This week I bring you the 2023 Lexus ES 300h, a midsize sedan with some updates for 2023. New this year, the ES lineup features a redesigned center console and adds the new Lexus multimedia interface, which is outstanding. Two new F Sport grades are also new for 2023, but my test vehicle is the ever-so-comfortable Ultra Luxury.
The Lexus ES is a sleek, polished midsize sedan with all the right proportions. It shines in Iridium, a premium paint hue, and this model swaps standard 17-inch alloy wheels for optional 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.
The ES's black spindle grille (redesigned in 2022) is flanked by bi-LED headlights and daytime running lights. In back you find LED tail lights and color-keyed rear spoiler.
The front-wheel drive ES 300h pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with Lexus Hybrid Drive for a combined 215-horsepower. It's mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. While a few more ponies would be great, most drivers will be fine with the acceleration and the fuel-efficient mninded ll certainly love the incredible 44 mpg combined fuel economy.
The ES 300h's Ultra Luxury lives up to its name. It wraps you in comfort with its soft-touch surfaces, excellent craftsmanship and numerous creature comforts, albeit some of which are optional. Soft-touch surfaces abound and you'll find well-done contrast stitching on the dash and multi-textured door panels with an impeccable finish.
My test vehicle features a Macadamia perforated semi-aniline leather and Ash Bamboo trim interior (however, for some reason, unlike the shown on the Lexus build site and spec sheet, it lacks wood trim on the steering wheel and oh how I do love Lexus' wood-trimmed steering wheels!)
This particular vehicle is equipped with10-way power driver and passenger seats (also different from the Lexus spec sheet.) My vehicle Monroney also lists an optional Premium Package package with heated and ventilated front seats and power, heated leather wrapped steering wheel, and wireless charger among other features. (Check with your dealer as this also differs from the Lexus build site.)
The color LCD digital driver's display looks great - it's bright and easy to see and I like how Lexus displays the safety features in the scroll down menu on the left.
This model swaps a 8-inch multimedia touchscreen for an optional 12.3-touchscreen that runs Lexus' terrific new multimedia system with a higher resolution display. It's bright, responsive and intuitive to use and features great graphics and mapping along with voice recognition. Note for some functions function you'll need a Drive Connect subscription. It's compatible with Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Lexus' 10-speaker Premium Sound system is standard.
A redesigned center console is home to a short gear shift knob, and a newly positioned, easy to reach optional wireless phone charger (it used to be in the center console bin) along with controls for EV mode and Auto Brake Hold.
Rear seat passengers will be comfortable, but watch out for the headroom. While perfect for me (5.5"), it might not wok for someone very tall. Passengers get their own a/c vents, USB ports and a 12-volt along with a drop-down center console with two small cupholders.
Cargo space befits a midsize sedan and there is also a rear-seat pass through to the trunk area. A power open/close with a kick sensor is optional.
The ES comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 which includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.
The lineup also comes with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent High Beams and Road Sign Assist.
The Premium Package adds Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Brake.
Ride and Drive
The ES benefits from Lexus' new Driving Signature first introduced on the 2021 IS. It delivers a more engaged driving experience overall thanks in part to more responsive steering. You can chose from Eco, Normal and Sport modes. I also like the heavier feel of the 3,500+ pound Lexus. As you'd expect, ride quality, smoothness and comfort are both excellent and Lexus does a terrific job making its cabin's quiet.
This model has a host of options. They include the 18-inch wheels ($660), Smart Access Card Key ($100), Lexus interface with 12.3-inch display ($1,030), power open/close trunk with kick sensor ($550), premium paint ($500), the Premium Package ($2,430), ambient lighting ($490) and carpet trunk mat ($130.) This brings the MSRP to just shy of $50,000 with transportation.
I'm a fan of the Lexus ES for being such a comfortable, luxurious, easy sedan to get around town in, with all the technology you could want at your fingertips, options included. As I've remarked previously, I'd love to see the hybrid model get a little more power. However, you really can't complain when you're getting 44 mpg combined with such luxury, quality and craftsmanship not to mention Lexus reliability.
- What I liked most: Overall cabin luxury and Lexus multimedia system.
- What I would change: I miss the wood-trimmed steering wheel.
- MSRP: Base price $42,540; as equipped: $49,580.
- Fuel Economy: 43 city/ 44 highway/ 44 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,072 miles.
- Weight: 3,682 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Temporary Compact.
- Length-Width-Height: 195.9” long/73.4” wide/56.9” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with fuel filler on the driver's side.
- Official Color: Iridium.
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 2023 Lexus ES 300h Ultra Luxury in a few words: A truly enjoyable luxury sedan that's a great daily driver that's also ready for a night out on the town.
- 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