese: レクサス・ES, Rekusasu ES) is a series of mid-size executive cars sold by Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota since 1989. Seven generations of the sedan have been introduced to date, each offering V6 engines and the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. The first five generations of the ES were built on the Toyota Camry platform, with the sixth and seventh generations more closely related to the Avalon. Manual transmissions were offered until 1993, a lower-displacement inline-four engine became an option in Asian markets in 2010, and a gasoline-electric hybrid version was introduced in 2012. The ES was Lexus' only front-wheel drive vehicle until 1998, when the related RX was introduced, and the sedan occupied the entry-level luxury car segment of the Lexus lineup in North America and other regions until the debut of the IS in 1999. The ES name stands for "Executive Sedan". However, some Lexus importers use the backronymic name, "Elegant Sedan".
Introduced in 1989, the first generation ES 250 was one of two vehicles in Lexus' debut lineup, the other being the flagship LS 400. The second generation ES 300 debuted in 1991, followed by the third generation ES 300 in 1996, and the fourth generation ES 300/330 in 2001. The first- through fourth generation sedans shared body styling elements with Japan-market Toyota sedans, and a domestic market equivalent, the Toyota Windom (Japanese: トヨタ・ウィンダム, Toyota Windamu), was sold until the launch of the fifth generation ES in 2006. The word "Windom" is a combination of "win" and the suffix "dom" expresses a state of perpetual victory. The fifth generation ES, featuring Lexus' own L-finesse body styling, debuted in early 2006 as a 2007 model. The sixth generation ES debuted in the first half of 2012 as a 2013 model, and features increased cabin dimensions due to a longer wheelbase which is shared with the full-size XX40 series Avalon.
Lexus has positioned the ES in the comfort luxury segment, with an emphasis on interior amenities, quietness, and ride quality, in contrast with more firm-riding sport sedans. Buyers seeking more performance-focused models are targeted by the Lexus IS and rival makes, with such models offering a sportier drive with differently tuned suspensions. In Europe, Japan and other markets where it was not available until the seventh generation model, the GS sport sedans occupy the mid-size category in the Lexus lineup until it was cancelled August 2020. In the United States, the ES has been the best-selling Lexus sedan for over fifteen years.
First generation (V20; 1989)
The first generation ES (VZV21) debuted in January 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as part of the launch of the Lexus division. In order to avoid introducing the nameplate with only one model, the LS 400, Lexus quickly developed the ES to debut alongside their flagship sedan. The smaller representative of the initial two-sedan Lexus lineup was designated the ES 250, and powered by the Camry's 2.5 L, 116 kW (156 hp) V6, which was aimed directly at the Acura Legend. The ES 250 was based on the Camry Prominent/Vista (V20). Design patents were filed on 17 November 1987, at the Japan Patent Office under the patent number 0666961-006 and registered on 8 August 1989.
On the exterior, the ES 250 shared the same general body style and overall dimensions as its Toyota counterparts, but had a more prominent grille, bigger tail lights, chrome trim, frameless windows, and distinct wheel design similar to its LS brethren. Inside the cabin, the ES 250 featured a six-speaker Pioneer sound system, genuine wood trim, one-touch power windows, and leather seats. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission was offered. The Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT) featured "normal" and "power" modes.
Safety features included a driver's SRS airbag and anti-lock brakes. In typical specification, the ES 250 further included 15-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, power moonroof, and CD player. Leather upholstery was common equipment, despite being listed as an option, while some ES 250s were also produced with cloth interiors.
In September 1989, the ES 250 and the flagship LS 400 went on sale in the United States. The ES 250 was marketed as the "luxury sedan of sports sedans," and carried a U.S. market suggested base price of approximately $22,000. During the first month of release, the ES 250 logged 1,216 units in sales. However, these numbers were eclipsed by the larger LS sedan, which unlike the ES was built on a unique and all-new platform. The original LS had been envisioned as a standalone model, but Lexus dealerships had asked for an additional vehicle to accompany its launch. Due to its similarities to the Camry, some viewed the ES 250 as a placeholder product of badge engineering and the vehicle ultimately did not sell as well as its larger counterpart. Initial perception of the ES led some to believe all the development time and research spent creating the larger LS showed that they overlooked one of the reasons the LS was developed, which was the 1986 Acura Legend, so it seems that the appearance of the LS was shrunk to fit the ES so as to compete with the Legend.
Production totaled 19,534 units in 1990 and 17,942 units in 1991, most for the automatic transmission model. Production commenced in June 1989 at Tsutsumi, with the first 1990 ES 250 rolling off the production line on 30 August 1989. Production ended on 5 July 1991. Because of its relatively brief production run, the ES 250 is a rare model on US roads today.
Second generation (XV10; 1991)
In 1987, with creation of the Lexus brand, an entry level front-wheel Lexus model was ordered for development alongside the LS 400 and other offerings. In late 1988, a final design was chosen and design patents filed utilizing a clay 1:1 design model on February 3, 1989. In September 1991, for the 1992 model year, Lexus announced the second generation ES almost one year after the introduction of the second generation Acura Legend, but before Infiniti finally decided to add a similarly classed sedan, the J30. The second generation ES shared its design with the new generation Toyota Windom (XV10), which was officially announced in Japan on 30 September 1991, introduced at the October 1991 Tokyo Motor Show, and exclusive to Toyota Japan dealership sales channel called Toyota Corolla Store as the top level luxury sedan. The Windom itself shared elements with the latest generation of the Japan-market V30 series Camry.
Completely redesigned and now sharing design features with the XV10 series Toyota Windom and styling cues with the LS 400, the model was renamed the ES 300 to reflect the half-liter increase in engine displacement to 3.0-liters. The second generation ES was significantly larger and more curvaceous than its predecessor, gaining 127 millimetres (5 in) in length and 76 millimetres (3 in) of width. On the front fascia, the ES gained projector headlamps in a curved housing and a three-slat grille with the Lexus emblem moved above on the hood. The side profile featured an invisible B-pillar and frameless-window doors. The rear deck lid featured an integrated spoiler effect similar to the flagship LS 400, improving the ES model's aerodynamics, now rated Cd=0.32.
