The first luxury brand to introduce a hybrid vehicle nearly 10 years ago, Lexus continues its hybrid leadership by offering five models powered by the innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive. The latest addition, the ES 300h, debuted for 2013 as the first-ever ES hybrid.
The ES 300h cuts a striking figure, highlighted by the Lexus spindle grille dramatic L-themed LED daytime running lights and coupe-like profile. It is also a car with striking fuel economy figures, delivering EPA fuel economy ratings of 40 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 40 mpg combined. That makes the ES 300h one of the most fuel-efficient luxury sedans available. The car's shape cheats the wind with a low 0.27 coefficient of drag (Cd), which helps reduce fuel consumption and minimize wind noise. The ES 300h conveys its hybrid status in subtle ways, with specific split-five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, lip spoiler, hidden exhaust pipe and blue hybrid badges.
The ES 300h model's Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with an electric motor to generate 200 total system horsepower. Teamed to the system's electronic continuously variable transmission, the powertrain can move the ES 300h in rapid fashion, with zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds.
The ES 300h driver can exert control over the car's responses by selecting from among four modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV. In certain conditions, while in EV mode, the car can be driven short distances at reduced speed, using only the power from the hybrid battery pack. Normal mode provides an ideal blend of performance and efficiency for everyday driving. Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode increases powertrain responsiveness for a more engaging driving experience.
In its second year, the new-generation ES 300h gains LED fog lamps with HID headlamps. In addition, now available are heated/ventilated seats in perforated NuLuxe trim. Leather is available, as is semi-aniline leather for a more refined look and feel.
Long a leader in user technology that's easy to use, Lexus has integrated Sirii® Eyes Free Mode, with technology licensed from Apple®, in the 2014 ES 350. Compatible with the iPhone® 4S and iPhone 5 models forward, Siri lets you call contacts, select and play music from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation through Siri and Apple maps, and much more. So you can keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, Siri can read notifications, read calendar information and allow you to add reminders, calendar appointments and notes.
Luxury That Reshaped the Category
The original ES sedan upended the entry luxury category nearly 25 years ago by making a V6 standard in a category populated by four-cylinder models, and by offering more interior room and more standard luxury amenities. Lexus continues to set the trend in the entry-luxury category by virtue of a unique two-model strategy: The front-wheel drive ES models emphasize roominess and comfort, and the sport-minded IS models, which are built on a different platform, offer a choice between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. In contrast, other brands try to mold one model series to fit both roles.
The ES 300h is built on the sixth-generation ES platform, which grew slightly in external size over the previous-generation model and added a significant 4.1 inches in rear seat legroom to offer 40 inches. That compares favorably with legroom in some larger sedans.All told, the Lexus ES continues to belie the term "entry luxury" by offering sumptuous accommodations.
The ES 300h comes standard with 10-way adjustable power front seats, automatic climate control, NuLuxe interior available in parchment, light gray or black and with elegant piano black trim for instrument panel, doors and upper console. Other interior trim options include espresso bird's eye maple or bamboo. Also available, 12-way heated/ventilated power front seats allow the seat cushions to extend by 1.4 inches for added leg support.
Several options enable the customer to take luxury to an even higher level, including Premium and Luxury packages, and, bringing flagship-style luxury to the ES 300h, the Ultra Luxury Package. The optional Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) helps detect vehicles in side blind spots and alerts the driver to rear cross traffic when backing out of a parking space or driveway.
Lexus has long set the standard for adding function while maintaining easy-to-use controls. That becomes evident in the way the ES 300h cockpit is divided into separate display and operation zones to help the driver remain focused on the road. Large, clear Optitron® gauges, a Lexus mainstay, are supplemented by a 3.5-inch color TFT multi-information display screen that puts vital information directly in the driver's line of sight.
The ES 300h's second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI), included with the Navigation/Premium Audio Package, provides access to many vehicle functions while helping to reduce driver movement and distraction. Using the system controller on the center console, the driver can intuitively operate the climate control, audio system, phone, optional navigation system and more. Menus display in the 3.5-inch instrument panel screen or larger center-dashboard screens that come with audio and navigation options.
Premium Quiet, Premium Sound
The ultra-quiet ES 300h cabin makes the perfect listening stage for the standard Lexus Premium Sound System. The eight-speaker system plays from a variety of sources, including the in-dash CD player, USB/iPod® connectivity, and an integrated SiriusXM® Satellite Radio receiver with an all-access 90-day trial subscription. Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) adjusts system volume in response to ambient noise.
The ES 300h offers two audio upgrades. The first level upgrade is the Display Audio package, which adds a seven-inch screen, HD Radio™ with iTunes® tagging, Bluetooth® audio, phone transfer, a vehicle information display and a rear backup camera.
Since the early 1970s, audiophiles have recognized the Mark Levinson® brand for its high-end home audio equipment. Lexus exclusively offers Mark Levinson mobile audio systems, and the 2014 ES 300h's optional 15-speaker, 835-watt audio system is a sonic knockout. This system features an eight-inch display screen, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, DVD audio/video and a SiriusXM Satellite Radio receiver. Exclusive GreenEdge technology doubles amplifier output while reducing its energy consumption by 50 percent. The reduced electrical load on the car contributes to better fuel efficiency.
Lexus Enform® Brings New Connections
Lexus has expanded connectivity in its vehicles while helping to reduce driver distraction. The foundation of this capability, Lexus Enform, can make a compatible Bluetooth smartphone even smarter. The available Enform service, with Destination Assist, eDestination, and App Suite, comes with the Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package. Lexus Enform provides access to the subscription-free App Suite. These voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing™, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com™, listen to Internet radio, including , Pandora®, and iHeartRadio™, search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on Facebook Places™.
The ES 300h's telematics system, Lexus Enformwith Safety Connect® is available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are available on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles while Lexus Enform with Safety Connect is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—every day of the year.
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services including NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. SiriusXM services offer complimentary one-year trial data subscription.
Strong on Safety
In addition to its five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Lexus ES 300h offers the peace of mind of a cabin equipped with 10 airbags and an array of available driver aids including a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Lane Departure Alert (LDA).