Lexus is giving its popular ES luxury sedan a thorough refresh with new styling, tech and performance features for the 2022 model year. The 2022 ES, currently in its seventh-generation, will be available with a gas or hybrid powertrain, and, for the first time, hybrid drivers can opt for the aggressive F Sport package.
Though Lexus didn’t release details on the new powertrain, it said the 2022 ES will be more balanced, refined and confident. As part of its “Lexus Driving Signature” initiative, the automaker updated the ES’ ride and handling with a retuned chassis, new rear suspension member bracing, re-tooled braking mechanics and electronics for gas models and improvements to hybrid models’ brake pedal for a “more natural and predictable feel.”
The ES is a top-seller for Lexus. Even during a pandemic-challenged 2020, the entry-level sedan squeaked out sales of 43,300 units, representing a drop of 15.7% compared with 2019, according to MotorIntelligence. That’s more sales and less of a decline compared with segment rivals in a crowded segment that includes the recently redesigned Acura TLX, Genesis G80 and the Toyota Avalon. Pricing for the 2021 ES starts around $40,000 and the new model should be within the same ballpark.
The car’s front end features restyling with a new grille and bi-LED headlights. The standard 17-inch wheels are all-new, and two larger wheel sizes measuring 18 and 19 inches are available depending on the model and trim.
Lexus updated the ES’ interior with a focus on the driver and modeled the configuration after the LC Coupe and LS sedan. Called “Seat in Control,” the layout puts all controls within reach and orients displays to deliver information to the driver as quickly and clearly as possible. The ES’ infotainment screen has been pushed forward by more than four inches and now has touch capabilities for improved control. Lexus’ polarizing touchpad interface is still in place. The standard display measures 8 inches, but a 12.3-inch display is available. The gauge cluster has features updates and a head-up display will be available in higher trim levels.
The 2022 ES will get Lexus Safety System 2.5, which builds on the 2.0 system in previous models. Every ES comes standard with a pre-collision system with frontal collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, intersection turning assist, emergency steering assist, all speed dynamic radar cruise control, curve speed reduction, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, intelligent high beam headlights and road sign assist. Crash-test data hasn’t been accumulated for the 2022 ES yet, but its predecessor earned a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Lexus says that pricing and options availability will be revealed closer to the car’s release date, which is currently expected to take place in Fall 2021.