A sleek profile and the signature Lexus spindle grille are design highlights of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h. (Manufacturer photo)

A sleek profile and the signature Lexus spindle grille are design highlights of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h. (Manufacturer photo)

2020 Lexus ES 300h is heavy on luxury, light on fuel consumption

A nearly soundproof passenger cabin is ideal for the 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

The Lexus ES 300h is a luxury midsize sedan providing indulgences associated with the words “Lexus” and “luxury” along with the economic and environmental benefits of a hybrid power supply.

ES 300h is a long, low, and wide sedan, with wheels positioned close to the corners. The combined effect of those physics is enjoyable driving dynamics.

A 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine, two electric motors, and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack join forces to give the ES 300h 215 horsepower. The battery is located beneath the rear seat, where it doesn’t reduce trunk space or decrease roominess for rear-seat passengers.

A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) routes power to the front wheels.

EPA fuel economy ratings are 43 mpg city, 44 mpg highway, and 44 mpg combined.

The 2020 Lexus ES 300h has a base price of $42,785 including a $1,025 destination charge. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, the Lexus Safety System group of collision-avoidance and driver-assistance technologies, a multimedia system with 8-inch display and 10-speaker premium audio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Lexus Enform Wi-Fi and Remote, SiriusXM satellite radio, 10-way power adjustment for the driver and front passenger seats, and a power moonroof.

Climate system controls of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h luxury sedan are separated from the infotainment system for ease of use. (Manufacturer photo)

Climate system controls of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h luxury sedan are separated from the infotainment system for ease of use. (Manufacturer photo)

My test car was abundantly equipped with optional items totaling $11,025. The highest tickets among them include a Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package ($2,900), Premium Package ($1,375), triple beam LED headlights ($1,515), and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and parking assist ($1,065).

The upgraded audio and navigation combo has a 12-inch display, and the mellifluous 1,800-watt Mark Levinson system includes 17 speakers.

The Premium Package adds a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power folding outside mirrors, rain sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, and memory for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel.

The second-least expensive item on the options list and one of my favorites is the $280 all-weather floor liners with trunk tray. Rubber floor mats aren’t something you often see inside a luxury sedan, but in rural Snohomish County – or the entire Seattle area for that matter – they are a godsend. There’s nothing luxurious about carpeted floor liners turned grody by rain, mud, and Douglas-fir needles.

Conditions inside the ES 300h are conducive to tranquility as wind noise and road noise are virtually nonexistent. The hybrid powertrain is by definition sedate.

Operation of the multimedia system centers around a Remote Touch Interface pad in the center console, similar to those used on laptops. I’ve groused about this awkward control method previously, and more than once. Lexus has been thoughtful enough to provide alternative controls to the touchpad, including a nifty two-piece knob for volume and tuning control.

In another major gesture of compassion for drivers, the Lexus ES 300h separates climate system controls from the infotainment and connectivity conglomerate, and they are simple push buttons.

The combined horsepower rating of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h hybrid powertrain is 215. (Manufacturer photo)

The combined horsepower rating of the 2020 Lexus ES 300h hybrid powertrain is 215. (Manufacturer photo)

2020 LEXUS ES 300h

Base price, including destination charge: $42,785

Price as driven: $53,810

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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