Longer, Wider, Lower And Better Fuel Economy
Lexus used last week’s Beijing Motor Show for the world introduction of the midsize 2019 ES 300h hybrid sedan. The totally redesigned car rides on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) as the recent Toyota Avalon, and is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing model. The big news for green car fans is that the 2019 Lexus ES 300h hybrid gets an estimated 44 mpg, up four mpg from the previous model, according to Lexus.
New Fourth-Generation Hybrid Drive System
An all-new ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine incorporates fast-burn combustion technology that makes it one of the most thermally efficient engines ever offered in a Lexus. The result is more power without increasing emissions or fuel consumption.
Various methods were used to achieve the results, including straight intake ports, increased valve angles and laser-clad valve seats. A variable capacity oil pump, multi-hole injectors, VVTi-E (Variable Valve Timing–intelligent) on the intake valves and a variable cooling system also contribute to the engine’s impressive heat and combustion management.
The new engine is aided by two more power dense electric motors, one for propulsion and another that serves as a motor generator. Together they deliver a combined 215 total system horsepower. That’s up 15 horsepower.
Other improvements include an upgraded hybrid system control computer to help mimic the feeling of power delivery from a standard gasoline engine. The engineers also mounted a smaller nickel-metal hydride battery underneath the rear seats; trunk space is now the same as the gasoline-powered ES.
A New Look for the 2019 ES 300h
The exterior styling change is evident as soon as you look at the car. The seventh-generation design uses a fast, almost coupe-like roofline that emphasizes its lower stance. A low hood enabled by the new ES platform produces a distinctive silhouette emphasized by an aggressive downward slant.
Up front, Lexus’s love it or hate it trapozodial grille uses vertical bars that radiate out from the center. The grille is framed by slit-like headlamps that enhance the sedan’s sense of motion. Wheels have been pushed closer to the corners thanks to a two-inch longer wheelbase and wider tracks front and rear.
Like other recent Lexus updates and additions, the ES 300h now boasts some distinctly angular details, including an accent line that rises from front to rear, flowing into the sedan’s integrated spoiler. The rear end is clean and sharply chiseled, with LED taillamps that wrap around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle.
Inside Is A Good Place To Be
Like the body, the ES 300h interior has also been redesigned with new looks and materials. The driver’s focus is kept on the road ahead by placing the center display screen (8.0-inch or 12.3-inch), instrument panel and available heads up display in a tight cluster in the driver’s field of view. This frees up space for the front-seat passenger.
Thanks to the longer wheelbase, there is more rear seat legroom, which is actually greater than that of the full-size flagship LS sedan.
New tech options include Apple CarPlay—a first for Lexus—Amazon’s Alexa, on-board Wi-Fi. Alas, still no Android Auto.
A full array of active-safety features is standard as part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which builds on the outgoing car’s standard adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist by adding bicyclist detection and improved night time pedestrian detection.
The 2019 ES comes in three flavors, the hybrid ES 300h, the standard ES 350 with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a new ES 350 F Sport with sportier suspension and looks. The 2019 ES 300h will go on sale in the United States this September, and pricing should stay relatively similar to the current car’s starting figure of $42,815.