Throughout its 30-year history, the Lexus ES has earned an unfair reputation of being a relatively boring sedan. But the truth is the ES is a truly fantastic luxury car. That's why we're excited about Sunday's debut of the 2022 ES: The changes here aren't massive from a technology or styling standpoint, but they should go quite a way toward making the ES even more relentlessly competent. The ES will likely remain the most "Lexus" Lexus, which is to say quiet, comfortable, well-built and endlessly reliable -- all good things.
The exterior styling changes for the 2022 Lexus ES are subtle. There are new, more angular headlights and a new pattern for the corporate Predator -- sorry, Spindle grille. Lexus calls this pattern mesh, but it's more like an egg crate.
Where things actually get compelling is in the cabin. Finally, the central infotainment screen is a touchscreen: You no longer need to use knobs or trackpads to control your system. Welcome to 2021. The base screen comes in at just eight inches, but you can -- and should -- option up to the 12.3-inch screen. The display has also been moved 4.3 inches closer to the driver. We saw a similar move in the redesigned 2021 Lexus LS.
Other meaningful changes include an upgrade to Lexus Safety Sense Plus 2.5, which includes a new millimeter-wave radar system to speed up pedestrian and cyclist detection for the automatic emergency braking tech. It also gets a new adaptive cruise control system that will allow the vehicle to fully stop and move again on its own -- this is a big plus in our book -- as well as reduce speed for corners in certain conditions. The best part is that Safety Sense Plus 2.5 is standard across all of the ES' trim levels.
From a performance standpoint, there's not a great deal to write home about. Lexus did play with the ES' braking system to help make the pedal feel more linear under hard braking, and it adjusted the shape of the brake pedal to make it feel more stable underfoot. There is also additional rear bracing to increase chassis stiffness.
There will be three models offered for 2022: a four-cylinder ES 250 AWD, V6-powered ES 350 and ES 300h hybrid. F Sport trims will be available on all models, and all F Sport variants can be equipped with a new Dynamic Handling Package that offers up adaptive dampers, a Sport Plus drive mode and parking assist. Handling Package cars also get a user-configurable Individual drive mode.
Lexus expects the 2022 ES lineup to hit dealers in the US in fall 2021 and will release pricing information closer to that time.
2022 Lexus ES gets a new interior, updated face and better safety tech