Inside the cabin, the second generation ES featured California walnut trim on the center console, leather seats, an eight-speaker premium sound system, and keyless entry. The added wheelbase length and overall width made for increased legroom and shoulder space than the previous model. Compared to its Camry relative, the ES 300 featured separate styling, a different suspension setup with front and rear independent MacPherson strut, and added weight amounting to 90 kg (200 lb). Much of this is due to increased dimensions, asphalt insulation in the body panels and additional on-board equipment. As with its predecessor, anti-lock brakes were standard.
The ES 300 sported a 138 kW (185 hp) 3.0-liter 3VZ-FE V6 engine and had an advertised 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) time of 7.9 seconds. In Japan, where the ES was badged as the Toyota Windom, a 2.5-liter 4VZ-FE version producing 128 kW (172 hp) was made available in October 1993. Lexus offered a standard five-speed E53 manual transmission and optional four-speed A540/1E automatic.
Production assembly of the ES 300 commenced on 9 September 1991, and the sedan went on sale later that year in the U.S. as a 1992 model. The sedan was not released in Europe, where similar Toyota models were offered. The second generation ES was a major sales success, becoming Lexus' best-selling vehicle overall. In its first full year of sales, the ES logged 39,652 units, and throughout the following years of its production run, sales reached near or above that figure. Although the initial US base price was $26,550, this increased to over $30,000 in later years. By 1994, in part because of the rising yen and high demand, the manufacturer's suggested retail price had increased to $31,200, 19.3 percent more than the original 1992 figure. In 1993, a passenger airbag was added as standard equipment.
Minor updates were introduced in 1994 for the 1995 model year (August 1994 production), including: a revised grille insert (now with a three-slot grille, replacing the previous four-slot version), new headlights and fog lights, outside air temp readout, and CFC-free air conditioning. In North America, the 1994 update introduced the new all-aluminum 1MZ-FE engine with 140 kW (188 hp). This change in engine resulted in a change in model code for the car (now known as the MCV10 series). Other markets retained the 3VZ-FE engine (and thus retained the VCV10 model code).
In September 1995 for the 1996 model year, Lexus offered an ES 300 "Coach Edition", featuring select Coach leather trim in the interior and a set of Coach luggage. Despite being its final year of sales, the 1996 ES 300 logged a 21 percent increase in sales over the previous year in the US, and 40,735 units were produced that year.
1995 Lexus ES 300 interior
Third generation (XV20; 1996)
From 1992 to 1996, chief engineer Kosaku oversaw development of the XV20 Lexus variant alongside the XV20 series Camry programme under project code 416T. In mid-1993, an exterior design concept by Hiroshi Okamoto was approved and later frozen for production in January 1994, later being patented on 9 November 1994 at the Japanese patent office, under patent No. 0796802. The third generation ES (designated MCV20) premiered in September 1996 for the 1997 model year, featuring a design that was an evolution of the VCV10. The new cars featured a 30 percent stiffer body with a more rakish profile and sharper lines, reflector headlights (as opposed to projector headlights), and a more upscale-feeling interior. Introduced at a gala event on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills hosted by actress Sharon Stone, the ES 300 featured one powertrain option, a 3.0-liter V6 capable of 150 kW (200 hp) and 290 N⋅m (214 lb⋅ft) of torque and a four-speed automatic – although a 147 kW (197 hp), 2.5-liter 2MZ-FE V6 was also offered in the equivalent Japanese-market Windom. The ES 300 could go from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) in 7.7 seconds. The third generation ES was also slightly longer (overall length increased by 61.0-millimetre (2.4 in)) but weighed less than the previous model, and its drag coefficient was Cd=0.29, improved over its predecessor. For the first time, an Adaptive Variable Suspension, capable of adjusting individual wheels' dampers according to road conditions (within 0.0025 seconds), was offered.
Production commenced in August 1996 at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota, Aichi, supplemented in May 1997 with Toyota Motor Kyushu's Miyata plant at Miyawaka, Fukuoka.
Inside the cabin, the ES 300 featured a new electroluminescent Lexus Optitron instrument panel, walnut trim, and leather seats. Other luxury standard features included heated outside mirrors and an automatic climate control system. A power moonroof, Nakamichi premium sound system with in-glove-box mounted CD changer, and heated seats were options.
The U.S. base price of the 1997 ES 300 was $30,395. The third generation ES expanded upon the success of the previous generation model, reaching a record-setting 58,430 units in sales in its first year, and recording sales in the 35,000–50,000 range throughout its production run.
In 1997 for the 1998 model year, the ES received a few updates, mainly consisting of a revised supplemental restraint system (next generation), standard front row side-torso airbags, and force limiting seat belt pre-tensioners that were designed to tighten the front seat passengers into their seats upon impact. Transponder chips were now also used in the keys as to provide added protection from theft. The power rating grew to 157 kW (210 hp) in 1998 (1999 model year) due to the new 1MZ-FE engine with variable valve timing (VVT-i).
The Lexus IS was introduced to European markets in 1999 and became the luxury marque's entry-level model; by this time the ES was no longer sold in most European markets. Recent versions of the ES were sold in North America, Asia, and Australia.
There was a widespread engine oil gelling issue which could block oil from parts of the engine. After a US class action lawsuit, Toyota notified US owners that engines would be overhauled or replaced for free if damaged by the buildup of gelled oil.
The ES 300 received a mild facelift in 1999 for the 2000 model year that consisted of new, clear tail lights and turn signals, a revised front end with a new grill, headlights, and lower bumper with clear fog lights and larger alloy wheels. Inside, the interior received an electrochromatic mirror, more wood trim and slight revisions to the audio system. Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlights with auto-leveling were now optional. From 1998 through 2001 (1999 to 2001 model years), a limited "Coach Edition" was offered, and in 1999 for 2000, a "Platinum Edition" package was offered, including power moonroof, unique interior trim, and custom alloy wheels.
Fourth generation (XV30; 2001)
As development on the XV30 series Camry began in 1997, development of the MCV30 commenced under chief engineer Kosaku Yamada, with styling being done through 1998 under design chief Makoto Oshima. In December 1998, a concept design by Kengo Matsumoto was approved and frozen for production in June 1999. Design patents were filed on 8 March 2000 at the Japan Patent Office and registered under patent No. 1098805. The larger, fourth generation ES (designated MCV30) debuted in July 2001 for the 2002 model year, one year after the Lexus IS became Lexus' entry-level car. The presence of the IS in the Lexus lineup enabled the company to give the new ES 300 a more upscale image and luxury feel by excising the sporting pretensions of the previous ES models. The more aerodynamic shape had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.28. In Japan, the MCV30 Windom received a 2-star LEV rating.
