Expert Insights

Road Test: Lexus ES300h Hybrid

Dave Nichols
March 25, 2024
In the ever-expanding hybrid car market, the 2024 Lexus ES300h may be the best midsize luxury sedan you can buy for under $50,000.
Silver Lexus ES300h parked outside of a large gray building in the background

Lexus ES300h Hybrid: A Spacious Luxury Sedan That Gets 44 mpg

For over 30 years, Lexus has made a name as Toyota’s luxury brand, and one of its most popular models from the start has been the midsize ES, which first debuted in 1989. Now in its seventh generation, the stylish and spacious four-door now includes two sporty-looking F Sport variants, as well as the ES300h hybrid.

All versions of the ES300 hybrid come standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of driver assists, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane tracing function, and road sign assist.

On sale in its current form since 2018, in 2021, the ES300h got a facelift inside and out, with a new grille and smaller side intakes. For 2024, there are also new LED lights and 18-inch smoked chrome wheels available as an option (17-inch wheels are standard). Inside, the infotainment system has a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen.

Most importantly, the ES300h hybrid’s nickel-metal hydride battery was replaced by a more compact and high-tech lithium-ion battery. The lower height and weight the battery gave back some of the trunk space sacrificed in previous models, and also gave the ES better weight distribution, improving its handling and performance.

close up of a lexus vehicle

Lexus ES Hybrid: New for 2024

The ES300h is available in five trim levels that include a base model, Luxury, Ultra Luxury, F Sport Design, and F Sport Handling variants – you pick what suits you best as a driver.

Those seeking the most comfortable ride will love the Ultra Luxury trim, which adds the 18-inch wheels, soft quilted semi-aniline leather seats, a hands-free power trunk lid, power rear shade, and wood-and-leather steering wheel. You get the larger 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a DVD player, voice recognition, a wireless charging pad, and GPS navigation.

A new F Sport Handling trim comes with Sport+ and Custom drive modes. It gives you adaptive dampers, parking assist, a moonroof, as well as wood and aluminum trim inside, with aluminum pedals. We think it looks great, and it still delivers excellent fuel economy.

Lexus Hybrid Power and Efficiency

A combination of a 2.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor in the ES300h hybrid brings a total of 215 horsepower to the table, which is channeled to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission. The powertrain will take you from zero to 60 miles per hour in 8.3 seconds – not sports-car fast, but more than fast enough in the real world.

According to the EPA, the ES300h delivers remarkable fuel economy, achieving 43 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 44 mpg combined. Total available range is nearly 700 miles per tank of gas.

interior front of a lexus

Inside the Cabin

Open the driver’s door of the ES300h and you’ll find a sleek and stylish cabin crafted from high-quality materials. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom for five passengers in this plush, quiet, and serene environment. The fit and finish in the cabin is very impressive. You’ll also find industry-leading room in the trunk, with 17 cubic feet of cargo space available.

A separate control console in the back seat gives passengers control of their entertainment, climate control, and more.

The ES also features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a superb sound system, with 10 speakers as standard, and a killer 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system as an upgrade.

On the Road

In this stunning hybrid, Lexus has produced a luxury vehicle with an almost Mercedes-like ride quality. The ride quality and handling of the ES hybrid are pure Lexus, bringing you the composed ride that you’d expect from a true luxury sedan.

In addition to sharper handling, the F Sport version quickens your pulse a bit by getting you to 60 in 7.9 seconds in its more aggressive drive modes. In Sport Mode, performance is rewarding. It is not as fast or performance oriented as, say, a BMW 5-series, but then, what is?

The ES300h is also extremely quiet. There is no road noise or tire chirping. It’s comfortable, with the amenities one would expect from a luxury car, and offers a great view out. On the road, this sedan is super-smooth, and it comes with ten air bags and has been given a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

ES300h Hybrid: The Wrap Up

While the base ES300h hybrid offers everything you are likely to want in a luxury sedan with a starting MSRP of $43,440, the more upscale F Sport Handling package includes adaptive dampers, which changes up the entire suspension system, and still sneaks in under the $50,000 mark.

With its elegant design, regal interior, and outstanding best-in-class fuel efficiency, the 2024 Lexus ES300h could be the best midsize luxury sedan in its segment, especially at the price.

All mileage is EPA-estimated.