Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins / Photos by Matthew Reyes
Launched in the US in 1989, Lexus continues to attract a diverse and highly loyal consumer base while staying ahead of the curve in technology and innovation. With an array of ES lines to decide between, from the Black Line Special Edition, F SPORT, or a hybrid model, Japanese opulence and sensory stimulation will always be omnipresent. For more insight, I picked up my luxurious 2022 Lexus ES 300h F SPORT on the West Coast to enjoy a long, sunny weekend in the City of Angels.
I was an owner of a 6th generation ES and loved that sporty sedan. Hence, it is gratifying to witness the brand’s evolution right before our eyes. For the ES, Lexus product planners utilized lessons from their flagship LS. They applied techniques such as using premium materials and attention to detail with the distinctive one-piece spindle grille design. A few critical change elements between the old and the new include a lowered roofline, a longer wheelbase, an overall longer, lower, wider body, and triple-beam B-LED cornering headlamps.
My test car arrived in a purifying Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 outer hue with an exquisite two-tone white and black interior. From the design maturation to distinctive interior materials aimed towards sensory stimulation, the Lexus experience was perfect for my short getaway. Specific touchstones include Gloss Black 19” split-five-spoke alloy rims, LED taillamps, a smaller power moonroof, color-keyed rear spoiler, and F SPORT exterior styling, including a unique front bumper and a dark spindle grille.
One of the most appreciated aspects of the ES in the case was the fuel-efficient powertrain since gas prices were close to $7 a gallon in California during my stay. The ES 300h F SPORT’s performance is focused on resourcefulness. It stems from an in-line 4 DOHC engine and electronic continuously variable transmission pairing with Sport, Normal, Eco, and EV mode settings, part of Drive Mode Select found on a small rotary dial above the power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. You will discover paddle shifters on the F SPORT steering wheel and F SPORT suspension tuning (front and rear performance dampers) for thrilling driving, such as the winding Mulholland Drive route that I took a few times through the Santa Monica mountains. The FWD Lexus produces 215-horsepower while offering an astounding 44-highway mpg. More importantly, it’s a Certified Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV II)! While everyone was complaining about skyrocketing pump prices on social media, I was coasting without a qualm.
Inside, the perforated NuLuxe and Hadori Aluminum trimmed cabin is enticing from a Lexus perspective. Centerstage is the dash-embedded 12.3” color multimedia touch-screen display. It is the nucleus of the ES and houses the Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation, Lexus apps, Android Auto, audio, Lexus Enform WiFi, Lexus Enform Destination Assist, and much more. The square Remote Interface pad controls most of the operations, and an informational 10” color Head-Up Display allows for more focus on the road. Lexus furthermore includes Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Verizon WiFi into the infotainment features. F Sport strikes again with an F SPORT shift lever and knob, F SPORT aluminum pedals and black headliner, and F SPORT front seats (heated and ventilated).
This specific vehicle targets Lexus loyalists and manifests from the aggressive F SPORT additions, which first collaborated with the ES on the 2019 model. In this case, the blue body and dark trim mesh grille with the interlocking “L” pattern replace the standard grille and showcases dual-spoke alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and the aforementioned aluminum pedals. You will also find exclusive bolstered seats designed for lateral support, a leather-wrapped shift knob, the F SPORT meter, and the F SPORT Adaptive Variable Suspension that adjusts thousands of times per second. On the road, the Lexus reacted with more focus and control when Sport mode was engaged, especially when using the paddle shifters. However, keep in mind the F SPORT enhancements are primarily cosmetic with no additional power. Enthusiasts of select special editions typically enjoy increased horses, bigger brakes, and engaging exhaust systems, so hopefully, we will see this in the future.
Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 provides you with standard protection and security through All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruiser Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Tracing Assist, Intelligent High Beams, and Road Sign Assist. In addition, connected Services include three complimentary years of Lexus Enform Safety Connect and ten years of Lexus Enform Service Connect.
Starting at $45,450 ($52,260 as tested) for a 2022 Lexus ES 300h F SPORT, expect Lexus to continue improving upon these impressive attributes. Now only if I can receive this fuel-efficient vehicle back home in Washington, DC… hint, hint Lexus.