Driving

Lexus ES review

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Lexus ES
Review continues below...
7 Jun 2018 11:00 | Last updated: 14 Sep 2018 14:26

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The ES has a reputation Stateside for being one of Lexus’s quietest and most comfortable cars. And while the company has made an effort to tune the seventh-generation ES to suit European tastes, it hasn’t changed the character too much.

Suffice to say, the ES excels in suppressing wind and road noise, and its suspension has the ability to ease the car over almost any lump or ridge you’re likely to find with the minimum of fuss or disturbance. It’s a very relaxing place in which to travel. And the ES manages that without leaning hard in corners or lolloping too wildly over bigger bumps and crests. It steers fairly crisply, too, with a usefully weighty steering wheel.

The primary reason that the ES is so much better at a gentle, economic stride than a hurried one isn’t the front-wheel drive chassis; rather, it’s the hybrid engine, badged 300h, which will be the only option for UK buyers. Combining a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with a couple of electric motors and a continuously variable gearbox, the 300h feels less one-dimensional than some of Lexus’ petrol-electric engines, but it still resorts to frenetic revs when you need forward impetus quickly and lacks the mid-range torque for easy drivability. Use full power and outright acceleration isn’t bad; but rushing it along quickly feels like you’re forcing the ES to do something that’s fundamentally against its nature.

The transmission has a Sport mode and can be selected with paddles on the steering wheel, but the latter may as well have been left off because even when you select a lower gear yourself, you’ll find the car doesn’t stay there if you dig more than halfway into the accelerator pedal.

Still, if you rarely need to rush and are more interested in efficiency than excitement, the ES won’t let you down. It’ll easily top 45mpg in mixed use; this improves significantly in Eco driving mode, which lets the car ‘sail’ rather than regenerate energy when easing off the accelerator in order to save fuel.

 

Lexus ES
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There are 12 trims available for the ES saloon. Click to see details.See all versions
Executive Edition
One step up from base trim is our preferred specification. There’s heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam...View trim
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Sport
Sport trim benefits from a number of sporty exterior touches, including a black front grille, mirror covers, wheels and lower rear bumper. Mechanically the car remains the same as the base SE...View trim
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£31,860
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Advance
Advance brings the welcome addition of leather upholstery, 8 way adjustable heated and cooled front seats and increased lumbar support...View trim
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£32,701
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F-Sport
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£34,665
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ES
We have not written anything about this yet...View trim
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£35,160
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Premier
The most expensive trim choice is Premier, which supplements the Luxury edition’s kit list with five-spoke 18in alloys, premium navigation, a larger 10.3in central display, DVD player, 15-Speaker M...View trim
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£38,059
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F-Sport
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£38,160
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Takumi
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£45,660
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LS
This entry-level trim only comes with rear-wheel drive and on standard suspension (air suspension is not even an option). However, you still get plenty of kit for your money, including dual-zone cl...View trim
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£70,277
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OUR PICK
Luxury
Spend a little more and you get air suspension, four-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather upholstery, even more adjustment for the front seats, heating, ventilation and electric adjustment fo...View trim
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£77,437
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F-Sport
Over the entry-level model, you get sportier bodystyling, variable ratio steering, rear-wheel steering, sports seats, hands-free boot closing and a 23-speaker Mark Levinson stereo. We’d take some o...View trim
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£77,437
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Premier
Top-spec models come only with four-wheel drive and it’s the only trim that has the option of cut-glass and pleated interior trim. Over Luxury, you get a more advanced safety system with semi-auton...View trim
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£94,862
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