Assessment: 2019 Lexus ES Options Non-compulsory Widescreen CarPlay, however Distant Contact Trackpad Interface Is Cumbersome

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Assessment: 2019 Lexus ES Options Non-compulsory Widescreen CarPlay, however Distant Contact Trackpad Interface Is Cumbersome

A couple of months in the past, the 2019 Lexus ES grew to become the primary car from Toyota’s luxurious model so as to add help for CarPlay, constructed on high of the model’s Enform infotainment system, and Lexus now has a half dozen 2019 fashions introduced with CarPlay help.

I’ve had an opportunity to spend a while with a Lexus ES 300h Extremely Luxurious hybrid mannequin that features plenty of know-how options, so this is a take a look at what iPhone customers can count on now that Lexus is rolling out CarPlay help.

CarPlay help comes customary on all ES fashions ranging from October manufacturing, and the bottom ES infotainment system comes with an 8-inch coloration show that may use a tethered smartphone with the Scout GPS Hyperlink service to offer navigation. My take a look at car, nevertheless, was geared up with a Navigation Bundle that enhances the middle show to a 12.3-inch widescreen palette and gives native onboard navigation capabilities.

Widescreen native navigation

This widescreen show provides a alternative of an ultra-wide view of most important apps throughout the Enform system like navigation or a split-screen view to place a conventional measurement navigation pane alongside an audio pane, for instance.

Break up display native navigation with audio

Widescreen CarPlay

The 12.3-inch show on the Lexus ES makes it one of many few autos available on the market, together with some fashions from the likes of Mercedes and Alfa Romeo, to help widescreen CarPlay, which takes over the complete show. Whereas most customers are acquainted with the normal 4×2 grid of icons for the CarPlay residence display, with a large sufficient show as within the Lexus ES with navigation, the CarPlay interface will truly improve this to a 5×2 grid.

CarPlay residence display

Particular person apps are after all additionally optimized for the big display, which suggests you may get an encompassing view of what is forward of you in Apple Maps and different CarPlay navigation apps.

CarPlay Apple Maps

Music apps and extra are additionally expanded to fill the display, however the additional actual property actually is not of a lot profit because it usually ends in extra padding and clean area reasonably than having the ability to show extra content material.

CarPlay “Now Taking part in” display

This widescreen CarPlay interface, whereas providing some advantages with the elevated scope of view, does have some drawbacks. The first one is that with CarPlay taking on the complete show, you do not have a simultaneous view of different apps from the Enform system equivalent to audio. You possibly can configure the digital driver’s show to point out some audio info such because the radio or SiriusXM stations and music titles, however this view is fairly restricted.

Driver’s show with audio data exhibiting at left

Not like the Acura RDX I reviewed that limits CarPlay to taking on the left three-fourths of the show whereas sustaining a view of key Acura infotainment features in the suitable show pane, there is not any capability to do that on the Lexus. Ideally, full display or partial display can be a consumer choice, however that is merely not the way it works in both the Acura or the Lexus, with the 2 manufacturers choosing reverse options.

Distant Contact and CarPlay Controls

The large 12.3-inch widescreen (in addition to the smaller customary 8-inch display) shouldn’t be a touchscreen, which makes affordable sense contemplating simply how far the driving force must stretch to succeed in the suitable aspect of it. In consequence, Lexus has opted for a Distant Contact trackpad interface and related {hardware} buttons down on the middle console inside simpler attain of the driving force.

Distant Contact trackpad on heart console

The earlier joystick-style Distant Contact interface utilized by Lexus has been the topic of great criticism, and whereas the trackpad might enhance issues a bit, it is nonetheless a little bit of a chore to make use of. The system doesn’t use absolute positioning as within the Acura, so navigating across the Enform interface on the Lexus requires dragging your finger round on the trackpad to get the cursor the place you need it after which urgent or double tapping on the trackpad to register your choice.

The system provides each haptic and audio suggestions because the cursor lands on clickable objects, which some might take into account useful however which I discovered to be a bit a lot. Happily, these might be turned off completely or the amount/haptic energy adjusted.

The trackpad does help some gestures together with pinch-to-zoom on the Enform system’s maps (however not CarPlay), double faucet (equal to press), and flick (to shortly scroll lists or pan Enform maps), nevertheless it’s nonetheless a considerably restricted substitute for the intuitiveness of direct touchscreen manipulation.

Dock-style most important menu

{Hardware} buttons above the trackpad provide fast entry to the navigation app, the primary menu (which slides up from the underside like a dock reasonably than taking you to a completely totally different display) and a “again” operate to stroll you backward out of your present location throughout the app and settings hierarchy. Beneath the trackpad is a single button labeled with an inverted double chevron that gives a supplemental operate relying on the place you might be within the system and is simply often energetic.

Steering wheel controls with speak swap at decrease proper of left cluster

As is typical, voice entry to CarPlay through Siri might be managed utilizing a chat swap on the steering wheel, with a brief press citing the Lexus voice assistant and a protracted press activating Siri.

