If there’s one thing Toyota, and by default Lexus, has mastered over the last couple of decades, it’s hybrid technology.
From humble beginnings with the original – and polarising – Prius, the Japanese car giant has created the blueprint for closed hybrid systems, offering a thriftiness at the bowser combined with an ease of use (there’s no need to plug-in to top up the battery) that is appealing to a huge number of buyers. Witness the runaway success of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.
We’ve tested various hybrid offerings from the two brands extensively, and we’ve heaped praise on the refinement of the technology combined with real-world fuel savings.
Now though, we’ve snaffled ourselves a 2020 Lexus ES300h Sports Luxury for a long-term loan to see how that technology and fuel consumption stack up over an extended period.
Our ES300h is fresh out of the box too, with just 390km showing on the odometer when we picked it up. Barely run-in yet. Just like a new one.
The ES300h Sports Luxury is part of an expanding ES range. Lexus Australia says the popularity of the ES range – sales grew by 183.3 per cent to 561 units in 2019 – has prompted the brand’s local arm to more than double the available variants, adding Luxury with Enhancement Pack, F Sport, and F Sport with Enhancement Pack to the incumbent Luxury and Sports Luxury variants.
Our tester sits on the showroom floor at $75,488 plus on-road costs and, as has long been the Lexus way, offers no options bar premium paint, Deep Blue in this instance for an additional $1500. That makes our long-termer a $76,988 (plus on-road costs) proposition.
We’ve only had our bum in the ES300h a few days but already impressions are good. The levels of comfort, luxury and refinement we’ve come to expect from the premium Japanese carmaker are all there. No surprises.
And after an initial reset, a weekend of usual-case driving has seen the large four-door slip straight into 5.9L/100km of fuel consumption, occasionally dipping into the low 6s. We’ll be interested to see how that plays out over the term of our loan.
We’ll also familiarise ourselves with the ES300h’s many features, including – huzzah – the long-awaited inclusion of smartphone mirroring. On that topic, Lexus’ decision to ditch its hyper-sensitive toggle in favour of a less-sensitive mouse-pad like interface to control the infotainment system has paid dividends. Somewhat. It can still be a bit fiddly to use, but it’s a vastly improved user experience.
The user experience behind the wheel remains unchanged, in that it is, as it always been, excellent. The powertrain – a 131kW/221Nm 2.5-litre, naturally-aspirated, inline four cylinder paired with an 88kW/201Nm electric motor – remains as smooth and quiet as it always has.
Drive is sent via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels and whether working tandem, petrol engine only, or exclusively on electric power, the driving experience is smooth, refined and effortless, with seamless transitions between the sources of motivation.
Of course, these are early impressions, without the fulsomeness of daily living over a protracted period behind the wheel.
We’ll keep you updated on our time with the Lexus ES300h Sports Luxury. And if there’s anything you’d like to know, drop a question in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer it.
- Odometer at start: 390km
- Indicated fuel consumption: 5.9L/100km
- Amount spent: $0