I’ve just learned that Millennials think you are “living in the Dark Ages” if you use cash, talk on the phone (versus texting), wear skinny jeans or eat dairy.
To which I’d add, drive a Lexus.
No, Lexus did not specifically turn up on the U.K.’s Love Energy Savings survey referred to here. But I remain convinced that Lexus is as much a no-go with Millennials as writing with pen and paper.
Why? Because I like almost everything in the Lexus lineup. I also use cash, find talking on the phone more efficient than messaging and I gave up dairy five years ago. (And just to calm your nerves, you will not find this body type in skinny jeans.)
Look, I’m 63, clearly from the dark ages, and just a tad older than the average age of a Lexus driver. If Lexus appeals to me, the brand is pretty much off limits for Millennials.
But by God, one day those Millennials are going to discover the benefits of a worry-free Lexus. For more than two decades, Lexus, based on its quality ratings, has towered over most if not all car brands. I have friends who have grown sick of their Lexus after a decade of wrinkle-free performance, but cannot bring themselves to trade in a 15-year-old car that never breaks.
Need a stat? Let me share.
Four of the top 10 models most liked by Consumer Reports come from Lexus or Toyota. The Lexus ES midsize sedan is one of the brand’s star models, notes CR. J.D. Power’s three-year Vehicle Dependability Study ranks the Lexus brand first overall, and puts the ES at the top of its segment.
Look, the very first thing I research before testing any new model is the quality history of the brand and the specific model in question. I’m cheap and assume a lot of you are, too. None of us want to spend any more than we must on repairs and maintenance, and so, above all, I want a car to be bullet-proof.
As much as any car can be, the ES is invulnerable. The 2021 ES 350 Black Line Edition, $60,775.70 as tested, is a front-wheel-drive sedan designed by Lexus to be a sort-of bad-boy version of what in all honesty is a very conservative, worry-free ride.
I know, I know, Lexus pushes the low roofline with marketing bumph about “coupe-like” this and that. And there is some justification in saying the styling here is aggressive. It’s certainly not a dull design.
Anything but, with its curvy sides, strong haunches, and that big hourglass-like grille up front. The Black Line package adds 19-inch black aluminum wheels, black mirrors, a black rear spoiler and black-and-white perforated leather seating (with F-Sport badging) with matching interior trim and accents.
Despite pushing the styling boundaries, however, most agree that a true sports sedan cannot be a front-driver; too much of the drivetrain is loaded on the front wheels. In driving practice, that means the physics of the thing makes it push or understeer in corners. It’s also pretty easy to spin those front tires with aggressive acceleration. Power: 302 horsepower from the 3.5-litre V-6 (10.7 city/7.2 hwy L/100 km).
Now the Lexus engineers have worked hard to minimize the drawback with electronic interventions and suspension geometry. And they’ve succeeded to a point. There are drive modes available and the Sport S+ mode goes some distance to taming the worst effects of front-drive, while enhancing the responses.
I made sure to take my tester on a three-hour spin on a very snaky route with plenty of elevation changes. I was entertained and arrived pretty fresh because I didn’t need to work hard to find a cornering line and the ride comfort was first-rate.
The base price of this model is $49,450. My tester had the $9,100 options package, which adds a mind-blowing list of electronic stuff – from wireless charging to a terrific Mark Levinson surround sound system and a most welcome 12.3-inch screen. The clarity of that display is solid, though the functions are operated by that finicky Lexus touchpad.
Look, the cabin is spacious enough to accommodate four adults comfortably and the seat support surprised me in a good way. The trunk? Big. But it’s a trunk, not a cargo hold.
Yes, the ES is NOT an SUV. It’s a sedan. So that’s another strike against it with Millennials. This Boomer, though, found the whole thing a real pleasure.