NEW FOR 2015:

– More additional standard equipment for base model
– No major changes

Now in its third year of production, the ES carries over mostly unchanged, other than some changes in equipment level. The ES shares its platform with the Toyota Avalon, offering passengers stretch-out rear legroom, a comfortable ride, and a serene cabin thanks to a surprisingly aerodynamic body and plenty of sound insulation.

There are two variants of the ES on sale: the ES 350, which uses a smooth 268-hp 3.5-litre V6, and the ES 300h which uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. The latter is shared in common with the new NX 300h compact crossover, as well as the Toyota Camry Hybrid. While the ES 350 impresses with its refinement and performance, the ES 300h delivers unexpected fuel efficiency. Both ES models are front-wheel drive; the gasoline version uses a traditional automatic, while the ES hybrid uses a CVT.

Both standard and hybrid ES models come well-equipped with many standard features. For 2015, the base model now receives the 7-inch Display Audio screen, back-up camera, rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, and driver’s seat memory. Also standard are keyless access with push-button start, 10-way power adjustable heated NuLuxe seats with heating and ventilation, garage door opener, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, power moonroof, LED daytime running lights, and an eight-speaker sound system with USB, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes-Free voice control. The added standard equipment now means the ES 350 no longer starts at less than $40,000.

There are three upgrade packages on offer to ES 350 buyers.

The Touring package takes over where the previous Leather and Navigation Package left off. It includes an upgraded 8-inch infotainment display with navigation, DVD audio, back-up sensors, leather seats, LED fog lamps, and auto-leveling HID headlamps.

The Technology Package adds 18-inch wheels, premium leather seats, power trunk, passenger seat memory, power-operated rear sun shade, a panoramic sunroof, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and premium illuminated entry.

The Executive Package brings the added element of active safety to the ES’ repertoire. As the range-topper, it adds radar cruise control with pre-collision auto-brake, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.

The ES 300h is similarly equipped to the base ES 350. There are three additional upgrade packages which build on it.

The Touring Package adds navigation with a larger (8-inch) screen, in-dash DVD player, blind-spot monitor, heated wood steering wheel, rain sensing wipers.

The Technology Package adds genuine leather upholstery, HID lights, power rear sunshade, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and premium illuminated entry.

The ES 300h Executive Package features radar cruise control with pre-collision auto-brake, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams. It also gets premium leather upholstery, power trunk, and passenger seat memory.

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