Production occurred between July 2001 and September 2004 at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota, Aichi, supplemented until December 2002 with Toyota Motor Kyushu's Miyata plant. The Toyota-badged Windom version was launched in Japan in August 2001. In January 2003, production started at the Higashi Fuji plant at Susono, Shizuoka, lasting until the XV30 ended production in February 2006.
The cabin was fitted with California Walnut wood trim on the front dashboard, center console, and doors as well as exterior puddle lamps, floor-well lighting, chrome door handles, an electric rear sunblind, and rear-view mirrors that would automatically tilt downward in reverse gear. Available options, including a power rear sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a DVD-based navigation system, and a Mark Levinson premium stereo system, were similar to features on the flagship LS 430 sedan.
Other features included a drive-by-wire electronic throttle, a five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist as well as electronic stability and traction control systems. The fourth generation ES was built in Kyūshū and Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
ES sales sold 71,450 units its first year, making it the best-selling luxury car in the United States. Throughout its production run, the fourth generation ES was Lexus' best-selling sedan, and outsold only in the Lexus model range by the RX luxury utility vehicle.
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results in 2003 rated the ES 300 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, and Side Driver categories, and four stars in the Side Rear Passenger and Rollover categories.
The catalogue photos of the Japanese-spec XV30 series Windom were shot on location in New York City, United States. The original owner's manual included a photo of the automobile with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the background. However, the Twin Towers were destroyed in the September 11 attacks, which occurred less than a month after the model's JDM launch. Within a month of the attacks, Toyota issued a revised owner's manual, this time with the Twin Towers digitally erased.
During 2003, for the 2004 model year, the American market received a revised 3.3-liter engine producing 168 kilowatts (225 hp) (later revised to 163 kilowatts (218 hp), because of changes in SAE power testing procedures), and the car was renamed the ES 330 (codename MCV31, however, the 3.0 L engine MCV30 model was still available). Lexus released the limited ES 330 "SportDesign" special edition in 2004. The model featured the Adaptive Variable Suspension, 17-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, Mark Levinson audio, interior upgrades, and special dark exterior colors.
In 2004 for the 2005 model year, the ES received a facelift with new front and rear fascias, clear taillights, projector headlights, and a redesigned grille. Inside, features included standard audio and display steering wheel-mounted controls, power adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, Bird's Eye Maple trim and optional integrated satellite radio. Lexus also offered an exclusive ES 330 "Black Diamond Edition" in 2005, featuring black wood trim, iridescent Black Diamond paint, and a set of Tumi luggage.
Fifth generation (XV40; 2006)
Lexus unveiled the fifth generation ES in February 2006 at the Chicago Auto Show for the 2007 model year. The line initially consisted of the ES 350 sedan, which as per previous models, featured front-wheel-drive and a V6 engine—now displacing 3.5 liters. The line was refreshed in 2009, during which more features were added, and a four-cylinder variant, the ES 240, was introduced for Asian markets. The fifth generation ES remained Lexus' top-selling sedan model in the North American and Asian markets, anchoring the marque's entry-level model lineup. Like previous generations, the fifth generation ES was geared towards the comfort luxury segment, favoring a soft ride over sporty performance. It continued the previous generation's direction of moving the ES more upscale in its design and features; Lexus touted the ES 350 as faster, more powerful, more aerodynamic, and more quiet than the original LS 400 flagship. Like its predecessors, the fifth generation ES continued to be made in Japan, at the Kyushu plant in Fukuoka, Japan. Despite being built in the country, the XV40 is left-hand drive only and was not sold in the Japanese market, as well as the other regions with right-hand drive, although the country allows both RHD and LHD vehicles on their roads.
The fifth generation ES (GSV40) debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006 as the ES 350, featuring a six-speed automatic transmission with a front-wheel drive 272 hp (203 kW) aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FEV6 engine with intake and exhaust variable valve timing. The exterior design featured an all-new body in the style of Lexus' new design philosophy, L-finesse. The new design was sleeker than its predecessor, with a streamlined cabin and character lines across the hood, fenders, and rear pillars. The Lexus emblem returned to the grille for the first time since the first generation, and was placed at the center of a five-bar horizontal grille. For the debut 2007 models, Lexus introduced a number of unique colors exclusive to the ES 350, including Aquamarine Pearl, Royal Ruby Metallic, Moon Shell Mica, and Amber Pearl. The drag coefficient was Cd 0.28. Compared to the preceding fourth generation ES 300/330, the fifth generation ES 350 was 51 millimetres (2 in) longer and 10 millimetres (0.4 in) wider overall, but with shorter overhangs.
The ES 350 interior featured walnut wood accents, leather seats, dual zone climate control with air filter, an MP3 player auxiliary input, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and eight standard airbags. A keyless entry and ignition system, Lexus SmartAccess, which does not require the electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket, was standard. Available new features included a 300-watt, 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, power seat cushion extender, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear sunshade, DVD navigation system, and Lexus Park Assist, a sonar-based warning system with backup camera. For the first time, the ES offered an "Ultra Luxury Package," which featured many of the aforementioned options along with a three-panel panoramic glass moonroof. The ES also featured a secondary start system, that runs on battery, so that the driver does not have to use the engine for accessory functions. The secondary system allowed the driver use the radio, GPS, Bluetooth, and air conditioning/heating. The instrument panel used Optitron gauges and LED lighting.
Lexus estimated that the ES 350's engine-transmission combination allowed acceleration to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds, but tests netted the ES 350 as being one of the fastest front-wheel drive luxury sedans then available. 0–60 mph was acquired in as little as 6.2 seconds by auto magazines, and the car showed a strong point of high-end power as it cleared the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds while traveling at almost 100 mph (160 km/h). Fuel economy was estimated at 21 mpg‑US (11.2 L/100 km; 25.2 mpg‑imp) in the city and 30 mpg‑US (7.8 L/100 km; 36.0 mpg‑imp) on the highway. Some commentators have complained that so much power to the front wheels has produced uncomfortable torque steer in both the new ES and Camry.
