2016 Lexus ES 300h: No Compromise – Just Efficiency

December 20, 2015 Updated: December 21, 2015
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Whether you crave performance or just a casual cruise of the highway, and at the same time demand innovative features and technology, ES is your kind of car. Included is a luxurious interior with piano black trimmed seating.

The 10-way driver’s and passenger power seats, automatic dual-zone climate control and Lexus Premium Audio System with Automatic Sound Levelizer and MP3 playback aids that luxurious feeling by providing comfort with entertainment.

The 300h delivers 200 total system horsepower with a 2.5 L all-aluminum 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine, assisted by a high-output permanent-magnet drive motor and CVT to achieve 0-60 sprint in 8.1 seconds.

Take advantage of Drive Mode Select, and give the EV mode (hybrid only) the nod, to achieve a combined estimated 40 mpg. Not only does the EV mode work, but the Normal and Sport modes work as well. You don’t have to give up performance just to get great gas mileage.

The non-hybrid ES comes with a 3.5 L V6 with 6-speed Super Electronically Controlled Transmission, and shaves one second off the 0-60 time while achieving 24 mpg combined.

You may say 40 mpg is pretty good mileage for a small car. But this ES is no small car with a 193.3-inch overall length, 111.0-inch wheelbase, 71.7-inch width, and 57.1-inch height.

Even though you might think the Hybrid System is the most outstanding attribute, I personally liked the sleek and stunning look of the ES, with the rear lip spoiler and concealed exhaust outlets plus the exclusive 17-inch split-five spoke alloy wheels; all together made for an “eye candy” appeal.

The absolute best feature offered by the ES 300h was the remarkable quietness.

The ES held well in the curve, and absolutely no sway (front and rear stabilizing bars) or hesitation through the straightaway. Just “let her rip” as the smooth ride with building torque carries you along.

Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, 4-wheel antilock brakes, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop technology working together, to combine safety with performance.

A multi-information display allows you to experience the whole driving episode, steering-wheel mounted controls place major functions right at your fingertip.

The ES 300h carries an MSRP of $40,920 and there are two optional packages.

The Lexus Safety System Plus offers Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, intelligent high beam headlamps, and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control for $1,015. I think this is a fair price for needed items.

However, Lane Departure Alert is not one of my favorite items. The Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package is the other recommended option for $2,650. The major features are the Mark Levinson Premium Audio System, navigation system with voice activation, an 8-inch high-resolution LCD Multi-Information Display with Remote Touch controller, and Lexus Enform Destination.

The absolute best feature offered by the ES 300h was the remarkable quietness. Very little if any road noise or wheel vibration. Structural design enhancements and suspension with gas pressurized shock absorbers makes for a smooth, quiet ride.

Warranty

4-year/50,000-mile Basic Warranty

6-year/70,000-mile Powertrain Warranty

6-year/Unlimited mile Corrosion Perforation Warranty

8-year/100,000-mile Hybrid System Warranty

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net