For many who are stepping out of their trusty D-segment saloons like the Toyota Camry, the natural next step usually leads to things like the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. However, as things in the Camry’s segment have evolved, said step is no longer viewed as an ‘upgrade’ anymore by certain buyers.
This scenario changed when the sixth-gen Lexus ES made landfall several years prior, bringing forth a more space- and comfort-oriented choice for many prospects in this position. Effectively, the ES stood comfortably uncontested in a segment that it opened for itself since, and its latest seventh-gen version looks set to preserve the status quo.
On the surface, there’s no mistaking this for a Lexus to say the least, what with its signature ‘spindle’ front grille design. Surely, this new one looks sharper and more dynamic than its predecessor, and said feature up front is now flanked by snazzy boomerang DRL and tri-beam LED headlights – the latter unique to this range-topping ES250 Luxury variant.
If you’re not a fan of the way this Lexus looks on the outside, then perhaps the way its interior looks and feels should convince you otherwise. Like before, both space and plush trim materials are abundant here, the former offering copious amounts of leg and headroom for rear occupants.
Even with the wide central armrest stowed away, seating three full-sized adults comfortably in the power-reclinable rear seat isn’t a stretch. Of course, things are best enjoyed when there’s only two seated here and, in this range-topper’s case, the VIP experience is enhanced by the presence of both a dedicated infotainment control console in the centre armrest and rear air-cond vents.
Life for those seated in front isn’t too shabby either.
Abundant space and plush trimmings aside, the amount of convenient tech present sees this new ES sit lightyears ahead of its predecessor. Visual treats here include both the sizable and interactive new fully digital instrument display and infotainment screens present.
While it isn’t flawed by sight, we couldn’t ignore the absence of either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity functions here, but this was perhaps forgivable given that there’s both USB and Bluetooth connection plus a wireless charging pad present. What isn’t though is the rather difficult-to-master touchpad control interface that the infotainment screen comes paired with.
Nevertheless, these flaws disappear once we got the ES going and basked in the supple and well-dampened ride many have come to expect from any four-door Lexus. Sweetening the affair further is the cabin’s impressive suppression of wind and road noises, which we reckon will give some larger and pricier German saloons a run for their money.
Given its heavy priority for comfort, this saloon’s drive is definitely not as engaging as its sportier LC500 cousin for instance, but it’s far from dull either. For starters, there’s enough pep from the 2.5-litre four-cylinder heart driving its front wheels for all occasions, and its eight-speed transmission’s shifts are as slick as they come in this setup.
What will make this saloon less of a chore to drive is the array of intelligent and semi-autonomous driver aids it now packs in this range-topping form. Highlights include adaptive cruise control, lane-tracing and steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, as well as front pre-collision warning, all of which are packaged as the Lexus Safety System+.
Other noteworthy traits this range-topper boasts include a novel heads-up display projecting on the windscreen, a powered tailgate, additional navigation and voice command features, as well as a 360-degree parking view monitor amongst many. All in all, it’s plain to see that this Lexus packs enough deliverables to justify its understandably steep RM332,888 price tag indeed.
Sure, at this price, there are several Germans and a lone electrified Swede that begs to differ. However, when it comes to the combined size and kit count to price ratio, this Lexus’s package truly holds greater value. Couple that with the five-year, unlimited mileage warranty coverage and stellar after-sales service provided by Lexus Malaysia and the ES250 Luxury’s case is again clearly presented.
Like before, this Lexus stands as a prime choice for those upgrading out of something like a Camry but wish not to compromise on size, luxury and tech. As we said at the start, there seems to be no contest for this saloon, but don’t take our word on this. Have a seat in the back of one yourself.
|Well-endowed with luxury, space and tech||Unexciting to drive and is relatively pricey|