• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

New Car Review

2014 Lexus ES 300h: Real World Review

RELATED READING
See all Lexus ES 300h articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2014 Lexus ES Models

author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2014

Up until last year, the luxurious Lexus ES sedan had always been based on the popular Toyota Camry. But as of the 2013 model year, that's no longer true. Now, the newly redesigned ES uses the same platform as the larger Toyota Avalon, so there's more interior space and cargo room than ever before.

In addition to its larger size, the ES' redesign also brought about another big change to Lexus' most popular sedan: a hybrid version with a 4-cylinder engine. We spent some time driving the 2014 Lexus ES 300h to find out if the new hybrid -- and the new ES in general -- is worth Lexus' premium prices.

Focus on Smooth

Although Lexus has pushed hard in recent years to cultivate a more performance-oriented image, you can tell that the ES is one car that's focused on snagging a different group of buyers. Instead of looking for handling- and power-obsessed car enthusiasts, the ES remains designed for and primarily aimed at shoppers who put luxury and comfort over speed and driving enjoyment.

An example: The interior doesn't have the same sharp-edged, driver-focused look as the cabin in Lexus' sporty IS sedan. Instead, the ES is filled with wood trim, large buttons, easy-to-read gauges, and a general look and feel that's described by one of our staffers as "plush." In essence, it seems the ES is designed to pick up all the buyers lost by the larger GS sedan's transition to a more performance-oriented image.

The same is true on the road. No one who drove the car came away with the feeling that it was exciting or sporty. Sure, some drivers said the ES' acceleration was surprisingly strong for a 4-cylinder. But mostly, our staffers described the ES' driving experience with words such as "quiet" and "luxurious," though one driver noted that it's a little sharper than previous ES models. We suspect that's exactly what Lexus wants us to think of the ES, and if that's the case, the brand is certainly on the right track.

Hybrid Woes

There are two sides to the ES' hybrid system: one that manages to help the sedan return stellar gas mileage, and another that disrupts the otherwise pleasant driving experience.

That's right: Despite Toyota continually being among the leading automakers when it comes to hybrid sales, the ES 300h's hybrid system is still surprisingly intrusive. For one thing, it's hardly seamless; you can easily feel the car make the transition from gas to electric power, which isn't a complaint we have about the far-less-expensive Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Honda Accord Hybrid.

But it's not just that: Several drivers also complained of a difficult, grabby brake pedal, likely the result of the sedan's regenerative braking system. The good news is that Lexus has figured out how to make the hybrid battery less invasive on the ES' trunk space, apparently by fitting a slightly deeper trunk floor.

With that said, our issues with the ES' hybrid system aren't fatal flaws, and if you can live with them, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that you'll get an impressive 40 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. While we couldn't quite crack 37 mpg in combined city and highway driving, the point remains: For an upscale sedan, the ES is surprisingly efficient.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus ES Models
Used 2013 Lexus ES Models
$26,934
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Lexus ES Models
Used 2013 Lexus ES Models
$26,239
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2015 Lexus ES Models
New 2015 Lexus ES Models
MSRP $Unlisted
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2015 Lexus ES Models
New 2015 Lexus ES Models
MSRP $Unlisted

Pricey, but Worth It for the Right Buyer

In the end, the window sticker on our Lexus test car came to around $48,000 -- big money for the ES, considering its 4-cylinder engine and the fact that it's so clearly based on the Avalon, which starts around $33,000 with shipping.

But we happen to think the 2014 Lexus ES 300h is a good value, provided you're the right shopper for it. Here's what we mean: The ES is an excellent vehicle for drivers interested in a plush sedan with a focus on gas mileage, interior quality, passenger room and trunk space. It's not such a good bet if you want crisp, exciting styling, strong acceleration or sports-car-like handling. But we suspect there are a lot of drivers who fall into the former category, and for that reason, we think the ES 300h will have no trouble finding success among a wide variety of car shoppers.

Find a Lexus ES for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2014 Lexus ES 300h: Real World Review - Autotrader