Top-Selling Lexus Hybrid Sedan Adds Sporty Styling
Lexus offers three different size sedans for 2022, the IS, ES and LES; the midsize ES is the best-seller of the group. Clean Fleet Report gladly took the keys to a 2022 ES 300h F Sport, which is the first time the F Sport treatment has been offered on the ES 300h. Why we were so happy is revealed in detail below.
Lexus adds a sporty touch to its hybrid hero
The EPA rates fuel economy for the 2022 Lexus ES 300h at 43 mpg city/44 highway/44 combined mpg. Running on regular unleaded, our Southern California road tripping covered 499 miles, with the majority on highways and traveling no faster than 70 mph. The average fuel economy was 46.3 mpg. But on two separate occasions we got a true sense of the plug-in hybrid system’s efficiency.
70-mile run at 45 mph: 58.6 mpg average (Rush hour, on-and-off the brakes)
90-mile run at 65 mph: 48.7 mpg average (Using the adaptive cruise control)
That 50 mpg is a thing of beauty, demonstrating the efficiency of the ES 300h, which is powered by the Lexus Hybrid Drive system of a gasoline-powered 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. When combined with the electric motor, there is a total system 215 horsepower. The front wheels are controlled by an electronic continuously variable automatic transmission (eCVT) with paddle shifters. The versatile ES 300h has four driver-selectable drive modes of Eco, Normal, Sport and EV. When the battery is well-charged the EV mode allows driving for short distances and low speeds by pure electricity, such as in a parking structure or sneaking in late at night.
Something is different here
The hybrid system automatically switches between the electric drive mode, combined electric motor and gasoline engine and gasoline-only engine power. The imperceptible transitions can be monitored by viewing the dash gauges.
The soul of this efficiency is the lithium-ion battery, which is charged when applying the brakes or coasting. The regenerative charging system converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery. This process is also viewed on a dash gauge where you can watch the power flow into and out of the battery.
The Lexus ES 300h is a true pleasure to drive, where its smooth ride was unaffected by road imperfections. The sound deadening insulation of the floor pan, underbody covers and front fender liners further reduce road noise. Even the chassis-mounted dampers have been designed to keep them from generating any resonances that might generate interior cabin noise.
Not your mother’s hybrid shoes
The ES 300h is not a sport sedan, and Lexus does not market it as a sport sedan. But acceleration to move its 3,750 pounds was more than adequate. When opting for the Sport mode, 0-60 times were around 8.2-seconds. Using the paddle shifters did not significantly improve off-the-line speed. The driver-selectable drive modes of Normal and Eco are where most of your time will be spent, eking out as many miles as possible from the fuel-efficient hybrid system.
The Lexus ES 300h F Sport came with 19-inch gloss black-finished, five-spoke alloy wheels. These attractive wheels were mounted with 235/40 Michelin X-Green Energy all-season tires that delivered good traction with limited tire slippage, even when under moderate hard cornering. The Lexus ES 300h batteries are located under the rear seats, making for flat, low-lean cornering and limited understeer. The F Sport adds a bit firmer suspension, but not so much to take away from the premium feel one gets from a Lexus.
The eCVT did not produce the common droning when launching or under hard acceleration. When placed in Sports mode, there were convincing gear-like upshifts to satisfy those who don’t like a CVT because they are too smooth. Never understood this complaint, but Lexus added the fake gears anyway.
Stopping comes from an electronically controlled brake system that incorporates regenerative control and power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution. The ventilated front and solid rear discs produced stops that were straight and consistent, and gave-off a satisfying regenerative whirring when stopping.
F Sport Flair
Letting you know
The 2022 Lexus ES 300h was redesigned in 2019, which was the dawning of the seventh generation ES. The new-for-2022 F Sport package has a sleek design that sits low with a wide stance. Our test car wore a striking Ultrasonic Blue with gloss black on the B pillars and front mesh grille. The body had color-keyed bumpers, door handles, shark fin antenna and exterior power folding mirrors. In this deep blue color with the black pillars, the very tasteful use of chrome on the front grille, framing the windows and thin strips on the rear was perfect. Elegant and classy.
The triple beam LED head lights wrap gently into the fenders, leading to a lightly sculpted hood and a near-flat roofline with a tilt-and-slide moonroof. The power trunk lid, which operated hands-free with a kick sensor, has a small spoiler set-off by the “L” shaped LED tail lights.
Lexus has subtle reminders this car has been electrified. The blue “L” emblem on the front grille, the word “hybrid” on the lower rear doors, and the “h” on right trunk lid are the only tip-offs this stylish car can get in excess of 50 mpg.
Clean Fleet Report drove the Lexus ES 300h F Sport that comes highly equipped as-is, but when a few packages and options were added (totaling $5,735), it was as fully featured as any car can be. This brings up a good point. It is important to order your ES exactly as you want it. This is your car, so personalizing and outfitting it to your specifications will make ownership an even more enjoyable experience.
