2013 Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Review

this is the all-new for 2013 Lexus ES 308 for 2013 the Lexus ES is longer and wider than it was before and that’s because this car no longer shares its platform and hard points with the Toyota Camry instead it shares them with the all-new Toyota Avalon that means we get a much bigger backseat we get a longer wheelbase and of course we get a wider body overall [Music] now before you just start calling the Lexus ES the Lexus Avalon like people
used to call the old es the Lexus Camry

Toyota really has not created a simply badge-engineered version of a Toyota vehicle since that very first edition of the Lexus ES back in the 90s and ever since then every es platform and its tow to platform eight have been co-developed together now they really don’t share that many parts out here on the outside or inside the vehicle really the sharing just ends up being in crash structures suspension components the drivetrain of course is common between the ES and the Toyota Avalon and of course the existing Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid and they also share some other minor things like you know racks and the rails for the seats for the moonroof they share

italy’s similar electronic systems

behind the scenes but nothing that you really touch or feel in the vehicle or outside the vehicle is exactly the same as it would be in the toyota product up front we of course get the Lexus signature spindle grille which is you know slowly spreading across the Lexus lineup the course get a Lexus logo with a little blue outline there because this is a hybrid we get our LED daytime running lights and sort of a Nike swoosh across the front of the headlight there now this grille is is kind of working for me these days I wasn’t quite sure about it when I saw the Lexus GS debut but it does look very good both on the ES and the new LS as well still not quite sure how I feel about it on the Lexus RX but we’re gonna be having one of those in a few weeks so be sure to check back with us and see what we think then under the hood of the ES you’ll find two different drivetrain options for 2013 things start off with the ES 350 which uses a 268 horsepower 3.5 liter v6 that’s made it to a 6-speed tota automatic transaxle and that sends

power to the front wheels only this

particular vehicle is the ES 300h which means we have the 2.5 liter atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Toyota Camry Hybrid and that’s made it to the Lexus hybrid drive system over here on this side now this is essentially the same concept and exactly the same unit really as the Toyota Camrys Hybrid Synergy Drive system has just been relabeled for Lexus the engine plus the electric motors together are good for 200 system horsepower and an unspecified amount of torque to Lexus although we estimate by the zero to sixty time of this vehicle that it’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 220 pound feet of torque in terms of parts quality the Lexus ES has definitely gone up and not from the outgoing model with perfect panel gaps perfect seems some really gorgeous bamboo wood trim in our particular hybrid model now this dashboard is not a stitch dashboard as it might appear to you the Lexus ES just gets an injection-molded dashboard and then they run a sewing machine along here to give it real stitching on that
injection molded dashboards this is

really just one piece here now that’s
different than both the Toyota Avalon which does have a stitched pleather dashboard as well as some of the upper trim levels of the more expensive models of the Lexus family but this particular dashboard is likely to last a little bit longer in terms of durability because it’s that injection molded plastic that just tends to last a little bit longer keeping in mind that the Lexus ES is not the most expensive model of Lexus we do get some hard plastics here in the center console that you won’t find in other Lexus models the lower portions of the dashboard are hard plastic as well and we have a somewhat small glove box over here our Lexus ES has one of the nicest Lexus corporate steering wheels that’s available every seam is very nicely done on the steering wheels you can see there’s a whole lot going on here with the satin nickel effect trim

and this black plastic trim and the

leather and the airbag cover etc and all these seams are executed perfectly they’re all nice and level nothing to catch your finger on etc on the steering wheel we do have the optional wood and leather steering wheel that’s heated but only this leather portion on either side of the steering wheel gets the heating however this bamboo trim is exquisite in fact I think this is probably one of the most attractive steering wheels I have held lately front seat comfort in the es is very good our particular model has the optional power tilt telescoping steering wheel with memory that’s not a standard feature in the es unfortunately now the driver’s seat has a decent range of motion although the lumbar support is only adjustable in and out not up and down in this seat so you might want to spend some time in the driver’s seat or the front passenger seat to make sure they’re comfortable for you however again in our particular vehicle our passenger seat has the same range of motion and as of course also heated just like the driver’s seat that makes it a bit more comfortable for your front passengers the Lexus ES is kind of an

