Lexus, the premium luxury car brand from Japan, sells the IS, ES and LS range of sedans globally. The IS is the more affordable one, while the LS is it’s flagship sedan offering. And then there is the ES range that falls bang in between the other two and competes with the likes of the BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Volvo S90. This is the one that Lexus India chose to bring to India first, in the range topping ES 300h guise. Yes, it is a hybrid again and you should not be worried. Read on to know why.
The Lexus ES 300h is based on a Toyota Camry sedan and shares entire mechanicals with it. Although the design and styling are completely different to the said sedan. The Lexus ES 300h gets the family Spindle grille upfront, which is the signature design element on all Lexus cars. The headlamps look edgy and come with dual LED projector units in them. The sides look plain, but there is a crease line that runs right from the headlight to the taillights, giving it some character. We particularly liked the rear section with the roof flowing in gently; reminds us of the Maserati Ghibli! The unique L-shaped LED taillight round things off at the rear.
On the insides, you notice the dashboard that is divided into two halves – the upper section consists of the infotainment screen and the lower section consists of the buttons to control the AC, sound system etc. The steering wheel feels very rich and luxurious to hold, and is a multifunction unit with buttons on it to control the sound system, cruise control and the multi-info display in the instrument cluster. There is the LED analogue clock on the centre console and a joystick to control all the functions on the infotainment screen. Everything feels well put together and the quality on all panels is of high grade. Seat comfort too, is top notch with the large chairs providing good cushioning. The car also gets a sunroof and a 3-zone air-conditioning system.
The Lexus ES 300h is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol motor that develops 158 HP and comes with a 140 HP battery pack. The combined output of this hybrid system stands at 205 HP, which frankly sounds quite potent. Out on the road too, this combination feels even more responsive than the RX 450h. The initial responses are helped by the battery pack just like the said SUV especially in Sport Mode. Yes the Lexus ES 300h also benefits from the 3 driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. The gearbox again is an e-CVT unit that comes with a manual tiptronic mode. Paddle shifters on this one were missed. Refinement levels are very good, thanks to the superior cabin insulation.
Our drive in the Lexus ES 300h began on some broken tarmac inside a tea plantation site. The ride quality on the sedan feels absorbent, especially after experiencing the same surfaces in the RX 450h. The ride was a welcome surprise and felt really comfortable. As far as handling goes, the car wont set your heart beats racing. It feels neutral and predictable at the most, with good steering and brake feel. The Lexus ES 300h comes packed with safety equipment like 10 airbags, stability control, ABS, TPMS and ISOFIX seats.
On our very short drive in the Lexus ES 300h, we felt that the sedan has its own take on how it pampers its owners. For starters, the interior feels properly plush and the seats themselves are really comfortable, with the car’s ride quality adding to that factor. The Lexus ES 300h is priced at Rs 55.15 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi and that makes this car really expensive for what it offers. The pricing of this car puts it in the Volvo S90 category and even comes close to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB territory. But none of these cars offer a hybrid powertrain and that the USP of the ES 300h. The Lexus ES 300h is a good buy if you are looking for a petrol-powered luxury sedan that’s also environment-friendly and mark reliability as your utmost priority.