Lexus has long had a leg up on competitors thanks to its solid reputation for quality and reliability. The challenge for the brand has been to win over buyers who want something with a little more dynamic design and performance.
The Japanese luxury brand aims to address that with an update to its popular ES sedan debuting at the Shanghai Auto Show. The 2022 Lexus ES, the marque claims, has been “refreshed inside and out,” with modest exterior updates, new safety and comfort technologies, and handling enhancements to F Sport models. There’s also a new hybrid version of the ES F Sport for the first time.
“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,” said Lexus International Chief Engineer Tetsuya Aoki.
Adding more “passion”
We’ve been seeing a lot from Lexus lately. The high-line marque just rolled out a new performance package for its IS line. Akio Toyoda, the president of parent Toyota Motor Co., has made no secret of his desire to pump more passion into the brand.
The ES model went through a complete makeover in 2018, so we didn’t expect to see the seventh-generation sedan get any major updates halfway through its lifecycle. But the 2022 model still has plenty worth noting.
The ES gets a handful of exterior tweaks, including changes to the grille on all for F Sport models. The bi-LED headlamps have been updated, as well, and now feature dynamic auto leveling. A number of new 18-inch wheel designs also have been added for 2022.
The interior’s “Seat in Control” concept was introduced in 2018 and put all controls within easy reach of the driver. That’s further enhanced in the 2022 model with both the standard 8-inch multimedia display, as well as the optional 12.3-inch upgrade, moved forward by more than four inches. There have been other subtle revisions to the instrument panel to let it better flow into the rest of the cabin.
New and upgraded technology
A number of changes have been made to onboard technologies, with an upgrade to the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 now standard on all models. The system’s camera and radar sensors have been upgraded to work at greater distances, while adding new and enhanced features. The active cruise control system now operates down to a complete stop, for one thing. The Lane Departure Alert system now can intervene if it thinks a driver has inadvertently crossed the lane marker.
Improvements to the rear suspension are meant to improve torsional rigidity, handling and ride comfort. Lexus claims to have enhanced the braking system, as well.
New F Sport hybrid
Lexus last year added a first-ever all-wheel-drive option for the ES line. Both the ES 250 AWD and ES 350 will continue to be available in F Sport trim. For 2022, a new variant comes on line, though the ES 300h F Sport hybrid will be offered in “select regions,” according to Lexus.
The hybrid and other F Sport models get unique badging, a mesh grille, trunk lid spoiler, unique 19-inch wheels and other upgrades.
The ES 350 F Sport adds a new Dynamic Handling Package for 2022 that gives a driver a choice of three performance modes, as well as Parking Assist and Adaptive Variable Suspension.
Pricing has not yet been announced but the current 2021 model starts at $40,000. The 2022 Lexus ES will arrive in U.S. showrooms this coming autumn.