Visual changes are very small, but there's more happening under the skin.
We wouldn't blame you one bit if you mistook the facelifted 2022 Lexus ES saloon for last year's model. Visually speaking, you'll need to look very close to spot the differences both inside and outside, but there are some changes. The bigger news for 2022 comes from the wires and computer code beneath it all, where various tech enhancements offer a bit more convenience, safety, and in some cases, sportier moves.
Our journey begins at the front where you'll find a new mesh-style grille comprised of L-shaped features. You'll find the new grille everywhere except on F Sport models, which still get their own special treatment. Flanking the grille are the updated bi-LED headlamps we saw in the teaser from April 12. Standard models will gain new 17-inch wheels, and two new shades of silver and grey join the exterior colour palette, replacing three outgoing shades of silver and grey. Inside, the brake pedal is larger and the multimedia screen is a bit further forward. That's it, so as far as facelifts go, this one is quite minimal, indeed.
However, draw your attention back to the centre screen. It's now a proper touchscreen allowing for more intuitive control of its functions, though if you still prefer using the remote touch feature, it's there. Speaking of tech, the 2022 ES gets Lexus Safety System +2.5 as standard, which includes enhancements to the lens camera and radar used for frontal detection, collision warning, and automatic braking systems. The Pre-Collision System (PCS) can also better recognise oncoming vehicles or pedestrians during turns, and a new emergency steering assist function of the PCS can enhance stability during evasive manoeuvres.
For cruising, the dynamic cruise control system can automatically increase speed to pass slower cars when you change lanes, accelerating back to your original setting. Similarly, the system can also automatically reduce speed in certain types of corners. Lexus also made improvements to the lane-departure system for better lane recognition.
The changes for 2022 aren't entirely business. For the first time, Lexus jazzes up its 300h hybrid with an F Sport offering. The updates here are merely skin deep, including a snazzy grille with dark surrounds, a boot lid spoiler, exclusive black 19-inch wheels, and more black trim both inside and outside the car. Naturally, it's also filled with F Sport badging to ensure folks know it's something special.
Gallery: 2022 Lexus ES
Jump over to the pure-combustion ES350 F Sport and you'll find a new Dynamic Handling Package that includes Sport + and Custom Drive modes. Lexus says Adaptive Variable Suspension underneath is capable of 650 levels of adjustment based on everything from G loads to vehicle speed, steering angle, various engine parameters, and more. Regardless of the trim, all 2022 ES models benefit from new rear suspension bracing for better rigidity, stability, and comfort. All models have optimised braking systems, too.
Lexus isn't ready to talk price for the tweaked 2022 models. That will come closer to the saloon's UK dealership arrival, which is slated for the fall of 2021.