I had just left a boiling New
Delhi and the 43 deg of heat behind when I landed in Ooty. The temperature was
around 17 deg C and the lush green Nilgiri hills simply added loads of beauty
to the scenery all around. And then I laid my eyes on the new Lexus ES 300h
luxury sedan. I stepped in and asked the Lexus technical person whether I could
turn on the engine. “It’s already on,” he said with a smile. Dammit! How could
I be so ignorant? This is a hybrid, I told myself.
Rear: MacPherson struts
Rear: 16” disc brakes
GENERATOR / MAX. OUTPUT
Synchronous Motor / 105kw (141hp)
GROUND CLEARANCE (MM)
Design and Features of the Lexus ES 300h
The Lexus ES 300h is an aerodynamically
crafted beauty. In fact, the craftsmanship is evident both inside and outside. The
car has a wheelbase of 2820mm, an overall length of 4915mm, a width of 1820mm
and a height of 1450mm. Like all Lexus cars, this one too glares at you with
its signature spindle grille. Somewhere at the centre of the grille is the
Lexus logo with the iconic ‘L’ letter planted on a shade of blue. This colour
denotes that the car is a hybrid.
The letter ‘L’ takes different
forms on the car, like the two-eye LED headlamps with the Lexus arrowhead-shaped
daytime running lamps and the signature L-shaped combination lamps at the back.
There is also an LED high-mount stop lamp. The aerodynamic shape of the car has
been matched to perfection with aero-stabilising fins on the front door frame
covers and even the tiny fins on the tail lamps so as to cut air perfectly and
thereby reduce the drag coefficient. The paint quality is so upmarket that you
can actually place your analog watch close to the car body and see the seconds
needle move in the reflection. The ten spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels enhance
the looks of the car further, apart from being effective on the move. The glass
for the windshields and the windows has an acoustic characteristic which blocks
outside noise into the cabin. They are also water repellent thus providing clear
view during rains. The sunroof opens, closes and tilts up and down at the touch
of a switch inside.
Design and Features of the Lexus ES 300h
Step inside the ES 300h and it’s
a premium luxury world that awaits you. The dashboard with crafted leather, the
refined wood and leather steering, the intuitive remote touch, the modern LED
analog clock and the smart leather seats add to the beauty of the cabin. The
front seat has 10-way power adjustments. The driver’s seat has an adjustable
seat cushion length. Because of the large wheelbase, the rear seats provide
ample space for seating as well as leg room. LED illumination in the foot areas
make it easy for getting in and out when it is dark. The air-conditioning
system provides 3-zone independent control of temperature in the driver’s seat,
front passenger seat and the rear seats. Those sitting at the back can control
temperature for their area through controls located in the rear centre arm.
The sunshade for the rear windshield
can be controlled electrically. This shade retracts automatically when the
reverse gear is engaged. But the rear door windows and the quarter glass have manual
When it comes to the instrument panel
and the surroundings, there is LED illumination at its best. From the lower instrument
panel and front and rear door trim there is subtle illumination that can be
adjusted. When it comes to the instrument cluster how can you not talk about
the optitron meters? These are easy to read and when one is driving on Eco or
Normal Mode, the instrumentation turns a tranquil blue and when you are on Sport
Mode the instrumentation illuminates to a vibrant red.
Positioned in the centre of the meter
cluster is a 4.2 inch colour TFT. The TFT multi-information display provides a
wide range of vehicle information, data and warnings that also include tyre
pressure warnings on each of the four tyres. The intuitive remote touch
interface on the centre console area helps you to change settings that show up
on the TFT. Then there are steering wheel controls for the audio system and
multi-information system. The TFT screen doubles up as a parking assist monitor
too. Last but not the least, no cabin is
complete without a good music system. The car comes with the Mark Levinson surround
sound audio system with a 12-channel amplifier and 15 speakers. It’s music to
of the Lexus ES 300h
Hybrids have their own charm. It’s
silent to begin with and as the petrol engine kicks in, there is a constant
charging of the batteries and energy is passed on back and forth, thereby
delivering a perfect balance of performance and fuel efficiency. When you put
the car on EV-drive mode, the car can be driven using only the electric motor
power up to speeds of around 40kmph. It is meant to keep your driving a bit
silent when coming or leaving home at night and to reduce indoor car parks and
The Lexus ES 300h is not an ordinary
car, rather it is a car that is meant to conserve energy and to reduce
emissions. You have three drive modes in this car—Eco, Normal and Sport. It’s best behaved in the Eco mode where
throttle control and air-conditioning are set at levels with an eye on fuel
Put it on Sport mode and the
throttle control changes and the electric power steering gets far more
responsive. The Normal mode optimally balances the Eco and Sport modes. There
was not much driving I did with the car on the roads of Ooty but I could gather
from my limited driving that the car was quick on its feet when it was needed
and the suspension took the rough roads with a lot of confidence. NVH levels
were excellent and car handled well on all the twists and turns of Ooty. Every
time I braked, I knew that kinetic energy was being converted to electric
energy to charge the nickel-metal hybrid (Ni-MH) batteries that are installed
in the luggage compartment behind the rear seats. Cruise control can be set and
adjusted by a lever on the right side of the steering wheel. The Lexus ES 300h
gets a 2.5 litre, 4 cylinder, petrol power plant which puts out 158.24bhp at
5700rpm and 213Nm of torque at 4500rpm. The hybrid system in the ES 300h gets a
total output of 202hp. The 2.5L engine has been mated to an E-CVT transmission.
The car can achieve a top speed of
185kmph and goes from 0-100kmph in 8.5 seconds. On the safety front the car
comes with ten air bags.
The Lexus ES 300h luxury sedan is
elegant to look at, has well crafted interiors and exteriors, and has an engine
that has a graceful approach to its drive. It is right mix of elegance, grace
and performance. The signature spindle grill may not appeal to you in the first
glance, but once you have spent some time with the car, you will simply love
the bold and uber design language.
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