The ES sedan has been at the core of Lexus’ lineup since the beginning, when this car was part of the launch together with the LS luxury sedan. The ES has been the smaller, more accessible counterpart of the LS, and it’s right there in the model name: Executive Sedan. For 2021, Lexus has upgraded and added features to make it a standout model in its class.
The seventh-generation Lexus ES is built on the company’s GA-K platform that allows for sportier exterior styling. Now, more than ever, it can be dubbed the “baby LS.” It was also the first ES to have an F Sport variant. The ES’s dynamic styling has been updated with a new grille pattern featuring concentric “L” shapes radiating from the Lexus emblem. It’s flanked by new LED headlamps, now with more compact units. The variants with triple-beam lights will use the new BladeScan adaptive high beam system. This uses “blade mirrors” spinning at high speed, synchronized with the LED light units, to project a broad, high beam for better visibility of pedestrians and road signs, without blinding oncoming drivers.
New 17-inch alloy wheels with machined details, as well as available 18 and 19-inch units on the F Sport variant, add a sporty touch. There are new Sonic Platinum and Solid Grey paint that exude a metallic, high-gloss finish.
The new ES gets an updated touchscreen display. The standard 8-inch and available 12-3-inch displays have been moved closer to the driver for easier access. The system now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity, as well as the Lexus Link App that allows information access on the car’s status. New interior touches include walnut panels in Sumi Black and Dark Brown. The leather trim can be specified in Forest Brown, and, in the F Sport, white with Flare Red seat cushions combined with black seatbacks.
The driving quality has been improved by using higher-rigidity rear suspension braces, from single to dual-sheet parts. This reportedly provides a more linear driving feel especially apparent in high-speed directional changes. Vehicle braking has also been improved, with a reshaped pedal and reduced vibration. On cars with adaptive variable suspension, improvements to oil flow in the system allows for a higher variable range in the damping force, leading to better ride comfort and improved steering response.
Safety sytems include available digital camera-based side view mirrors. These provide a better view than traditional door mirrors, particularly at night and in rainy conditions. The ES is equipped with a dynamic radar cruise control, and a pre-collision system that now detects cyclists and pedestrians even in poor lighting conditions. Emergency steering assist and lane-tracing assist help the driver maintain control particularly in hairy situations.
Lexus International Chief Engineer Tetsuya Aoki said: “Our goal was to deepen the high quality of the ES and to add new value. In addition to further improving quietness and ride comfort, we pursued linearity in vehicle movement, in response to steering wheel operation, that is faithful to the driver’s intentions. When it comes to styling, we refined and modernized the elegance that is characteristic of the ES. In development, to exceed customer expectations, we identified elements that could be improved. So when people ride in the new ES, I hope they’ll notice the achievements of the development team, who closely adhered to the idea of ‘Always On’ with the aim of making ever-better cars.”