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Lexus ES 300h Hybrid: Best of both worlds

P Tharyan/ 20 May 17 | 12:10 AM

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid. Photos: Afsar Baig

Tyota’s luxury arm, Lexus, is officially here in India with three different models: two hybrids and one diesel vehicle. I got my hands  on the sixth-generation Lexus ES 300h, a premium luxury sedan that I would like to describe as craftsmanship at its best. Like all Lexus cars, this one too has the new signature spindle grille, and on it the Lexus logo with the iconic “L" letter planted against a blue backdrop — denoting that the car is a hybrid.

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Everything shows chic styling — from the design of the lamps to the shape of the car, the two-eye LED headlamps with the Lexus arrowhead-shaped daytime running lamps and the signature L-shaped combination lamps at the back. There is also an LED high-mount stop lamp. The aerodynamic shape of the car, with aero-stabilising fins on the front-door frame covers, and even the tiny fins on the tail lamps all help in cutting wind to perfection. The top-notch paint quality, the 10-spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels, the acoustic character of the glass for the windshields and windows and the sunroof enhance the car’s appearance.

Step inside the ES 300h and a premium luxury world awaits you. The dashboard with crafted leather, the refined wood and leather steering, the intuitive remote touch, the modern LED analog clock and the smart leather seats make the cabin attractive. The front seat has 10-way power adjustments; the driver’s seat has an adjustable seat cushion length. Due to the large wheelbase, the rear seats provide ample leg room. LED illumination in the foot areas makes it easy to get in and out when it’s dark. The air-conditioning system provides three-zone independent control of temperature in the driver’s seat, front passenger seat and the rear seats.

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid. Photos: Afsar Baig

Those sitting at the back can control the cabin temperature through controls located in the rear centre arm.  The sunshade for the rear windshield can be controlled electronically. This shade retracts automatically when the reverse gear is engaged. But the rear door windows and the quarter glass have manual sun shades.

From the lower instrument panel and front and rear door trim, there is subtle illumination that can be adjusted. The optitron meters are easy to read and when one is driving on eco or normal mode, the instrumentation turns a tranquil blue, and when you are on the sport mode, the instrumentation changes to a vibrant red.

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid. Photos: Afsar Baig

Positioned in the centre of the meter cluster is a 4.2-inch colour TFT. The TFT multi-information display provides a wide range of vehicle information, data and warnings that also include tyre pressure warnings on each of the four tyres. Incidentally, the fifth tyre offered by Lexus is of the same size as the other four, unlike the donut tyres and run flat tyres offered by other car companies. The car comes with the Mark Levinson surround sound audio system with a 12-channel amplifier and 15 speakers. It’s music to your ears!

Hybrids have their own charm. They are silent to begin with, and as the petrol engine kicks in, there is a constant charging of the batteries. On EV-drive mode, the car can be driven using only the electric motor power up to speeds of around 40 kmph.

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid. Photos: Afsar Baig

The car comes with three drive modes: eco, normal and sport. It behaves best in the eco mode, where throttle control and air-conditioning are set at levels with an eye on fuel efficiency.

Put it on sport mode, and the throttle control changes and the electric power steering gets far more responsive. The normal mode optimally balances the eco and sport modes. The car was quick on its feet when needed and the suspension tackled the rough roads with a lot of confidence. NVH levels were excellent and the car handled all the twists and turns well. The hybrid system in the ES 300h gets a total output of 202hp. The 2.5-litre petrol engine has been mated to an E-CVT transmission. The car can achieve a top speed of 185 kmph and goes from 0-100 kmph in 8.5 seconds. On the safety front, the car comes with 10 air bags.

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid. Photos: Afsar Baig

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid

Engine and electric motor:2.5-litre petrol / Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Torque: 213Nm@4,500rpm

Combined power: 202 hp

Suspension: Front and rear: MacPherson struts

Transmission/Drivetrain: E-CVT

Price: Rs 55.27 lakh

Report: Motown India; www.motownindia.com

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