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The Lexus ES got an attractive refresh for the latest model year. This luxury car boasts plenty of upgraded bells and whistles, from an available larger touchscreen to a class-leading safety system. In addition, the 2023 Lexus ES finally dropped its most annoying tech feature — the remote touchpad — and replaced it with cupholders. 

The 2023 Lexus ES ditched the remote touchpad

2023 Lexus ES interior view showing features and cup holders in the center console
2023 Lexus ES | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2023 Lexus ES has numerous tech features. They include wireless charging, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and an app that allows drivers to start the car remotely from their smartwatch or phone. But one feature that drivers will no longer have to endure is the remote touchpad in previous ES years.

Lexus replaced the center touchpad with the most low-tech features: two cupholders. In addition, USB-A and USB-C ports for playback and device charging are also located in the center console. Lexus also moved the wireless charging tray from inside to outside the console box.

What was the problem with the touchpad?

The removal of the remote touchpad marks an intriguing shift. It likely happened after years of complaints that the feature was unsafe and distracting. It required drivers to use a “touch and pinch” method of navigation that many called out as dangerous. Though the complicated controls offered numerous options, they required undivided attention — a huge safety issue while driving.

This change from Lexus marks a shift in the auto industry, with many manufacturers simplifying cars’ controls for safer driving. But safety isn’t the only reason people prefer buttons and knobs over touchscreens.

Recent reports suggest that pushing buttons can reduce stress, offering users a sense of control and the payoff of an expected outcome. These reports note that navigating a complex touchscreen system can cause anxiety. Though touchscreens probably won’t be going anywhere soon, expect to see a rise in vehicles with more physical buttons and knobs.

Other notable 2023 Lexus ES features

The touchpad/cupholder swap is probably the most noticeable change in the 2023 Lexus ES, but it touts several other features and upgrades.

The latest model has an updated 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with standard wireless connectivity. Other standard features are all-wheel drive, a class-leading safety system, and supportive seats, according to Lexus.

But the 2023 ES also offers many available options and packages. They include a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, a head-up display, and a 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson surround sound system. And the Premium Package adds a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, a fast-response interior heater, and power-folding outside mirrors.

In addition, this affordable luxury car offers many trim levels for varying tastes and budgets. The base model retails for $43,090, and the highest trim starts at $51,880. There’s also an F Sport model for performance enthusiasts. And eco-conscious consumers can choose from hybrid versions with starting MSRPs ranging from $44,490 to $53,280.


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