2019 Lexus ES 300h
Did you know that the 2019 Lexus ES comes in three flavors?
Earlier this year, we reviewed the 2019 ES 350 and found it to be an “absolutely superb sedan.” The V6-powered version of this front-drive midsized premium sedan offered performance to match its luxury and comfort. This is just one version of this original Lexus offering.
The ES also comes in a Hybrid model – the ES 300h. It offers the same level of luxury and comfort with a highly efficient gasoline-electric driveline. It sounds like a great premise for someone looking to save fuel in the long run, improve the environment, and have their full compliment of luxury, too.
How much different is the ES 300h from the ES 350? We had to drive one to find out.
The first ES models have a familiar look, despite having distinctive front and rear ends and a hardtop sedan roofline. They were actually based on a cousin of the Toyota Camry. Potential customers questioned whether they would buy a more expensive version of one of the most popular passenger cars in this country.
Just like the ES 350, the ES 300h offers the same sharp and focused exterior design with only minimal cues to the Hybrid version over the V6 one. If you noticed the blue tint around the badges and the Hybrid badge along the lower side of each rear door, then you know you’re different than the V6.
Otherwise, you do get the familiar new Spindle Grille dictating the front-end design, narrower headlamps and boomerang LED driving lights announcing its arrival at your destination. It iffers a sleek profile with a rakish roofline and a sculptured rear deck crowned by a rear spoiler. The taillights are tapered completing the look. We also liked the wide opening doors for better entrances and exits.
In our Ultra Luxury trim, we found only a few distinctions for the Hybrid version over the V6 one, as well. The cabin is absolutely stylish with a wide infotainment screen above the center stack, and a completely TFT instrument cluster screen derived from sportier Lexus models.
The switches for the traction control and drive modes flank the instrument binnacle. The trackpad dominates the center console while controlling the infotainment system with adjoining buttons for hot controls. The steering wheel offers tactile controls and a thick rim for better control. The climate control is complete with automatic settings for the heated and cooled seats, as well as dual zones.
The semi-aniline leather seats are perforated for comfort. Front seats offer plenty of options with 14 powered settings for the driver, 10 for the passenger. They are big and supportive. Rear seat room is very good for plenty of bodies. Despite the rakish roofline, someone with a tall torso can find headroom in the rear. The rear seatbacks do fold down to increase the cargo space that is already very generous. With the seatbacks up there are 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space to fill 0 the same exact space as in the V6 model.
The big distinction over the ES 350 V6 model is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. With a combined rating of 215 horsepower, the ES Hybrid offered smooth performance and great passing power. It loves to cruise for hours on the highway.
Without question, this is the finest ride in its class. It is buttery smooth, something you expect from a 113-inch wheelbase mid-sized luxury car. We experienced a very relaxed wherever we went. Handling is more controlled with minimal roll and lean evident in evasive maneuvers and some turns we made along the way.
The electric steering system is simply just fine with solid on-center feel and a good turning radius. The brakes are good for a hybrid, though we found pedal feel to be soft on occasion. We did experience solid stops in normal and panic situations.
The 2019 ES 300h starts with a base price of $41,410. Our ES 300h Ultra Luxury tester came with a sticker price of $52,890.
The ES 300h is another reason why we consider this sedan to be one of the better buys in the premium mid-sized market. This hybrid luxury sedan offers a lot for the money, without having to resort to plugging it in somewhere. It also is a rewarding drive that offers smooth operation anywhere you point it.
As for the third flavor of the Lexus ES – it is the ES 350 F Sport. You might want to check that out, too.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors