ES Hybrid

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2020 Lexus ES Hybrid Overview

Offering something different than most hybrids, the Lexus ES Hybrid grants the consumer efficiency and luxury without compromising either or forcing you to pay a premium for your eco-sensibilities. Building off the seventh-generation redesign from 2019 that saw the ES take on Lexus’ Global Architecture-K platform, the 2020 ES Hybrid adds power-folding mirrors and Android Auto compatibility, as well as blind-spot monitoring as a standalone option for the base trim.

As opposed to the standard 3.5-liter V6 in the standard ES, all ES Hybrid trims are powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This system delivers a combined 215 horsepower compared with the V6’s 302, meaning performance won’t be comparable. Whereas the ES 350 can jog to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, the heavier ES Hybrid will take 8.1 seconds to make the same trip, but if you’re concentrating on power alone, you’re missing the point. While the ES 350’s fuel-efficiency ratings of 22 mpg city, 33 highway are impressive, the ES Hybrid delivers an EPA-rated 44 mpg combined and has managed to beat that number in independent testing. Those are numbers that best most of the competition with levels of luxury that are hard to match.

It’s this luxury that makes the ES Hybrid such a good deal. The base trim gets you push-button start/stop with smart access, dual-zone automatic climate controls with a smog sensor, an 8-inch display for the Enform infotainment system, 10-speaker stereo, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a power moonroof. The front seats get 10-way power and are covered in synthetic leather, and lighting duty is performed by bi-LED headlights and LED tail- and running lights. A Premium package adds heat and ventilation for the front seats and a memory system, as well as heat and power for the steering wheel. Rain-sensing wipers mean you won’t have to take your hands off that heated steering wheel when the drops hit your windshield, and power-folding mirrors were added to this package in 2020. Choosing this package will also allow you to add blind-spot monitoring to the list of standard safety features, which includes lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision mitigation, and parking sensors.

Moving up to the Luxury trim replaces the synthetic leather with genuine leather upholstery and complements this upgrade with wood-grain accents and ambient lighting. Front seats get 14-way power, and the driver gets a power cushion extender. The Ultra Luxury trim upgrades the leather even further and adds a power rear sunshade, power trunk with foot activation, and performance dampers for the suspension. Additionally, any of these trims can be bolstered with a Navigation package to increase the display screen to 12.3 inches and add Dynamic Voice Command, or a Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio package to additionally tack on a 17-speaker, 1,800-watt stereo.

The ES Hybrid may not offer the same performance as the ES 350, but with only a slight increase in price, you’ll see a major return at the pump.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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ES Hybrid

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