Making its entry into the luxury hybrid segment, Lexus has recently launched the 2013 Lexus ES300h hybrid. Although similar to its kin Lexus ES350 in many respects, 2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid sets the bar higher with its extremely powerful powertrain.
This hybrid version will definitely benefit those who look for fuel efficient luxury cars. Here is a comprehensive review of 2013 Lexus ES300h hybrid.
Features Of 2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid
2013 Lexus ES300h sports 17-inch 215/55R Michelin tires with aluminum rims. 2013 Lexus ES300h sports discreet rear spoiler and hides the exhaust pipes that were not part of the exterior design of its non-hybrid sibling, ES350.
Fog lights have been deeply recessed into the body. 2-tiered spindle grille, sitting at the middle of the fog lights, redefines the exterior of the hybrid version.
Interior components and ergonomic design of 2013 Lexus ES300h also match that of ES350. However, 2013 Lexus ES300h has used renewable bamboo in making the steering wheel as against the use of bird’s eye maple of ES350.
2013 Lexus ES300h has larger trunk space (12.1 cubic feet) against the 15.2 cubic feet cargo space of ES 350. This loss of trunk space can be accounted to the presence of 1.6kWh battery pack. Standard audio controls and climate controls are also on board.
2013 Lexus ES300h hybrid reminds a lot about the Camry hybrid system. This is because like the Camry hybrid system, 2013 Lexus ES300h hybrid sports two electric motors. Named as MG1 and MG2, these motors are accompanied by 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that is driven by gasoline and renders 156 horsepower output. While MG1 drives the batteries by acting as a power source, MG2 handles electric part of propulsion and when the car needs regenerative braking at times of deceleration, MG2 motor switches to generator mode. MG1 starts internal combustion engine when at stop signs, the car automatically switches to Eco Mode and engine shuts down. Gs electric system output of MG2 is 200 horsepower, which stands at par with output of Camry version i.e. 144 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque.
2013 Lexus 300h hybrid sports 6-cell liquid-cooled battery comprising of 34 hydride modules made of nickel. Weighing 108lb, the 1.6kWh pack comprises of junction box, service plug and air intake. This pack is placed below the rear seats and reduces the interior footprint as a whole. What 2013 Lexus ES300h direly lacks is the signature grunt of V6 engine.
2013 Lexus ES300h offers three engaging driving modes – Normal, Sport and Eco. Although the driving modes are similar to those of its sibling, 2013 Lexus ES300h sports CVT (continuous variable transmission) that is missing in its V6 brother. One downside of inclusion of CVT is that it tends to control the driver even in Sport mode. In Normal mode, the driver has better command in terms of choosing efficiency settings and performance settings.
One noticeable aspect of 2013 Lexus ES300h is that it starts smoothly and quietly just like a luxury vehicle. Eco mode, on the other hand, maximizes fuel efficiency by modifying climate control system and reducing throttle response. However, the loss of speed in this mode may disappoint a good number of drivers. For enthusiasts, the Sport mode is the natural choice when they hit the highway. In Sport mode, tachometer performs the function of hybrid power monitor. The car hits top torque level of 156 lb-ft in this mode. However, switching to the Sport mode definitely means lesser fuel efficiency.
In addition, EV mode is also on board. In this mode, the car runs on the electric motors only. Advantages of EV mode are gas-free travel up to 25mph speed covering distance of one and half miles. One should switch to EV mode during warming up of gas engine, full depression of accelerator, or lack of charge in battery pack.
Apart from these details, 2013 Lexus ES300h behaves like the ES350 in terms of road manners and handling. In the absence of manumatic transmission, 2013 Lexus ES300h cannot deliver the excitement while descending steep slopes or turning at corners. Driving assistance features such as lane-departure alert, rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitor systems are present.
EPA ratings for fuel economy for 2013 Lexus ES300h are 21mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway. Combined fuel economy figure is 39mpg.
In all, 2013 Lexus ES300h hybrid marks a new beginning in the luxury hybrid segment making the car a prime choice for those who want to make a class difference economically. The Starting price of 2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid is $39,745. With the inclusion of prominently unique exterior design elements and high-performance motors and gasoline engine, it is sure that 2013 Lexus ES300h would not meet the fate of ES250h.