It can be said, that over the last decade, Lexus has made every effort to infuse excitement and edge into its line-up. Casting off the previously held reputation of soft, boring luxury. Only fit for all manner of geriatrics. That corner of consumers, only in search of hassle-free commuting comforts. With the exception of the SC430 of course. Take a look on the Lexus website now. Peruse through pictures of their latest. The sporty IS line, the racetrack ready RCF, sensual LC 500 or hyper-luxurious LS 500. On and on it goes. Despite changes in every other corner, the model that has clung to the old formula the most, many would agree, is the Lexus ES.
Don’t take this as a bad thing. There was plenty about the old Lexus models to love. More than most others, the new ES 300h has mastered the art of fusing the old Lexus with plenty of the new. Most obvious to the adoption of all things modern era, is the ‘h’ in the title. Which of course, stands for hybrid. A 2.5L 4-cylinder, combines with Lexus Hybrid Drive to deliver 215 total system horsepower. Managed through an Electronically Controlled Variable Transmission. Nothing old-world about any of that.
Visually, the new ES 300h adopts the same design philosophy that the rest of the family has. Softened just a bit for the more restrained owner. The grille is big, the vents are prominent, the headlights sharp and slanted. Just not as much as what you find in the other Lexus models. A long wheelbase means plenty of room to stretch out, whether in the front or the back. Lexus makes wonderful use of top-tier materials in the ES model. In mine, semi-Aniline leather came in different shades of brown. From dark chocolate to creamy peanut butter. The color contrasts worked well together, giving the cabin a premium look and feel. The interior color scheme also paired perfectly with the Sunlight Green paint on the outside. A massive 12.3” color multimedia display commands every ounce of attention up front. Vents and controls all built around it, swooping and gliding out from this central point in a series of pleasing lines.
Most impressive, and where the new Lexus ES 300h really begins to remind one of the older models, is in the very high levels of comfort and quite it achieves. With a power rear sunshade, and manual ones at the rear-doors, backseat occupants can utterly block out the world, as they float down the highway. With the Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium sound system turned off, the unbelievably low decibel levels this Lexus can reach is remarkable. Double window panes, with pockets of air in between, work wonders to deaden incoming sound waves. Loads of sound insulation line the interior panels. Even the 18” split five-spoke wheels are specifically designed to reduce noise. The culmination, is a level of quite that will keep the volume of conversation comfortably low. A true testament to quality luxury.
The 2021 Lexus ES 300h looks light years more charismatic and fun than models from decades past. Yet, it hasn’t forgotten to place comfort and luxury above all else. Packed with the latest in driving aides and safety tech. Everything working in harmony to provide an experience that will pamper and reassure the driver and its occupants above all else. With a Sport mode thrown in, just in case you want to experience a little of the ‘new’ Lexus, along with the “old.”
Price as tested: $55,535.00