New 2019 Lexus ES Sedan New 2019
Lexus ES Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

If you’re used to the traditional, understated elegance of the Lexus ES, the all-new 2019 model may throw you for a loop. But ES fans have nothing to fear: The all-new 2019 Lexus ES has an aggressive new look, improved performance and a new attitude, but the sedan continues its reputation of being quiet, comfortable and reliable. The car is longer, lower and wider, which gives it a sportier profile, but has the added advantage of making the ES downright spacious inside. For the first time, ES shoppers can choose from a gas V6-powered ES 350, hybrid ES 300 and sporty ES 350 F Sport. This trio of options casts a wider net, with the potential to lure compact-luxury-sedan shoppers away from the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti Q50 and Acura TLX.

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Lexus adds attention-grabbing looks outside and sharper driving dynamics to a sedan that’s even more spacious, quieter and more comfortable than the previous ES, and carries on Lexus’ solid reputation for quality. Lexus ES engines offer better fuel economy and more horsepower. And the hybrid has plenty of power while generating an impressive 44 combined mpg.

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While there are tuning and suspension differences, the F Sport is too conservative to be considered a full performance-level model. The Lexus ES’ styling isn’t for everyone. And the touch-pad interface for the infotainment system is frustrating to use at times. This may seem like a small thing, but it can affect navigation, audio, climate control, and more.

What's New for 2019

The Lexus is all-new, based on a new platform that’s longer and wider, and designed for improved handling. Styling has completely changed, with notably more aggressive lines and a fastback-style roof. The interior is roomier, more comfortable and more luxurious. An F Sport trim level is available for the first time, as is Apple CarPlay.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The 2019 Lexus ES 350 and ES 350 F Sport use a 3.5-liter, 302-horsepower V6 with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Performance is as smooth and refined as you would expect in a Lexus, but quicker response plus significant suspension changes give the ES a sportier attitude. Yet ride quality is as smooth and as comfortable as you would expect in an ES. Using the different drive modes makes a difference in driving feel. The F Sport’s different suspension system and Sport drive modes make the car more aggressive, but not enough to be track-ready like a BMW M or Mercedes AMG. ES buyers should seriously consider the ES 300 hybrid. There’s plenty of power to make the ES 300h pleasant to drive while netting 44 mpg. Acceleration is quick enough, though it’s slower than in the ES 350. And you don’t have to “hypermile” to drive the ES 300h efficiently; it’s easy to get great fuel economy while driving normally. In addition, brake feel was normal and, as with the rest of the ES lineup, the hybrid is pleasantly quiet. The interior is spacious, including the cavernous rear seat, and materials and quality levels have raised the bar, even for Lexus’ high standards. Apple CarPlay, a first in a Lexus, is a snap to use, but the infotainment system’s touch-pad interface is not intuitive.

Favorite Features

ES 300H
Quiet and comfortable, the ES 300h can pamper you as much as the gas-powered Lexus ES, but with the added benefit of fuel economy that’s almost as good as that of the Toyota Prius C and Kia Niro. An added plus: The hybrid’s battery pack is below the seats, so you don’t lose trunk space.

INTERIOR AMENITIES
The spacious interior is available with luxurious features like 10-way heated and ventilated power seats, rear sunshades and a panoramic sunroof. Infotainment is operated through a vibrant 12.3-inch screen and there’s an available wireless charging pad. The icing on the cake, though, is a 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson audio system.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The revamped interior is filled with the high-quality materials and tasteful color combinations that Lexus is known for, and the F Sport comes standard with Hidori Aluminum accents, inspired by ancient swords. Plenty of luxury features are offered in the 2019 Lexus ES, including a 12.3-inch touch screen that serves as the visual centerpiece of the dash. The cabin is wonderfully spacious: Not only is rear-seat legroom comparable to that of cars a class larger, but headroom wasn’t compromised to accommodate the raked roofline of the new Lexus ES. Lexus changed the angle of the seatback, creating plenty of headroom. And, based on our evaluations, the 2019 ES is even quieter than it was before.

Exterior

The ES inherits a version of the aggressive styling first seen on the company’s flagship LC coupe and LS sedan. Angular headlights are set back from the new aggressive Lexus grille. The rear end is sharper, and the roofline is more raked and resembles a fastback. The car sits on a new platform that is longer and wider, and the wheels are pushed toward the car’s corners. It makes the Lexus look more aggressive than past models. In addition to the ES 350 and ES 300h, the ES line receives the F Sport treatment for the first time. The F Sport has black accents, a spoiler and unique 19-inch wheels. Other ES models come with 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Notable Standard Equipment

Lexus doesn’t skimp with the standard ES. This model rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, and there’s LED lighting front and rear. Seats (power-10-way adjustable up front) are covered in NuLuxe synthetic leather. A power moonroof is standard, as is dual-zone climate control. In addition to the 3.5-liter V6, the base Lexus ES comes with push-button start and Drive Mode Select. ES buyers also get a 10-speaker audio system, a 7-inch display, three USB ports, and a touch-pad interface. All Lexus ES models come with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which includes lane-tracing assist, lane-departure alert, adaptive cruise control, 10 airbags, and more. Note that Apple CarPlay, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and memory settings are options.

Notable Optional Equipment

You can get semi-aniline leather heated and cooled seats, heated side mirrors and steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, and rain-sensing wipers. There’s a power rear sunshade available as well as manual shades for the rear side windows, and a panoramic sunroof. Interior tech options include a head-up display, navigation, 12.3-inch display, and Qi wireless smartphone charging. You can also get a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. Additional safety features include a blind-spot monitor and park-assist sonar with pedestrian detection and a panoramic-view monitor.

Under the Hood

With its 2019 ES, Lexus has made both the gas and hybrid powertrains more powerful and more fuel-efficient than they were last year. The Lexus ES 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 which uses an 8-speed automatic transmission. Getting the F Sport doesn’t add any power to the mix, but you will get a different suspension setup, and with that different drive modes, including Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom. The ES 300h uses a 4-cylinder gas engine and a battery that’s located under the seat, ensuring that the trunk offers the same cargo volume whether you’re in the gas ES or a hybrid. Combined fuel economy for the hybrid has increased by four mpg (up from 40 to 44) from last year’s model.

3.5-liter V6 (ES 350)
302 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg (ES 350), 22/31 mpg (F Sport)

2.5-liter inline-4 + hybrid electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery (ES 300h)
176 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm (gasoline engine alone)
Total system horsepower: 215
163 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600-5,200 rpm (gasoline engine)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 43/45 mpg

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Pricing Notes

The 2019 Lexus ES 350 and ES 300h are available in three trim levels -- Standard, Luxury and Ultra Luxury – and the ES 350 is also offered in F Sport trim. The ES 350’s MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) starts at $40,525, an increase of only $580 over the previous model, and the ES 300h starts at $42,335, $480 lower than in 2018. The all-new F Sport model starts at $45,060. All prices include a $1,025 destination charge. Pricing is competitive with that of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and V6-powered Acura TLX, but companies like Mercedes-Benz offer options that make the top-of-the-line price far above and beyond Lexus ES territory. Do check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying for the new ES. You can expect the 2019 Lexus ES to continue the automaker’s stellar reputation for strong resale values.

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