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2020 Lexus ES Overview
Following on the heels of its seventh-generation redesign, the Lexus ES heads into 2020 with some slight and long-awaited improvements. The 2019 model year saw the ES taking on Lexus’ Global Architecture-K platform, which had the sedan presenting a longer and lower profile as well as a wider stance, with 0.4 extra inches in front and 1.5 in the rear. These changes to the chassis also allowed the wheelbase to be extended by 2 inches, resulting in a more stable ride. But despite these changes, the ES didn’t compromise on internal comfort, actually offering more headroom than the previous generation, despite a lower overall height.
For 2020, Lexus has added Android Auto capability to all 2020 models built after fall 2019, a change consumers have wanted for years. Additionally, the ES 350 Premium, Luxury, Ultra Luxury, and F Sport trims now boast standard power-folding mirrors. For those who want to add a bit of sporty look, the ES 350 Base, Premium, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury trims can now add an optional rear spoiler, and safety-conscious consumers can now add blind-spot monitoring as a standalone option to the Base trim, though the Premium package is required.
This adds a bit of extra versatility to Lexus’ midsize luxury sedan and answers a couple of clear customer wants that have been heard echoing throughout showrooms and forums alike the past few years. The addition of Android Auto especially should quell the confusion that has surrounded its omission, and the option of adding blind-spot monitoring to the base trim speaks to the brand’s commitment to safety.
One of the strong suits of the ES is that the base ES 350 is powered by the same impressive engine-and-transmission combo as every ES trim: a 3.5-liter V6 paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is notable considering its German competition starts with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for base trims. With 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, it’s a stout powerplant that’ll shoot the ES 350 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds while still delivering 22 mpg city, 33 highway. Standard features impress with bi-LED headlights & LED tail- and running lights, synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate controls, a power moonroof, and 10-way power front seats. The Enform infotainment system delivers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on its 8-inch screen and delivers sound through a 10-speaker stereo.
Adding the Premium package will get you heat and ventilation for the front seats and heat for the steering wheel, which also gains power, as well as rain-sensing wipers, a memory system, and the aforementioned power-folding mirrors. Additionally, choosing this package will allow you to add blind-spot monitoring as a standalone option to complement the standard safety features that include lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision mitigation, and parking sensors.
The Luxury trim includes all of this except blind-spot monitoring and adds genuine leather upholstery, wood-grain accents, and ambient lighting. The front seats gain 14-way power adjustability, and the driver seat gets a power cushion extender. Moving up to the Ultra Luxury trim gets you features like a power trunk with foot activation, upgraded leather, a power rear sunshade, and performance dampers for the suspension.
But if performance is really your pursuit, look to the F Sport trim, which builds on the base trim with the Premium package. Here you’ll enjoy unique F Sport styling inside and out, including sport digital gauges, special 19-inch F Sport wheels, sport suspension tuning, and sport seats.
Any of these trims can be bolstered with a navigation package to increase the display screen to 12.3 inches and add Dynamic Voice Command or a Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio package to additionally tack on a 17-speaker, 1,800-watt stereo.
But regardless of the trim you choose, the ES offers value and luxury in spades.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.
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