Starting Price: €51,595
Price as tested: €53,140
- The best value Executive Car on sale in Ireland today.
- Very little. Might be a little ‘beige’ but for some, but in general it is spot-on.
WHAT IS IT?
The Lexus ES300H is the middle child in the Lexus range, but this doesn’t mean that it gets ignored, if anything it is the brand’s golden child right now, despite the fact that it tends to fly under the radar somewhat. We didn’t get the ES range in Ireland until 2018, and by then it was in its 7th generation and also by then, the recipe had become pretty well refined. If effectively replaced the GS model here, so sat between the IS and LS saloons. It has been revised again for 2022 and comes with some new styling features, tweaked specifications and a quite brilliant price.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The ES300H is almost a novelty to look upon in what is now a sea of SUVs. The traditional 3-box saloon styling has been refined over the years and is now angular and muscular. The more specific changes to this model for this year are most noticeable at the front, where there have been some subtle changes, with fewer vertical bars and some changes to the headlight design. There are also new alloy wheels – 18” on our test car. They looked really well too – big enough to look cool, and small enough not mess with the cosy ride. This car looks expensive, and more on that later, but my traditional game of “how much do you think?” with everyone I met, came with the same answer, “Around 70 grand?”.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The cabin is, as you might expect from a Lexus, well adorned. It is a good mix of tech and tradition, however. You are immediately met with a cabin dominated by infotainment – a 12.3” touchscreen sits atop the dashboard, but unlike some EVs where this is the centrepiece, Lexus has managed to blend it in the same way a classy hotel might include a large flat-screen TV in your suite? It is quite a clever piece of design integration. There is also a slightly novel sort of trackpad which works like a computer mouse but feels a little redundant when you can simply touch the screen. There are various Lexus systems, which seems decent, but with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on board, you tend to default to using these. And when you do, it is one of the best displays I’ve seen this on. If you are a fan of traditional buttons, you will be happy as there are plenty. There are physical buttons for the Climate Control and a normal volume dial too.
This is an executive saloon, designed to carry slightly overfed bottoms in comfort and it does just that. High mileage in these seats won’t feel like a chore at all.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
This is a Lexus, so as you will expect, it is a Hybrid. Sure enough, EVs are also available from them, but for now when you buy Lexus you tend to get Hybrid and it is a 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine with the usual compact battery / electric motor combination helping the petrol engine to quite remarkable fuel-sipping. Lexus say you can get 5.5 l/100km and while we didn’t quite manage that, we were close on average – around 5.7 l/100km and this is a big executive car. The total power output is 218PS and 221Nm of torque, not huge figures for a big car, but it can manage the 0-100km/h sprint in a respectable 8.9 seconds. The usual CVT quizzical gearchanges aren’t in evidence here, thankfully, with delivery smooth at all times. There are Sport and Eco modes too, should the desire take you, which it probably won’t after a week with the car.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
The Dynamic grade is the entry-point and unless you want the more Sporty flavour of the F Sport or the total opulence of the Premium version, this really should be the one to buy as it has everything you need. When you think that the cheapest Audi A6 is €57,580, the cheapest BMW 5-Series is €55,975 and the cheapest Mercedes-Benz E-Class is €58,325, then the ES300H looks like something of a bargain, something I am sure the brand wouldn’t describe it as. Perhaps they’d say discerning.
IS IT SAFE?
Safety has improved too in the ES – which is equipped with an improved version of the Lexus Safety System + package of active safety and driver assist features including a much improved Pre-Collision system. There is also Emergency Steering Assist, which helps you avoid a pedestrian very close or on your lane.
The Lexus ES300H is quiet, refined, good-looking, well-equipped, economical and amazing value. The best choice in this segment? This writer thinks so.
Lexus ES300H Dynamic
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol hybrid
0-100km/h: 8.9 seconds
Fuel Economy: 5.5 l/100km
Top Speed: 180km/h
Annual Motor Tax: B1 €270
Luggage Capacity: 454-litres
Price as tested: €53,140
For more information log-on to www.lexus.ie