Lexus is giving us the scoop on its bread-and-butter midsize luxury ES sedan, namely the 2016 Lexus ES 350 and its sister ES 300 hybrid version. Both models get refreshed new looks, new safety features for the upcoming model year.
You’ll remember the aggressive, sleeker style grill Lexus debuted earlier this year. Well, it shows up on the ES sedans with sharply creased LED headlights on the front end. The lower front fascia has new chrome trim elements and fog lights that give the car a different stance. The rear end is revised, too, with L-shaped taillight accents and reshaped exhaust outlets. Both ES 300h and ES 350 versions come with new wheel designs and exterior color, including Autumn Shimmer, Nightfall Mica, Caviar, and Eminent White Pearl.
Both models also come in Premium, Luxury and Ultra Luxury trims. For 2016, the latter two packages add wood trim on the center console and an improved “emboss” pattern on the seats. The optional panoramic roof along with a Mark Levinson sound system are now available with all packages.
From a technology perspective, the 2016 Lexus ES adopts the new optional Lexus Safety System+ package that debuted on the 2016 Lexus RX. This package bundles together pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control into a lower-cost option group. Rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitor are also available as options. On the RX, the Safety System+ package costs only $650, so expect similar pricing for the ES sedan’s safety options.
Inside, Lexus adds some new colors options, too. A new steering wheel has a sportier look and feel and a new shift knob with a leather boot echoes the shifter design in the Lexus IS.
In the connectivity department, the new ES models beefs up connectivity offerings with enhanced app support for the Lexus Enform smartphone system.
As for what’s under the hood, no surprises there. The U.S.-market Lexus ES 350 soldiers on with the same 3.5-liter V-6 that churns out 268 horsepower. The hybrid-powered ES 300h receives a familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor to produce a total of 200 hp. This engine continues to top the lineup in terms of fuel economy, achieving an EPA-rated 40/39 mpg city/highway.