It’s better than its competitors
At least, I think so. From a price point, it competes with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, however it’s also a much larger vehicle. This seventh generation ES is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor and is comfortably the largest car in its segment.
While I’ve always liked the Audi family looks, I do think that the sweeping headlamps, large Lexus spindle grille and sloping roofline of the ES250 make it look a tad bit sportier.
The interior is modern, but has old-school charm
I realise that’s a very contradictory statement but let me explain. The inside of the ES has all the nice-to-haves you would want in a modern car - the touchpad interface that controls the various menus that you can bring up on the central multimedia display, reverse camera, heated seats, electrically adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, a fully kitted out media system (MP3, USB, Bluetooth) and more. It is a modern cabin in every sense.
There are, however, various touches that make it feel like a charming classic. A volume dial knob is one example. This might seem like a silly thing, but when every other modern car is fitted with buttons or touchscreen style interfaces instead of a dial that turns, when you suddenly rediscover one, you realise how much you missed it.
Also, on this vehicle is an analogue clock and a driver mode select on one of the stalks at the side of the steering wheel. All of these are touches that show that you don’t need to be super high tech in order to be new and sophisticated.
It has a strong power-train and refined driving experience
It’s not a sporty set-up, but that wasn’t what I was looking for from this car either. The 2.5-litre engine is mated with an eight-speed automatic box and pushes out 152kW and 243Nm of torque. The ES250 is not the most dynamic or sportiest of cars either, but it’s sublime on the open road, very comfortable with little noise coming into the cabin from the road or wind, plus it has a soft and cushy suspension set up in a market where competitors are increasingly more firmly sprung.
The price is good
The recommended retail price for this car is R593 300. At this price, you get a lot of car for your money. Lexus prefers to sell you an almost fully specced car, so buyers may find that there are very little extras that they would like to add to their ES250.
Aside from the nice-to-have features mentioned above, the ES is also packed with standard safety features including driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags, front to rear-side curtain airbags, rear cushion airbags and driver support systems such as park-distance control, ABS with EBD, hill assist control, traction control and vehicle stability control.
And lastly, it’s a Toyota!
It really is. In the US, this car is sold as a Camry. In SA, well, it would be tough convincing us locals to fork out more than half a million on a Toyota sedan.
But, in a country like ours where brand loyalty for Toyota continues to be strong, perhaps the origin roots of the ES250 isn’t a bad thing at all.