Tuesday, May 12, 2020

2020 Lexus ES 300 Hybrid Ultra Luxury: Classy, Sporty And Fuel-Efficient

Highlight: Android Auto capabilities are now infused into the ES.

Vehicle’s MSRP: $55,690 (Base Model: $42,835.00)

Seating Capacity: Five

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; a tire pressure monitoring system; traction control system; a pre collision safety system; a post collision safety system; a lane departure warning avoidance system; an emergency braking system; a radar-activated cruise control system; and a rearview camera 

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; front wheel drive; drive mode: economy, normal and sport an 8-inch infotainment screen; Amazon Alexa compatibility; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; a push button ignition starter system; a keyless entry system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a power moonroof; a rear spoiler; power front seats; and pseudo leather seats

Standard Equipment Ultra Luxury Edition: 18-inch wheels; 14-way power leather seats; memory operated driver’s seat; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; heated and ventilated front seats; power folding outside mirrors; power free open/close trunk; power rear sunshade with manual rear door sunshades; performance dampers; and carpet floor mats

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: blind spot monitor with a rear cross traffic alert system; parking assist with auto braking; rear pedestrian detection system; a panoramic view monitor; a wireless charging system; 18-inch wheels; a heads up display system; triple beam headlights; a navigation system; a Mark Levinson 17-speaker, 1800 watt premium audio package; a heated wood/leather trimmed steering wheel; a windshield wiper de-icer; fast response heating; all-weather floor liners with trunk tray; and paint protection film

Other Trim Level:


Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker Pioneer speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Android/Apple Compatible: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 8 years or 70,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/215-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 43-city/44-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of finally adding Android Auto and other content changes, the Lexus ES 300h, which was reworked in 2019, is basically a carryover for the 2020 model year.

Why: The front wheel drive Lexus ES is available in both a gasoline and hybrid model. With the aging rear wheel drive GS expected to be dropped from Lexus portfolio, the ES, which is available in a variety of trims including the F-Sport trim, is expected to step up and feel that open slot in the brand’s line up.

The ES, which was once seen as a glorified Toyota Camry, has worked aggressively to distance itself from the popular sedan. The current generation ES now mirrors the brand’s curvaceous flagship, the LS 500. It mimics the wide aggressive stance, offers many of the technological features and the luxury appointments at literally half the price.

The ES is available in a hybrid and a non hybrid model. In the hybrid model, we reviewed, three trims are available. The trims range from a base hybrid to a cushy ultra luxury trim.

With a starting price of $42,835, pricing for a base ES model is approximately $1,800 more than a non hybrid ES. The fuel mileage increase may be worth the investment, especially for those involved in city traffic, which usually involves a lot of stop and go traffic, where the fuel economy in the hybrid doubles. Surprisingly, highway driving increases too, by at least  30 percent mpg, producing 43 miles in the city and 44 miles on the highway.

Lexus engineering team was able to stretch the mileage of the ES hybrid, while powering the midsize sedan with a 2.5-liter, peppy, smooth shifting, 4-cylinder engine, despite the vehicle only spewing out a mere 215-horsepower from underneath the hood. However, behind the wheel, one would assume the vehicle would be outfitted with a 6-cylinder engine based on how responsiveness of this five seater passenger sedan.

In additional to the fuel economy, the ES as we noted earlier, is available with an array of luxury appointments. Our Ultra Luxury trim was outfitted with everything from a premium sound system to ultra plush leather seats to the latest safety driving aids.

But: While the midsize GS has been unofficially discontinued, the ES’s front wheel drive platform might be a stretch for driver’s seeking this model as the rear wheel drive vehicle substitute. Lexus should consider adding an all-wheel drive configuration to the portfolio to capture the former GS buyers.

Also the ES lags in electrification, by not offering a plug-in. While we were head of heals with the gas mileage in our hybrid, automakers realize that for the good of the environment electrification is the direction of the automotive environment. Unfortunately, Lexus has yet to embrace the future – in terms of going the electrification route.

Lastly, why are heated rear seats missing from this vehicle?

Verdict: We were smitten with our Moss green colored ES 300h, with its peanut butter leather seats and array of luxury features. For those seeking a luxury sedan, offering maximum fuel economy and good looks, the Lexus ES 300h is worth considering.

Competition: Toyota Avalon hybrid

Electrification Competition: Volvo S60 plug-in and BMW 530e

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