The 2017 Lexus ES 300h is the ES lineup's hybrid model. While it has a quiet, comfortable ride and an impressive interior, this hybrid luxury sedan's disappointing real-world fuel efficiency and distracting infotainment controller make it difficult to recommend.

Pricing and Equipment

The price of the mono-trim 2017 Lexus ES 300h, without any additional options, is $42,795 (including a $975 destination charge), and comes with standard features like:

  • Seven-inch infotainment screen
  • Bluetooth phone and music streaming, iPod connectivity, and Siri Eyes Free
  • Real wood trim
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Push-button start
  • Rear-view camera
  • LED headlights, taillights
  • Moonroof
  • 10-way power seats

Our $47,415 tester had a number of additional options including blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert ($500), a Mark Levinson stereo with an eight-inch infotainment system and navigation ($2,590), parallel park assist ($500), a $730 Premium Package that included a driver's side memory function, power tilt/telescoping steering, wood interior trim, and a wood/leather-trimmed steering wheel ($300).

New for 2017, all ES models come with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams at a price premium of only $800 over 2016 models.

The ES 300h uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor to generate 200 system horsepower, while a continuously variable transmission with Eco/Normal, EV, and Sport modes puts the power to the front wheels. The ES 300h comes with an EPA-estimated 40 miles per gallon in the city, 39 on the highway, and 40 combined. That bests the gasoline-only ES 350"s EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway, and 24 combined, but at a premium of $2,920.

Performance Pros

Lexus ES 300h
  • Keep it in Sport mode and the electric motor offers a welcome kick when accelerating off the line, merging into traffic, and passing on the freeway.
  • Cabin noise levels are very sedate, even over rough roads and at highway speeds.
  • The ES 300h delivers a smooth, controlled ride, easily absorbing even the largest bumps and road irregularities.

Performance Cons

  • There is plenty of body roll through the corners, discouraging spirited driving – not terribly surprising considering the ES' target market.
  • The transition between normal and regenerative braking was hardly seamless, at times making modulating the brakes difficult.
  • Our ES 300h's mileage didn't come close to the EPA-estimated figures as we only averaged a vehicle-measured 33 miles per gallon during our suburban-heavy testing.

Interior Pros

  • The fit and finish are what we expect from a Lexus.
  • Front seat occupants and three adults in back will find plenty of leg, hip, shoulder, and headroom.
  • The faux NuLuxe leatherette trim on our tester felt as soft and supple as real leather.

Interior Cons

Lexus ES 300h
  • A fixed back seat and smaller trunk limits the ES 300h's everyday versatility.
  • With the lower ride height that's typical of a sedan the view of the road ahead is less expansive that that of a crossover.
  • Although there are buttons for volume and tuning, the infotainment system's mouse-like interface is both frustrating and distracting.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

A smooth ride and quiet interior make the ES 300h an ideal commuter/freeway cruiser.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

It's time for Lexus to retire the super-distracting Remote Touch infotainment controller.

The Bottom Line

Despite a smooth ride and a quiet, luxurious cabin, we can't help but think that with the 300h's $2,920 price premium and disappointing real-world fuel economy, the ES 350 might be a smarter choice.