The Lexus ES300h is a stylish and comfortable Hybrid alternative to diesel-powered German saloons

“The Lexus ES300h is a stylish and comfortable Hybrid alternative to diesel-powered German saloons”

  • Smart styling outside and in

  • High-tech Hybrid technology

  • Comfortable, refined drive

80%

Overall Rating

  • Backseats don’t fold flat

  • Infotainment system can be fiddly

  • Not as quick as some rivals

Overall Rating

Overview

Lexus introduce a new Hybrid executive saloon to Europe with the ES300h. Competing with the likes of the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 is no easy task, but its combination of old school luxury with a high-tech Hybrid powertrain makes it an interesting and appealing alternative to diesel-powered German rivals.

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Interior Gallery

Space & Practicality

At 454 litres,  boot space falls quite a bit shy of rivals like the A6 and 5-series which both offer considerably more at 530l. However, more inconvenient than that is the fact that the rear seats don’t fold flat. This is to ensure better rigidity and shock absorption in the back and thus improve the ride quality, a price some might even be happy to pay if it means having an excuse to avoid trips to Ikea.

The space on offer in the backseats is extremely generous, with plenty of room for rear passengers to stretch out.  Legroom is particularly generous, and headroom decent enough providing you’re not too far over six foot. A pull down centre armrest and swathes of high-quality materials ensure the luxury saloon feel is not just confined to those in the front.

Equipment and Safety

The front of the cabin is a mix of high quality textures and fabrics that make for an interesting and attractive dashboard layout. It might not have the technological wow factor of the Audi A6 but it does have a certain old-school luxurious charm – an analog clock mounted beside the high-tech infotainment set up is a particularly nice touch. The media system itself benefits from a sleeker design and much improved placement than in other Lexus models, but an over-complicated interface can make it a bit fiddly to use on the move. Fortunately, there are plenty of physical buttons that keep functions like air con and volume controls within easy reach.

The seats are some of the best in class in terms of comfort and support and come with electric memory adjustment from the Luxury trim upwards. The steering wheel also slides into your preferred driving position on start-up, which makes for a very nice welcome.

The ES range kicks off with the Executive trim, which starting at €49,500 comes very well appointed . Standard features include 17 alloy wheels, LED lights, a spoiler, sunroof, 8 inch media display with SatNav and a reversing camera, 10 speaker surround sound system and an impressive list of driver assisting safety features.

The Luxury will add 18 inch wheels, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable heated memory seats, wireless phone charging and even more safety kit including rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring).

The F-Sport model gains mainly styling upgrades including a set of 19 inch F-Sport wheels, triple LED headlights, more F-Sport styling details outside and in, a drive mode selector and adaptive sports suspension.

Or alternatively, there’s the Premium which focuses more on luxury rather than sportiness with extras like a power tailgate, an upgraded 12.3 inch media display, a heated steering wheel and three zone climate control.

Performance & Running Costs

The 2.5l powertrain of the 300h (currently the only powertrain available) has a combined power output of 218hp and emits just 120g of CO2/km. The WLTP fuel economy is 5.3l per 100km, which puts it on par with many of its similarly sized diesel rivals in terms of efficiency.

It’s a beautifully balanced car on the road with a low, wide stance that gives it a reassuringly planted feel and impressively flat cornering ability. The power uptake is quick and there certainly feels like there’s plenty of it available. The e-CVT transmission means there are no gears as such, although you can simulate a rev-like effect via flappy paddles on the steering wheel. There’s also a drive mode selector which will allow you to adjust the feel to make it sportier or an Eco mode to help save on fuel. In reality, normal mode is all you need and while it is engaging to drive at times it is an unashamedly comfort-focused vehicle.

The suspension does an excellent job of flat-ironing even the poorest of road surfaces, meaning nothing ever upsets the serenity of the cabin. Being a Hybrid, it’s naturally quieter than a diesel but excellent sound insulation in the cabin means that very little outside noise gets in either, making it very relaxing space for a long journey.

Reliability & Residuals

The Lexus ES300h is an impressive package all round and an interesting alternative in this segment. It might not have the most technologically advanced cabin or the most engaging drive but it does still manage to feel special and elegant and built to outlast any passing fads and trends. A solid reputation for good build quality means reliability shouldn’t be and issue and for added peace of mind, all Lexus models come with a three year/100,000km warranty.

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Details correct at time of publication