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Lexus steps up to special with efficient ES 300h
Luxury and 44 MPG are winning combo
 
Published Sunday, May 12, 2019 6:22 pm
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | LEXUS
The 2019 Lexus ES 300h rides at 44 miles per gallon.

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The ES has been around since the inception of Lexus. It was the best selling vehicle the company had until the RX SUV was introduced. It nearly became an afterthought until Lexus gave it a big makeover for 2018. The ES line in now something special, especially the ES300h.

The h at the end of the number is for hybrid – the most efficient hybrid you can buy, according to Lexus. Its combined mileage is 44 miles per gallon. That’s an astounding 44 MPG in the city and 45 mpg on the highway with on a tank of gas.

Depending on your mix of driving that could be a total of 541 miles per fill-up with a tank size of 13.2 gallons. Yes, you can snub your nose at gas stations for most of week if not more. That’s nearly worth the price of admission to own this car.


There is a drawback. The ES 300h has a hybrid engine and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine for a combined total of 215 horsepower. That output allows the ES to accelerate to 60 MPH in 8.1 seconds, which is rather slow. You can coax the continuously variable transmission to do better with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.  If you want more go power the naturally aspirated ES is the ticket. That car is blessed with a V6 that makes 306 horsepower and cuts seconds off its run to 60 MPH.


That’s not to say the ES 300h isn’t peppy. It is, it’s just not quick off the line. The engine is a bit harsh under hard acceleration but quiets down once it gets to speed. You have enough power to pass and do quick lane changes but you just may wish for a bit more.

The ride quality is superb. The ES handles well, exuding a fine mix of comfort and aggressive (at least more aggressive than before). It’s no Bimmer, but the ES is no longer boring.


As with most hybrids I’ve driven, the ES’s brakes feel a bit grabby. You get used to it after a couple of days. You may never get used to the near complete absence of noise in the cabin. It’s serene. Engine and tire hum can be detected at times but generally you are hearing noises made by other things outside the car.


Not only is the cabin quiet, it feels more roomy than previous ES cabins. There is generous head, leg and hip room front and back. Three can fit comfortably in the rear but two will feel more pampered. You can stretch out on long trips and feel refreshed when you get to your destination. Front seat passengers get perforated seats, which are heated and cooled. The cool functions works extremely well, as does the dual zone climate control.

The cabin is meticulously finished. There’s hand stitching on the dash, beautiful wood inlays and metal everywhere. The standard moon roof fills the airy cabin with light if you so desire, or you can dim the cabin with the manual window shades or the power rear window shade. The Mark Levinson audio system sounds as good if not better than before.


Takes all these attributes and wrap them in a body that has been stretched, messaged and chiseled into something that is more aggressive and you have the near gold standard in the class. Lexus has taken the ES from being the upmarket version of he Camry to the entry-level luxury sedan the company has always claimed. It’s now longer an assumption, it's a boldly stated fact.


The ES 300h comes in base, luxury and ultra-luxury models. My test car was the ultra-luxury trim, which came with a truckload of standard equipment at $44,960. The equipment includes 14-way semi-aniline leather seats with driver seat cushion extender, memory system for mirrors, steering wheel and seats; hands free trunk open and closing; auto headlamps with auto high/low beam detection; pushbutton start; Lexus Enform; power tilt and slide moon roof and dual-zone climate control.


A number of options were also included. A navigation package upgraded the good stereo to the wonderful Mark Levinson audio system and included a larger 12.3-inch color monitor, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and complimentary Enform subscriptions. A 10.2-inch head-up display, blind spot monitoring, rear pedestrian detection and triple beam LED headlights were also options.


The as-tested price of my ES was $54,405. You can drop down to the sporty IS sedan if you want to save a bit of money so long as you don’t mind giving up the space. I’d say look at the ES with a very critical eye because it may be all the luxury sedan you need. It certainly one of he best you can buy.


Pros:
• New body is handsome


• Plenty of room for five


• Immaculate fit and finish

• Lots of standard equipment

• 541-mile cruising range on a tank of gas

Cons:

• Power

• Slightly noisy engine

Email Winfred Cross at cross@alldaytech.com.

Comments

Android Auto is NOT compatible with Lexus at this time.
Posted on May 17, 2019
 
It does not have Android Auto... If you want "quick off the line" then you are not a hybrid person.
Posted on May 14, 2019
 

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