LEXUS ES AUSTRALIA
The new Lexus ES petrol and hybrid sedan range has touched down in Australia, kicking off from $63,000 plus on-road costs.
Importantly - and in a world-first for the Lexus brand - it's the 300h hybrid model that is the most affordable option in the reborn ES range.
Nowhere else in the Lexus line-up can a hybrid powertrain be had at the entry-level end of the range; apart from the CT hatch, which is available exclusively in 200h hybrid form.
"The decision to lead ES Line pricing with the hybrid is a result of higher consumer demand and the commercialisation of hybrid technology," Lexus Australia boss Sean Hanley said.
"More than 30 percent of Lexus customers locally choose hybrid as their preferred drivetrain and we believe ES will grow that proportion as we edge ever closer to our goal of 50 percent hybrid."
The 300h is offered in Luxury ($63,000) and Sports Luxury trim ($72,000), while the petrol-only ES 350 adds $2k to the ticket: $65,000 in Luxury trim and $75,000 Sports Luxury.
The GS rides on a longer wheelbase (2850 vs 2822mm), but the ES is slightly longer overall at 4895mm (4848mm for GS). A broader cabin and pumped guards makes the GS wider however, measuring 1840mm to the ES' 1821mm.
Setting the two lines further apart is their separate architectures: while the ES utilises a front-wheel-drive layout, the GS features a more enthusiast-focused rear-wheel-drive platform.
Outputs also differ for the hybrid models: the ES 300h's 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol-electric setup offers 151kW, while the 2.5 litre direct-injected GS 300h offers 164kW (identical to the smaller IS 300h).
For the petrol-only ES 350, power is provided by the familiar 3.5 litre quad-cam V6, offering 204kW and 346Nm of torque.
The hybrid model is matched to a CVT automatic transmission, while the 3.5 litre petrol gets a six-speed auto.
As with the new GS, the 2013 ES gets the taller new Lexus 'spindle' grille design, LED-equipped headlights, a flowing roofline and massively reworked interior design.
Standard features across the ES range include 10 airbags, satellite navigation, reversing camera, eight-sensor parking sonar, blind spot monitor, moon roof, eight-speaker Lexus premium audio, smart entry with smart start, Nanoe-enabled dual zone climate control, digital radio, Lexus Remote Touch, Drive Mode Select and a leather-accented interior.
Sports Luxury models add tri-zone climate control, HID headlamps, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Audio, heated and ventilated front seats, power boot lid, manual side sun shades, rear centre armrest-mounted controls and semi-aniline leather accented interior.
ES 350h and both Sports Luxury models also get a pre-collision safety system and active cruise control.
Those extra features can be added to the entry Luxury model however, at an extra $3000.
PRICING (excluding on-road costs)
The ES is on sale in Australia now.
- ES 300h Luxury - $63,000
- ES 300h Sports Luxury - $72,000
- ES 350 Luxury - $65,000
- ES 350 Sports Luxury - $74,000