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Lexus ES 300h 2020 review

Lexus ES 300h - the luxury sedan

Toyota continues to set its own accents in the luxury class of automobiles with the luxury brand Lexus. With a distinctive design, the automobile manufacturer underscores the claim to tread a separate path in the luxury segment. In addition to the SUV as a panacea for the mobile society with high market shares in the high-end segment, sedans will continue to be used as is the case with the competition. With the Lexus ES 300h, you have the choice between the new turbo gasoline engines and the hybrid gasoline engine we tested with 178 hp combined with an electric motor with 120 hp - this results in a total system output of 218 hp (160 kW).

The striking eye-catcher of the Lexus ES impresses in its external appearance with a massive diabolo radiator grille as an outstanding feature, full LED headlights and a timeless design of generous lines, shaping light edges and a striking rear. The chief designers set the accents on driving dynamics and exclusivity for the body. Many of its own style elements characterize the ES as an elegant limousine in the street scene. And so it is not surprising that some passers-by ask about the brand when they see the radiator grille.

Luxurious interior

In the cockpit, Lexus relies on a luxurious interior. Leather sports seats and a leather-clad dashboard in the version we tested create a high-quality ambience. The towering center console takes the shape of the diabolo into the interior. The multimedia display above the center console is generously designed. Here, operation can only be carried out while driving via the touchpad embedded in the center console. It is a movable sensor surface that jumps hectically between the menu items on the info display when you touch it and selects when you press it. This is very cumbersome from the driver's point of view.

The leather sports seats compensate for this with good lateral support and a wide range of adjustment options that can be saved for up to three users. On the back seat there is enough space for two adults with comfortable space, the center seat is designed to be narrow. Apart from that, despite its imposing appearance, the ES does not offer more space in the trunk than the Golf class: 454 liters of trunk volume are very clear compared to the competition.

Lexus ES 300h 2020 review
Lexus ES 300h 2020 review

The basis for the drive in the hybrid gasoline drive is an Atkinson four-cylinder engine with a relatively high degree of efficiency for gasoline engines. A high mechanical compression ratio of 14: 1 and variable intake valve control as well as D-4S direct injection influence the efficiency. The start-stop technology and exhaust gas heat recovery have a positive effect on fuel consumption. Despite the system output of 218 HP (160 KW), the luxury class sedan is not as powerful and powerful as the design suggests. It is designed for different driving styles depending on the driver's taste and offers an energy-saving mode Eco, the normal mode and two sport speed levels to choose from. The tachometer then dominates the display and it goes faster and louder. The best acceleration values ​​are of course achieved in Sport + mode. This means that the engine and exhaust sound can also be experienced in the interior.

Lexus power distribution

The automatic adjusts the gear ratio changes in the ingenious planetary gear system so that you don't feel anything when changing gears. When kickdown, both engines immediately go to full load; Accelerations and overtaking maneuvers occur in everyday life noticeably and with vigor. A variable chassis can be varied by the driver. The damping characteristics, the roll tendency and the curve control can be selected according to your wishes via the operating menu. With a 30-level setting, depending on the requirement profile, solutions can be found in a playful way to cushion the damping according to requirements. A damper control with a response time of 20 milliseconds helps here. For the sedan, the Lexus' chassis set-up is comfortable and can be adjusted extensively.

For an even higher level of driving dynamics, Lexus relies on an adaptively variable chassis for the sporty ES F SPORT, which replaces the adjustable Dynamic Control dampers of the other versions. Similar to the system presented for the first time for the LC Coupé, it automatically and seamlessly adjusts the damper force on each individual wheel in 650 steps in order to ensure optimal driving quality and precise control on every road surface, according to Lexus.

With a net weight of 1,7 tonnes, the consumption values ​​in the brochure cannot be achieved with 4,4 liters of premium gasoline in the practical test. Anyone who has tried the full range of the driving modes listed above will find values ​​between 5-6 liters for the eco-saving mode. In the ADAC Ecotest, the ES scored 76 out of 100 achievable points with a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Lexus ES 300h 2020 review
Lexus ES 300h 2020 review

Prices and equipment variants of the Lexus ES 300h

The polarizing shape also has disadvantages. Clarity is not the strength of the ES. The optical and acoustic distance warnings are standard on board and are necessary. There are different engines and equipment options. The basic version is available for 48.200 euros including emergency braking assistant, driving dynamics control and automatic distance control.

Instead of an extensive list of accessories and special equipment, Lexus relies on coordinated equipment packages that can be selected by the customer. In addition to the basic version, there are 4 other variants. However, this results in a number of compromises: For example, the 360-degree camera for precise maneuvering, the Blind Spot Assist and the rear cross traffic warning system are only available as optional equipment for the top models.

The Lexus Hybrid is an alternative to the competition from BMW and Audi. The technical effort is much higher compared to the pure diesel drive and the price level is accordingly at a high level. In view of the declining vehicle market for diesel vehicles, anyone who opts for a hybrid SUV can be sure of acquiring a sedan that is relatively stable in value and that can be driven in the environmental zones.

Those who want to be a little more relaxed on long journeys can make friends with the electronically sealed top speed of 180 km / h. The classy Japanese doesn't drive as sportily as it looks, and offers customers a slight deceleration. That is an exception and has a different value than the dynamic sedans of the competition, which can reach speeds of up to 250 km / h.


The hybrid models from Lexus are a sensible alternative to the diesel engine for long-distance and motorway traffic. The gasoline engine works effectively according to the Aktinson principle and is currently one of the most efficient gasoline engines with an efficiency of 41 degrees. Lexus focuses on high technical comfort in the drive and chassis as well as convincing processing quality with moderate consumption values ​​in everyday use.


Practical test from summer 2019

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N. Hawthorn
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