The 2016 Lexus ES refresh is exceedingly safe and conservative — keeping the steady march of progress intact on a tentpole model in the Lexus model range. The new ES is instantly recognizable but tweaked and updated to match the new design ethos on some of Lexus’s more adventurous models.
Changes include a new nose and grille design, fresh headlights and a relocation of the LED foglamps into a new, more stylized and higher-mounted bumper shroud.
The ES has big chassis upgrades under the metal, with additional welds enhancing vehicle rigidity and therefore handling and NVH smoothness. A pair of new engines will be offered in non-US markets: an ES200 and ES250. These are not headed to the US market, which will continue with the existing quad-cam V6 in the ES350 and a hybrid setup for the ES300h.
Overall, continuity took precedence over flashy style for the new ES, which is likely just fine with its droves of loyal owners.
A bit wilder is the new RX200t F Sport, shown in Shanghai for the first time. This model shares the turbo four powerplant with the NX, and will be the entry-level engine in various global markets — but again, not the US.
Refreshed 2016 Lexus ES Fuses Striking Design with Refinement and Safety at Shanghai International Motor Show
- Lexus RX 200t Also Makes Global Debut
- Active Safety Technology Integrated Into Lexus Safety System+
For 2016, Lexus designers have cast a daring new form with the refreshed ES. A commanding front fascia that features Lexus’s trademark spindle grille, framed in combination with accentuated brilliant satin chrome, gives this new ES a new sense of luxury and instantly distinguishes it from the crowd. Accompanying the grille is a pair of newly designed headlights, now equipped with LED projector technology, while iconic “L”-shaped arrowhead Daytime Running Lights (DRL) extend outside the headlight element for a distinctive look that links it with other Lexus models. Also, redesigned fog lamps areas have been relocated to the outer lower corners of the front fascia and amplify the vehicle’s wide stance.
A re-sculpted front fascia connects to the hood adding the sensation of motion even when the car is standing still. The sleek shape continues with the ES’ graceful roofline that flows effortlessly to the rear, where an improved, modern taillight design evokes the “L”-shaped theme furnishing an instantly recognizable nighttime glow. Spanning the rear is a re-stylized chrome license plate garnish that flows visually into the clear elements of the lamps to communicate the vehicle’s on-road stability. Adding a considerable amount of flair to the vehicle’s already sporty attitude are newly sculpted chrome-tipped rectangular exhaust ports.
To complement the impactful new form, two 17-inch wheels with directional spoke patterns have been developed. A branching dark gray metallic, multi-plane machined 20-spoke wheel is optional for non-hybrids, while hybrids are distinguished with a 10-spoke design with machine finish over medium gray.
Four new exterior colors join the ES palette: Amber, Nightfall Mica, Caviar, and Eminent White Pearl. Like the six existing choices, each features Lexus’ innovative cutting-edge paint technology designed to allow the paint’s clear coat to heal itself even from light damage. Each of the 10 colors were carefully selected to reflect the ES’ dynamic surface and is brought to life by the renowned, multi-stage paint process that gives Lexus models their deep, jewel-like luster.
A Luxuriously Updated Cabin with New Levels of Sophistication
When it comes to luxury and refinement, Lexus has no equal. Engineered to provide driving confidence and the ultimate in comfort, the ES surrounds its occupants with a luxurious, contemporary cabin. From the sweeping dashboard reminiscent of modern architecture to highly intuitive ergonomics mated with the finest materials and surfaces, the ES cultivates a feeling of sheer quality with every touch.
The 2016 model takes luxury to the extreme with a collection of new interior color combinations, including exquisite multi-color themes that exemplify elegance. The seats are now offered in four different colors: Flaxen, Parchment, Stratus Gray and Black. Customers can choose from the three trim materials: semi-aniline leather, leather and Lexus NuLuxe.
In addition, four styles of interior trim have been carefully selected to harmonize with the color choice: Illustrious Piano Black, Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Espresso Bird’s Eye Maple with Shimamoku ornamentation, and new for 2016, Bamboo now has matte finish. First appearing in the GS and LS sedans, Shimamoku is a high-end finish of luxurious wood created through a multi-step manufacturing process by highly skilled craftsmen.
Furthermore, an embossed pattern has been added to the comfortable-yet-supportive seats. Additional trim enhancements to cabin-facing door surfaces and the center console unite the interior in upscale feel and design cohesion. Color-matched upholstery appears along the center console as well, coupled with a new leather boot-enclosed gear selector.