The ES 350 arrived at U.S. dealerships in late April 2006 as a 2007 model. The 2007 base price in the U.S. was $33,470. That year, the ES 350 was launched in North America, the Middle East, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea and Taiwan. At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Lexus debuted a Pebble Beach Edition ES 350, produced in partnership with the Pebble Beach Company. The Pebble Beach ES 350 came in either Truffle Mica, Pearl Silver, or Obsidian Black exterior colors, with exterior and interior badging, along with the choice of either travel or golf products by the Callaway Golf Company or Viking Range cookware.
Safety features on the ES 350 included dual front airbags, knee airbags, side-torso and curtain airbags, along with traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). A pre-collision system (PCS), which incorporates a grille-mounted sensor and retracts seatbelts and triggers full braking power, was optional, and came with the distance-aware Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system. The front passenger airbag used a twin-chamber design for reduced occupant discomfort upon deployment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results in 2007 rated the ES 350 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, and Side Driver categories, and four stars in the Side Rear Passenger and Rollover categories.
See also: 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls
Toyota recalled and replaced 55,000 optional all-weather rubber floor mats from the Camry and ES 350 in September 2007, citing the risk of unsecured mats jamming the accelerator pedal. In August 2009, the NHTSA probed the ES 350 following 40 acceleration control complaints, eight crashes and 12 injuries, with floor mats implicated in most cases. An accident involving a loaner ES 350 killed four persons near San Diego on 28 August. The NHTSA and San Diego County Sheriff's Department found that the car was wrongly fitted with an unsecured SUV rubber floor mat; the mat had jammed the accelerator, which an earlier driver had complained about. On 29 September, a Toyota safety notice advised floor mat removal, shift to Neutral (N) gear in an emergency, with a 3-second push buttonignition press for engine shutoff. On 29 November, the 2007–2010 MY floor mat recall was revised to add shorter accelerator pedals, thinner replacement mats, and a brake override feature which ignores accelerator input when the brake pedal is depressed.
In 2009, the 2010 model year ES underwent a mid-cycle facelift. A slightly revised grille resembled that of the new HS 250h, and the lower bumper and taillights were changed. Other exterior changes included chrome-trimmed side moulding, turn signal indicators on the side mirrors, and new split 5-spoke alloy wheels. Memory seating, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags were now standard. The steering wheel controls now had hard touch buttons as opposed to the previous soft ones. The navigation system shared with the then current RX now included upgraded VoiceBox speech recognition, Bluetooth phone book downloading, and Lexus Insider, XM Weather, Sports, and Stocks reports, and switched from DVD based maps to an internal hard drive. Bluetooth streaming audio and a USB port that included iPod integration was now built into the stereo.
In 2010, the revised ES line gained a brake override feature which ignored accelerator input when the brake pedal was depressed, which was installed on new builds from January 2010. Debuting first in the Chinese auto market, the 2010 ES lineup added a second model, the ES 240 (ACV40), which was produced to comply with the country's new emission laws for luxury cars, making it the first gasoline four-cylinder Lexus since the 2005 IS. The ES 240 received a 2.4L 2AZ-FEinline-four engine producing 123 kW (165 hp) and 224 N⋅m (165 ft⋅lbf) of torque at 4000 rpm.
Several awards won by the fifth generation ES include 2009 Best Upscale Car for the Money from U.S News & World Report,AutoPacific 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Best Mid-size Luxury Car, and Best New Luxury Car (under $50k) Award in 2007 at the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, selected by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. The ES 350 has also been named Consumer Guide 2008 Best Buy in the Premium Midsize Class,ConsumerSearch Best "budget" luxury sedan of 2008,Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best New Car for 2007, and Best in Class for 2008,Intellichoice Best Car Value Over $23,000 for 2007, and Polk Automotive Loyalty award for 2008.
Sixth generation (XV60; 2012)
The sixth generation ES was revealed on 4 April 2012 at the New York International Auto Show. For its sixth generation, the model was introduced in ES 350 and hybridES 300h versions. The ES 350 came with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid ES 300h models came with an eCVT. Despite the fact that the redesigned ES and the XV50 series Camry still share the same platform, the two vehicles are somewhat less mechanically related, as the ES is now more closely related to the XX40 series Avalon which also uses a 2,800 mm (111 in) wheelbase. The interior added the Lexus Remote Touch interface. Several safety features were introduced for the 2013 model year such as Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Pre-Collision System (PCS). All models had a backup camera and 10 airbags.
The ES 250 made its world debut at the April 2012 Auto China in Beijing. This car is equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. ES 250, ES 300h, and ES 350 models are being offered in China. Production started on 6 July 2012 at Toyota Mptor Kyushu's Miyata plant.
This generation is export-only, not sold in Japan where it is manufactured, but has been offered in right-hand drive since late 2013, being sold in Australia, Brunei, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
The facelifted ES was unveiled at the April 2015 Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. Production of the updated ES 350 began at the Kentucky plant on 19 October 2015 for the 2016 model year—the first Lexus vehicle manufactured in the US.
The ES is also manufactured by Toyota Motor Kyushu for markets outside North America. This plant also supplies the hybrid ES to all global markets, as the Kentucky plant builds the ES 350 only and does not build the ES 300h.
Seventh generation (XZ10; 2018)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2018)
|Seventh generation (XZ10)|
2019 Lexus ES 350 (GSZ10, US)
|Production||August 2018 – present|
|Designer||Yasuo Kajino (chief: 2013-2016)|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Toyota Avalon (XX50)|
|Electric motor||88 kW (118 hp; 120 PS) 3NMsynchronous (ES 300h)|
|Wheelbase||2,870 mm (113.0 in)|
|Length||4,960 mm (195.3 in)|
|Width||1,865 mm (73.4 in)|
|Height||1,445 mm (56.9 in)|
|Curb weight||1,655 kg (3,649 lb) (ES 350)|
The seventh generation ES was unveiled at the April 2018 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. It is built on the same GA-K platform as the XX50 series Avalon. The F Sport variant also made its debut in this generation. All models come equipped with Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.
