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The all new sexy-looking Lexus ES has a clear intention of broadening its appeal to younger buyers.

13 Jun 2018

Outside a country music bar in Nashville, a friendly bloke who was half drunk asked me if I knew where to score some 'coke'. Being a law-abiding individual, I respectfully told him I didn't know and that a nice cold beer should be enough to satisfy his cravings.

Lucky for me, I already satisfied my cravings in the form of the all new Lexus ES300h.

The Lexus ES300h has a sleek and sexy design at the back

You lucky son of a...

The hybrid executive sedan is a familiar car to me, but not because it shares the same architectural platform - the brand's Global Architecture-K (GA-K) platform - as the new Toyota Camry. It's simply because it shares a similar design as the Lexus LS flagship sedan.

With its larger-than-life spindle grille, sleek headlamps, wide stance and sleeker roofline, you could easily mistake the new ES for Lexus' flagship sedan. In this case, you could safely say that the ES300h beckons a clear intention of broadening the car's appeal to younger buyers.

The ES broadens its appeal to younger buyers, thanks to its modern and bold design

More impressive for the hybrid executive sedan, the cabin is much roomier than before, thanks to a 50mm increment in its wheelbase and a 65mm increase in body length. Even the boot has been upsized to 473 litres, with the relocation of the new compact nickel metal hydride battery from the trunk to underneathe the back seat.

But has the cabin retained its luxurious disposition?

Most certainly. Not only is the cabin more driver-centric than before, materials used are the best in the business, with sumptuous leather filling the space and sophisticated swish and clicks from the buttons and knobs occupying the dash.

Also occupying the dash in my ES300h test car is the 12.3-inch display. Operated by the Lexus' Remote Touch Interface (RTI), the system is lag-free and straightfoward, and syncs with my iPhone without any fuss.

Inside, you're greeted with a luxurious cabin, with a 12.3-inch display taking centre stage

This is where Lexus aims to stand out from the crowd. While BMW’s iDrive remains to be best in its class and Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system is currently one of the widest in the business, everything within the ES is mighty slick and easy to operate.

What about its ability to drive?

On the move with the ES300h, with the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre that's capable of a combined output of 215bhp and 221Nm of torque put through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox, the silky smooth mechanics and punchier drivetrain over its petrol counterpart are apparent.

Behind the wheel, the car feels sporty and sophisticated

Comfort over long empty stretches of roads is good, certainly, and it doesn't sound unhappy to be spinning at illegal speeds, too. This has largely to do with the excellent cabin insulation expected of Lexus.

Driving hard and fast on long and winding back roads of Nashville, in both Comfort and Sports mode, body lean and roll rate are tolerable. Lexus has neither tried to contain things too strongly here for its best-selling sedan, nor has it let roll run wild and free. It's a good compromise in a car that's meant to be predictable and comfortable, with a touch of sportiness and sophistication.

The ES now features the driving mode selection on the dash

This leaves the Lexus ES300h in a pretty good place, whether you're driving it furiously or calmly. That's also to say that the car isn't the most innovative or technical, but it sure does deliver the goods in a pleasurable and flavourful manner.

Go ahead, make my day

In any case, Lexus has been passionately working on the ES and how keenly it would like the car to look and drive and the latest iteration of the car doesn't fail in these two aspects.

The hybrid powertrain pumps out a healthy combined output of 215bhp and 221Nm of torque

Like myself, I'm sure keen buyers of the Lexus ES will have their cravings satisfied when the car arrives in the fourth quarter of this year.
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