A more driver-oriented setting
The cockpit design is driver friendly, or as Lexus calls it–“Seat In Control”–where the gauges, including the hybrid management system, are all in easy sight and the controls are in easy reach. A much-appreciated feature was the 10-inch color Head-Up Display (HUD). There are customizable settings; you can select the speedometer, navigation, shift position, compass, audio, phone, outside temperature, Hybrid System Indicator and adjustable brightness, made for a safer and more convenient driving experience. Again, eyes on the road, safety first.
Additional interior convenience features included the dual-zone automatic climate control, an integrated backup camera with dynamic gridlines, power rear window shade, rain sensing wipers, heated and power folding outside mirrors, map and reading lights and a wireless phone charger.
The first thing you will notice when sliding into the Lexus ES 300h is how spacious and well laid out everything is. The white and black interior had 10-way power, heated and ventilated NuLuxe synthetic-leather front seats that were supportive and comfortable. The rear seats are up to the Lexus standard as they were sumptuous in their feel and comfort and could hold two adults with ample head and leg room. The exclusive F Sport interior bits include Hadori aluminum trim, aluminum pedals, shift lever and knob, performance-inspired instrumentation and a black headliner. The F Sport badged leather-trimmed steering wheel, with a power tilt and telescopic steering column, has controls for audio, hands-free telephone operation, and cruise control. While the rear seat does not fold flat, it does have a pass-through for long items, and the generous trunk capacity for luggage on those long trips will never be a concern.
The 12.3-inch color multimedia display housed the premium audio system with SiriusXM/FM/CD/HDAM/MP3/WMA player, USB ports, and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.
Real room in back, too
Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa complete the audio options. This all came with the Lexus Enform system, which includes navigation, Wi-Fi (with a 4GB 90-day trial), and a smartphone or smartwatch remote feature.
Lexus gets high points for having both a volume and channel knob for the radio, but we can’t give them too many props for the touchpad controller. Even with the ability to set the sensitivity, the touchpad was twitchy and required looking away from the road to see what the cursor was doing on the display screen. So using the touch screen is a good option.
The Lexus ES 300h is equipped with a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including active and passive safety features of 10 air bags, collision assistance, a tire pressure monitoring system, collapsible steering column, anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer. The centerpiece is the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 with a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control with lane tracing assist and several other warning features.
The rear view camera and the blind spot monitor work in-conjunction with the rear cross traffic alert and intuitive braking. When backing from a blind parking spot, and a car, bicycle or pedestrian suddenly appears behind the ES 300h, the brakes are applied instantly. This valuable safety feature comes on fast, and if not prepared, it can be a bit of a shocker the first time it is experienced.
In testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2022 Lexus ES 300h received five stars, their highest rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2022 ES 300h its top safety pick, for overall crash protection.
Pricing and Warranties
A new badge for the ES
The 2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport has a base price of $46,525, including the mandatory $1,075 delivery, processing and handling fee. Clean Fleet Report’s test car had a total price, including $5,735 in options and the $1,075 delivery fee, of $52,260.
The 2022 Lexus ES 300h comes with these warranties.
Hybrid Components – Eight years/100,000 miles
Powertrain – Six years/70,000 miles
Basic – Four years/50,000 miles
Maintenance Plan – Two years/25,000 miles
Anti-perforation – Five years/Unlimited miles
Roadside Assistance – 24/7 – 365 days
Observations: 2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport
This truly premium midsize sedan is priced competitively, especially when considering the low cost of ownership due to the appealing fuel efficiency for a sedan. The 2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport transports you in quiet, premium style and comes equipped with a long list of standard features and safety equipment.
Subtly blending the premium experience with mpg and style
Car buyers are really short changing themselves if they do not include sedans on their shopping list. Clean Fleet Report has driven and reviewed many sedans, from several different manufacturers, and can report their quality and value have never been better. If you are looking for a premium sedan that oozes class and gets fantastic fuel economy, then get over to your Lexus dealer and drive the 2022 ES 300h F Sport.
Built in Georgetown, Kentucky, the Lexus ES 300h F Sport has EPA class-leading fuel economy for a five-passenger, premium midsize sedan. This extremely economical vehicle should cover all your driving needs–commuting, in-town errands or long road trips.
The redesign that took place in 2019 and carries-over to 2022 raised the bar for competitor hybrid premium sedans. Treat yourself to a long test drive at your Lexus dealership, and see for yourself. A bit about that Lexus dealer. If you have never shopped for a premium or luxury car, it is different. Lexus will tell you it is the owner experience that begins at the dealership and continues through your many years of driving one of their cars. Speak to a Lexus owner, they will tell you all about how they are treated.
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Story and photos by John Faulkner.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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