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Lexus ES Hybrid Performance

Critics complain that the 2015 Lexus ES Hybrid has clumsy handling and acceleration that trails most upscale midsize sedans’. However, others are satisfied with its stellar fuel economy, comfortable ride and smooth braking.

  • "Thanks to a suspension that banishes road coarseness, ride quality is smooth and tranquil. But what makes the ES 300h truly desirable is its outstanding fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "While the 2013 ES is certainly a more competent driver than the last-gen model, it's still a long way off from being classified as a sports sedan. And while that might be an issue in a car like the BMW 3-Series, it's perfectly fine in the ES." -- Left Lane News (2013)
  • "In a world of sport sedans, the Lexus ES stands out, and not necessarily in a good way. While body motions are generally controlled on the highway, the car struggles when driven hard." -- MSN (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lexus ES 300h has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produce 200 horsepower combined. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which operates like an automatic, is standard. According to the EPA, the 2015 ES 300h gets 40/39 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of most upscale midsize hybrids.

Though test drivers say the Lexus ES 300h is slower than the V6-powered ES 350, most still think it has adequate power for driving around town and passing and merging on the highway. However, a few auto writers complain that the ES 300h does not provide the acceleration or refinement they expect from a luxury sedan.

  • "The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine combines with an electric motor to develop a total of 200 horsepower, routing it through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). That's enough power for day-to-day driving, while also offering up fantastic fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the hybrid ES is noticeably less quick than the V6-equipped ES 350, most buyers will find its acceleration fully acceptable in normal driving situations." -- Edmunds
  • "The ES 300h's hybrid system also comes from the Camry, but with 40 mpg on tap, it's still unique in the luxury segment -- and there's adequate power for freeway merging and the like." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "At full bore, the car hustles well enough, but it lacks the passing confidence deserving of a luxury badge, and the droning, here-it-comes CVT sounds anything but refined." -- Cars.com (2013)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers agree that the 2015 Lexus ES Hybrid has a very comfortable ride, and many say its regenerative brakes feel quite smooth, which is rare for a hybrid. However, some critics are disappointed with its handling, saying it leans heavily during cornering and has dull steering responses and poor tire grip.

  • "Brake pedal feel is also impressively normal for a hybrid, and you'll be hard-pressed to detect the transitions between the hybrid system's regenerative braking (which helps recharge the battery pack) and application of the conventional brakes." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the ES feels more responsive than ever, but that's not saying much. At heart, this Lexus remains a classic luxury car with a creamy, tranquil ride, and that's the way ES buyers like it. Frankly, we like it, too." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The ES 300h rides like a comfortable luxury car should, with the improved suspension allowing for a reasonable amount of gusto in the bends." -- Left Lane News (2013)
  • "The steering is light and slow, body roll is quite noticeable, and the tires howl like a dog baying at a passing ambulance when the car is pushed through a turn." -- MSN (2013)
Review Last Updated: 4/15/15

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