Road test 2014 Lexus ES300h Driving

7 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Road test 2014 Lexus ES300h Driving отключены
LEXUS GS GS 300h SE E-CVT Continuosuly Variable

Road test: 2014 Lexus ES300h

The Lexus ES 300h’s aerodynamic shape features the new grille treatment common to the brand’s model lineup.

The ES 300h features a simple and efficient dash layout.

The 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine is a four-cylinder design mated to the Lexus Hybrid Drive electric motor.

The ES 300h loses three cubic feet of room in the trunk when compared to its sister, the ES 350, as the battery units take up space and prohibit folding the seatbacks.

The 8-inch display screen is a multi-purpose, and can be controlled using a computer mouse-like control mounted to the centre console.

Luxury sedan may share major components with Camry, but this car is more substantial in many ways

Value for money Good

What would I change? Rear passenger compartment lacks headroom.

Halogen projector lights and LED daytime running lights help illuminate the way.

Russell Purcell, Driving

The Lexus ES 300h is a very good automobile. Unfortunately, it is also the Rodney Dangerfield of the automotive world as it is a model that doesn’t get the respect that it deserves.

What’s the problem, you ask? The main issue is that the typical buyer of the modern hybrid vehicle is a budget-savvy consumer looking to get the best deal and stretch every dollar. At an as-tested price of $52,621, the 2014 Lexus ES 300h is not inexpensive, and when compared with similarly equipped competitors like the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, it becomes apparent that the car is in reality, well priced for this segment.

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However, the biggest challenge to ES 300h sales comes from an in-house contender from parent company Toyota that can be had for substantially less money. The Toyota Camry Hybrid shares most of its drivetrain and major components with the Lexus ES 300h and can be had for about $15,000 less than the Lexus. This makes the Camry Hybrid a steal, especially for those environmentally conscious consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint without exhausting their savings, or laying waste to the family budget.

The Lexus on the other hand, is a more substantial car, in more ways than one. Buyers stepping into a Lexus dealership tend to be immediately smitten by the brand, as Toyota has worked very hard to bestow its luxury division with an environment and philosophy designed around satisfying the needs and wants of their customers in short order. The emphasis is on providing individual attention to their clientele, and one look at customer satisfaction results prove that Lexus excels in this department.

The ES 300h has a very rather conservative styling, but it looks classy.

Russell Purcell, Driving

The ES 300h also offers a slightly larger passenger compartment, as the car is marginally longer than a Camry overall, and the wheelbase has been stretched to help augment rear legroom.

I had more than enough room to wiggle the toes of my big size 12 feet in the rear foot well, but I did find myself wanting more headroom in the rear passenger compartment. At six-foot-two, I found the need to lean my head forward or sideways in order to find enough airspace for my big melon. Luckily, I got to spend my time situated behind the wheel, where I had more than enough leg-, hip- and headroom.

The quality of the materials and trim pieces used throughout the ES are definitely a step above those used on the Camry, and one look at the exterior styling and appointments suggest that great care was taken to give the Lexus its own identity. The look is simple, but classy.

Sure, the Lexus offers more refined styling and a more posh-looking and -feeling interior environment, but when it comes to the mechanical bits, there are very few differences between the two cars. Both cars derive their motivation from the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine, which produces 200 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque. Power delivery is to the front wheels, and the CVT works quietly to maximize overall efficiency.

The 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine is a four-cylinder design mated to the Lexus Hybrid Drive electric motor.

Russell Purcell, Driving

Lexus markets this luxurious, mid-sized sedan as having fuel efficiency comparable to that of a compact car, but without compromising on performance. While 200-horsepower is a rather minuscule number in this day and age, performance is preserved by the fact that hybrid power plants feature instantaneous torque due to the boost provided by the electric motor.

Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h can be executed in about 7.5 seconds. This is an impressive number for a five-passenger sedan fitted with a four-cylinder engine.

The ES300h features three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. At the twist of a dial the driver is able to customize the vehicle’s engine mapping and throttle response to best suit their mood or driving conditions. The colour of the compact instrument cluster will change to reflect which mode you select — red for Sport, blue for Eco.

In Sport mode, the ES 300h delivers a driving experience akin to that of the V6 equipped ES 350, to the point that you soon forget that you are behind the wheel of a hybrid automobile. Handling is precise and predictable, although the winter tires fitted to my test vehicle seemed prone to skating and squealing during hard cornering manoeuvres.

The instrument cluster includes a gauge which allows you to monitor the status of the electrical motor assist.

LEXUS GS GS 300h SE E-CVT Continuosuly Variable

Russell Purcell, Driving

Alternately, in fuel-sipping Eco mode, the car’s drive system sets the engine and transmission to work as efficiently as possible in an effort to maximize fuel economy. This Eco system is so well thought out that it even adjusts the operation of variables like the climate control system to help further reduce consumption.

The ES 300h also features an EV mode, which permits low speed operation of the car for short periods solely on electric power. Once the power reserve is depleted or the system’s speed threshold is reached, it will re-engage the gasoline motor without the need for driver input. It is a strange experience indeed to run silently in an urban setting, with the only noise the sound of the tires rolling on the road surface.

The ES 300h is a well-equipped, five-passenger sedan which should appeal to the environmentally conscious buyer who is attracted by the car’s impressive fuel efficiency, conservative styling, and green image.

For those consumers unwilling to pay the premium required to own a Lexus product over one from Toyota, the Camry Hybrid is on deck and ready to fill this demand. For the Toyota Motor Company, this is a win-win situation, and further supports why the company is the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

A simple dial controller allows the driver to customize the car s operation to suit their individual needs.

Russell Purcell, Driving

The Specs

Type of vehicle Front-wheel-drive, front-engine, mid-sized hybrid sedan

Engine 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with electric motor assist (Lexus Hybrid Drive)

Power 200 hp @ 5,700 rpm; 156 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm

Transmission Continuously variable (CVT)

Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS

Standard features NuLuxe synthetic leather seats, dual-zone climate control, Siri Eyes-Free, Lexus Premium Audio with eight speakers, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA, Bluetooth capability, SiriusXM, remote keyless entry, power adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, traction control, stability control, Halogen headlamps, LED running lights, LED tail lamps, ABS brakes, Smart Key System, full complement of airbags (including front, knee, side and curtain), ABS brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels

Options Leather Package $6,400. Includes Mark Levinson Audio, 15-speakers, 8-inch display screen, leather seating surfaces, power rear window sunshade, rear door sunshades, compass, navigation system, remote touch interface, rain sensing wipers, woodgrain trim, auto-leveling HID headlamps, illuminated entry system.Federal A/C Excise Tax ($100), Tire levy ($20.00), AMVIC fee ($6.25)

LEXUS GS GS 300h SE E-CVT Continuosuly Variable
LEXUS GS GS 300h SE E-CVT Continuosuly Variable

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