By on July 27, 2018

Image: Lexus

Long regarded as the pinnacle of worry-free premium transport, the Lexus ES throws off its dowdy clothes for 2019 in favor of a new, sportier look. It’s a makeover shared with its platform-mate, the Toyota Avalon, and the two large sedans both call dibs on the same V6 engine, four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, and eight-speed and continuously variable automatics.

The mission of this ES is not just to compel existing owners to return to the dealer for another go-around. It wants fresh blood — hence the new sheetmetal and addition of an F Sport model. To help keep both sets of buyers in its good books, Lexus hasn’t gone wild with the pricing. One version actually sees a price decrease for 2019.

Base sticker for a 2019 ES 350 is $39,500, sans delivery, representing a $550 uptick over the 2018 model. For this price, buyers gain a 3.5-liter V6 generating 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, harnessed through the eight-speed. That’s an increase of 34 hp and 19 lb-ft over the outgoing model. Lexus claims combined fuel economy rises 2 mpg (to 26 mpg), helped by the retirement of the previous-gen model’s six-speed automatic.

Image: Toyota Motor Corp

Should buyers be of the green persuasion, the hybrid ES 300h model drops in price by $510, stickering for $41,310. This variant also sees power and economy increases. Output from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder/electric motor combo rises to 215 hp, while combined fuel economy jumps 4 mpg ( to 44 mpg). While driving the model’s Avalon sibling in April, this combo proved decently powerful and gratifyingly smooth.

As sedan sales aren’t what they used to be, Lexus’ reworking of the ES went beyond simply smoothing out its conservative body. Buyers afraid of rear- or all-wheel drive can now spring for an F Sport model. This brings mildly more aggressive looks and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) on board, complimenting the front-drive-only sedan’s new multi-link rear. Metallic cabin trim and other appearance flourishes hide the fact that the F Sport’s powertrain remains the same as the stock ES 350, though you’ll pick up a wider variety of drive modes.

As we all know, ES owners are known for wanting to fine-tune their steering feel, throttle response, damper stiffness, and shift points. The ES F Sport rings in at $44,035 before delivery.

The 2019 Lexus ES family arrives at dealers in September. Over the first half of 2018, ES sales fell 8.7 percent compared to last year, though it’s still — by far — the Lexus division’s best-selling passenger car. After reaching a post-recession high water mark of 72,508 U.S. sales in 2014, ES volume fell to 51,398 units in 2017.

[Image: Lexus]

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40 Comments on “2019 Lexus ES: Luxo-Avalon Reveals Its Pricing...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    If Lexus wants “fresh blood” they need to jack this up a few inches and give it AWD ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Still no AWD or rear heated seats in the ES?

      +2 for LaCrosse!

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        2017 Lexus ES350 Sales: 51398 (a “down” year)

        2017 Buick Lacrosse Sales: 20161 (first-year model, but consistent with 2016 levels)

        I think Lexus knows what it’s doing.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Now, add China to the mix and suddenly it’s a million Buicks… Think about that, every year a least a million people would really rather have a Buick. lol

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

            A fair point, but… a million ChiComs and Norm. Sales figures indicate that’s not really the sort of company most U.S. near-luxury buyers want to keep.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s not really fair Buick sells a lot of those big crossover ones and a lot of those little crossover ones that look just like the big ones… Are there other Buicks?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Undefeatable stop/start system.
        -100 for Lacrosse.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          That sucks

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I was under the impression that Buick’s stop start could be defeated BY:

          A.) AC set at MAX
          B.) Manual mode in the gear box (I could probably get used to rowing my own around town.)
          C.) It has a “drive through feature” where if it shuts off and you creep forward (restarting the engine) it won’t go into “stop/start” mode again until you’ve reached a programmed speed and then stopped again.

          FYI this was all gleaned from watching video reviews of the Lacrosse so YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            You can eventually defeat the start feature by not adding fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            If it is anything like the Cruze then this is correct. “Stop/start with no ‘off’ button” is probably a more accurate comment.

            That said, the ‘A’ & ‘C’ options aren’t really long-term solutions. ‘B’ is more doable but you’re still talking about what I consider to be a ridiculous song/dance (shifting into manual mode and going to +9 gear with every start) to comfortably drive a new $40K car.

            GM should just offer an off button like every other automaker.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Dan, this is a formal device to plug I to OBD-ll now that does the same. Just lightens your wallet some.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Damn, and I thought it was bad having to hit the sport button every time you get in a modern car.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Start/stop defeat: put in manual mode. No more SS!

