In many ways, we see the 2020 Lexus ES300h as the best value today in luxury sedans. You can spend more, or you could spend less, but the mid-size Lexus represents the sweet spot in the segment.
The ES300h, the hybrid version of the popular ES model, combines fuel efficiency, creature comforts and bullet-proof durability in a package that will last for decades if you maintain it well.
With gasoline selling for just over $2 a gallon, hybrids have generally fallen out of fashion. And hybrid sedans are even a harder sell, now that most buyers say they prefer SUVs. But we always smile when we slide behind the wheel of the ES300h because it just fits us so well, and operates so quietly.
Plus, the ES300h, which has a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor, has one of the most refined and fuel-efficient power-trains in the segment.
Our tester, provided for a one-week test drive by the Lexus, is shown in Sunlight Green paint with Flaxen semi-aniline leather interior. It's an especially fetching color combination, and got lots of admiring looks during our commutes home on Highway 27.
Lexus vehicles are available locally at Lexus of Chattanooga on Lee Highway. Late this week the dealership had two ES hybrids in digital inventory.
* Model: 2020 ES300h Ultra Lux
* Exterior color: Sunlight Green
* Interior color: Flaxen
* Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder plus hybrid drive
* Horsepower: 215
* Transmission: CVT
* Fuel economy: 44 mpg highway, 43 mpg city
* Local Dealer: Lexus of Chattanooga
* Price (as tested): $55,690
WHAT IS IT?
The 2020 Lexus ES300h is a five-passenger hybrid luxury sedan with a gas-sipping 215 horsepower powertrain that gets more than 40 mpg in both city and highway driving.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Our tester has an MSRP of $55,690 which includes about $10,000 in options and delivery fees. The most expensive option is a $2,900 Mark Levinson Audio Package, which includes a 12.3-inch digital display and a navigation system with voice-command. The government estimates that you'll save $3,000 in fuel costs, when compared to an average mid-size sedan, over five years.
WHAT WE LIKED
The quiet engine, highly refined interior with semi-aniline leather and the dynamic Mark Levinson sound system which is among the best we've sampled in any automobile. The ultra-compact triple-beam LED headlamps are also a wonder.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The Lexus ES300h has plenty of off-the-mark torque but the power band is more tepid at higher revs. Also, we'd like to see Lexus offer an all-wheel-drive option to lure back some of those SUV buyers to the sedan segment, as other luxury brands have done.
In a word the EX300h's ride is "relaxed." It's quiet and comfortable, the two book-end virtues of the luxury class.
The ES300h represents a compelling value in a refined package.
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