interesting car in the luxury segment

because of course this is a front-wheel drive vehicle now I am discounting accurate in this of course because Acura is really more of a near luxury brand they don’t have anything that truly competes head-on with a full lineup from the Germans like Lexus does course Lexus has their eClass competitor their s-class competitor in the GS and the LS respectively and a full portfolio of other vehicles jammed in there as well but this es is kind of interesting and it’s interesting because we get 40 inches of legroom back here so this is an enormous back seat this is you know full-sized American sedan kind of rear seat legroom and decent rear seat Headroom because of the profile of the es it’s not overly soupy like many cars are but because it’s a front-wheel drive car and there is absolutely no all-wheel-drive option in this vehicle we have essentially no middle hump so this middle seat is suitable for a six-foot-tall passenger which is kind of unique and my head is brushing the ceiling but only just so you could probably fit a six foot one six foot two
passenger back here without difficulty

now this front seat here is adjusted for a six foot five passenger that we had in the vehicle as you can see I still have a couple inches of legroom left now one thing that that six but five passenger did want me to share however is that they were unable to sit terribly upright in this vehicle that’s a common problem however for taller people in that they have to lean back a little bit especially with vehicles that have a moonroof in the back of the hybrid ES 300h we don’t get any folding seats because of course that battery is back there occupying all that space we do however get adjustable headrests we have some fairly decent cupholders here in this nice large center armrest and we have vents here in the center console that can be closed and adjusted fairly easily now as with most vehicles Plastics do get a bit cheaper as you go to the rear so we have hard plastics here in the center console and we have some hard plastics over here on the door as well although this nice bamboo wood trim really helps soften the blow for me the regular Lexus ES has a fairly large
trunk which is good for this hybrid

model because even though that battery
pack is at the back of this trunk right behind the rear seats we still have a decent amount of trunk space in here this is the largest bag you can carry on a domestic flight so you can see you can carry several of them in this trunk quite easily although this trunk opening is more of a trunk hatch than a true trunk lid one novelty is that under this little panel here we get a regular doughnut spare tire rather than a can of fix-a-flat which is a nice touch in the vehicle these days now getting in and out of the trunk is fairly easy although this trunk hatch again is kind of small and the trunk is fairly nicely upholstered and these trunk hinges are covered with plastic which is kind of a nice touch we have a handle right here which makes it easy to close the trunk lid and helps us vehicle get a solid 7 out of 10 score in our exclusive trunk comfort index let’s take a look at the Lexus enform system now this is towed as navigation and infotainment system now our particular model has the optional navigation system which means we get an 8 inch screen up in the dash instead of the 7 inch screen that the base model gets now all models use this joystick controller that’s here in the center consoles you can see it’s right next to the shifter and it has it’s not just a

joystick it also has haptic feedback so
it’s it clicks into the the location as you can see it also centers on the buttons that are on the screen so we’re looking at a screen here in the dashboard that has only two options as you can see the little joystick mouse EMU thing there I don’t know what you’re gonna call that you know snaps to those buttons on the screen and then it actually also clicks down to enter so you can change screens on the display we of course get a menu button we get a zoom in and out and track up and down buttons for serve several different purposes on the screen and of course we had a shortcut button to go back to the map we were unable to find a base Lexus ES on dealer lots near us to show you the seven-inch basic system so our particular model has this optional 8 inch screen here with navigation now it appears to be that most ES models that you’ll find on dealer lots are going to have this particular system it seems fairly rare to actually find a absolute stripper model ES with no options and this system is bundled with a wide variety of different option packages on the es so this main menu should look familiar if you’ve seen recent Lexus models before it’s fairly similar to the widescreen setup on the Lexus LS and the Lexus GS we course have our navigation

