One of Lexus’ best-selling models, the ES, has been updated with a midlife facelift that was officially launched for the Malaysian market today. Unique in being the only transverse-engine front-wheel drive vehicle in its segment, the updated ES continues to offered with a choice of three variants in our shores, powered by 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines.
As before, customers choose between either the petrol-powered ES 250 Premium and ES 250 Luxury, or the hybrid-powered ES 300h, with both engines being built on Toyota’s 2AR 2,494cc block shared with the Camry. Outputs are unchanged – the ES 250 variants push out 181hp and 235Nm, whilst the ES 300h offers a net system output of 202hp with the combined efforts of its engine and electric motor.
Changes to the new model centre mostly on aesthetic updates and incorporation of new equipment. Most notably, the front presents a bolder fascia incorporating a sharper reinterpretation of Lexus’ trademark spindle grille flanked by a pair of more elaborately-shaped headlight clusters with LED projector lamps and signature daytime running lights. At the four corners, conservatively-sized 17-inch alloy wheels are standard, but sporting distinctive designs between each variant.
Inside, the ES’ cabin receives a number of subtle updates whilst retaining its renowned spaciousness and luxurious ambiance. The dashboard of all variants are trimmed in Birdseye Maple wood inserts complemented by metallic accents on the door trims. Seats are also clothed in new stitching of their quilted upholstery with the ES 250 Luxury and ES 300h variants additionally getting side switches that allow the rear passenger to remotely adjust the front passenger seat.
For an improved driving experience, Lexus claims to have strengthened the ES’ body with strategic structural reinforcements with absorber settings accordingly revised to match. Additional insulation has been placed at the firewall to further minimize intrusion of engine noise into the cabin.
Safety has been enhanced considerably in the new ES, with all variants getting hill-start assist as standard. The ES 250 Luxury and ES 300h variants additionally received Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) to alert the driver of approaching vehicles which are obstructed from his/her line of sight.
“Order taking for the new Lexus ES began in late July 2015 and more than 100 orders have been received to date with the Lexus ES 250 Luxury variant being the most popular model. We target to sell 750 units of the ES by the end of this year and are confident of meeting our 2015 Lexus sales target of 2,200 units,” said Datuk Ismet Suki, President of UMW Toyota Motor.
On-the-road prices of the new Lexus ES starts at RM259,200 without insurance for the ES 250 Premium variant. The best-selling ES 250 Luxury goes for RM278,600, whilst the range-topping ES 300h is available at RM355,100.