The facelift model was unveiled in April 2021. It's the first year that offered in AWD, the 50/50 maximum torque distribution provided equal torque between the front and rear wheels. The ES didn't get as much updates on the exterior – the grill has a similar spindle with horizontal slats instead of a mesh design. On the sides of the car, smaller side scoops were used than the previous model. The day time running lights got updated, featuring V-shaped LEDs. The interior also got updated. The infotainment system got a touch-screen, and it also had the touch pad from the center console. The standard 8-inch was moved up an extra 4.3 inches for easier accessibility. A 12.3-inch unit was offered in 2021. There were also rear view cameras added instead mirrors for better visibility, and they were installed at the bottom of the A-pillar. 
The seventh generation ES is the first to be sold in Europe, replacing the GS. It went on sale from September 2018 in Russia and other Eastern markets and from December 2018 in Western and Central Europe.
2019 Lexus ES 300h F Sport (AXZH10)
2019 Lexus ES 300h F Sport (interior)
The ES was scheduled to be available in Japanese dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2018, making the debut of ES in the Japanese domestic market since the discontinuation of the XV30-based Windom as well as the introduction of Lexus brand to Japan 13 years prior.
Initial deliveries of ES 300h started on 24 October 2018 in Japan, where it replaced the smaller HS 250h and served as a front-wheel-drive counterpart of GS.
The Hong Kong model was unveiled on 15 September 2018. Models included the ES250 Executive/Premium and the ES300h Executive/Premium. Lexus Safety System+ became standard in 2019.
The Thailand model was unveiled on 17 August 2018. Models included the ES 300h Luxury/Grand Luxury/Premium.
Lexus began local assembly of the ES 300h in India, at its new assembly line at Toyota India's plant in January 2020. Lexus is said to have invested $100 million in this new assembly line.
2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD (AXZA15, US)
2019 Lexus ES 350 (GSZ10, US)
In the US, the ES lineup went on sale in September 2018.
The US market ES was redesigned with an F Sport Trim that was never available on the ES line. This was done to attract a younger audience into purchasing or leasing an ES. The 2019 model year line-up includes three trim levels – the base 3.5-liters trim, the Hybrid trim and the F Sport 3.5-liters trim. All ES models comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 that includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Road Sign Assist (RSA). The ES also features Apple CarPlay as an option as well. Other options include the Mark Levinson surround sound by Harman Kardon and navigation with Amazon Alexa support.
Originally, only the ES 350 and ES 300h were offered. In 2020, for the 2021 model year, the ES 250 was added that also introduced AWD. A Black Line Special Edition package was also added for the F Sport. For the hybrid, the nickel-metal hydride battery was replaced by a more compact lithium-ion battery. The 119 mm (4.7 in) reduction in the height of the pack freed up trunk space, and the lower weight improved the front-to-rear weight distribution, which benefited handling.
Sales and production
|Sales by calendar year|
|Production by calendar year|
|Drivetrain specifications by generation|
|First||1989–1991||ES 250||2.5 L V6||4-speed AT or 5-speed MT||116 kW (156 hp) @ 5600 rpm||220 N⋅m (160 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Second||1991–1996||ES 300||3.0 L V6||4-speed AT or 5-speed MT||138 kW (185 hp) @ 5600 rpm||264 N⋅m (195 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Third||1996–2001||ES 300||3.0 L V6||4-speed AT||150 kW (200 hp) @ 5600 rpm||290 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Fourth||2001–2003||ES 300||3.0 L V6||5-speed AT||160 kW (210 hp) @ 5600 rpm||300 N⋅m (220 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|2003–2006||ES 330||3.3 L V6||5-speed AT||168 kW (225 hp) @ 5600 rpm||330 N⋅m (240 lb⋅ft) @ 3600 rpm|
|Fifth||2006–2012||ES 350||3.5 L V6||6-speed AT||203 kW (272 hp) @ 6200 rpm||346 N⋅m (255 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2010–2012||ES 240||2.4 L I4||5-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6000 rpm||224 N⋅m (165 lb⋅ft) @ 4000 rpm|
|Sixth||2012–2018||ES 250||2.5 L I4||6-speed AT||135 kW (181 hp) @ 6000 rpm||245 N⋅m (181 lb⋅ft) @ 4100 rpm|
|2012–2018||ES 300h||2.5 L I4 (hybrid)||eCVT||149 kW (200 hp) @ 5700 rpm||279 N⋅m (206 lb⋅ft) @ 4500 rpm|
|2012–2018||ES 350||3.5 L V6||6-speed AT||203 kW (272 hp) @ 6200 rpm||345 N⋅m (254 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2015–2018||ES 200||2.0 L I4||6-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6500 rpm||199 N⋅m (147 lb⋅ft) @ 4600 rpm|
|Seventh||ES 200||2.0 L I4||CVT||129 kW (173 hp) @ 6600 rpm||206 N⋅m (152 lb⋅ft) @ 4,400–4,900 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 250/ES 260||2.5 L I4||8-speed AT||152 kW (204 hp) @ 6600 rpm||247 N⋅m (182 lb⋅ft) @ 5000 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 300h||2.5 L I4 (hybrid)||eCVT||160 kW (210 hp) @ 5700 rpm||300 N⋅m (220 lb⋅ft) @ 3600 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 350||3.5 L V6||8-speed AT||225 kW (302 hp) @ 6600 rpm||362 N⋅m (267 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 200||2.0 L I4||6-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6500 rpm||199 N⋅m (147 lb⋅ft) @ 4600 rpm|
- U.S. News & World Report named the 2009 ES 350 the Best Upscale Car for the Money.
- Consumer Reports named the ES 350 the highest ranked upscale/large car in reliability in its 2006 annual car survey.
- The Canadian Car of the Year Awards (selected by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) gave the ES 350 its Best New Luxury Car (under $50k) Award in 2007.
- J.D. Power and Associates named the ES 300 the best entry luxury car in Initial Quality in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006.
- Intellichoice gave the ES 330 the Best Overall Value Award in the Near Luxury Segment in 2004, 2005, and 2007.
- Kelley Blue Book gave the ES its Best to Hold Value Award in 1998 and 2001.
- J.D. Power named the ES as one of the Top Ten in Initial Quality in 1991, 1993, and 1994.
- The ES series was named most appealing entry luxury car by J.D. Power and Associates in 1997, 2001 and 2007.
- Kiplinger's Personal Finance report named the ES Best in Class for the over $30,000 segment in 1993, and the ES was a Top Pick in 2007.
