Future Cars

2019 New and Future Cars: Lexus

New products for key segments

Lexus was quite busy going into the 2018 model year, rolling out the all-new LC coupe, a redesigned LS sedan, a three-row version of its popular RX midsize SUV, and a fresh face for the NX compact crossover. 2019 is shaping up to be quieter, but the big news we know of so far are the redesigned 2019 ES sedan and all-new UX subcompact CUV.

2019 Lexus ES 350

The latest generation of the Lexus ES rides on a new, lighter platform and boasts a new multilink rear suspension design. After our first miles in it, we found the updates made for a definite improvement over the old ES, offering sharper handling while still delivering the comfortable, quiet ride the ES is best known for. But silly secondary controls mean it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as past models. A 3.5-liter V-6 with 302 hp and 267 lb-ft mated to an eight-speed automatic is the primary powertrain. Of course there’s a hybrid version, too—the ES 350h with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor serving up a combined 215 hp and stellar fuel economy for the segment at 44 mpg combined. Lexus will also offer an F Sport package, which sharpens the design and handling, for the first time in the ES.

Lexus set out to change the ES’ boring-to-drive reputation. Mission accomplished. But now it needs to do something about the overly complex infotainment controls.

On sale: September 2018
Base price: $39,500 (est)

2019 Lexus UX

Call it what you want—subcompact crossover (Lexus preferred), tall wagon, or biggish hatchback—just don’t call the new Lexus UX a rebodied Toyota CH-R. Lexus has worked hard to make the UX stand out, beginning with its new Global Architecture-Compact (GA-C) platform, which Lexus says helps give the UX a lower center of gravity than any vehicle in its class. The UX 200 is the base model, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 168 hp mated to a continuously variable transmission. There’s also the UX 250h featuring the marque’s fourth-gen hybrid-drive system with the 2.0-liter and an electric motor at the rear axle making a combined 176 hp and enabling on-demand all-wheel-drive capability. Tuned-up F Sport versions with the requisite Lexus appearance and suspension package updates will also be available.

On sale: Late 2018
Base price:  $32,000 (est)

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