Lexus hold em | 

It is seventh heaven for the new and improved Lexus ES300 h

High quality at a low price point
The Lexus ES

The Lexus ES

The Lexus ES interior

The Lexus ES interior

Daragh Keany

I shouldn’t admit it but I desperately wanted to dislike this car because I know someone vile who drives one, but the more I sat in it and drove it and ogled it the more I fell in love with it.

I also fully expected to have to pay a small fortune for it considering how gorgeous it is and because it has the coveted Lexus badge on the utterly-bonkers-and-brave grille. But even the price tag came as a pleasant surprise.

The Lexus ES interior

The Lexus ES interior

So where do I start? Well, you have to place this alongside the likes of the E-Class and the 5 series as well as the A6. Three giants of the ‘premium’ German auto manufacturing. So how does the Japanese pretender to the throne compete?

This is the car’s SEVENTH version in 32 years, and by far the best.

A true sign of the company’s confidence in the latest model is that my test car last month was the entry level Dynamic trim. Usually, a car company puts its best foot forward to win over test reviews with a fully loaded high-end trim line of a car.

But this beauty right here is Lexus’s entry level trim. And it’s glorious.

It’s a 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol hybrid engine with a 29kW electric motor and can be yours for €51,595. That was a pleasant surprise as it genuinely acted and drove like a €65-€70k car.

This isn’t devoid of all the usual as-standard features either. Aside from the regular players there are inclusions such as privacy glass, LED headlights and cornering lights, radar-guided cruise control, blind spot monitor, a decent seven-inch digital instrument panel with a newly-designed 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 10-speaker Pioneer sound system, wireless phone charging and lovely leather upholstery.

The Dynamic trim offers these 18-inch alloys as standard, along with the Lexus Safety System +, which also includes cyclist detection for the emergency autonomous braking system, and a pop-up bonnet for pedestrian protection.

It’s only when you upgrade to the F Sport line that you start to see some eye-watering add ons for the asking price of €58,945. The top spec ‘Premium’ models cost €64,460 by the way which is where I thought this entry level test car sat.

The interior is an interesting mash of old and new. There’s a lovely analogue clock positioned right beside the big new flashy touchscreen and just below there are very welcome buttons to adjust the heating and air-conditioning.

There is also decent storage and a wireless phone charger with two cupholders in front of the gear selector. Everything is of a high quality, even in this ‘Dynamic’ trim line, so I can only imagine how fancy it gets the further up the list you are able to afford.

This hybrid engine has a good acceleration and while it stays in gear a little longer than feels natural, no one can fault the economy of this engine.

Lexus quotes 5.5ltr/100km but realistically it is the other side of 6 litres. But that is still insanely good for a car of this size and speed and weight and fun.

I heard someone describe this car as an ‘old-fashioned car in a fast-changing market’ which I disagree with, unless you consider high quality, refinement, reliability and comfort as being ‘old-fashioned’.


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