- Automobile Magazine named the ES one of its Top Ten All-Stars in 1992.
- ^"1st Lexus ES sedan". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- ^"Site Map". Lexus Australia. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014.
- ^ ab"Vehicle Lineage Chart – Data: Origin of a car's name". Japan: Toyota. 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- ^"New Car Test Drive – 2007 Lexus ES 350". Nctd.com. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- ^"2012 Lexus ES 350". Autoblog. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- ^"The Consumer Guide to Premium Midsize Cars". Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- ^"LEXUS、GSに特別仕様車"Eternal Touring"を設定" [Special model "Eternal Touring" set for Lexus GS] (Press release) (in Japanese). Toyota Global Newsroom. 23 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- ^"Best-Selling Luxury Cars for 2006". Forbes. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^ abcDawson, Chester. Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit, pp. 144, 172, 201. 2004: Jon Wiley & Sons, NJ.
- ^Walton, Chris (30 August 2009). "2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS vs. 2009 Lexus ES 350 Comparison Test and Video on Inside Line". Edmunds.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009.
- ^ abcdefghi"Tsutsumi Plant". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- ^ ab"Japan patent 0666961-006, S". 24 August 1992. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- ^ abcd"1990 Lexus ES 250 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^"1988 Toyota Vista – photographs". Cars-directory.net. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^ ab"Lexus ES 250 Review". Edmunds. 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- ^ abc"Lexus ES Chronology". Tuninglinx.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Patent 0796802-002, S". Japan. 6 February 1995. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- ^ abcd"1992 Lexus ES 300 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^ abLong, Brian (2001). Lexus: The Challenge to Create the Finest Automobile. Cardiff: Veloce Publishing. pp. 52–54. ISBN .
- ^Truett, Richard (16 January 1992). "Many new models in luxury imports – The Baltimore Sun". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Consumer Guide – Lexus ES". Consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com. 4 October 2006. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Prices Rise at Saturn And Toyota". The New York Times. 15 February 1992. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- ^Bennet, James (30 August 1994). "Luxury Car Fight Turns Uncivilized". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
- ^"2nd Windom Hardtop". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- ^"岡本浩志" [Okamoto Hiroshi] (in Japanese). Chiba University. 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- ^ abcd"Used 1997 Lexus ES300 Exterior Specs". Motor Trend Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^Johnson, Richard (2 May 1994). "Toyota stresses 4-year cycle : 31 new models in next 3 years". Autonews. US. Retrieved 28 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
- ^ abcdDawson 2004, p. 163
- ^"1997 Lexus ES 300 Prices and Specs". New Car Test Drive. 15 March 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- ^ abcdef"Affiliates (Toyota wholly-owned subsidiaries)-Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- ^"1999 LEXUS ES Specifications"(PDF). Lexus. Archived from the original(PDF) on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- ^Welsh, Jonathon (30 January 2007). "Toyota Agrees to Sludge Pact". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- ^Jedlicka, San (17 September 2000). "Budget Luxe: Lexus ES 300 High Style, Low Price". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- ^ abc"Affiliates (Toyota wholly owned subsidiaries)-Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- ^"3rd Windom Sedan". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- ^ abcd"2002 Lexus ES 300 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^Vasilash, Gary. "Engaging The ES300". Auto Field Guide. Gardner Business Media. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- ^"2002 Lexus ES 300". Wheels.ca. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^Lexus charging after entry luxury marketArchived 2007-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
- ^Dawson 2004, p. 191
- ^"Safercar.gov". Safercar.gov. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
2022 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $57,575/62,075
Options: Premium (heated steering wheel, 360-degree camera, power rear sunshade, parking assist, Mark Levinson speakers, triple-beam LED headlights), $4500
DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 303 in3, 4969 cm3
Power: 472 hp @ 7100 rpm
Torque: 395 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.0-inch vented disc/12.7-inch vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001L
F: 235/40R-19 92Y
R: 265/35R-19 94Y
Wheelbase: 110.2 in
Length: 187.3 in
Width: 72.4 in
Height: 56.5 in
Passenger Volume: 92 ft3
Trunk Volume: 11 ft3
Curb Weight: 3969 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.3 sec
100 mph: 10.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.8 sec @ 112 mph
130 mph: 17.5 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 149 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 159 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 320 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.89 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 15 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 20/17/25 mpg
2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$55,220 (base price: $43,925)
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 211 in3, 3456 cm3
Power: 311 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.2-in vented disc/11.7-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001L, F: 235/40R-19 92Y R: 265/35R-19 94Y
Wheelbase: 110.2 in
Length: 185.4 in
Width: 72.4 in
Height: 56.5 in
Passenger volume: 92 ft3
Trunk volume: 11 ft3
Curb weight: 3801 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.6 sec
100 mph: 14.2 sec
130 mph: 26.0 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec
1/4 mile: 14.2 sec @ 100 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 143 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 155 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.89 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 26 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 23/20/28 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
2021 Lexus IS300 AWD First Test: Doesn’t Drive a Day Over Seven Years Old
Ancient powertrains, new style.Lexus IS Full Overview
If Lexus had its way, you wouldn't think too hard about the 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD. The automaker's media push surrounding the latest changes to its perennial compact sport sedan would have you believe a new schnozz, rump, touchscreen, and behind-the-scenes upgrades to its chassis constitutes an all-new ground-up redesign and not a simple midcycle refresh. In a way, Lexus is correct—this isn't a midcycle refresh. Or rather, it shouldn't be; that shiny new 2021 Lexus IS gleaming on dealer lots might wear a significant nip/tuck, but this year marks the second-gen IS' seventh year of production—the time for a true midcycle refresh was three years ago.
Seven years. Usually, all-new models begin to show their age around the three- or four-year mark; at five or six model years, we start to moan and groan, no matter how much we liked the car when the design was wrapper-fresh. Annoying? Well, we certainly find our shares of peas under Nappa leather seat cushions, but unless extensive market research and strong sales dictate it ain't broke—like Subaru's latest copy-paste generation jump for the current Forester and Outback—consumers start to notice as you inch closer to the decade mark.
