You would be tempted to call the Lexus ES 300h basically a Camry that’s been given the Lexus treatment – but it’s a lot more than that. The attention-to-detail that is present on Lexus’ products is second to none.
Of course, being a Lexus, the quality levels are through the roof. Right from the kind of leather on the seats to the fit-and-finish, and the thoughtful touches throughout the car, it all gives you some sense of the kind of thought and engineering that goes into creating a car with the Lexus badge on the bonnet. For instance, when you put the car in reverse, the rear sunshade automatically retracts to give you a better view of the road behind. It’s these kinds of small, but useful, touches that are designed to make your life easier – not more complicated.
As you can see from our scoring chart, the ES scored very high on quality, comfort and refinement. And rightly so, as the car is a brilliant place to spend time in – the levels of comfort are immense, the ride quality is sublime, and there’s simply no NVH that seeps into the cabin whatsoever. It’s also quite nice to drive, with the 202bhp Hybrid powertrain offering decent performance and good efficiency. And the excellent Mark Levinson audio system just makes spending time in the car that much better.
However, as one would expect, the ES is setup for someone who prefers to be chauffeured around – as it doesn’t pretend to be an exciting car to drive. Comfortable yes, exciting no! And this shows when you try and drive it around a racetrack in anger. However, it still scores quite impressive marks in X-Factor because there are few cars out there that you can indulge yourself in and fly the green flag at the same time.
The biggest issue with the ES, though, is its price. It costs nearly twice that of the Camry Hybrid, and without any incentives for hybrid vehicles it’s difficult to make a case for the ES purely from a practical point of view. Yes, it’s very technologically advanced and very comfortable at the same time, but it will cost you – and then some. Then again, Lexus promises an ownership experience unlike any other. So, if you want a luxurious hybrid, look no further than the ES 300h.