After Toyota unveiled its first CarPlay-compatible model, the Corolla Hatchback, last month, the Japanese carmaker on Tuesday announced plans to introduce Apple’s infotainment system to its luxury division with the 2019 Lexus ES.
Revealed in a press release, the seventh-generation ES boasts the usual assortment of under-the-hood and aesthetic upgrades, but it’s the cockpit where Lexus packed some of the most notable advancements.
Along with CarPlay and Siri Eyes Free voice control, ES models with navigation get a massive 12.3-inch dashboard display and onboard Wi-Fi powered by Verizon. Owners can also interact with Amazon Alexa, issuing car-to-home and home-to-car commands via voice. Models without navigation rely on a standard 8-inch display.
The setup is similar to Toyota’s 2019 Corolla Hatchback, which offers standard CarPlay and Alexa integration, but foregoes Google’s Android Auto.
Lexus opted to build the latest ES on Toyota’s Global Architecture – K platform that underpins other new sedans like the 2019 Avalon. The new ES is slightly lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, giving the car a more aggressive stance while affording a bit of extra legroom inside.
Looking to enhance its image as a performance sedan, Lexus is offering an F Sport trim on ES 350 models. Aside from an Adaptive Variable Suspension, spoiler and Sport+ drive mode that selects the most aggressive engine, transmission and suspension settings, the package provides only aesthetic improvements.
Toyota first revealed plans to integrate CarPlay into select 2019 models in January, saying this year’s Avalon and certain Lexus models would receive compatibility with the arrival of Entune 3.0. Last month, the company revealed CarPlay would also come standard in its UX crossover slated for release in December.
One of the last major CarPlay holdouts, Toyota just three years ago said it had no plans to support Apple’s infotainment system and would instead concentrate on developing internal technology. Mazda was following a similar path, but last month announced CarPlay support in the 2018 Mazda6, as well as a retrofit kit for older vehicles with Mazda Connect.
The 2019 Lexus ES goes on sale in September. Pricing has yet to be announced. </span>