Lexus’ understated, thoughtful appeal is expressed across its entire product line, but the Lexus ES is probably one of the better examples. The mid-sized sedan is a crowded market, after all, but the Japanese brand still sets itself apart thanks to its particular philosophies. Take the concept of kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement, which Lexus – and indeed its parent company Toyota – takes very seriously.
The Lexus ES facelift, which was launched in Malaysia last year, includes a number of quiet improvements that add up to a more refined driving experience, one that better expresses the adage of linear responsiveness. The attachment point for the rear suspension member has been redesigned, resulting in greater rigidity and, with that, extra stability and comfort. The electric power steering has been tweaked, especially around the neutral point, for less lag and more precision. The latter is especially impactful after manoeuvres such as high-speed lane changes; there is less tendency to veer, and reduced sway and the perception of lateral forces. The brake pedal has a more contoured shape – which seems minor, but the pedal is one of the most direct points of interaction with the car, after all – for an increased contact area, and hence feedback and response.
These additions join the other technical points of differentiation as already found on the Lexus ES – qualities such as its world-first Swing Valve Shock Absorber, which ensures an appropriate level of damping over a greater variety of speeds and road surfaces, pitch and bounce control which reduces unpleasant head rocking, and, of course, aesthetic elements such as the hadori aluminium interior trim that was inspired by centuries-old sword polishing techniques.
That the Lexus ES is quiet and comfortable is a given, but the Lexus approach also adds a level of predictability and serenity that is just the thing for long drives after tough days.