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#12

in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $39,500 - $39,500
Invoice: $37,000 - $37,000
MPG: 40 City / 39 Hwy
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Lexus ES Hybrid Interior

Reviewers are impressed with the 2014 Lexus ES Hybrid’s elegant interior, saying that quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship give the cabin a premium feel. The front seats are comfy and supportive and the back seat is very spacious with ample legroom. Test drivers say the controller for the available infotainment and navigation systems is cumbersome to use while driving. They are also frustrated that some entertainment functions aren’t accessible while the car is in motion.

  • "The 2014 Lexus ES 300h's cabin presents a modern, stylish environment. The optional (and sustainable) bamboo wood interior trim is an especially attractive touch. The quality of the materials depends on whether you opt for one of the luxury packages, but in typical Lexus fashion, everything is put together with care regardless of how the ES is equipped.” -- Edmunds
  • "The interior has undergone an even more dramatic transformation, with the late '90s finally giving way to a modern aesthetic that borrows the tiered, horizontal motif of the LFA with the addition of gentler, curved lines and tasteful complements of traditional wood trim." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "The ES is all about luxury and the interior reflects that fact. The materials are high quality and finely crafted, with soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard, doors and armrests." -- MSN (2013)
  • "Just below the ES' center screen sits an analog clock - an apparent requirement in the luxury segment -- with real bamboo wood accents giving the cabin a dash of color." -- Left Lane News (2013)

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Seating

Test drivers say the ES 300h’s front seats are supportive and comfortable, even on long drives. The rear seats are incredibly roomy with generous legroom. The ES Hybrid comes standard with power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and faux-leather seats. Leather seats are optional, though they come standard in some rivals, including the Buick Regal and Acura TL. Additional options include heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a heated steering wheel.

  • "Six-footers will be quite content in the ES 300h's front seats. Rear-seat legroom is very impressive as well, and even taller adults will find it quite comfortable back there.” -- Edmunds
  • "The front seats have stiffer side bolsters, which became apparent alongside the prior ES. Where the prior car's front seats allowed too much sliding, these hold you in - without constraining on long-haul drives." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "The seats are comfortable for four adults thanks to a roomier back seat." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "By switching to the Avalon platform, Lexus opened up far more interior space in the ES, mostly in the rear seat. Like the last model, the front seat has plenty of headroom and legroom, and front passengers sit on comfortable seats." -- MSN (2013)

Interior Features

The 2014 Lexus ES 300h comes with a moonroof, push-button start, an eight-speaker CD audio system, an auxiliary jack, a USB port, Bluetooth phone connectivity, satellite radio and a HomeLink programmable garage door opener. Optional features include an upgraded stereo system with surround sound, a power rear sunshade, a voice-activated navigation system, Siri integration for iPhone, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, a backup camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.

Test drivers are annoyed by some of the ES Hybrid’s features, like Lexus’ Remote Touch system, which uses a mouse-like controller for the available infotainment and navigation systems. They say it can be cumbersome to use while driving and that many of the infotainment system’s functions are disabled while the car is in motion. One critic says that the heated steering wheel doesn’t work very well and another notes that while the lane departure warning is a useful safety feature, it has an irritating beep sound.

See the full 2014 Lexus ES 300h specs »

  • "When you opt for the Display Audio or Navigation packages, you get the Lexus Remote Touch system, a mouselike device that controls a cursor on a large, centrally located screen. The system gives good tactile feedback, but the ultra-sensitive nature of the controller can make it clumsy and distracting to use while driving." -- Edmunds
  • "Frustratingly, the system locks out numerous functions (even many radio presets) while the vehicle is in motion. Maybe Lexus is doing many of us a favor by forcing ES drivers to pull over before they attempt to mouse. Then again, at speed, even co-pilots are barred from making inputs." -- Motor Trend (2013)
  • "Of electronics that may come to irk some drivers, I'd add the highly sensitive lane-departure alert system, which emits a rather insistent beep. Some drivers may want to deactivate it, which is possible, but it could be a lifesaver for drivers prone to drowsiness behind the wheel." -- The New York Times (2013)
  • "Similarly, the optional heated wood-and-leather steering wheel heats just the portions at 3 and 9 o'clock. Touch anywhere else and the wheel stays cold. I'm calling foul: If Chrysler can heat the wood portion of the 300's wheel, Lexus should, too." -- Cars.com (2013)

Cargo

Like most hybrids, the ES 300h has less cargo space than its gas-only counterpart because the battery pack takes up space. The ES Hybrid’s trunk has 12.1 cubic feet of cargo space and while some upscale midsize cars have more room, one reviewer says there’s still a useful amount of storage. Still, others point out that the ES 300h’s rear seats don’t fold and there’s no trunk pass-through to accommodate long items.

  • "Typical of a hybrid, the ES 300h places its battery behind the rear seats, which lowers trunk volume to 12.1 cubic feet. Like the prior generation, the ES 350 gets a center pass-through but no folding backseat; the ES 300h has no opening at all." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "As a result of that battery location trunk space is slightly compromised, but the ES 300h still offers a generous 12.1 cubic feet of cargo space." -- Left Lane News (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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