        • 0 avatar
          fn2drive

          This is the correct answer. I would have upgraded my 15 Lacrosse to this already. Most fatigue free ride ever. But non-defeatable start/stop is a non starter. Will never own such a vehicle. I will buy the ES in the fall as my bumper to bumper traffic commuter vehicle. Hard to believe GM can’t spend the $2 to disable such a ridiculous system. They literally make cars I want and then ruin it by denying customer choice to save a few $ and claim green bragging rights for 1mpg. Silly.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Why would you want the engine running when it isn’t doing anything useful? It irks the heck out of me that my GTI doesn’t have stop/start after having it in the M235i it replaced.

        • 0 avatar
          RedRocket

          That’s not even the Lacrosse’s worst feature. That honor goes to the simply terrible beer-tap electronic shifter, which leaves most first-time drivers baffled and has countless seniors driving around stuck in first gear.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Wow IMO after the 4th generation Lexus really lost their way design wise. At this price point there are other more conservatively appearing cars available. I saw a very clean 4th gen LS 460 on my street the other day and it looked very tasteful. A very clean example of 4th gen LS can be picked up for about $15K in my area. I would rather have that and use the $30K saved for maintenance and other uses.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      As you demonstrate, the buyer of a new ES and a 10 year old, 100k+ mile LS are two very different people.

      While I can think of no other car off the top of my head that might conceivably be more reliable than a Lexus LS (80’s Toyota pickup maybe?) I don’t know that I could justify that kind of coinage on a high mileage car of any make. I would expect the transmission never to give out in my lifetime and the engine will certainly never throw a rod, but what about when your Mark Levinson amp goes out and you have no radio? $2800 at the dealer or $860 used. https://www.cd4car.com/lexus-ls460-ls600hl-mark-levinson-oem-amplifier-amp/

      Same I assume for the dashboard screens and their associated computers, and the electronic climate control. Dear god, what about the ride leveling suspension?

      Every now and then I see a high mileage but extremely clean LS for sale and get a weird twitch as I consider it, but then I think of all those things up there and close the browser.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      Consider a used Genesis G80 (2016 model still called a Hyundai Genesis) and get remaining warranty and high build quality for more than the LS460, but less than anything new.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    I’m not a fan of Lexus at all. But the ES 350 at around $40k is a pretty good deal

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    At long last, Toyota has made a Lexus model that looks way better than its Toyota counterpart. I’d take this styling over the new Avalon HANDS DOWN!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I think the styling actually works a little better here than it does on other Lexus models.

    I did watch a YouTube review of the ES F-Sport and the reviewer parroted that Lexus said they expected it to sell well to “single men age 45” – almost spit my coffee out at the specificity of that demographic.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    I see from the top photo that the ES will be available in beige. Take that, Camry.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    As we all know, ES owners are known for wanting to fine-tune their steering feel, throttle response, damper stiffness, and shift points.

    ^^^Pure gold right their!

    I am not certain the average (read elderly) ES owner knows how to use all of the electronics on their base model unit let alone the above listed options.

  • avatar
    James2

    “I am not certain the average (read elderly) ES owner knows how to use all of the electronics on their base model unit let alone the above listed options.”

    Bingo. The manual to use the infotainment is the size of a dictionary or thesaurus–thick! No one’s going to wade through all that.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    All these comments and I can find no one bemoaning this as a “rebadged” non luxury car, nobody called it a “tarted up Toyota” or said “save $x and just buy the Toyota version, its exactly the same”. Oh wait, this isn’t a Lincoln article. That explains it.

    Lincoln can have unique engines (this doesn’t), a unique body and interior, unique features, higher end materials, hell even the width and length could be (and sometimes are) different, yet its just a “tarted up Ford”, while this gets a pass.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Honestly I am somewhat shocked at how much the new Avalon and ES look like badge engineering. Before they just looked like your typical modern platform sharing but the new models look like old school GM tier badge engineering work.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    I freely admit that my 2010 ES is a “tarted up Camry”. Must say, however, that it is a very nicely tarted up Camry. At almost nine years old, it drives and rides the same as when it was new. Other than new tires and normal maintenance absolutely problem free.

  • avatar
    DavidB

    My 2002 ES300 *IS* just a tarted up Camry XLE V6. And I like it. Now with only [one-family owned] 119K miles, it runs like a top and everything works as it should. Blends into my snooty suburb better than summer camo in the Ardennes.

  • avatar

    How does Lincoln Continental compares with ES putting usual BS like “reliability” aside? As a luxury car buyer reliability is not a top priority for me. They both are full size luxury cars built on extended FWD mainstream midsize platform. Supposed to be cheap compared with real luxury cars like Mercedes. But why someone would buy ES instead of Continental or Volvo S90 considering how ugly it looks outside?

  • avatar
    volvo

    reliability not an issue. Buy a MBZ S series. Issue resolved.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    The front end on that car is truly ugly.


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