we have info and apps this is what’s
part of the Lexus enform system is smartphone app integration like Pandora etc because this system is based on Lexus is more expensive and Toyota’s more expensive navigation products we do get XM data services so XM Sports Talk Nav weather etc those do require a subscription after the initial subscription that comes with your via since this is a hybrid we of course get a fuel consumption screen with a past record you can update that and clear at any time you want and of course the usual energy flow which shows your motor and gas engine and battery back there in the trunk back over here you can see we also get traffic incidents again this is provided by XM data services as well as Lexus insider which is sort of lexus news and updates for your vehicle if we go back to the main menu here you can see we have set up options for your vehicle you can change vehicle settings there we have HD radio in most models of the es we also get XM satellite radio and over here on the media screen you can see that we have access to our Bluetooth audio as well as our USB devices the system is fully functional with a wide variety of USB and iOS devices and I’m gonna plug in my current iPhone 5 here so we can take a look at that interface as you can see if we select it on the menu and turn the volume down we do have full access via the Browse command to our either our
iPod playlists artists albums etc and

part of this system is toad as a new voice command system so using the steering wheel voice command button you can now command playlists artists and song titles via your voice on this system it is very polished and it seems to work better than Ford Sync you know in general and the voice commands are a little bit more pleasing to the ear than Ford Sync however the system does have an interesting limitation and if you have more than about 3,000 songs on your USB or your iDevice you can’t search for songs directly you can only search for artists and playlists to go back to the main menu you can see that we have our climate control options here those those options are mostly duplicated on these physical buttons lower in the dash as well and we also have our typical phone interface the Lexus also provides text-to-speech as well as speech to text and with canned text messages in the system if your phone supports it and my particular phone does not support it at the moment over here on the map screen you can see that Lexus is still using the same mapping software that they’ve been using for some time in Lexus models all the buttons are exactly the same as they were in previous models only as you can see they’re no longer touch button so you have to use this
little joystick to navigate and use them

there’s no 3d view in this map we only
get north up and direction heading up but honestly that’s fine with me because I really don’t care for those 3d views especially the ones that are just a flat map that’s trying to imitate 3d that don’t do any topographical information compared to I Drive this map is quite boring honestly but no one else in this segment really has a map that’s any better than this either so this is very average in this particular segment the best competitor really directly for the Lexus ES 300h hybrid would be the Lincoln MKZ hybrid and the MK Z’s MyFord Touch system looks a bit snazzier but it’s nowhere near as responsive as this system as you can see zooming in and out on this particular map is pretty quick and you know on the MyFord Touch system it’s pretty slow over here on the map mode button you can see we also have the option of putting fuel consumption or audio on this other side of the map screen you know reducing the map to just this left portion of the screen all Lexus ES models with the 8 inch screen also get a backup camera as you can see and the backup camera is also optional on the base 7 and infotainment only system that doesn’t give you navigation overall I rate the 2013 update of Lexus
enform pretty highly I do appreciate the

app integration so you can do your
streaming audio like Pandora through the system I actually kind of like the fact that these mapping systems have not changed very much because this mapping system is fairly easy to see the graphics are fairly clear and it’s fairly responsive you know navigation systems the prettier graphics can be nice but I really don’t see any extra value in things like the satellite imagery that Audi’s MMI brings to the table I’d rather have something that’s fairly easy to use the media interface is quite nice and the ability to voice command your tunes is a good change for Lexus the only thing that I really have a problem with is this joystick entry method because if we’re going to enter an address here this joystick just becomes a little bit of a liability in my opinion you can only do this of course while stopped but using the joystick to wander around a keyboard like this if you’re going to enter a city name just seems to take a bit more time than some of the knobs or the touchscreen arrangements that are more common in this particular segment hybrids are all about fuel economy so let’s talk numbers first lexus rates this vehicle for forty miles per gallon city 39 highway with a combined rating of 40 miles per gallon now that’s a notable amount lower than the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid but there’s a caveat there because in our testing of this particular vehicle we’ve been averaging about 39 miles per gallon in our week of mix driving and I do have to go up and over a twenty two hundred foot mountain pass to get home that’s much

