In 2013 Lexus introduced an all-new ES, a refined entry-level sedan aimed at price-conscious buyers. Alongside this new design, Lexus unveiled a new ES 300h hybrid that combines Toyota hybrid technology with Lexus luxury. Buyers will love the efficient hybrid system, the large and refined high-tech interior, and the smooth ride the 300h offers. One of only five hybrids created by Lexus, the 300h is a step in the right direction.
The ES 300h is powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder hybrid gas/electric engine which produces 200 horsepower. Front-wheel-drive is standard, as is a continuously variable automatic transmission. Fuel economy for the ES 300h far surpasses what Lexus has achieved with hybrids in the past: 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.
Since it's inception, the ES has been a popular vehicle. The interior is spacious and stylish, with available wood trim, and particularly appealing bamboo accents. The console has high-quality materials and an elegant, easy-to-understand layout. Controls are easy to navigate, but the touch screen system can be finicky and difficult to use at times, and will certainly take some practice. Legroom is impressive, and the interior feels larger than it is. The size of the trunk, though, is relatively average.
Behind the wheel the ES 300h offers a comfortable, and even soft driving experience. The motor, like many hybrids, is quiet, and the interior does a great job of eliminating external noise. Even at high speeds, road and wind noise is nearly non-existent. The 300h is not a sports sedan, and it doesn't act like one, but the steering is responsive and the ride is remarkably smooth.
Overall, the ES 300h is an elegant hybrid sedan. It offers a luxurious interior, a comforting and quiet driving experience, and all the options and features you could want. More importantly, it provides the fuel efficiency drivers have come to expect from hybrids, a previous Lexus shortcoming.
The ES 300h is available in a single Base trim level. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid gas and electric motor produces 200 horsepower. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are standard. Standard features include: cruise control, a sunroof, keyless entry, keyless ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power seats with power lumbar support, LED running lights, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker sound system, a six-disc CD changer, an iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack, premium upholstery, tilt and telescoping steering, and Lexus Safety Connect emergency service.
Options are plentiful. An Audio Package adds the Lexus Remote Touch interface, Bluetooth streaming audio, a rearview camera, an HD radio with iTunes tagging, and an enhanced phone function. The Navigation Package includes a navigation system, voice controls, and smartphone apps. Several standalone options include a 15-speaker audio upgrade with surround-sound, and a DVD system.
Lexus also offers the Premium Package, Luxury Package, and Ultra Luxury Package. These include various combinations of options like power-adjustable steering, driver memory, wood trim, xenon headlamps, parking sensors, heated and ventilated seats, leather upholstery, a rear power sunshade, a ten-way power driver's seat, a heated steering wheel, automatic wipers, parking sensors, passenger seat memory, and ambient lighting. Individual options from these packages include lane departure systems, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, a pre-collision system, and rear cross-traffic alert.
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|Build & Price|
Great fuel economy from a hybrid engine and a great exterior, but interior is underwhelming
Far better fuel economy with a sharp exterior, but options are significantly lacking on base models
Cheaper option with high safety ratings, but exterior package is less attractive
Well designed interior with decent fuel economy, but options escalate the price quickly and powertrain options are less than desirable