2017 Lexus ES 300h Review

ES 300h

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2017 Lexus ES 300h Overview

Trying to find a luxury sedan that’s not only fuel efficient but also provides maximum comfort seems like “Mission: Impossible.” For the most part, you are forced to choose between one or the other. But all that changed in 2012 when Lexus first introduced a hybrid version of its ES sedan. The ES 300h provides all the benefits of the standard ES while also delivering excellent fuel economy.

The only exterior features that distinguish the ES 300h from the ES 350 are a blue-tinted Lexus emblem and “ES 300h” on the trunk lid. In 2016, Lexus updated the ES’ front end with a large, contentious grille and LED headlights, but the rest of the ES 300h has remained unchanged since its 2012 debut. The back seat offers plenty of head- and legroom for most adults. Trunk space is slightly smaller than the ES 350’s due to the battery-pack placement, at 12.1 versus 15.2 cubic feet. Like the ES 350, the ES 300h’s rear seats do not fold.

The ES 300h’s interior features a gauge cluster with a power meter and an added EV drive mode that allows you to travel a short distance on just the battery. Like the ES 350, the ES 300h has high-quality materials, power seats for the driver and front passenger, and automatic climate control. It comes with a 7-inch infotainment screen and an updated Remote Touch controller, which critics have commented can be difficult to use while driving. Both the infotainment screen and controller can be upgraded if desired. For 2017, Lexus has also added the Scout GPS Link as standard equipment—this feature pairs your Apple or Android smartphone with the vehicle via an app to provide navigation, traffic information, and more. The ES 300h has a starting MSRP of $41,820.

The ES 300h comes with the same powertrain as Toyota’s Avalon and Camry Hybrids—a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery. Total output stands at 200 hp, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) directs power to the front wheels. The ES 300h can reach 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, about 1 second slower than the ES 350. However, the ES 300h is the mileage champ, with EPA fuel economy figures of 40 mpg city, 39 highway, and 40 combined.

For 2017, Lexus has improved the ES 300h’s safety credentials by including the Lexus Safety System+ as standard, which features adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection. The ES 300h shares the same standard safety equipment as the ES 350—a full set of airbags, traction control, stability control, rain-sensing wipers, a backup camera, and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors remain additional options. These safety features have earned the ES 300h a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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