better you know in terms of its real rating versus its EPA rating than the Lincoln Hybrid which really has trouble getting its EPA ratings and in our test of the slightly lighter Ford Fusion Hybrid which is rated for 47 47 47 hour week in that vehicle was notably lower than its forty seven mile per gallon EPA rating and this vehicle is much closer in our testing this is about double what the es350 gets again thanks to that twenty two hundred foot mountain pass that I have to go up and over if you’re just doing level driving on a level freeway for instance in my particular area from 101 around 85 all the way up to 101 and 92 then we averaged about 47 miles per gallon in this vehicle which is extremely good in terms of performance thanks to the boost from those electric motors re s 300 scooted to 60 in 7.2 four seconds which is a hair faster than the Lincoln MKZ hybrid or the Ford Fusion Hybrid in our tests as a brand Lexus has long been associated with glassy smooth rides fairly soft handling and fairly numb steering now the num steering is still here of course because we have electric power steering but because everything in the industry is getting numb as well it really is not as pronounced as it used to be in this particular vehicle now Lexus has spent a

decent amount of time in this generation of the ES to get it to be a little bit sporty ER than before now that does take a slight toll in terms of the glassy smooth ride especially at low speeds where you definitely feel the road a little bit more in this ES now no one’s really going to take their es sedan corner carving although this sedan does handle that a little bit better than the 2012 model of course we have the hybrid here which means we have low-rolling-resistance tires and what narrow tires you know when you compare it to something like a Buick LaCrosse or Chrysler 300 etc which means that the

es 300 is not going to handle quite as well as some of the competition but that competition is pretty difficult to nail down because of course the Lincoln MKZ is considerably smaller than this vehicle so I really wouldn’t compare this exactly with a Lincoln MKZ just because of its size now in terms of price and feature content the MKZ and the ES 300h come out somewhat even there are a few more gadgets and gizmos available on the Lincoln MKZ and it is a little bit cheaper but that back seat is considerably smaller it’s about 4 inches smaller the car isn’t quite as wide it’s not quite as comfortable and the the

handling and suspension it’s a little
bit softer in this particular vehicle the Lexus ES then the Lincoln MKZ so if you want that luxurious soft isolated ride this would be the vehicle of choice like the camry the ES can drive electric only up to about 42 miles an hour depending on your state of battery charge how steep the hill is what mode this drive selector button is and of course how hard you’re pushing on the gas pedal we do have a little Eevee mode button here in the dashboard so that you can sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians but that will really only operate up to about 25 miles an hour and you have to be extremely ginger on the throttle to use it if drivetrains smoothness is a big purchasing factor for you then

definitely get the es 300 over the 350 because this has of course an e CVT which is how some publications try and explain how Hybrid Synergy Drive works again we’ll have another video on that later but all you really need to know is that this drivetrain is extremely smooth there no shift points in this vehicle like you would get with a regular CVT acceleration happens very smoothly and very evenly climbing up and down hills is very smooth without any noticeable gear shifts as well so who is the ES 300h for well it’s for that person that values fuel efficiency first because of course this vehicle does get a true 40
miles per gallon in mix driving in our

tests now I do live in a fairly hilly

climate and so we’ve been getting about 39 which is still very good if you live in an area that’s more level then you should expect slightly higher numbers than that now of course it’s also for those people that value rear seat accommodations because the back seat in this car is very large you get four inches of rear legroom you can fit three adults across in this back seat because it’s a front-wheel drive car there’s no hump back there to contend with unlike things like the Mercedes s-class and BMW 7-series which are fairly large but they have a fairly large hump as well we have a fairly decent trunk in this vehicle although it doesn’t fold flat and of course the pricing isn’t too bad either our particular es here is a listing for about $45,000 as we have equipped and the es in general range is just under 39 thousand dollars to just over $50,000 which is fairly reasonable in the luxury segment now the ES 300h is about 27 to 28 hundred dollars more expensive than the ES 350 but owing to the fuel economy

depending on your climate in your

driving style you should repay that in about four to five years again I’m Alex dykes and that’s been our quick look at the 2013 Lexus ES 300h

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