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Lexus’s latest ES300h hybrid sedan – far more premium to earlier ES models

Lexus quietly introduced a new ES sedan last September, the ES300H hybrid sedan is based on the Camry petrol/electric architecture but is a much more stylish, premium, sport and individual package and a big step up with far more luxury to earlier ES models. I tested the Lexus ES300h Sports Luxury at $74,888 – comprehensively equipped gaining larger 18-inch alloys, ventilated front seats with 14-way power movement, a 17-speaker Levenson sound system three-zone climate control, heated steering wheel and rear heated seats with power recline function – with a 50mm longer wheelbase rear seat comfort is greatly enhanced. The hybrid power train consists of 2.5-litre 131kW naturally-aspirated petrol engine linked to an 88kW electric motor – around town at speeds up to 40k’s it drives on electric, smooth, super quiet, giving the Lexus ES300h enormous polish – superbly insulated it feels refined in all it does although at times the petrol engine can sound a little underwhelming for the size of the car. However, a CVT automatic with paddles and three driving modes provides it with a nice driving feel. Lexus have loaded the Sport Luxury model with a heap of safety, comfort and convenience equipment, things like 10 airbags, a large 360 degree camera display and privacy blinds on the rear doors and window. With sales up 156 per cent this year its obvious the new ES has struck a cord with buyers and despite selling in relatively small numbers the ES300h is a quiet achiever. High points are impeccable build quality and material finishes both inside and out. I’m David Berthon

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