Of course, most consumers are not as picky as us car dorks. There is usually no Goldilocks moment in the buying—or leasing—process, and though some might notice some outdated portions of the interior, the average buyer likely won't recognize the IS' age-related quirks that bug us the most. They won't care about the revamped chassis and shockingly old powertrains. For most, the new IS' biggest selling point is the revised infotainment system that—joy of joys—is now operated via touchscreen.
Ancient Powertrains, Modern Performance
But goodness, those powertrains—they need to book an appointment with the great bench dyno in the sky, having stuck around in some cases since the late 2000s. The 2021 IS300 AWD we tested carries one of the weirder and more archaic options available within the IS family; a 3.5-liter V-6 routs power through a six-speed automatic transmission and into an all-wheel-drive system. It's the same engine that powers the IS350 that sits a rung up from the IS300 range, only it's significantly detuned from the IS350's 311 hp and 280 lb-ft, putting out a lower 260 hp and 236 lb-ft in an attempt to match the standard rear-wheel-drive IS300's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4's 241 hp and 258 lb-ft.
Weird, right? Lexus apparently found it most cost effective to simply cut power on the 3.5-liter rather than to modify the AWD system to match the 2.0-liter. It gets even weirder; cutting 51 hp and 34 lb-ft did little to slow the IS300 AWD's performance from the more powerful eight-speed IS350. The IS300 AWD buzzed from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds on its way to a quarter-mile finish in 14.3 seconds, matching the rear-wheel-drive 2021 IS350 F Sport to 60 mph and losing the dragstrip sprint by 0.1 second. Wait, what?
A Tale of Two Transmissions
A close study of the acceleration charts calls into question the degree of "detuning" that really happened on our test car's engine. The all-wheel-drive traction off the line gives the IS300 a clear advantage below 20 mph, but the fact that the IS 350 isn't able to clearly pull ahead until about 70 mph despite gearing that's about 9 to 11 percent shorter in the first three gears, and a weight-to-power advantage of 2.8 pounds per horsepower (12.2 versus 15.0) suggests those engine output figures are seriously "conservative." If they all run as strong as this one, there's no significant penalty to pay if you pick the lower-spec AWD IS—at least, if you don't have a line of credit to support the purchase and subsequent care and feeding of the forthcoming V-8-powered IS500.
Old engine, but modern(ish) performance. That 5.7-second sprint and the quarter-mile time are just a few tenths slower than both the equivalent BMW 330i xDrive and the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz C300. More surprising still—all of those segment mates pack torque-rich turbocharged four-cylinders and sharper automatic transmissions.
Quick enough, but the V-6's power delivery is predictably peakier than the aforementioned turbo-fours, requiring high revs when wringing it out down a country road. The six-speed isn't a quick shot, but shifts are smooth during day-to-day driving and not recalcitrant when abused in manual shifting mode, operated by either the shifter or the wheel-mounted paddles.
Some Chassis Chatter
Although it left the powertrains unchanged, Lexus fettled the IS' chassis to bring it more in line with the far more modern platforms that underpin its competitors. No mean feat, as you can directly trace the roots of the IS300's Toyota New N platform back to 2005. So, to shake off 18 years of dust, Lexus stiffened the IS' body structure, adding extra reinforcement to the radiator side supports, more weld points for the front-side-member, and reworked portions of the C-pillars and roof.
The suspension and weight reduction were a particular point of focus, with new coil springs that are 20 percent lighter than the standard setup on the prior IS, along with new A-arms forged from aluminum that are 18 percent lighter than the prior set of steel A-arms. Beyond the lightened hardware, a set of Toyota's much-hyped swing-valve shocks are slotted into the IS, improving ride comfort and rebound control.
The result is a wizened sport sedan that's surprisingly good to spank down a canyon—or around our figure-eight test loop. In the hands of our capable hotshot and road test editor Chris Walton, the IS300 AWD cut through the aforementioned figure -eight in 25.9 seconds at an average of 0.70 g, which whups that BMW 330i xDrive by 0.7 second and 0.04 g. The surprises don't stop there; against a 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q4 that we tested last year, the supposedly dowdy Lexus bests the driver's favorite Italian by 0.8 second and 0.04 g. Line up the Lexus, Bimmer, and Alfa on the skidpad, and the IS300 AWD's 0.88-g average falls to the Bimmer's 0.91-g average but stomps the Alfa Romeo's 0.84-g average. All this without the hotter IS350 F-Sport's optional adjustable dampers, Torsen limited-slip rear diff, and summer tires. Piloti, meet mouth.
The Lexus IS300 AWD is (Good) Road Worthy
Dynamically, we have little to complain about, other than some nebulous brake feel. "Really comes off the corner very well, and with the all-wheel drive, you can just flatfoot it," Walton notes. "The pedal is a bit squishy, so it's hard to know how far off the brake pedal you need to be while trail-braking. The steering weight is nice, and the balance on the skidpad is tremendous."
Out on the viciously squiggled roads that snake through the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, the IS300 AWD continued to surprise. Brake fade is the enemy of many a car up on Malibu roads, and it's not just from excessive braking; most stability and traction control systems on the market today are brake actuated and overenthusiastic, meaning even without brake input from the driver, the calipers are working overtime to keep you shiny side up. Of course, this means the more you push, the more it wicks away your stopping power—even if you're not being rambunctious.
The result is a soft pedal and some concerning pedal travel. On roads as challenging and tight as those found between California canyons, this happens to even some of the IS' stouter competitors—but not the IS300 AWD. With traction control turned off but stability kept on, the IS' brakes were not significantly worse for wear after a few laps of our road test loops. Although the best 60-0-mph stopping distance we recorded at the test track was a mostly average 117 feet, the brakes remained unroasted by the time we called it quits on our road test.
Overall, the IS is a pleasantly neutral sport sedan. Steering is artificial but well weighted enough, and the front end is surprisingly grippy despite the all-wheel-drive setup. Turn-in is quick-ish, and poise from the revised suspension is noticeable; it's no IS F, but for an occasional blast up to the family's mountain cabin, the IS300 AWD at least won't leave you bored out of your mind.
