Lexus ES300 Hybrid

Lexus ES300 lr

By Tim Saunders

We all like to feel special.

The Lexus ES300 Hybrid does just that. Externally it is quite low and quite wide and the test model is finished in a striking pale olive, which offers a nice contrast to the chrome grille and alloys.

Inside is just as pleasing to the eye. There’s a nice cream and black mix to the luxury interior and plenty of room in the rear for the children and their car seats. I can always rely on my son Henry (6) to discover something worthwhile and on this occasion he shows me how the centre armrest can be opened from either side with the lid cleverly opening on the left or the right. Quite ingenious. We buy some cheese – don’t ask – and I am surprised that on storing it in this armrest, it retains its cold temperature. Very useful.

Although the boot lid is not electric, pushing a button on the key fob releases it and it opens in a very similar manner to a powered one. I much prefer this because it is quicker and easier to operate. Those power lids take too long for my liking.

This executive express is comfortable to drive, with an easily adjusted power front seat. A push button start and an automatic gearbox makes light work of driving.

It is reassuring to know that this model is a hybrid and therefore helping to cut emissions while being more economical.

We take it on a spin to Beaulieu in the New Forest where we experience a range of roads from slow town centre ones through to the dull motorway and more invigorating country lanes.

If speed is your thing then select sport mode on the auto box, on the stalk to the left of the steering wheel and then use the paddleshifts for a racing driver experience. It nicely pushes you back in your seat and is great fun.

Cruise control is simply to engage and reliable. I set the speed at 70mph and experience it automatically slowing down as it approaches the car in front. The ride is smooth. An impatient Lamborghini Urus tears up behind me in the outside lane and clearly wants me out of the way. It’s the car in front of me who is slowing things up. Anyway, that car finally pulls over and I overtake briefly leaving the Lambo behind and pull over. Meanwhile the Lamborghini carries on past 100mph and triggers the variable speed camera on the M27. So they do work after all.

The heated front seats are not hot enough for my wife but I find the heated steering wheel a very welcome addition on a cold autumn day.

The test takes place during high winds and driving rain where the roads are particularly wet and covered with beautiful but dangerous slippery golden leaves. A beautiful sight but challenging driving conditions. Especially when the driving rain is so hard even the wipers on full struggle to clear the screen. But the Lexus tackles such situations with aplomb allowing the occupants to feel safe. It’s at this time that we discover that both Henry and Heidi (9) have outgrown their car seats, which means that Heidi is now tall enough to travel without one while Henry has upgraded himself to Heidi’s old one.

Changing times.
Facts at a glance
Price: from £39,980
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol
0 to 60mph: 7.2secs
Top speed: 112mph
Power: 215bhp
Economy: 50mpg



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