Lexus makes SUVs. They make crossovers. They make hybrids. They make sports cars. But, the luxury sedan put the automaker on the map and first helped to define the brand. The 2015 Lexus ES embraces that tradition without pricing itself out of the reach of buyers looking into snagging some of that Japanese comfort and precision.
The ES (and related ES Hybrid) sits in the middle of the Lexus sedan range. Up the ladder, you still have the GS and LS models (and their hybrid cousins) to consider. The ES is a step up from the IS, which is firmly targeted as the most affordable, entry level car in the Lexus sedan line. While that IS is allowed to swim in the $30,000+ range so aspirational buyers can jump into the Lexus family without breaking their piggy banks, the base ES starts right around $40,000 and heads north from there with more advanced trim levels.
Still, a savvy buyer would be able to talk a dealer down into the high $30Ks for the entry trim ES.
Off the factory line, the ES offers a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 286 horsepower. That’s enough to move what is a surprisingly big and therefore heavy car. For the non-hybrid version fuel economy averages out around 24 mpg.
Buyers pick up power everything, bucket front seats, hands-free entry, cruise control, electric power steering, rearview camera, voice control, Bluetooth connectivity — in short, everything you would expect from anything daring to call itself a luxury car.
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Since a luxury car must be extremely comfortable, the Lexus ES packs dual zone climate control, rear air vents, leather steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, eight way adjustable power seats and rear center console. Lexus doesn’t skimp for your 30+ grand.
The infotainment features keep the pace with AM/FM/CD/Satellite, eight way speaker system and in-dash monitor with app suite. All of that is controlled with a mix of joystick/touchpad at the driver’s right hand.
The entire effect on the driving experience amounts to security, assuredness and carefree cruising. This is not a performance car, though it can manage decent straight-line speed. It understeers a bit and feels heavy in the nose in quick turn environments. But, a luxury car should have some of those features. The ES is aimed at grand touring and not deft maneuvering. It’ll work best for urban drivers looking for classy daly drives and drivers looking for snug confines for longer, cross country hauls.
Regardless of the intentions of the man signing on the bottom line, the ES proudly carries on the Lexus sedan philosophy of dignified, comfortable transport.