May 20, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Lexus ES 300h hybrid combines luxury, fuel economy in a sedan

6 min read

The longtime Lexus fan favorite ES midsize sedan cranks up the luxury along with the fuel economy in the current ES 300h hybrid model, which entered its newest generation just three years ago.

Besides the top-of-the-line ES 300h Ultra Luxury model we tested (base price $51,080, plus $1,075 freight), there is also an F Sport model for the hybrid lineup for 2022, which starts at $45,450. The ES 300h begins at $41,900 for the base model, and there is a Luxury model that starts at $47,300.

The hybrid ES 300h was restyled along with its gasoline-only ES 250 and 350 siblings as the overall ES line entered its seventh generation for 2019. The first hybrid version of the ES appeared 16 years ago.

Changes for 2022 across the entire ES lineup include some exterior design updates, such as a new grille on all trims except the F Sport. 

The grille’s new mesh pattern uses a series of concentric “L” shapes that radiate from the front Lexus emblem, and are finished in a new Graphite paint. The new grille is paired with redesigned standard bi-LED headlights.

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New 18-inch, five-spoke, alloy noise-reduction wheels with high-gloss finish are available on the ES 300h Luxury and standard on the Ultra Luxury model. The F Sport model gets exclusive 19-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels with a new Gloss Black finish.

Inside, there is a new streamlined instrument panel, along with what Lexus calls “human-centered” updates to the Lexus Multimedia System and available Navigation System. The standard eight-inch and available 12.3-inch color multimedia displays have been moved forward 4.3 inches and now feature touch-screen functionality, in addition to the remote touch interface, the company says.

The Lexus ES 300h hybrid sedan has room for up to five passengers, and a long list of standard and available luxury features.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

For increased safety, the 2022 ES line adds the Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and the Lexus Safety System-plus 2.5 as standard equipment on all trim levels.

That brings the Pre-Collision System, which includes Frontal Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection and Bicyclist Detection, and an enhancement to the camera and radar to expand the response range.

Another update includes Intersection Turning Assist, Lexus says, noting that “at intersections, the system has the capability under certain conditions to recognize an oncoming vehicle when performing a left-hand turn, or a pedestrian when performing left- and right-hand turns,” and activate automatic evasive maneuvers.

For better fuel economy — about double that of the gasoline-only ES 350’s city mileage rating — the ES 300h comes with a gasoline-electric hybrid system and is EPA rated at 43 mpg city/44 highway/44 combined. That’s excellent for a premium sedan with traditional non-hybrid (non-weird) styling that differs little from the gasoline-only ES.

Under the hood of the ES 300h is essentially the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system found in the similar Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon hybrids. It features a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor, giving the vehicle a total of 215 horsepower. 

The gasoline engine alone produces 176 horsepower and 163 foot-pounds of torque. The smaller, more-efficient electric motor introduced last year adds 39 horsepower. The engine and motor together send power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission, rather than the conventional automatic used in the regular ES models.

While the hybrid has just a four-cylinder engine, it gives the feel of a V-6 because of the extra torque provided by the electric motor. That torque is available from startup. The hybrid isn’t as quick to accelerate as the standard ES 350 model, but it’s close. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. Top speed of the hybrid is electronically limited to 112 mph.

A nickel-metal-hydride battery pack under the rear seat powers the electric motor, and the car recharges the battery when the gasoline engine is running or while the vehicle is coming to a stop with the driver’s foot off the accelerator. There is no plug-in option for external recharging.

The new design introduced for 2019 brought more refinement and luxury to the ES line. It’s based on Toyota’s new global architecture, which Toyota said “gave the designers the flexibility to create an ES that’s as visibly striking as it is enjoyable to drive.”

This newest ES is 2.6 inches longer, 1.8 inches wider and 0.2 inches lower than the previous generation, and all four wheels have been pushed closer to the corners for a more-stable ride. The wheelbase is two inches longer, while the front track is nearly a half-inch wider, and the rear track is 1.5 inches wider.

Inside, the cabin offers comfortable seating for up to five people, with refined, upscale materials and leather upholstery.

Our top-of-the-line Ultra Luxury model came with heated and ventilated semi-aniline leather front seats, with a 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and 10-way power passenger seat; a head-up display; heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel; and rain-sensing windshield wipers with de-icers.

There’s a memory system for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel. Other standard features include wood interior trim and ambient lighting.

Special exterior features on this upscale trim level include a rear spoiler, the LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, intelligent high beams, road-sign assist, electrochromic heated/power/folding outside mirrors, hands-free power-opening trunk lid, and performance suspension dampers (front and rear).

Our tester had the optional Triple Beam LED Headlights ($1,215).

Standard interior amenities on our vehicle included steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, SmartAccess with pushbutton start/stop, backup camera with guidelines, power rear sunshade with manual rear-door sunshades, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power tilt/slide moon roof.

There are 10 standard air bags, including seat-mounted side air bags and roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows. Also included are Brake Assist with Smart-Stop Technology, and a Drive Mode Select system with Eco, Normal and Sport settings.

The Lexus Multimedia System with 12.3-inch color display is standard, along with a 10-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System with voice command.

But our tester came with the optional Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package ($1,080) with a 12.3-inch color multimedia display, Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation and Destination Assist (with three-year trial), Dynamic Voice Command (included for the first 10 years of ownership), and Mark Levinson PurePlay 17-speaker/1,800-watt Surround Sound audio system.

Our vehicle came in the pleasant Nightfall Mica exterior color.

There is as much headroom in the rear as there is in the front, and as with most midsize sedans, three people can ride in the back seat, although two are more comfortable.

Total sticker price for our 2022 Lexus ES 300h Ultra Luxury sedan, including freight and options, was $54,450.

The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Express-News since 2000. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @gchambers3.

2022 Lexus ES 300h sedan

The package: Premium, midsize, four-door, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive, gasoline/electric hybrid sedan.
Highlights: The midsize Lexus sedan was completely restyled for 2019 for its seventh generation, while the hybrid version entered its third generation, with styling, interior and technology updates, and additional safety and convenience features. It returns for 2022 with some visual and safety upgrades, and its first F Sport version. This best-selling Lexus sedan line offers a long list of standard or available premium features.
Negatives: Can get pricey with all the options.
Engine: 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine coupled with an electric motor.
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.
Power/torque: 176 HP./163 foot-pounds (four-cylinder gasoline engine) plus 39 HP. (electric motor) for total 215 HP.
Length: 195.5 inches.
Curb weight: 3,704 pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side-curtain for both rows.
Trunk capacity: 13.9 cubic feet.
EPA fuel economy: 43 mpg city/44 highway/44 combined.
Fuel capacity/type: 13.2 gallons/regular unleaded.
Major competitors: Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid.
Base price range: $41,900-$51,080 plus $1,075 freight.
Price as tested: $54,450, including freight and options (2022 ES 300h Ultra Luxury).
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).

Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.

https://www.mysanantonio.com/cars/article/Lexus-ES-300h-hybrid-combines-luxury-fuel-16646637.php