The Lexus ES – which is new to our market – but not new globally, aims to offer affordable luxury. According to the automaker, its restrained price, comfort and cachet will win many hearts on the local market.
You’ll pay R435 900 for the privilege of owning the ES 250. As promised, it’s cheaper than the IS sport saloon but is closer in size to the lengthier GS model. The hybrid ES 300h goes for R515 000.
The standard features list makes a convincing argument. It has systems like blind-spot monitoring and lane-change assist – which the Germans would charge extra for. You get 10 airbags, leather upholstery in black or ivory, electric seats, voice control, dual-zone climate control, a reverse camera and a navigation system. It’s a lot.
Powering the ES 250 is a 2.5-litre petrol engine, producing 135kW and 235Nm. It’ll do 0-100km/h in just under 10 seconds. The ES 300h features the same engine, tuned to 118kW but supplemented with a 105kW electric motor. This does the sprint in 8.5 seconds.
And despite the cheaper price, Lexus promises that it’s still engineered to the high standards its products are known for. Fluid-filled engine mounts, for example, suppress vibrations and the air-conditioner uses “Nanoe” technology, which purportedly adds moisture to ions passed into the cabin, to create a “gentler atmosphere”.