Little Lexus goes posh
Makeover for the former Camry clone
sold here before the ES was withdrawn in 2006, with 2800 still in known active service.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