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Cars in the City

Lexus ES 300H hybrid

8/31/2022

As vehicle manufacturers clamor for the electric vehicle market, new models are hitting the lots. 

The luxury vehicle sector is no exception and includes a Lexus ES 300H. The “H” stands for “hybrid.” 

The 2022 model test driven is one of three Lexus hybrid sedans. The sticker price for the ES 300H is $50,165 — the least expensive of the three. As a hybrid, it’s a combination of two electric motors combined with one 2.5-liter engine. Gas mileage clocks in at about 44 mpg, with up to 50 on the highway. 

As the battery aids the gas, total miles before charging or filling up includes a drive time of about 400 to 500 miles. Rather than an eight-speed, this model is considered an ECVT: electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

Enough with the engine talk. The Lexus brand has been synonymous with luxury since its debut in 1989, and with good reason. Stepping in — or rather melting into — a seat made of aniline leather along with a 10-way power adjustable seat makes driving comfortable. Aniline leather is considered a high-quality, natural leather type. Translation? It’s the most expensive leather available, and this is one vehicle that deserves it.

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As the Lexus dealer sat in the passenger seat and explained the features, he said I was good to go. Was the car running? We couldn’t even tell, as there’s virtually no engine sound with a hybrid. Instead, look for the green “ready” signal on the dash.

This is a speedy model that can go from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds and takes off solidly.

Once on the road, I noticed a lack of noise — and that’s a good thing. Not only was there no engine noise, you could barely hear the road noise from the outside. Was I driving on tires or floating? It was so quiet. Lexus touts their sound-dampening capabilities as one of their signature features. 

Lexus standard features on most models include heated and cooled seats and tons of safety features. The steering wheel includes palm cushioning for a natural grip. Admittedly, this did feel good in my hands.

The 12.3-inch touch screen has Bluetooth capabilities, Alexa, Apple CarPlay and all the technological bells and whistles. The touchpad is ergonomically located at the end of your right wrist, near the crook of your elbow. Instead of reaching up to search for an electric charging station on the touch pad, this flick of your wrist is easy.

If you want hands-off capabilities, just use the voice command button. Depress the voice activation button and say, “72 degrees,” and the temperature automatically adjusts. Now is your chance to feel in charge by ordering your car around and showing it who is boss.

The exterior of this Lexus commands attention. The sleek grill design in the front, coupled with the concealed exhaust in the rear, looks classy. The moonroof takes up a panoramic view, which allows more light throughout the backseat.

I always hop in the back to get a passenger’s perspective. This backseat is roomy for adults. With two USB ports, plus a 120-volt outlet to plug in devices, passengers can ensure they don’t miss a text or tweet because of a dead battery. However, if you’re a parent with teenagers, hope for a dead battery, so, on those long car trips you can give all types of life lessons while the teens are held captive in the car. Try it — it might work for your kids.

Lexus is owned by Toyota, a commanding, leading brand known for its reliability, efficiency and resale value. The Lexus sedan was named the best-selling luxury sedan in 2021. Its hybrid luxury model is sure to top the bestseller charts as well. ♦

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