New Lexus IS300—Better Interior, Same Weird Packaging
So, it has the sport sedan creds, but we're less enthused about interior packaging. We can forgive the dated center console with the weird, pseudo-gated shiftgate and touch-capacitive slide controls for the air conditioning temperature. Lexus' obnoxious touchpad-operated infotainment gets a reluctant pass as well thanks to the choice of two different-sized touchscreens that both include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The IS AWD's driveline hump continues to be unforgivable, and for some, likely a deal breaker. Jutting out from the side of the center transmission tunnel is a large, rounded hump that houses the power-takeoff for the all-wheel-drive system. It intrudes into the driver's footwell; for this 5-foot-11 author, my right calf rested lightly on the lump, so we expect it will force taller drivers to angle their legs to the left slightly. Not good.
Tech and toy accoutrement is well enough for those in the front, with two USB ports under the armrest, an optional Mark Levinson sound system, and optional heated and ventilated seats, though the lack of available wireless charging is noted. If you're in the back, leg- and headroom are passable, but you're riding steerage for the most part; aside from two center vents, there are no door pockets, heated seats, USB ports, or—get this—cupholders. Yup, not even in the fold-down center armrest. Curiously, a rear-window sunshade can be extended and retracted by the driver so, uh, enjoy?
If you couldn't guess, color us pleasantly surprised by the 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD. It's undeniably still the old IS we've known since 2014, but it's nicer to drive, better to operate, pleasant to look at, and as equipped at $47,975, not a bad buy. Just make sure your rear passengers don't bring Big Gulps with them on road trips.
|SPECIFICATIONS||2021 Lexus IS300 AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$48,025|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.5L/260-hp/236-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,887 lb (55/45%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||185.4 x 72.4 x 56.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.3 sec @ 97.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||117 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.88 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.9 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/26/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||177/130 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.90 lb/mile|
EMAIL NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP!
Share on FacebookShare on Twitter
2021 Lexus IS 300 review: Still so close to greatness
I say "heavily refreshed" because, while the IS' underpinnings and engine options are mostly the same as before, the sheetmetal gets a fantastic makeover. In short, the IS looks awesome. The Grecian Water blue of my IS 300 tester is gorgeous, and the redesigned spindle grille neatly tucks between the new headlights. I never thought I'd end up liking Lexus' huge grille, but it really works on the IS. There's a nice little kick toward the rear when you view the car in profile, which emphasizes the wider hips. The fact that the LED running lights span the width of the trunk help with that wide stance, too.
The IS' platform might be the same, but Lexus' engineers made a number of tweaks to the suspension components and increased body rigidity for better overall handling. It works, too -- the steering quickly responds to my inputs and is nice and heavy. This car feels nimble in a way that past IS models haven't.
What hasn't changed are the powertrains, and this is also where things get a little confusing. The base IS 300 with rear-wheel drive uses a 2.0-liter turbo I4 with 241 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The IS 300 AWD -- which is what I have here -- gets a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 with 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, but downgrades to a six-speed automatic transmission. Step up to the IS 350 and you'll get a more powerful version of the same 3.5-liter V6 with 311 hp and 280 lb-ft. The IS 350 RWD has the eight-speed auto and the IS 350 AWD gets the six-speed auto. Weird, I know.
The six-speed transmission in this IS 300 AWD is pretty slow to respond and doesn't really encourage sporty driving. I can't get the transmission to downshift while braking for a corner, even on the IS' most aggressive Sport Plus drive setting. Paddles on the steering wheel solve that problem, but the shifts are hardly quick. The engine is strong and offers linear power delivery, and the chassis is really good, too, but the transmission really prevents the IS 300 from being properly entertaining.
Fuel economy is not the IS 300's strong suit, with the all-wheel-drive version only EPA-estimated to return 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Over the course of a few days, I'm averaging just over 21 mpg. The turbocharged IS 300 RWD, meanwhile, returns 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.
The IS 300 is great for highway cruising, with supportive seats, an extremely quiet cabin and a relatively robust suite of driving aids. The standard adaptive cruise control has full-speed coverage, which is nice, but you can't combine it with lane-keeping assist for easier highway driving like you can in a BMW 3 Series or even a Mercedes-Benz CLA.
New for 2021, the IS can be optioned with a 10.3-inch color touchscreen running the Lexus Enform infotainment system. The screen is positioned closer to the driver than in the previous IS, and the touch capabilities are a godsend. Yes, Lexus' stupid touchpad controller is still here, but I can't recommend anyone use it, especially since it's so difficult to operate while driving. Lexus should really just take it out.
While I'm glad the user experience is better, the Enform design itself still isn't great. The menus and submenus are disorganized and tough to work through, though, thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Furthermore, the backup camera is awful -- it doesn't fill the full display and it's fish-eyed, blurry and distorted. Backup cameras have been standard safety requirements for years now; poor resolution is unacceptable. You can get a panoramic-view camera as an option, but it's $1,400. Come on.
I don't personally love my tester's dark-tan-over-black interior, though other Roadshow staffers disagree (to each their own). You can get a nice red-over-black option, and that's way more my style. All the cabin materials look and feel great, but there isn't much in the way of interior storage. There's room for a water bottle and maybe a small tablet in the door pockets, but there isn't really any place to put your phone. There's no wireless charging pad available, either.
The 2021 Lexus IS 300 starts at $40,025 including $1,025 for destination, and my well-equipped tester comes out to $47,975. If you don't need the added traction of all-wheel drive, I say stick with the RWD IS 300 or upgrade to the RWD IS 350, simply because of the more modern eight-speed transmission.
Unfortunately, the Lexus IS 300 competes against a bunch of really great options. The BMW 3 Series is the most obvious competitor, and the 330i is more efficient and has better tech. I'll also say that I love, love, love the Kia Stinger, which looks awesome, is great to drive and is a real value proposition, too -- a twin-turbo V6 version with AWD costs as much as this loaded IS 300.
There are a lot of reasons to like the 2021 IS. It looks great, the interior is comfy and it's nicer to drive than before. But placed against its competitors, the IS -- especially the IS 300 -- continues to fall short. Until the powertrains and tech get a real upgrade, the IS will always be one step behind.
Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.
CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert
Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.
Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.
Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles
Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.
Second Hand — Not Second Best
Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.
But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.
CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories
CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.
Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.
We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.
You will also like:
- Thomas wooden railway dennis
- Weather everett ma
- Swtor chapter 4
- 2020 silverado rst lift kit
- Shooters world
- Car diagnostic tool near me
- Gay bondage art
- Wrinkle quotes funny
- Miss fluff wallpaper