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2020 Lexus ES F Sport red rear end Feisty-looking Lexus ES 300h F Sport coming to Australia

The range of Lexus ES hybrid sedans offered in Australia will be expanded in October with the addition of a sporty-looking F Sport grade, rounding out the ES 300h range locally to three variants.

Complementing the existing entry-level Luxury and top-line Sports Luxury grades, the F Sport will be positioned both as a new middle tier for this range of large sedans, and as the most driver-focussed of the lineup.

The F Sport’s debut comes as part of the arrival of a 2020 model year update for the Lexus ES lineup, which will see all three variants fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring for the first time.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport cobalt driving

The F Sport will retain the same four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain as the other seventh-generation ES sedans on sale in Australia. Badged ES 300h, the trio pair a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine with two hybrid motors to produce 160kW of power. Combined torque is not stated.

While the Australian-spec ES F Sport does not pick up the V6 petrol engine offered in the United States, there are mechanical changes in the form of the addition of standard adaptive variable dampers to the F Sport grade, along with the figment larger 19-inch wheels.

Outside, more assertive styling on F Sport cars includes a jet black mesh grille and the unique availability of an exclusive Cobalt Mica grey exterior colour.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport red leather

The interior colour choices on the ES 300h F Sport include a bold Flare Red option and more understated black hide. The F Sport also picks up a unique design on the ES’s eight-inch digital driver display, plus a smattering of F motifs throughout.

The addition of smartphone mirroring tech for the ES lineup will arrive around the same time as the facelifted Lexus RX SUV, which also gains CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike the RX, however, the ES does not gain a touchscreen at this time, with infotainment still to be controlled through the Lexus Remote Touch interface.

Pricing has not yet been revealed for the ES 300h F Sport – or indeed the range of revised ES 300h sedans for the 2020 model year.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport cobalt driving

With the F Sport parachuting in as the middle tier between today’s ES 300h Luxury ($59,888, $67,279 driveaway) and the flagship Sports Luxury ($74,888, $83,819 driveaway), an educated guess would place the F Sport’s list price somewhere between $65,000 and $70,000.

Standard equipment on the ES lineup will continue to include navigation, DAB radio, front-door keyless entry and start, a sunroof, 10-way power adjustable heated front seats, auto lights and wipers, and dual-zone climate control. All ES grades are also fitted with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

The ES 300h F Sport will add the aforementioned styling changes and adaptive variable dampers, plus safety tech previously reserved for the Sports Luxury — blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera. Additional F Sport equipment additions include cooled front seats and memory for the driver’s seat and steering wheel adjustments.

Pricing for the 2020 Lexus ES range is slated to be announced next month. Lexus are operating a platform for customers to register interest now.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport blue driving
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2019 Toyota Corolla two tone hatch 2020 Toyota Corolla update brings CarPlay to Australia

The twelfth-gen Toyota Corolla hatch has received its first annual update, with a suite of changes for 2020 that bundles smartphone integration, additional safety tech and an available, racier two-tone colour scheme. No pricing changes have been announced.

Arriving in November this year, Toyota will make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring tech a standard feature of the Corolla range, senior sources have confirmed.

The Corolla will continue to be offered with a choice of 2.0-litre petrol (125kW/200Nm) or 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid (90kW) engines. Hopes that the Corolla would be upgraded to Europe’s punchier 132kW 2.0-litre hybrid were not met this year.

2019 Toyota Corolla two tone hatch
This new shade is called ‘Feverish Red’, seen with the new black roof option.

On the safety front, a new low-speed manoeuvre emergency braking system primarily designed for use while parking will be added to the mid-tier SX and high-spec ZR grades. The system, called Parking Support Brake, detects static objects and rear cross-traffic while the Corolla is travelling at up to 15km/h.

The new ‘colourway’ paint jobs will allow those buying the top-spec ZR to have the Corolla hatch’s roof painted black when paired with a range of colours that include a new shade of ‘Feverish’ red (replacing ‘Volcanic’ red). This two-tone scheme has been available in some markets since the new shape launched but it’s only now reached Australia.

2019 Toyota Corolla ZR hybrid dashboard side
This touchscreen will soon feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Inside, the ZR also picks up eight-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, replacing manual control.

Finally, the base Ascent Sport grade will now be optionally available with a tyre repair kit replacing the standard full-size spare wheel. If that option box is ticked boot space increases from 217 litres to 333 litres.

For those looking for a boot, a new Toyota Corolla sedan will launch later in 2019.

2019 Toyota Corolla Australian pricing (plus on-road costs)

Ascent Sport hatch petrol manual: $22,870

Ascent Sport hatch petrol CVT: $24,370

Ascent Sport hatch hybrid CVT: $25,870

SX hatch petrol CVT: $26,870

SX hatch hybrid CVT: $28,370

ZR hatch petrol CVT: $30,370

ZR hatch hybrid CVT: $31,870

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