Lexus ES 300h interior & comfort
The ES 300h's interior is beautifully made and nicely styled; the fiddly infotainment has been improved somewhat by the addition of a touchscreen
Sitting in the ES is a luxurious experience, thanks to superbly comfortable seats, plenty of legroom and a superior ride quality that’s up there with that of a Mercedes E-Class. Unless you go for the F-Sport spec, that is – in which case the big wheels and stiffer suspension mean the ride quality is noticeably less pliant.
The F-Sport isn’t noticeably more fun to drive, so it seems an unnecessary compromise, although its body-hugging sports seats are very supportive if you do insist on driving the ES quickly. Inside all versions, the choice of materials, and in particular the high quality of fit and finish, means the ambience is upmarket.
Lexus ES 300h dashboard
The ES’ dashboard is a little more driver-orientated than that of its predecessor the GS. There’s a clear instrument binnacle in front of the driver, as well as a head-up display for some models. The Premium Edition and Takumi trim levels gets a big 12.3-inch infotainment display that sits on top of the dashboard, but you can upgrade the standard eight-inch display on the F-Sport, too.
Equipment, options and accessories
The standard ES specification includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, a 10-speaker stereo, parking sensors and the eight-inch navigation and infotainment display. Premium Edition sits above the entry-level car. It adds over £3,000 worth of options for around £550 more, making it a great option for most buyers. There are a 18-inch alloys, the larger 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, plus automatic wipers. Wireless phone charging is also added.
Upgrading to F Sport adds those big 19-inch alloy wheels, along with sports seats, adaptive suspension and exterior body tweaks designed to present a sportier look. An F Sport Design trim level will be offered on cars delivered from October 2022, while the range-topping Takumi is stacked with all the available technology and goodies, including the 12.3-inch screen, a Mark Levinson audio system and 360-degree cameras. You also get triple-zone air-conditioning, reclining rear seats, adaptive LED headlamps and a powered bootlid here.
Infotainment, apps & sat-nav
While the ES' infotainment system looks impressive – especially the 12.3-inch top-spec unit – the touchpad operation system is difficult and fiddly to get to grips with. The good news is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were made standard across the range as of late 2020, and in early 2022, Lexus finally rolled out touchscreen capability, so you can avoid the touchpad altogether if you don't get on with it.
Further upgrades to the on-board technology are being introduced for cars delivered from October 2022. Lexus is promising "faster response, more intuitive operation and access to more functions" from this revised setup, which will incorporate cloud-based navigation, improved voice recognition and wireless Apple CarPlay.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Lexus ES 300h is luxurious and well built, but it's neither as good to drive nor as efficient as its mainly plug-in hybrid competition
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsThe ES 300h is targeted primarily at business users, and there are tax benefits over diesel rivals – but a plug-in hybrid will be better still
- 3Running costsThe ES 300h should be cheaper to run than a purely petrol or diesel-engined equivalent, but it's left behind in this respect by plug-in hybrids and pure-electric cars
- 4Engines, drive & performanceThe ES 300h is superbly cosseting when driven in a relaxed fashion, but if you're looking for something livelier, a BMW 5 Series is a better bet
- 5Interior & comfort - currently readingThe ES 300h's interior is beautifully made and nicely styled; the fiddly infotainment has been improved somewhat by the addition of a touchscreen
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe ES 300h's ‘long coupe’ styling limits rear headroom, and while the boot is big, it's not as versatile as an SUV's
- 7Reliability & safetyWith plenty of safety kit and a rock-solid reliability record, the Lexus ES 300h has your peace of mind covered