The new Lexus ES is now in Thailand, after being launched in Indonesia at the 2018 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show, which we reported from. As with our southern neighbour, the seventh-generation ES is also available in Thailand solely as a hybrid.

The ES 300h is the choice in the Land of Smiles for tax reasons, the Bangkok Post points out. With an improved hybrid system, fuel economy is up from 20 km/l to a claimed 22 km/l, but it’s the below 100 g/km C02 emissions that has cut excise tax from 16% to 8%, enabling Lexus to maintain entry prices at 3.59 million baht (RM448,545) for the Luxury trim. The Grand Luxury is priced at 3.76 million baht (RM469,827) while the Premium comes in at 4.19 million baht (RM523,622).

The English language daily says that the ES is aimed at well heeled Thais wanting a fuel-efficient alternative to diesel-powered European executive saloons, but don’t want the additional task of plug-in charging. As in Malaysia, Lexus faces the same CBU vs CKD issues in Thailand, where premium German brands have the local assembly price advantage.

The seventh-generation XV70 is new from the ground up, and rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-K platform, which also underpins the latest Camry. Lexus says it rivals the GA-L RWD platform used for the LC grand tourer and LS limo in terms of rigidity.

Looking very much like a smaller LS, the new ES is 66 mm longer and 46 mm wider than before, but sits 5 mm lower. The wheelbase has also grown by 51 mm, and all these figures contribute to the sleeker appearance – “provocative elegance” is what the design seeks to achieve. The dramatic spindle grille comes with vertical slats here and the 18-inch wheels are in a “Resonator” design.

The ES 300h combines a 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor that’s lighter, more compact and more power dense. The total system output is 215 hp. Power goes to the front wheels via a CVT automatic.

In Indonesia, the car we detailed had a largest in class colour head-up display, 12.3-inch central screen, 17-speaker Mark Levinson Pure Play sound system, rear seat controls in the centre armrest (for seats, temp and audio), sunroof, kick-to-open powered boot, panoramic view parking monitor, three-zone auto AC with carbon filtration and nano-e, heated/ventilated seats and full LED exterior lighting.

An “Ultra Luxury” variant adds on power reclining rear seats, semi-aniline leather seats and acoustic glass rear windows to go with the standard front ones. The outgoing ES was a decent seller for Lexus Malaysia, so this new one should be heading to our market in the near future.

GALLERY: Lexus ES 300h in Indonesia

GALLERY: Lexus ES 300h official images