2015 Lexus ES 300h is Still a Fine, Fine Automobile

2015 Lexus ES 300h is Still a Fine, Fine Automobile

The Lexus ES 300h is one of our all-time favorite luxury sedans. With its combination of a balanced drive, a comfort-oriented interior, and hybrid efficiency, the ES 300h is a beautiful car and worthy of being called a “fine automobile.”

Quick Specs & Info

2015 Lexus ES 300h Class: Midsize luxury sedan
Base Model As Tested: w/ content
Powertrain 2.5L i4, motor, CVT Powertrain 2.5L i4, motor, CVT
Base MSRP $40,580 MSRP as tested $48,805

Overview

2014 Lexus ES300h - park 4 - AOA1200pxWhen we drove the Lexus ES 300h last year, we fell in love with the car. Its great exterior, beautiful interior refinement, and smooth drive were high points for us. For 2015, little has changed and the 2015 Lexus ES 300h is still fine. Some minor changes upgrade the interior and some smartphone apps are added and the Display Audio interface becomes standard in all ES 300h models.

This hybrid sedan otherwise remains the same with a beautifully balanced drive and 40 miles per gallon as a reward for the hybrid premium.

Inside the 2015 Lexus ES 300h

2014 Lexus ES300h - interior 2 - AOA1200pxThe interior of the 2015 ES 300h is beautiful, especially with the optional bamboo treatment. Materials quality is excellent, as should be expected of Lexus, and the workmanship is very good. We enjoyed the heated and ventilated seating with their high adjustability as well. The only downside to the interior is the still-quirky Lexus Enform infotainment system. Even the trunk, which is slightly smaller to accommodate batteries for the hybrid system, is more than enough for most daily use.

One thing added this year that was useful is the new Enform App Suite, which allows some remote control operations for the car. Specifically, app users can now sync with their car and pre-set climate, seat ventilation/heat, and other items via their smartphones. Being able to prepare the car with climate settings and have it pre-cool or heat the car before you walk out to it is a big bonus.

Under the ES 300h’s Hood

2014 Lexus ES300h - engine - AOA1200pxThe 2015 Lexus ES 300h is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a continuously variable transmission and two electric motors. One motor acts as the starter/generator while the other adds power to the drivetrain (front-wheel drive) for a total system output of 200 horsepower. The ES 300h can travel a few miles on electricity alone at slow speeds and regenerates power to its batteries through braking recovery and the engine’s alternator.

The EPA gives the ES 300h a rating of 40 mpg combined (40 in the city, 39 on the highway). We saw 39 mpg across the board as our average during our week with the car, which was highway-heavy. Considering that we are at altitude (5,300 feet+) and often had 4 people in the car, that is a pretty good return.

On the Road in the 2015 ES 300h

2014 Lexus ES300h - park 5 - AOA1200pxThe ES 300h is marked by a refined drive with a lot of road manners. The hybrid powertrain is generally quiet, even at speed, emitting engine noise only when pressed. Acceleration is good, though not sporty, and delivers confidence to the driver. Braking is also smooth, with the transitions from regenerative to physical braking being seamless.

The cabin is quiet no matter the conditions outside and the ES 300h absorbs the road very well. Driver inputs are good, despite this, with plenty of feedback for most drivers to feel comfortable and reasonably engaged. Road handling, especially around town, is confident, but not particularly precise. Visibility is good and maneuverability is what should be expected from a midsize sedan.

Competition

There are still few competitors in the hybrid luxury sedan category. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the most obvious competition and it’s frankly not up to par with the ES 300h. Some shoppers may wish to check out the highest-trim Toyota Avalon Hybrid as an alternative to the Lexus, though, with its slightly lower price point and similar dynamics and accouterments. The Lexus ES 350, the non-hybrid variant of the ES 300h, is also worth a look.

Strong Points

  • Beautiful inside and out with a very refined look.
  • Smooth, comfortable, well-mannered ride.

Weaknesses

  • Not as sporty as some might expect.
  • Complicated infotainment controls.

Conclusions

In all, the luxurious Lexus ES 300h is a beautiful car that delivers a fine driving experience. As an everyday driver, it’s supremely comfortable and fine to drive. Capable of toting the family or taking friends out to dinner or a show, the 2015 ES 300h is a beautiful car that shines for both its refined looks and hybrid efficiency. For that, it remains a favorite.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The ES 300h was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week during which time about 200 miles were put on the vehicle. Full specs of the loan vehicle can be found here (PDF).

Share this:

About the Author

Aaron TurpenAn automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

View all posts by Aaron Turpen

Leave a Reply

Sign-up for Awesomeness!