Lexus Malaysia took the opportunity to introduce an all-new ES and a refreshed RX to keep its bread and butter models updated for the local market.
We’ll start with the facelifted fourth-generation RX that brings with it significant improvements in terms of safety and performance. Gone is the RX300 and hybrid RX450h to be replaced with a sole RX300 but in three trim levels. You can now have your new RX300 in either Premium, Luxury or F Sport guise.
The front is still dominated by the signature spindle grille but this time it’s got a L-shaped insert for the Premium and Luxury but the flagship F Sport has a vertical mesh design instead. Of course, the bumpers have been given a bit of a massaging and the headlights are sleeker with LED projectors and LED DRLs as well as Active Highbeam System. Sequential indicators in the rear denote the facelift.
Inside, a touchscreen infotainment display measures in at 8.0-inch for the Premium while the Luxury and F Sport get a larger 12.3-inch with navigation. Bringing the entire range into the future is the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. All trims get a 12-speaker Pioneer audio system.
Options are aplenty for the cabin upholstery with three themes available for the Premium and Luxury; Black, Noble Brown or Ocher (a darkish beige for the peasants). All are paired with Shimamoku Wood trim. As for the F sport, you can have yours in a Flare Red and Aluminium trim combo or a more sedated Black and Aluminium trim pairing.
The standard kit count is pretty impressive with paddle-shifters, Qi wireless charging and Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI). There’s the convenient hands-free opening for the powered boot lid but its reserved for the Luxury and F Sport trims.
You’ll find the familiar 2.0-litre turbo inline-four (8AR-FTS) under the hood sending 235hp and 350Nm of torque to all-four wheels via a six-speed automatic. Power delivery is managed by the Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that’s capable of sending up to 100 per cent of torque to either axle. Regular conditions sees a 50:50 split.
Safety is the biggest upgrade with the facelift. You’ll now get Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Active Cornering Assist (ACA) that works hand in hand with the stability control. Additional safety kit comprises a blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and 10 airbags. A 360-degree panoramic surround view system is standard with the Luxury and F Sport.
Prices for the RX300 start at RM399,888 that’s inclusive of a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Now onto the all-new ES that’s also available in a sole ES250 variant but with just two trims; Premium and Luxury. As the badging denotes, the powertrain of choice is anything you want so long as it’s the 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated inline-four with 204hp and 247Nm of torque. It drives the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
In terms of dimensions, it’s longer and wider than before with a longer wheelbase that should translate into more cabin space.
Both trims are packed to the brim with equipment. In the entry Premium, you’ll find toys such as Bi-LED projector headlights with automatic high beam, LED DRLs, smart entry and start, a moonroof, blind spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, auto tilt and telescopic sterring column, a digital instrument cluster with a 7.0-inch multi info display, an 8.0-inch infotainment display and active cruise control with stop and go functionality.
Step it up to the Luxury trim and you’ll find triple-beam LED projector headlights with adaptive high beam, LED sequential indicators, a powered boot lid with handsfree operation, performance dampers, triple-zone climate control, power reclining rear seats and sunshades for the rear windows.
Safety is comprehensive with the Lexus Safety System+ advanced driver assistance package that comprises the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Pre-Collision Brake Assist and the aforementioned active cruise control or Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with stop and go functions.
The ES250 Premium goes for RM299,888 while the extra kit in the ES250 Luxury will set you back RM332,888. As always, there’s a five year warranty with unlimited mileage.