The Lexus ES makes a sharp-looking, well-equipped and appealingly priced contender in what is a highly competitive European executive saloon segment.
But, while it’s the sort of car you can imagine selling a lot better than the old GS on this continent, it will do so for entirely different reasons – and it doesn’t have the rounded, multi-faceted appeal that might have turned it into a truly dominant force here.
It’s short on the driver appeal that elevates our favourite mid-size executive saloons to the top of the class: that much we saw coming. But, while the car maintains a strong focus on comfort and refinement instead, this too can be undermined by a powertrain that at times wants for civility and drivability, and a ride that occasionally yields to over-excitement.
The result is a saloon that only really feels truly at home in heavy traffic or the urban sprawl, where the seventh-generation ES not only rides well, but the hybrid powertrain is also at its smoothest and most frugal. Most business saloon buyers, we suspect, want and expect a broader base of ability.