There’s a brand-new Lexus ES for 2019, and it’s better in all the right ways. Not only is it prettier to behold, the sixth-generation ES gets a healthy tech upgrade. And with its longer, lower, wider dimensions — not to mention some chassis upgrades — it ought to be a little nicer to drive, as well.
The 2019 Lexus ES rides on Toyota’s new global architecture, and essentially shares most of its underpinnings with the . Lexus says the ES is 2.6 inches longer, 0.2-inch lower and 1.8 inches wider than its predecessor, with a 2-inch longer wheelbase that improves legroom for passengers. Wrap all that in angular sheetmetal and give it a massive spindle grille, and you’ve got a modern ES that definitely looks the part of a new Lexus sedan.
Avalon underpinnings mean the Lexus ES gets a familiar pair of powertrains, as well. ES 350 models use a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 with 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The ES 300h uses Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid drive system, with a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 engine mated to an electric motor. Total system output is rated at 215 horsepower, and Lexus says the ES 300h should be good for roughly 44 mpg combined. Both models use front-wheel drive exclusively.
There’s a new F Sport trim for 2019 as well, which you can see in the associated images. It’s only available on the ES 350, and while the powertrain carries over unchanged, the F Sport pack adds the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system first introduced on the Lexus LC coupe. F Sport models get a Sport+ drive setting, too, with engine sound enhancement that will probably sound as fake here as it does in every other car with this sort of technology.
Speaking of technology, the 2019 ES gets a huge upgrade, and it starts with the addition of Apple CarPlay. Yes, the ES is the first Lexus vehicle to get Apple’s smartphone mirroring tech, much like how parent company Toyota only recently added CarPlay to its latest vehicles, including the Avalon and . The ES also gets Amazon Alexa integration.
ES models equipped with navigation get a 12.3-inch infotainment display with a built-in Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot. If you decide to forgo factory nav, you won’t get said hotspot, and your infotainment experience will be limited to an 8-inch display. Both systems are controlled by Lexus’ Remote Touch trackpad which, if you’ve never used it before, is one of the worst infotainment interfaces in the industry today.
Elsewhere in the interior, the ES is pure Lexus. Leather seats are standard, and a variety of wood and metal inlays are available. We have no reason to believe the ES will be anything other than super-quiet and incredibly comfortable.
Following its debut at the Beijing Motor Show this week, as well as a simultaneous unveiling in Los Angeles, the ES will hit Lexus dealers this September. Pricing will be revealed closer to that time, but don’t expect it to start much higher than the current model’s $38,950 MSRP.