Who doesn't need to step into an oasis of comfort these days? Especially in triple-digit summer heat! Fortunately for me, I was able to do just that recently in the 2022 Lexus ES 300h. It's a luxury midsize sedan with some notable updates for 2022 and a hybrid that delivers much more than impressive fuel economy. My model is the range-topping Ultra Luxury and on top of that adds additional factory features.
The ES is a stylish and very sleek midsize sedan in new for 2022 Cloudburst Gray, a premium color offering. It looks fantastic set against the Ultra Luxury's 18-inch 10-spoke alloy noise reduction wheels.
A newly designed black Lexus spindle grille takes up a large portion of the front-end - and this model swaps standard Bi-LEDS for available Triple-Beam LED headlights. The profile sports power-folding side mirrors. You'll find LED tail lights in the back along with a color-keyed rear spoiler.
The front-wheel drive ES 300h hybrid's powertrain nets 215-horsepower. It's mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission. This is not an electrified sedan that gives you that instant torque acceleration off the line you get with a pure EV. While I'd love a few more ponies myself, most drivers will be fine with the acceleration and they'll certainly love the big benefit of this hybrid system - 44 mpg combined. That's very impressive Lexus!
The Ultra Luxury's inviting interior surrounds you in an oasis of comfort. My test model's Palomino semi-aniline leather with Open-Pore Brown Walnut trim is absolutely the interior color option to go with in my book. As with all Lexus vehicles, design and craftsmanship is impeccable and achieved with the use of premium materials and quality switchgear.
I'm a big fan of semi-aniline quilted leather seats that offer comfortable and customizable support thanks to a 14-way power driver's seat (10 way power for the passenger.) The driver's seat also has a terrific power cushion extender. The front seats are both heated and ventilated -- the latter of which I was so thankful for in 100+ degree Texas heat. Bolstering also really keeps you in place despite the fact this isn't a "sporty" vehicle. Another thing to keep in mind is that the seats are on the more narrow side, on par for a midsize sedan.
One of my favorite cabin features has to be the heated wood and cushiony leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters It feels as luxurious as it looks. Above the tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Lexus' familiar bright digital driver info display provides easy to read info.
Aside from the available updated multimedia system, the center stack itself isn't terribly tech-forward with traditional button and knob controls for climate and audio rather than the more tech-forward 2022 NX. You can also control climate and other functions directly from a new for 2022 touchscreen (more on that shortly).
The Open-Pore Walnut trim isn't just a great contrast on the steering wheel, but also the door panels and center console. The console houses the leather-wrapped gear shift knob, which I really love the design of, along with Remote Touch Interface and buttons for Auto Brake Hold and EV Mode and an adjustable height cup holder area.
Open up the center console bin and you'll find a wireless cellphone charger.
The ES is a midsize sedan and you'll find its roominess is on par with that designation. Rear seat passengers will be very comfortable and headroom back there was perfect for me (5.5") but probably not for someone very tall. Manual sunshades for the rear windows keep passengers cool as will a power rear window shade.
Back seat passengers also have their own A/C vents, 2 USB ports and a drop-down center console.
Standard Ultra Luxury features include push-button start, dual-zone climate, power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, power kick sensor trunk.
Trunk space is ample for a midsize sedan and there's a pass-through area for longer items.
New for 2022, the ES arrives with a new available 12.3-inch touchscreen, a welcome addition to the Remote Touch Interface system. (An 8-inch screen is standard). The new touchscreen, which houses an optional Panoramic View Camera, is also repositioned 4.3-inches closer to the driver for easy reach. The multimedia system is fast, the touchscreen responsive, the graphics spot on. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, (neither of which are wireless), Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
My model's optional Navigation and Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium sound system upgrade is fantastic. The upgrade also comes with Lexus' advanced Dynamic Voice Command (included for the first 10 years of ownership)- one of my favorite voice systems out there.
The Ultra Luxury's 10.2-inch head up display is bright with large text, making it easy to read.
Ride and Drive
The ES benefits from Lexus new driving signature it introduced on the 2021 IS. What it means for the driver is a more engaged driving experience and more responsive steering. Lateral performance dampers add to the handling. You can choose from Normal, Eco and Sport drive modes. Ride quality and comfort is excellent and Lexus does a terrific job making cabin's quiet. If you're looking for a sportier ride, (with an interior to match) check out Jerry's recent review of the 2022 ES 350 F Sport.
The ES lineup adds notable safety enhancements for 2022. They include, now standard on all trims, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Lexus Safety System 2.5+ is also standard on all trims. Lexus says it's also enhanced the response range of its Pre-Collision System (PCS), which includes Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). Other new update to the PCS on LSS 2.5+ are Intersection Turning Assist and Emergency Steering Assist. LSS 2.5+ also includes all-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert w/Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam headlamps.
DRCC also adds a new feature that allows the vehicle to smoothly overtake slower vehicles. I tested this feature in highway driving and it works just as designed. If you use your turn signal and engage in the changing lanes, the vehicle automatically speeds up to do so.
New Curve Speed Reduction can automatically reduce vehicle speed, if needed, through certain types of curves.
Additionally the UL trim is also equipped with Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking, Rear Pedestrian Detection and the aforementioned Panoramic View Monitor.
What You'll Pay
Options on this model include the premium paint, illuminated door sills, illuminated trunk sill, carpet trunk mat and wheel locks ( worth it my book for such pretty wheels!) . The MSRP as equipped is $56,005 which is great for a vehicle with Lexus' dependability and reliability not to mention Toyota's tried-and-true hybrid system.
While I'm certainly a fan of the Lexus ES lineup in general for all the luxury and safety tech it provides along with the comfortable yet engaging ride and drive, I'd love to see the hybrid model get a bit of a power boost. But if 44 mpg's combined is more important to you than horsepower, you'll want to test drive this one for yourself.
- What I Liked Most: Looks, Luxury, Overall Craftsmanship, Steering Wheel, new touchscreen, new ADAS enhancements.
- What I would change: Give me a little more hybrid horsepower.
- MSRP: Base Price: $51,080; As equipped: $56,005.
- Official Color: Cloudburst Gray (New for 2022)
- Fuel Economy: 43 city/44 highway/44 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 5,318 miles.
- Weight: 3,730 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Temporary Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 195.9" long/73.4" wide/ 56.9” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with the filler on the driver's side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 Lexus ES 300h in a few words: A gorgeous luxury sedan inside and out with outstanding fuel economy.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty, 6-year/Unlimited Mile Perforated Corrosion/8-year/100,000 mile mild hybrid component coverage/10-year, 150,000 mile hybrid battery coverage.
- Final Assembly Location: Georgetown, Kentucky.
- Manufacturer's website: Lexus