2013 Lexus ES 300h Review
Proving that luxury and hybrid can coexist.2 Comments
Even toggling the selector into Sport mode doesn't do much for performance driving.
When Lexus redesigned the ES for the 2013 model year, it did something it had never done before with its mid-size luxury sedan--it added a hybrid.
Aspiring country-club types now have the option of choosing a higher-mileage ES, which offers a maximum 40 mpg city, over the conventional car's 21 mpg city rating. That should help with those hefty monthly payments, and buyers will get to say they're driving a Lexus while still saving the planet.
We'll give Lexus credit for getting the steering feel mostly right, though. It's not perfect, but it's more nicely weighted and more accurate than ES units of the past--no more softness. When driven at sedate speeds, the ES's steering gives the car a nice sporting gravitas. Too bad the car doesn't live up to that impression when being hustled.
As one expects from a Lexus, the ride is generally high-quality. Bumps are heard but only sort of felt, as if the tires are hitting pavement potholes in another dimension. The ES is less isolating than Lexuses (Lexi?) of the past, but it still coddles.
Acceleration is a strength, thanks to the hybrid powertrain. The ES leaves the line a lot faster than 200 horsepower and 3,660 pounds would suggest.
We also mostly like the computer-mouse-like controller for the infotainment systems, even if it does require digging through the menus too much to find the on/off features for certain functions.
Headroom and legroom are plentiful, and the seats are on the comfy side. There's little reason not to like this cabin.
If you must have a Lexus hybrid that offers up a modicum of performance, save your pennies for a GS 450h hybrid. But if the goal is to get from corporate meeting A to corporate meeting B in style without burning too much dead dino juice, the ES has you covered.
Transmission: Continuously-variable automatic
Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive
Fuel Economy: 40 mpg city/39 mpg highway
Base Price: $38,850
As-tested price: $44,159 (includes $895 destination)
Available Features: Bluetooth, USB port, navigation, heated front seats, memory seats, heated steering wheel, cargo net, wood and leather trimmed steering wheel, remote keyless entry and starting, satellite radio, heated outside mirrors, dual-zone climate control, rear spoiler.