I had the opportunity to test out the new 2013 Lexus ES 300h, which is the first ES model hybrid. The exterior features sleek and modern body lines accompanied by the Lexus hybrid “blue” badging. In stock form the vehicle is equipped with 17″ wheels, but there is plenty of room to add a larger wheel and tire combo. The integrated rear wing was also a nice bonus to add a bit of sporty styling to the vehicle.
The interior cabin was what most have come to expect from Lexus and complete with buttery soft leather seats and maple wood accents (I would of preferred the available Piano Black myself), an amazing amount of room and sitting space for all passengers and all of the bells and whistles you could want from the HDD Navigation system with 8″ screen along with the the Lexus Enform app that provides connectivity to apps such as Bing, IHeartRadio, Pandora, Yelp and more. These progressive details is what truly separates Lexus from the rest. On the road whether it was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 freeway or jamming through the back roads of San Diego county it was very convenient and easy to switch from the map mode, change music through the various apps and even SiriusXM satellite radio or jump on a Bluetooth assisted phone call. Using the Yelp app came in handy to help locate breakfast cafe’s. The intuitive design leaves you spoiled and complaining when having to drive the usual daily driver that doesn’t have these luxuries in the interior.
photo courtesy of Lexus
photo courtesy of Lexus
As with many of my test reviews I took the vehicle on an adventure and joined the Targa Trophy Experience #1 Event from HRE wheels in Vista through the backroads of San Diego to end up in the heart of Downtown San Diego. The mixed driving scenarios are a true test of a vehicle’s performance and comfort.
While cruising the ES 300h is smooth and responsive and perfect for city streets. Even on the freeway the vehicle had enough power when needed. The ES 300h features a Drive Mode select feature, with Normal, Eco, Sport, and EV modes. While cruising the Eco mode was my personal choice to save on fuel, but while on the rally and enjoying a day of spirited (but safe) driving through the San Diego back roads the Sport and Normal modes were for me. While in Sport mode an increased amount of power was easily obtained along with steering responsiveness and the vehicle felt solid through the twists and turns of the canyons. Now don’t get me wrong this is not a high-horsepower beast and by no means has the performance of other cars within the same price range, but it is a solid car built for daily cruising and commuting in style.
Additional bonuses included the Blind Spot monitor which signals in your rear view mirror whether a vehicle is in your blindspot and the back camera along with parking sensors as this is a larger vehicle that I’m used to so every inch counts when parking in a Downtown area.
Fuel economy was amazing being able to drive from HRE through the Targa Rally of about 150 miles and from Downtown San Diego back to Long Beach while having still about a half tank of gas left. The downside to owning the version over the regular ES 300 or other vehicles in the same class would be the elevated price. Overall, this is a great car from is expected from a manufacturer such as Lexus.