With most infotainment programs, the amount of the radio/audio and navigation voice prompts might be managed independently, usually with adjustments made whereas the navigation voice is talking adjusting that quantity whereas adjustments made at different instances have an effect on the primary audio quantity. That is not the case with the Lexus Enform system, both for the built-in navigation or CarPlay navigation, and it is reasonably infuriating. The one option to regulate the amount of navigation voice prompts is to dive right into a settings menu that is not even out there whereas the automobile is in movement.

Ports and Connectivity

The wired CarPlay connection is managed by a pair of USB ports close to the entrance of the middle console in a piece that may be hidden by a pop-up cowl when not in use. Two media units might be related to the Enform system concurrently, but when both of them is an iPhone connecting as CarPlay, the opposite USB port turns into charge-only.

USB ports in heart console

To the suitable of the USB ports is a cavity with a detachable plastic insert that divides it right into a cupholder and a slim upright telephone slot. You will not have the ability to see a lot of your display when your telephone is within the slot, however in any other case it may be a handy, space-saving place to place your telephone, offered your telephone suits.

Upright telephone slot in heart console

The slot holds my iPhone XS Max in an Apple case within the regular place with basically no room to spare. If I need to have the telephone plugged in for CarPlay or charging and wish to position the telephone within the slot the wrong way up, it would not match because of the slight protrusions of the amount and energy buttons on the higher a part of the telephone. A smaller telephone mannequin in a skinny case would match simply advantageous although.

Rear USB ports

On the rear of the middle console is a pair of two.1A charge-only USB ports with spring-loaded covers, in addition to a 12V energy port. There may be additionally a 12V energy port up entrance inside the middle console compartment.

Qi Wi-fi Charging

Whereas Lexus’s CarPlay implementation is wired, the ES does have an optionally available Qi wi-fi charger, though it is tucked away inside the middle console compartment. It retains your telephone safe and hidden away, however for individuals who desire a charger extra out within the open the place it is simple to toss the telephone onto it as you sit down and seize it as you exit the automobile, the compartment location makes issues just a little extra inconvenient.

Qi charger in heart console compartment

Much more so, the wi-fi charger is a tray that is partially tucked beneath the entrance lip of the middle console with solely a small quantity of vertical clearance, and the charger is not significantly massive. I’ve an iPhone XS Max with an Apple leather-based case on it, and my telephone simply barely suits on the charger. I’ve to fastidiously slide it beneath the lip of the console compartment to get it onto the charger, after which it takes just a little little bit of maneuvering to get the telephone out once more.

Cellphone charging on Qi charger

Smaller telephones would have a bit extra room aspect to aspect, however should you’re utilizing a thicker case you possibly can probably neglect about utilizing the wi-fi charger. Not less than for my telephone, the tight match definitely ensures the telephone stays safe on the charger, however total there’s simply an excessive amount of of an effort required to get my telephone on and off the charger when fast and handy is my major purpose in utilizing a wi-fi charger to start with.

The wi-fi charger is a standalone choice on all trims, however its $75 price ticket is remarkably low-cost in comparison with another producers which might be charging extra like $300 and even as a lot as $500 for the choice.


CarPlay on the brand new Lexus ES has some novel attributes, however total the expertise leaves a bit to be desired. The widescreen CarPlay expertise is certainly one thing totally different in comparison with most different producers, and the expansive view of CarPlay navigation apps may be very good. However different CarPlay apps cannot actually benefit from the additional display actual property, so the advantages are restricted. The widescreen CarPlay additionally comes at a value when there is not any choice for a split-screen view that will allow you to see info from each CarPlay and the Enform system side-by-side.

Trackpad infotainment management programs are laborious to get proper in an age once we’re so accustomed to direct manipulation on our iPhones and iPads, and I really feel just like the Distant Contact interface within the Lexus ES is not one of the best implementation on the market. Navigating across the massive display through trackpad is cumbersome, and whereas the Enform system helps a bit by snapping to out there UI actions as you get shut, you aren’t getting that help when utilizing CarPlay.

Wi-fi charging is turning into an increasing number of prevalent in autos, nevertheless it’s ceaselessly gradual and within the case of the Lexus ES it is not significantly handy to make use of with it being a decent match tucked away within the heart console compartment. And naturally, it looks like a missed alternative to not provide wi-fi CarPlay, though it is laborious to place blame uniquely on Lexus contemplating BMW is the one producer that has managed to roll it out.

The 2019 Lexus ES begins at $39,600, however if you wish to max out your trim and choices to get the entire goodies like a hybrid engine, premium audio/navigation bundle, and extra, you may be approaching $55,000.

CarPlay is fortunately included on all trims at no extra cost as of October manufacturing, so so long as you do not find yourself with one of many first ES autos to roll off the road, you may be good to go. In order for you the widescreen 12.3-inch heart show reasonably than the extra conventional 8-inch display, you may want so as to add a number of choices and packages, together with the Navigation Bundle, that complete round $4,500 at a minimal.

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