The Lexus ES 300h It has reconciled us with hybrid powertrains and has made me admire the Lexus brand even more for its good work. When we met him at the beginning of the year in his national presentation we mainly highlighted his electronic rear view mirrors, when the truth is that this great technological detail is nothing if we compare it with its superb behavior.
Lexus updated in early 2021 the ES 300h with light aesthetic improvements, greater technologyOh mechanical optimizations, in order to increase safety, comfort and quality of life on board. But without a doubt, the most outstanding novelty is the introduction of some digital rear view mirrorss. These replace the classic exterior glass with two appendages with integrated cameras, while inside they are installed two 5-inch screens located on the ‘A’ pillars.
These are located where we would normally direct our eyes to see if someone is approaching from the flanks, so they present a more “natural” position than some rivals that already use this same technology. Of course, we would be lying if we did not say that they require a period of adaptation, since at the beginning we always look at the cameras before the screens.
The digital mirrors offer some advantages compared to classic rear-view mirrors such as: a better body aerodynamics due to its slim design and therefore less wind noise, although the most important advances correspond to safety, since eliminate dreaded blind spots with an option that broadens the perspective, and noticeably improves vision at night or in dark areas such as tunnels and, above all, in adverse weather conditionss, since they neither fill with water nor fog up, allowing a totally clear view even when real downpours fall.
The mirrors allow different configurations to adapt to the tastes and needs of each user. Viewing height and angle can be changed, the brightness, the blind spot function can be activated, and the presence of virtual proximity guides on the perimeter of the vehicle.
Despite the latter, the truth is that it is important to get a real idea of the real distance from the cars or objects around you. This is not a problem in driving, where you play with much higher margins, but it is a setback when parking a car like this that measures almost 5 meters in length. Even with the support of parking aid systems It is a bit scary to put this car in some parking spaces since at no time does it have a real visual reference on the sides of the vehicle. You have to have blind faith, and never better said, in technology.
An interior of authentic luxury
The interior displays of the digital mirrors only reinforce the exclusivity of a simply impeccable cabin, and even more so if we talk about the top-of-the-range version called Luxury, which is the only one in which the standard electronic mirrors are offered as standard. In the rest of the versions they are not even an option.
The interior has a sober and elegant design, and has high quality materials such as wood leather in many of the elements that surround us. The fits between pieces are unsurpassed and the attention to detail worthy of artisan hands, which not only gives us a feeling of absolute exclusivity, but also the interior remains the same over the years, without the appearance of squeaks and creaks. There is no surface on which the touch is soft and pleasant, or where we see that a piece dances or does not fit well.
Another section to highlight in the cabin of the ergonomics, which could be classified simply as perfect. Not only because the seats and steering wheel have a multitude of mechanical and memory adjustments, but also because the cushy of the own seats is extraordinary for its mix of hardness and comfort, because they have their own air conditioning, or because all the controls are within reach of the driver and passenger.
But since we talk about the controls we have to mention one of the few things we didn’t like about the ES 300h. And it’s not about something specific to this model, but about Lexus in general. It is shocking that at this point the models of the Japanese firm still do not use a touch screen from where the elements of equipment of the vehicle are handled. In return we have a touch panel in the middle of the seats that has a complex and very imprecise handling, since you select things that you do not want and when you do not want them either.
So far we have talked about the front seats, but in a sedanlike the Lexus E 300h you also have to do it from the rear. And it has a huge rear benchr that can seat up to three occupants, although it is really enjoyed when only two people travel in its outside seats. The space for the legs, hips and head is extraordinary, the comfort offered by the unbeatable seat, and also enjoy a armrests removable from which almost all comfort, infotainment and connectivity elements of the vehicle can be operated: from the air conditioning of each square to the use of the windows in the windows and through the tuning of the audio equipment.
And the best of all is that these giant rear seats do not take space away from a large trunk of nothing less than 454 liters capacity.
Lexus ES 300h engine and behavior
As we say, the integration of the electronic mirrors is perhaps the most striking thing about the new ES 300 h, but it would be very unfair to say that it is the best of its renovation, since this Lexus has taken a big step forward in something that was already excellent: his behaviour.
The ES 300h 2021 sits on the new GA-K platform, more light and rigid, which favors the benefits of the hybrid powertrain, which combines a four-cylinder gasoline engine with 2.5 liters and 178 hp, associated with a CVT-type automatic gear shifting, and that works in conjunction with a electric motor to deliver a 218 C peak powerV. This hybridization allows this Lexus to show off the ECO label on your windshield.
It is an engine of always progressive reactions although not lacking in forcefulness, and that stands out mainly for its frugality, achieving some extraordinary consumption figures for the weight and size of the vehicle, since not at normal rates and without taking too much care of efficiency it is easy to roll below 5.5 l / 100 km.
But if we had to stay with something from this new Lexus, it would not be its mirrors or its extraordinary efficiency, it would be with its road behavior. Everything about the ES 300 h is designed to achieve unsurpassed ride quality: the aerodynamics of the body reinforced with digital rear-view mirrors, permissive suspensions, the feel of the steering, the reactions of the engine, and, above all, an iBenchmark soundproofing in its segment. The almost total absence of noises and vibrations coming from the outside, together with the smoothness of the engine, makes it seem that we are riding on a flying carpet.
Of course, do not try to have fun on a section of curves with the ES, since it is a car designed for comfort, and although it has a response and precision, lacks some stiffness in the suspensions and a more direct steering. It would be of the absurd genre to recommend this car to someone looking for sports performance, but instead few options could beat himor in the event that a car designed to travel is required long distances.
The Lexus ES 300h has made us fall in love. Except for two easily improvable details, it seems to us a round car. The best possible defender for a segment as touched as that of the saloons, and the convincing proof that a good hybrid is as much or more efficient than a diesel.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.