Lexus ES300h: Fine and climate friendly

2022 Lexus ES 300h 3

What is it?

The growth in SUV sales has seen a corresponding decline in demand for traditional four-door sedans.

In the case of Lexus only two of the latter have survived: the flagship luxury LS and the medium-large family ES.

ES comes with the choice of 2.5-litre petrol or hybrid petrol-electric powertrains.

The petrol model is available in Luxury or F Sport equipment levels, while the ES 300h Hybrid offers a third, higher grade called Sports Luxury which is the subject of our test.

2022 Lexus ES 300h 1

What’s it cost?

We particularly like the spindle grille in this model.

Some earlier efforts didn’t quite work to our eyes, but this one fits perfectly.

The front of the ES spreads far and wide visually, with the lower edge of the window line swooping up at the rear to meet the downward swoop of the roofline.

The lower area of the rear doors parallels this, moving up from their rear edge to meet the tail lights, continuing into the boot lid for a few centimetres.

The upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen has proprietary satnav, DAB+ digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, together with Lexus Connected Services.

The screen projects forward from the dashboard to bring it within easier reach of the driver.

This eliminates the need to use the annoying and potentially dangerous sensitive touchpad located in the centre console.

The driver’s screen combines digital and analogue gauges.

The Sports Luxury that we tested comes with 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound.

Sound quality is excellent and we really enjoyed the feeling of luxury inside the cabin.

It’s even more enjoyable in the very quiet interior of the ES than in lesser cars with a similar system.

The Lexus ES range received a five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested in September, 2021.

Standard features include 10 airbags including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.

There are chest and head bags across its two seating rows.

There’s also autonomous emergency braking including junction assist, emergency steering assist for collision avoidance, lane-departure and blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, plus parking support brake with vehicle and object detection.

Top tether and IsoFix child seat anchors are provided.

2022 Lexus ES 300h 6

What’s it go like?

The ES 300h is a full-on luxury vehicle with interior trim made from high-class materials.

It’s finished in three differently-coloured materials, which is a major improvement on the endless black-on-black that we see in so many cars — even upmarket ones.

This is a vehicle aimed at giving all occupants a comfortable life.

Even the rear seats can be reclined and there’s three-zone air conditioning.

There’s good legroom in the back, though a long-legged driver may need to do a deal on with rear seat passengers.

Either that or sit the shortest rear passenger behind them. Your call …

The boot is generously long but the low set nature of this semi-sporty sedan makes it rather low in height.

The asymmetric shape of the dashboard makes a really stylish statement. 

The Lexus ES 300h has a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle high-compression petrol engine that produces 131kW of power along with an 88kW electric motor.

Peak torque is 221Nm for the petrol unit and 202Nm for the electric motor.

The petrol engine doesn’t deliver peak torque until it reaches 3600 rpm, but maximum torque from the electric motor is available from just 1 rpm. Yes, 1!.

Drive is to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Acceleration is instantaneous; move the accelerator and the Lexus gets up and goes.

This is one of the best features of electric vehicles, be they hybrid or fully electric.

But it doesn’t slow as quickly as we like when we backed off on the pedal.

However, You do become used to this after a period of time behind the wheel.

Regular drivers of the any vehicle with electric power will soon adapt.

Fuel consumption for the ES 300h is impressively low, sitting around 5.3L/100km during our week behind the wheel — just 0.5L above the listed figure.

Ride and handling will suit the typical buyer, in that it is comfortable rather than sporty.

Having said that it handles bends well and on the few times we tested it close to its limits around corners on our ‘official’ test route it responded well and gave us good feedback.

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What we like?

  • Love the grille
  • More spec for hybrid
  • Fuel consumption impressively low
  • Sound quality excellent

2022 Lexus ES300h Sports Luxury 2

What we don’t like?

  • Potentially dangerous touchpad

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The bottom line?

Lexus ES 300h is a beautifully designed and built Japanese machine from a company that has specialised in hybrid and electric vehicles for many decades.

It’s very much deserving of a place on your shopping list if you want to minimise climate change, and enjoy peaceful motoring.

Lexus and its parent company Toyota are past masters of petrol-electric hybrids, with a history stretching back well over 20 years.

They continue to add more performance, at the same time reducing emissions.

2022 Lexus ES300h Sports Luxury 1


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Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury, priced from
  • Looks - 9/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 9/10
  • Thirst - 9/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 8/10

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