Cars

2018 Lexus ES 300h First Drive Review: A Luxury Lounge On Wheels It is priced at Rs 59.13 lakh ex-showroom and is based on the company’s front-wheel-drive Global Architecture-K platform

@SidnChips

JUST after a year of their entry into the Indian market, Japanese luxury car maker, Lexus has introduced the all-new Lexus ES 300h in India.

The car competes with the likes of Audi A6 which is also due for a model change this year, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the tech-loaded BMW 5-Series.

The Lexus ES 300h is priced at Rs 59.13 lakh ex-showroom in India and is based on the company’s front-wheel-drive Global Architecture-K platform.

According to Lexus, the ES 300h is one of the most powerful hybrid powertrains that one can buy in India right now. We got a chance to drive the all-new Lexus ES 300h recently and here’s what we think about it.

Design

The new ES has a very bold and futuristic look to it. There is Lexus’ trademark spindle grille that adds to all the drama that this car has to offer. The design on the Lexus ES 300h is inspired by the company’s top line LS sedan.

The new Lexus gets LED headlights and taillights as well as low profile tyres on the 18-inch alloy wheels. The car comes in nine colour options. The side profile of the new Lexus ES 300h is designed in such a way that you might mistake it for a coupe. Even the rear end of the car is sophisticatedly designed and the boot arch gives an appearance of a spoiler at the back.

It’s subtly futuristic and with an elegant design.

The wheelbase has been increased by almost 2 inches. From a distance, the Lexus looks longer and wider than most luxury sedans in the market and the many curves on it provides the added oomph.

Interiors

You just can’t ignore the 2018 Lexus ES 300h’s cabin. You’d want to be in it every day. It is flamboyant yet retains the class and quality you expect from a German luxury car.

There is plenty for the driver, passenger and even people on the rear seat to fiddle around with while waiting in India’s slow-moving traffic. The cabin hosts a load of switches, knobs and buttons to make sure you get a comfortable ride every time you get in the car.

What’s in your face is the huge 12.3-inch infotainment system. Sadly, it isn’t touch sensitive. There is, however, a touchpad in the central console that you can use to operate it. The haptic feedback on which is impressive.  It’s responsive and a delight to use. The 2018 Lexus ES 300h also includes a 7-inch digital instrument cluster that’s quite similar to the LS models of Lexus.

You can choose from a range of option when it comes to upholstery. The interiors come in Black, Chateau, Topaz Brown and Rich Cream colour options. You can choose between Shimamoku wood in black and brown and a lighter coloured Bamboo for the cabin trim.

The rear seat comfort on the new 2018 Lexus ES 300h is comparable to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class long wheelbase in India. The 2018 Lexus ES 300h has got a longer wheelbase now as compared to the previous generation which means that you get ample leg room at the back.

To add to the comfort of the rear seat passengers, the seats recline at an angle of 8-degrees. Now, 8-degree might not sound like a big deal but in a sedan like this, it makes a  world of a difference.

There is ample legroom and thigh support and you’ll be able to recline and relax in the backseat as you wait to arrive at your destination.

The 17-speaker Mark Levinson Pure Play system that’s offered as standard, delivers an audio experience that will hit all the right chords.

For safety, the 2018 Lexus ES 300h comes with 10 airbags (including knee airbags), hill-start assist and stability control. The Indian model of the 2018 Lexus ES 300h also gets a full-size spare tyre. It comes loaded with a lot of deadening materials for in-cabin noise reduction. These materials cover up to 93 per cent of the floor pan making this luxury sedan quietly brilliant.

Engine and Performance

The new 2018 Lexus ES 300h is powered by a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that works in tandem with an improved version of the electric motor. This is a hybrid engine that offers zero noise inside the cabin. This is also because Lexus has cleverly used in-cabin noise cancelling technology with the help of a surround sound system.

Think of it as a big noise cancelling headphone, the physics is the same, the application, however, is different. The naturally aspirated petrol motor produces 178 BHP of power and a colossal 221 Nm of torque. This is further assisted by a 120 BHP electric motor in this hybrid powertrain. This does not mean that the total power output of the ES 300h is 298 BHP, it works like many hybrid engines out there. Depending on your driving method, the car’s system will choose to utilise the engine or the electric motor or both.

Lexus has used a new, shorter hybrid transaxle which has an arrangement of two electric motors in a multi-axle configuration. This is a step up over the coaxial setup that’s used by many hybrid cars.

The hybrid system also has a nickel-metal hydride battery for powering the electric motors. In the earlier ES 300h the placement of this battery system was in the boot of the car, but on the 2018 ES 300h, it is placed under the back seat.

There are four driving modes in the ES–Normal, Eco, Sport and EV. The EV which uses only the electric motor to move the car allows a peek into the future of automobiles.

Progressive acceleration can take the car up to 40km/h just on the electric motor. On the traffic laden roads of India, this will make sure that your carbon footprint is reduced by a big margin.

But as the battery is not big on capacity it will switch to the petrol motor soon. During the EV mode, the car is so silent that you can sneak right next to someone and they won’t even notice.

You’ll love driving in this mode and it’ll give you a headstart when it comes to driving electric vehicles—the future of mobility.

The petrol and electric motors work in tandem and deliver a smooth yet strong performance. The car is able to gather momentum with just a tap of your foot on the accelerator pedal. The acceleration is linear and well paced out, the 6 speed CVT transmission is also effortless and does its job so silently that you won’t even notice the gear shifts. The drive is smooth and silent.

The top speed on offer is 190 km/h and Lexus claims a fuel efficiency north of 22 km/l on the new ES 300h. There is also a sports mode that will give you some excitement in life, but not as good as what you get from the likes of the BMW 5-series.

Verdict

At Rs 59.13 lakh ex-showroom, the new Lexus ES 300h is a car that’s made for people who love to be driven around in style. With an emphasis on privacy, comfort and an exceptional level of detailing, the new ES 300h is for people who like perfection in life.

The company calculates the carbon footprint generated by you during the period that you own the car and has pledged to plant a certain number of trees at one of their reserves. This way you enjoy their car without any guilt.

~ENDS~

 

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