Lexus ES 300h Takumi

Lexus ES 300h, front
Lexus ES 300h, front
Lexus ES 300h, front
Lexus ES 300h, side
Lexus ES 300h, rear
Lexus ES 300h, interior
Lexus ES 300h, boot
Lexus ES 300h, interior

A MID-SIZED executive saloon, the Lexus ES has been around since 1989 and is the firm's biggest-selling car.

Last year, it's seventh-generation model was introduced in the UK to take on the dominant Germans.

Taking on the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6 is a tough ask, but the ES does have some aces up its sleeve.

To start with, while the German brands sell truckloads of diesels, but the Lexus is offered in the UK with petrol-electric power for less than you'd pay for a diesel version of its competitors. And much more equipment too.

If luxury and low running costs take precedence over driving dynamics for you, the ES could well be an appealing package.

The 300h uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol powering the front wheels. Combined with an electric motor, total power stands at 215bhp and only 221Nm of torque. Life around town is a very hushed affair in the ES.

Push the starter button and you're greeted with silence. It's the same as you edge through slow-moving rush hour traffic, the engine cutting in only above 25mph.

Excellent sound-proofing also keeps the atmosphere refined and serene at motorway speeds when the petrol power is working.

The downside is the ES also only comes with a belt-driven Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox preferred by Japanese manufacturers, albeit one with six fake ‘steps' to simulate gear changes. When you need rapid power, it tends to encourage an awful lot of engine noise without a great deal of noticeable extra forward motion.

There is a 'Drive Mode Select' system with 'Eco' and 'Sport' settings, depending on how you want to drive. You'll need to keep it in Eco most of the time if you want to get anywhere near its claimed 59.3mpg figures though I managed 46.6mpg, which is not to be sniffed at.

Like its larger luxury sibling the LS, the ES is a very stylish and attractive car too, which gives it a little edge over its less eye-catching Germanic competitors.

There's a lot to like inside too. The car is longer, wider and slightly lower than previously. The cabin is spacious, especially in the rear, where there's plenty of legroom and head room despite the coupe-style sloping roofline.

Up front, it's as nice as cabins always are in Lexus models, with beautiful fit and finish, plenty of tactile materials, and a driver-focused dash design. The exceedingly comfortable driver's seat is 10-way adjustable.

The ES comes in three levels of trim - standard, 'F Sport' and top 'Takumi'. All are well equipped. The top ES 'Takumi' has a power boot lid with a hands-free kick sensor, heated and power-reclining rear seats, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, head-up display, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound audio, a 360-degree camera, triple-zone air conditioning and 18-inch alloy wheels.

All versions come with the improved Lexus Safety System+ package, which earned the ES the maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating. In the cabin, occupants are protected by an array of 10 airbags.

Already capable of detecting vehicles and pedestrians in the car's path, the car's Pre-Collision System, is now able to identify cyclists as well. With increased radar sensitivity and range, it can also detect pedestrians at night.

The system also comes with Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Tracing Assist. Another new safety advance offered is a two-stage Adaptive High Beam system (AHS). This not only turns the headlight high beams on and off automatically for the driver, its 24 individual LED light array can adapt the light pattern to provide an enhanced field of illumination while reducing dazzle for oncoming drivers.

FAST FACTS

Lexus ES 300h Takumi

Price: £45,680

Mechanical: 215bhp, 2,487cc, 4cyl petrol-electric hybrid engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 8.9seconds

Combined MPG: 59.3

Insurance Group:38

C02 emissions:103g/km

Bik rating:25%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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