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2015 Lexus ES 300h

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/28/2015 Stefan Ogbac
© Lexus

New for 2015

The 2015 Lexus ES 300h gains a new multimedia system with display audio, rearview camera, a revised Remote Touch Interface knob and NuLuxe upholstery as standard equipment. New available features include the Lexus Enform Remote and an upgraded Lexus Enform App Suite, which now includes Slacker and iHeartRadio 4.0.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Lexus ES 300h is the hybrid variant of the ES lineup. Powered by a 2.5-liter I-4 paired to an electric motor for a combined output of 200 hp, the hybrid sedan uses a continuously variable automatic transmission and has excellent fuel economy at 40/39 mpg city/highway. Lexus also offers the gas-powered ES 350, which is equipped with the familiar 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic found in many Lexus and Toyota vehicles.

Overview

The 2015 Lexus ES 300h may be down on power compared to the V-6 powered ES 350, but the hybrid has plenty of power for everyday city driving. The hybrid's regenerative braking, however, makes it hard to stop smoothly. When the car is in Sport mode, the ES 300h has a much more responsive throttle and adds weight (but not feel) to its power steering system. Even so, the comfort-focused ES 300h is no sports sedan since its handing limits aren't as high as that of its stable mate, the Lexus IS 350.

Inside, the 2015 Lexus ES 300h has NuLuxe leatherette upholstery as standard and is available with a host of options including leather seats, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, navigation, wood accents, power-closing trunk, and adaptive cruise control. Fit and finish is class-competitive with high-quality materials used throughout the entire cabin and is complimented by had sewn contrast stitching on the dash.

The NHTSA gave the 2015 Lexus ES 300h a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Lexus ES 300h combines fuel economy, space, and comfort in a crowded class of luxury and near-luxury cars. In a 2013 First Test review, we said that the ES 300h is the more compelling option when compared to the V-6-powered ES 350 since it offers plenty of space, a good amount of power for daily driving, and excellent fuel economy wrapped in a large luxury sedan package. However, the car still has plenty of body roll and the steering remains numb. Additionally, the regenerative braking makes smooth stops difficult to do because of its non-linear response.

You'll Like

  • Near-instantaneous power thanks to the electric motor
  • Well-built interior
  • Great fuel economy

You Won't Like

  • Non-linear brakes make it hard to stop smoothly
  • No steering feel
  • Could ride better

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Avalon Hybrid
  • Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  • Buick LaCrosse eAssist
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid

Rating

2 star

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