Lit­tle Lexus goes posh

Makeover for the for­mer Camry clone

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

sold here be­fore the ES was with­drawn in 2006, with 2800 still in known ac­tive ser­vice.

But the car was very sim­i­lar to the Jaguar X-Type— a re­badged and re­bod­ied Ford Mon­deo— with a loyal group of own­ers but few con­verts.

Lexus Aus­tralia lob­bied hard for the new ES, push­ing the right-hand drive pro­gram, and also to en­sure the petrol base car is more suit­able for lux­ury buy­ers than the hy­brid CT200h or sporty IS. That points to a price point above them, most likely start­ing be­yond $60,000.

‘‘ ES will tar­get a very dif­fer­ent cus­tomer . . . in that ES cus­tomers pri­ori­tise space, com­fort and quiet­ness over driv­ing dy­nam­ics,’’ says Asahi.

He says a lot of work went into the new ES, just as Lexus has rein­vented the mid-sized GS and com­pact IS over the past three years for more im­pact and driv­ing en­joy­ment.

‘‘ As for the ex­te­rior de­sign . . . it lever­ages L-fi­nesse de­sign with a spin­dle grille that de­liv­ers a res­o­lute look that is dis­tinc­tive, sporty and el­e­gant.

‘‘ For its in­te­rior, ES aims to achieve ad­vanced de­sign in­cor­po­rat­ing Lexus Re­mote Touch, while also of­fer­ing many lux­ury ac­cents such as wood-grain or­na­ments and leather seats.

‘‘ As for driv­ing dy­nam­ics, we fo­cused on the im­prove­ment of driv­ing com­fort, straight-run­ning sta­bil­ity at high speed, while fur­ther im­prov­ing ES’s high lev­els of quiet­ness.’’

He says the show­room po­si­tion of the ES is un­changed de­spite the im­proved chas­sis, with the em­pha­sis on lux­ury.

‘‘ When ES was first launched it was called the com­pact LS, of­fer­ing many of the fea­tures and traits of our flag­ship ve­hi­cle in a smaller body to­day that is no dif­fer­ent,’’ Asahi says.

‘‘ Even though it is an en­try lux­ury sedan . . . in­te­rior space is com­pa­ra­ble to S-Class and ride com­fort . . . are key sell­ing points for this ve­hi­cle.’’

Lexus Aus­tralia con­firms three new mod­els: the ES 300h and ES 350 open­ing the ac­tion and the GS 300h hy­brid in early 2014.

Well-bred hy­brid: The ES 300h is due later in the year

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