Luxurious yet eco friendly sedan
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