Toyota is dropping a luxury hybrid that will give other green vehicles a run for their money. The 2013 Lexus ES 300h is half electric and all luxury. Priced at $38,850, which is only $2,700 above it’s non-hybrid counter part. The two vehicles, ES 350 and ES 300h, look almost identical.
The 2.5 liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four engine offers up 40 miles per gallon, and boasts a strong 200 horse power. An interesting feature is the drive mode button. This allows the driver to change between four modes.
Eco, normal, sport and EV modes alter the way the vehicle accelerates, fuel consumption, and handling. In sport mode, the vehicle will burn more fuel, but will gain a punchy increased acceleration. Normal and eco modes are relatively similar. The eco mode attempts to save the user gas through various throttle adjustments.
The EV mode is possibly the most unique, and relatively least usable, of the drive modes. When set in EV mode the vehicle will run solely off of electrical power. The drawbacks of this seemingly amazing feature are immense. For one, you can only achieve speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Additionally, on a fully charged battery the car can only sustain on electric power alone for up to one mile.
The practical use of EV mode is limited to parking lots and neighborhoods. However, it does add slightly to the fuel economy over all if used often and when applicable. The dollar amount saved would be too insignificant to calculate on less then a yearly basis.
On the inside, the ES 300h is everything we’ve come to expect of Lexus Luxury. The center dash is home to a 7” display. Combined with the Enform Lexus telematics system, planning and navigating long trips is as simple as using a smart phone app.
A one-touch power trunk, heating and cooling options for both the seats and steering wheel, this new hybrid is jam packed with all the goodies.
The sleek design of the exterior, over all fuel economy, luxury interior features, and multiple premium upgrade packages showcase that Toyota has addressed the ‘You are buying an expensive Camry’ notion.