Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota, which originated as a corporate project to develop a new premium sedan for the US market to go against the German rivals in 1989. Lexus entered India one and a half year ago with the ES300h as part of their portfolio; the model was however at the end of its life cycle and looked dated. Now Lexus has bought the seventh generation ES300H to India as the brand’s entry-level petrol hybrid which goes against the likes of Mercedes -Benz E class, BMW 5-series and Audi A6. Let’s us find out if this Japanese sedan stands up to the Germans?
Quick Overview – 2018 Lexus ES300h
- The new 2018 ES is based on Lexus’ front-wheel-drive Global Architecture-K – a derivative of parent company Toyota’s TNGA platform
- For 2018 the new ES 300h is 60 mm longer, 45 mm wider, gets a little more power, improved fuel economy and Lower noise levels.
- Styling cues are borrowed from the company’s flagship sedan the LS500
- The Lexus design team gave the ES a slick teardrop profile that they characterize and they topped it off with one of the largest executions of the Lexus spindle grille yet.
Interiors of the 2018 Lexus ES300h
Once the ignition is turned on, the steering wheel and seats adjust automatically, which immediately makes you feel as though you are in a cockpit wrapped with leather and wood. The two rotary wheels on either side of the instrument cluster can be used to change the driving modes (Eco, Standard and Sport) and toggle the traction control. The instrument cluster has a digital speedometer surrounded by a large circular tachometer pod; there is also head-up display for the driver to be focused on the road and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen which can be operated by a track pad.
The cabin is replete with handsome interior décor, 17-speaker 1800W Mark Levinson audio system. The front seats can be cooled or warmed, and there are individual ACs for both the front occupants – operated by conventional buttons rather than a touch unit. Lexus claims that the armrests on the doors and the centre armrests (fixed one at the front, foldable one at the rear) which feature textured fabric covers are more comfortable on longer drives than leather-covered ones.
The rear seat experience is more about peace of mind rather than outright entertainment they do not hear wind noise, or noise coming up through the suspension, regardless of surface. Space is huge here and despite the sloping roofline, headroom is not an issue even for tall passengers. The rear seat angle can be changed by as much as 8-degrees and helps in making the cabin feel spacious. In fact, the front passenger seat can be pushed forward using buttons accessible from the rear seat to free up even more legroom.
Driving Experience of the 2018 Lexus ES300h
It is powered by a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. For the 7th generation, power has been bumped up to 178 hp from the previous 160 hp and torque to 221Nm. The electric motor is a bit lighter and down on power than the 6th generation. It now churns out 120 hp, which is 23hp lesser than before. However, the good news is from the fuel efficiency figures which have gone up by 25 %.
The ES will glide ahead with complete silence and there is more than ample torque on offer to potter around and manage bumper to bumper traffic condition without the need for the petrol motor to kick in, on full throttle the transition from battery to hybrid is seamless. The petrol motor is refined and quiet even on high bandwidth. Building three digit speeds is effortless with this motor. However, in terms of driving pleasure, the 7th gen hybrid feels a bit slower than the Germans in terms of acceleration.
The suspension felt a bit stiffer, contributing to ride quality that could be characterized as a little soft by contemporary standards; however, the overall ride quality was impressive with very little body movement even in bad roads.
Note: Due to Limited drive time there was very little to judge in terms of ride quality, steering feedback, cornering ability and handling.Why should I buy a Lexus ES300h?
- It is stylish enough to stand apart from the German, Scandinavian and British crowd, spacious and quiet enough to be the ultimate chauffeur-driven car
- Being a hybrid, fuel efficiency is great
- The Drivers cockpit was designed to keep most of the instruments at eye-level for the driver and informative enough and doesn’t need the driver to take his eyes off the road.
- Buy it for its After-sales reputation and low maintenance – Lexus has ranked highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands according to J.D. Power & Associates.
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