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2015 Lexus ES 300h Review

2015 Lexus ES 300h Review

Nov. 27, 2014

The Lexus ES 300h targets a luxury sedan shopper after a tranquil, peaceful, and easygoing cruiser big on relaxation, fuel efficiency and staple Lexus attributes like high residual costs, quality and long-term value. With one of the most relaxing highway cruising experiences anywhere near its price range, shoppers checking out the affordable, fuel-efficient luxury-sedan scene in hopes of a ride that’s laid-back and conducive to relaxing or socializing on the move should consider the ES 300h a priority test drive.

What is a 2015 Lexus ES 300h?

The ES 300h is the hybrid-powered variant of the Lexus ES model range, taking a place beside the ES 350 in the lineup and offering a fuel-saving 4-cylinder hybrid-drive powertrain as an alternative to the standard 3.5L V6. Functionally, both vehicles are virtually identical -- with the ES 300h answering the call of shoppers after a machine that’s even thriftier and more atmospherically responsible.

2015 Lexus ES 300h Pricing and Specs

From $43,900 -- or about $2,400 more than the V6-powered ES 350 -- the ES 300h delivers 200 net horsepower from a 2.5L 4-cylinder gas engine teamed up with an electric motor drive system. All power is generated on board, so there’s no plugging in, and the gas and electric propulsion systems work in tandem (or cooperate) in moving the car with an eye for cutting fuel usage.

Standard features include heated and ventilated front seats, a drive-mode selector, and a full range of automatic or self-activating features, including lights, wipers and climate control. All models are front-wheel drive.

Driving the 2015 Lexus ES 300h

The ES 300h’s peaceful driving experience starts before drivers get moving. Press the “engine start” button, and only a discreet beep indicates that the car is ready to roll, since there’s no starter. There’s no vibration or sound as the car backs out of the driveway or parking space solely on electricity.

To highway speeds and beyond, the ES feels carefully calibrated to deliver a ride that’s creamy and quiet. From the driver’s seat, noise over tar strips and bumps sound like they’re coming from another car somewhere nearby. Occasional licks of wind noise are present, though the overall sound allowed into the cabin is carefully muted and filtered. The suspension floats on smooth roads, nearly hovering at times, and the engine stays hushed unless pushed while passing or climbing a steep grade. Power, which is far from the point of the ES 300h, is rich with torque and should prove adequate in most situations.

Beyond that, steering is easygoing and light, requiring little effort for cruising, and even less for parking.

Set the memory seats, climate control, lights and wipers one time, and from then on the ES automatically recalls your key driving environment calibrations every time you climb on board. All said, it’s a car that demands nothing of its driver beyond simply sitting back, and enjoying the ride. Plus, with mileage landing at 6.8L/100km, drivers can enjoy said ride for longer periods before refueling,

Inside and Out of the 2015 Lexus ES 300h

The exterior is elegant and stately, though not designed to turn heads or set anybody’s pants on fire with design. At either end, xenon or LED technology helps create a big-deal lighting signature at night. Ultimately, it’s a handsome car that doesn’t shout too loudly about its badge.

On a test-drive, the ES 300h’s cabin is likely to pack the most wow factor with shoppers visiting it for the first time. Space in both seating rows should prove more than adequate for adults of average size and above, controls are logically arranged into easy-to-use layers on the dashboard, and the slick Remote Touch Interface (RTI) allows manipulation of hundreds of vehicle functions with little more than a few millimeters of fingertip movement.

The cabin should further impress with a quality feel, easy-to-see attention to detail, and upscale materials wherever your eyes or fingertips might go looking for them. The leather is buttery soft and so fragrant it leaves its smell on your clothing, the high-definition instrument cluster is gorgeous and easy on the eyes, and the centre-mounted clock adds some fancy flare. My tester’s Mark Levinson audio system will make a very welcomed partner for long haul drives for owners planning to use their ride as a personal listening space.

Complaints? Trunk space suffers slightly because of the battery pack stored in it, and I wished for a touch more on-centre stiffness to the steering to help the ES lock into its lane at speed.

Comparing the 2015 Lexus ES 300h

As a hybrid-powered large luxury sedan, the ES 300h has only one direct rival in its price-range, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which should be cross-driven. Those not set on a hybrid should also consider test-drives of comparably priced upscale models like the Hyundai Genesis, Chrysler 300, Volvo S60, Acura TLX, and Buick LaCrosse. Ultimately, where tranquility and fuel-efficiency are priorities, the ES 300h should fit the bill.

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