• 2017 Lexus ES 300h Test Drive: More Tech and Luxury [Review]




    Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division launched its ES Series 28 years ago in 1989, and there are well over one million of the popular ES sedans currently on the road today. The Lexus ES 300h was the first ever hybrid in the ES series making its debut in 2013. The 300h was the first ES model to become available with Lexus Hybrid Drive.
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    Lexus-ES-300h-Tail
    In terms of exterior styling and design, the four-door, five-passenger ES models appear nearly identical except for the rear fascia, badging and specific wheels. The ES 300h leads off featuring Lexus’ signature spindle grille (more reflective of an hour glass really). The grille is flanked at the top by the wraparound headlamps and in the lower fascia by integrated fog lamps. The profile is low and sleek with simple, smoothly flowing lines from front to rear, where the greenhouse, with its blacked-out “B” pillar and coupe-like imagery sweeps almost to the trailing edge of the abbreviated decklid. The drag coefficient is 0.27. The lower rocker is pinched in with an accent line movement to the rear wheel well, and the shoulder flows along just outside the hood to the taillamps. The rear fascia of the ES300h features a subtle horizontal lip, with the exhaust nearly hidden from view.
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    Lexus-ES-300h-LSD
    The interior is equally similar in appearance to other ES sedan models, except for the trim accents – the ES300h trim pieces are executed in Bamboo. The cabin design provides a sense of both openness and security. Rear seat leg and knee room are ample (40-inches), along with plenty of head and foot room. Seats are sculpted and provide more comfort than before, with 10-way adjustable power settings (a 12-way power seat is optionally available with an extendable thigh support cushion). Double hand stitching add an elegance to the interior ambience.
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    The 2017 Lexus ES300h provides flagship-style luxury and 40-MPG combined EPA-estimated fuel economy, and now comes with the Lexus Safety System+, which includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
    Lexus-ES-300h-RInt
    The Lexus ES 300h is one of five Lexus hybrid models offered for 2017, and qualifies as luxury eco-conscious with EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 40 MPG city / 39 MPG highway / 40 MPG combined — on regular-grade gas.

    The ES 300h’s design and cabin were enhanced for model year 2016 and customer-value continues for 2017 with the addition of Scout® GPS Link to its standard Display Audio system. With the app on the driver’s smartphone, navigation maps and turn-by-turn directions appear on the car’s central display screen. An advanced and highly versatile integrated Lexus Navigation System is still optionally available, with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
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    Lexus enhanced the ES 300h’s design and cabin for model year 2016 and keeps the customer-value momentum going for 2017 by adding Scout® GPS Link to its standard Display Audio system. With the app on the driver’s smartphone, navigation maps and turn-by-turn directions appear on the car’s central display screen. An advanced and highly versatile integrated Lexus Navigation System remains an option. Lexus made the ES 300h even more desireable for 2017 by adding a safety feature as standard, the Lexus Safety System+.

    Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

    One of five Lexus hybrid models offered for 2017, the ES 300h qualifies as luxury eco-conscious with EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 40 MPG city / 39 MPG highway / 40 MPG combined — on regular-grade gas.

    The cockpit is divided into two separate zones: a display zone, and an operational zone. The instrument panel features a long layered look, placing the main information display directly in the driver’s line of sight, supplemented by a center-mounted 3.5-inch TFT multi-information display. The Remote Touch Interface (control mouse) provides intuitive operation and menu selection. There are three selectable drive modes: Eco; Normal and Sport.
    Lexus-ES-300h-Eng
    The ES300h is powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle, DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with electronically controlled sequential fuel injection and Variable Valve Timing (intake) with intelligence (VVT-i). It generates 156 horsepower from the engine alone (total horsepower from the Lexus Hybrid Drive system is 200), while generating a like amount of torque (156 ft./lbs.) Both engines reside up front in a transverse orientation, and propel the front-wheels. The ES300h is equipped with an electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

    My test 2017 Lexus ES 300h sedan wore an exterior finish of Brilliant Silver metallc metallic, while the interior was executed in Black with polished wood trim accents. The base price was set at $41,820. While optional features, equipment and the Delivery charge elevated the final count and amount to $48,415.

    SUMMARY: The Lexus ES 300h delivers an outstanding ride quality, along with the handling characteristics that one would expect from a luxury sport sedan.
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    The power output of the ES300h adds an EV mode that allows for driving short distances exclusively on electric power at reduced speeds (up to 25 mph) from the Hybrid battery pack only, with a seamless transition between gas and electric operation.

    Safety features include: Blind Spot Monitoring; Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Alert; Automatic High beam control; Auto Location; Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats; Pre-Collision System; 10 airbags; and Lexus Safety Connect with Enhanced Roadside Assistance and an Emergency Assistance Button, along with Stolen Vehicle Location services and Automatic Collision Notification with a one-year trial subscription.

    Personal connectivity is provided through Lexus Enform® with App Suite along with the optional HDD navigation System with voice command. Lexus Enform allows being in touch with Bing™ search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, Open Table®, Pandora®, Yelp® and Facebook Places through compatible smart phones. A Premium audio system is standard with the availability of a 15-speaker 835 watt Mark Levinson® audio system with an 8-inch display screen.

    Enhancements that would make the ES 300h even better would be a repositioning of the Remote Touch Interface closer to the driver as it is in the Lexus RX350 F-Sport for a more ergonomically pleasing operation.
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    All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000 mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage. Hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.

    n the final analysis, the new 2017 Lexus ES 300h essentially now offers the equivalent of what the earlier LS models used to offer. It is unquestionably a truly luxurious 5-passenger hybrid sedan.

    SPECIFICATIONS 2017 Lexus ES 300h

    Base Price: $41,820.
    Price as Tested: $48,415.

    Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle, DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder with electronically controlled sequential fuel injection and Variable Valve Timing (intake) with intelligence (VVT-i)

    Horsepower (bhp): 156 @ 5,700 rpm (engine alone)
    Torque (ft./lbs.): 156 @ 4,500 rpm (engine alone)

    Transmission: ES300h – Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission – (CVT).

    Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.

    Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut type with gas-pressurized shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
    Rear -Dual-link Independent MacPherson strut type with gas-pressurized shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

    Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, VSC, with TRAC, EBD, BA and Smart Stop technology.

    Tires: ES300h – Bridgestone Turanza 215/55R17 all-season mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels with twin inset spokes inside “V”.

    Wheelbase: 111.0 inches
    Length Overall: 192.7 inches
    Width: 71.7 inches
    Height: 57.1 inches
    Curb Weight: 3,660 lbs.
    Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
    EPA Mileage Estimates: 40 mpg city / 39 mpg highway
    Drag Coefficient: 0.27
    0 – 60 mph: 8.1 seconds – Top track speed 112 mph electronically limited.

    • Styling – 4.5 Stars
    • Performance – 5 Stars
    • Ride & Handling – 5 Stars
    • Utility – 5 Stars
    • Comfort & Convenience – 5 Stars
    • Economy – 4.5 Stars
    • Value and Competition – 4.5-Stars

    Summary – 4.78 Stars

    The 2017 Lexus ES 300h is a luxurious and sporty four-door sedan that is attractive, but with a somewhat dated design format.

    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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