Lexus ES300h

Lux­u­ri­ous yet eco friendly sedan

Auto Today - - Dashboard - PIC­TURES Gur­deep Bhalla

Just a few months back, Lexus show­cased the sev­enth gen­er­a­tion ES300H sedan at the Bei­jing auto show and now close to the heels of the event, Lexus has made it avail­able here in In­dia. The new ES then is a stark de­par­ture from the model it re­places. So has the sedan be­come bet­ter than ever be­fore? We find out.

The new ES is based on Toy­ota’s Global Ar­chi­tec­ture-K (GA-K) plat­form. As a re­sult the ES is now 60mm longer, 45mm wider than the sixth gen­er­a­tion model. It also sports a wheel­base, which is 50mm longer. Not just that, Lexus has used lighter yet stronger ma­te­rial in the chas­sis and as a re­sult has seen a 60kg weight drop in the chas­sis alone. The ES also looks gor­geous. The mas­sive chrome grille along with sleek LED head­lamps gives the sedan a rather sporty hue. The all LED lamps are ex­tremely pow­er­ful and also fea­ture cor­ner­ing lights. The pro­file too looks sleek and the mas­sive 18in wheels look smart. The rear end of the ES is also de­signed to be in sync with the over­all sporty over­tones. The roof line sweeps back into the short boot and there is a spoiler too. The tail­lights wrap around the rear fender and over­all the ES is quite a looker.

The in­te­ri­ors of this new gen­er­a­tion Lexus is in sync with the ex­te­ri­ors. The dash is a sym­phony of beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­als and then there is a mas­sive LCD screen which beams a whole gamut of in­for­ma­tion for the driver. The in­stru­ment bin­na­cle houses a set of ro­tary con­trols to op­er­ate the trac­tion con­trol and drive modes and jut out like horns. This is one unique fea­ture which we are yet to spot on any other car. The in­stru­ment panel too is an all-dig­i­tal af­fair and the dis­play changes ac­cord­ing to the drive mode se­lected. The Lexus how­ever comes with a plethora of but­tons on the cen­tre con­sole. It seems like de­sign­ers still pre­fer to have these old school con­trols on this new gen car as it is easy for most peo­ple to get used to them. There is a touch pad lo­cated on the cen­tre con­sole which can be used to sift through the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. We would also like to men­tion here that the Lexus comes loaded with a Mark Levin­son Pre­mium Sur­round Sound Sys­tem which blares out tunes via 17 speak­ers. We must men­tion here that the sound qual­ity is just mind bog­gling and even when played at loud vol­umes, there is literally no dis­tor­tion. The steer­ing too is a work of art. We are told that the wheel is not ex­actly round but is cham­fered to adapt to the grip of the driver’s hand. The leather used in the cabin is also unique. Mas­ter crafts­men have worked tire­lessly to cre­ate mi­nor creases so that it grips to the skin well. How­ever no mat­ter how much we tried, we failed to feel the creases but sur­pris­ingly could see them. The Lexus ES could also quickly morph into a proper chauf­feur driven sedan. The rear seat is as good as a comfy leather sofa and the seat back can also be re­clined by eight de­grees to add to the com­fort lev­els. There is also am­ple room for your knees at the back and knee room can fur­ther be in­creased by push­ing the front pas­sen­ger seat for­ward. This is doable elec­tri­cally by us­ing a cou­ple of switches po­si­tioned on the seat back of the front pas­sen­ger seat. Rear pas­sen­gers also get a cen­tral arm­rest which houses con­trols for the air con and au­dio sys­tem. On the down­side, we would have loved to see a dig­i­tal dis­play for these con­trols in­stead of the old school push but­tons. Space in the boot

has gone up con­sid­er­ably thanks to the repo­si­tioned Nickel-Me­tal Hy­dride Bat­tery pack. The boot can also be ac­cessed by the key and even works on ges­ture.

The Lexus ES300h also packs in a lot of tech­nol­ogy to make it greener and more ef­fi­cient. The car is pow­ered by a 2.5-litre petrol mo­tor which works in con­junc­tion with a per­ma­nent mag­net mo­tor which is good for 88kW and 202Nm of torque. Power is fed to the elec­tric mo­tor via the bat­ter­ies and they can be recharged in a va­ri­ety of ways. The power is sent to the wheels via an E-CVT or Elec­tronic – Con­tin­u­ously Vari­able Trans­mis­sion. There are also mul­ti­ple drive modes to suite var­i­ous drive styles.

The ES on startup feels ex­tremely si­lent and this is be­cause it is on EV Mode. When the bat­ter­ies are charged, the ini­tial move­ment hap­pens on elec­tric power and this is why the cabin is ever so si­lent. This fea­ture also comes handy while inch­ing in bumper to bumper traf­fic. Af­ter the Lexus goes past a cer­tain speed the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine comes

THE STEER­ING FEELS EX­TREMELY LIGHT AND IS A JOY TO USE WITHIN THE CITY. MAK­ING THREE POINT TURNS IS ALSO RATHER EASY. IT ALSO OF­FERS PLENTY OF FEED­BACK. SUS­PEN­SION IS SOFT AND AB­SORBS WELL

on and takes on propul­sion du­ties. It feels very smooth and very pow­er­ful at the same time and the big Lexus reaches a top speed of an in­di­cated 200kmph ef­fort­lessly. Even at high speeds there is very lit­tle noise creep­ing into the cabin thanks to the top class NVH pack­ag­ing. We are told that the en­gi­neers have tuned the au­dio sys­tem to ar­ti­fi­cially fil­ter in sounds to make sure the oc­cu­pants don’t feel eerie within the cabin.

The Lexus is also softly sprung. This means the ride qual­ity re­mains sub­lime at se­date speeds. How­ever go past 120kmph and the sedan feels a bit floaty. This is es­pe­cially the case when a sud­den hump comes up and the car dis­plays a ten­dency to bot­tom out. The steer­ing feels ex­tremely light and is a joy to use within the city. Mak­ing three point turns is also rather easy. Over­all the Lexus of­fers a rather comfy drive ex­pe­ri­ence.

The ES300h also gets a proper sun­roof, some­thing which In­di­ans just love hav­ing

1&2. The in­fo­tainment sys­tems beams a plethora of in­for­ma­tion. It is op­er­a­ble via the touch­pad lo­cated on the cen­tre con­sole. 3. The ES fea­tures a E-CVT. 4. Rear seat pas­sen­gers get their own con­trols. 5. Seat con­trols to in­crease rear room. 6. Top grade leatherused within the cabin. 7. Just one of the 17 speak­erspro­vided

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