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2013 Lexus ES300h

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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Just over a year ago, I drove the 2011 Lexus ES 350. I took it to Detroit and back, which was a lovely, long journey during which the ES impressed me by offering comfort, quality and fuel consumption that was pretty darned impressive for a 3.5-litre V6 engine, at 8.0L/100km… although that was all highway cruising.

Fast forward, and Lexus has again redesigned its top-selling ES sedan. It is a little less sedate, a little more bold on the front end and a little more stylish from the backside.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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Lexus still offers the lovely V6 engine, but this week’s tester is confusingly named the ES 300h, because it sports a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine coupled with a hybrid battery-electric propulsion system.

The updated interior is less frumpy than the previous generation’s, certainly more modern and luxurious. Add it up, and this is no longer grandpa’s car.

When I drove away from the dealership, I was thinking this new vehicle was powered by a small V6 with a hybrid system, not even contemplating that it could be a four-cylinder. My immediate impressions were positive, as I cruised 30 km on the highway to see the trip computer reading an average of 6.1 L/100 km while scooting along at 120 km/h.

Hopefully, the car will continue to “wow” me for the remainder of the week.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $51,095

For more information on Lexus and the ES visit Lexus Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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I want to gush about the interior of the ES300h. There is so much that works so well; it isn’t perfect, though I’m getting the feeling this car is nearly perfect in a lot of ways.

Going from back to front, we start with the trunk, a huge expanse of space in which you can fit two 18-inch tires with ease; heck I bet you could fit three if you squeezed them in. But it’s not quite perfect. Because this is a hybrid, the batteries are located behind the rear seats, which do not fold, so you lose a little practicality here for longer items.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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Moving forward to the back seats themselves, there isn’t much but good things to say about the limousine-like leg room, comfortable seating and a nice centre armrest with cupholders. The rear window has a powered sun shade and both rear side windows have manual sun shades as well. I suppose heated and cooled seats would be nice, but let’s be honest: this area of the car will be used sparingly.

On to the most important seats in the house. The driver’s seat is a three memory affair with 12-way power adjustability. Both front seats are cooled and heated, and the steering wheel is also heated, which I have been loving this week. All the buttons are within easy reach, with dual-zone climate control that is set-it-and-forget-it good, and steering wheel controls. This car’s control centre is nearly perfect.

Lexus has a unique control system for their infotainment system. It uses a device that is similar to a computer mouse but with tactile feedback. The system is probably the best available on the market today; it is unbelievably easy to use, quick and simple and ergonomically perfect — big kudos to Lexus from me.

The only real complaint I have is with the door panels. At more than $50,000, I expect some leather inserts above the leather arm rest. For some reason, this is missing, leaving a simple plastic panel that would be more at home in a much lower class and lower-priced vehicle.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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On my way home tonight, a co-worker asked me if I was headed to my lawn bowling game. Okay, that was pretty funny, and yes, this vehicle may appeal to the older (and wiser) crowd, but perhaps we respect and realize they are wiser for a reason — this is one nice car to drive!

And who doesn’t want to drive a car that has virtually zero wind noise out on the highway, absolutely no road noise, and makes you forget bumps on the road even exist? The ES300h does all that, and it looks good doing it. I will make no excuses: I like to be coddled just as much as I like to have some fun.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews

Driving feel is pretty much nil in the ES, but that’s okay. What other car can you drive around with one finger on the steering wheel and feel totally in control? Road feel is also zero. The ground was a little wet this morning; I made a quick getaway from a stop sign and the front wheels slipped as I accelerated away, but I really didn’t feel anything in the steering wheel or from the gas pedal, I just heard the tires squeal.

Although the ES is a very large car, the back-up camera makes parking easy enough, and visibility is okay but not exceptional. The A-pillar is on the large side and, coupled with the larger mirrors, make for large blind spots when driving around parking lots or at dangerous corners where traffic is coming from multiple angles.

The gasoline engine and electric motor work perfectly together, like every other Toyota/Lexus hybrid. The system switches between the two virtually seamlessly, and if you aren’t paying specific attention, you wouldn’t know when the engine is running or not. You can hear the engine — barely — if you step on the gas hard. The car responds with a surge of smooth acceleration due to the torque from the electric motor and the CVT transmission, but you do not get the annoying “buzz” or hum from a droning engine, thanks to excessive amounts of sound insulation.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
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There isn’t that much more to say about the ES300h, except that I thoroughly enjoyed my week behind the wheel and honestly wish I could keep it in my driveway, as it does everything well — except carry gigantic items in the trunk, but that’s a story for another day.

Fuel consumption was, as I expected, downright spectacular for such a large sedan with reasonable get up and go: I averaged 6.5L/100km for the week in mostly highway driving. When I ventured into town for a bit more driving at city paces, the average dropped quickly — 6.4, 6.3 — so if one drives the ES mainly around town, I’m sure an average of below 6 L/100 km would be possible. To top it off, my tester is sporting winter tires, usually a surefire way to reduce efficiency.

*Rating out of 5:

2013 Lexus ES300h
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 Lexus ES300h car test drives lexus daily car reviews

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification
MSRP as tested (including destination): $51,095

For more information on Lexus and the ES visit Lexus Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter




About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).