The Es 300 2019 handles well and its standard AWD gives off-road ability as well, though only the turbo model offers spirited performance.
The Lexus ES 300h comes well-equipped without needing anything else, and it’s suitable if you’re looking for luxury on a budget. But we recommend getting the Luxury trim, which adds leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, wood interior trim, and ambient interior lighting. We’d also check the box for the navigation system since it’s the only way to get Apple CarPlay. (READ: 2020 Lexus Ls 460 First Drive)
Hybrids typically fall into two price categories. On the lower end are fuel-sipping eco-hatchbacks. Pay more and you’ll open the doors to performance luxury vehicles, which use the electric motor’s extra power to produce enviable acceleration. The 2019 Lexus ES 300h is one of the few cars that compete in between. Its large, roomy cabin is undeniably more upscale than a standard hybrid’s, but its price is barely higher than that of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid upon which it is based. The Lexus can’t beat its German rivals in terms of outright speed, but it undercuts the competition by thousands of dollars, and its modest four-cylinder engine is undeniably more fuel-efficient.
The ES 300h and the similar V6-powered ES 350 are redesigned for 2019. The sedan is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, allowing for an increased wheelbase to give it more passenger legroom. The relocated battery pack, now residing under the rear seats, means the ES 300h has the same trunk space as the ES 350.
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Inside, many of the touch points have been lifted from more expensive Lexuses, giving the ES an even more premium vibe than before. The technology interface continues to be a sore spot, though the availability of Apple CarPlay makes it less aggravating than in years past. Still, the touchpad controller is more finicky and less precise than the knob controller favored by rivals.
The 2019 Lexus ES 300h is a marked improvement over its predecessor, with a nicer interior and more passenger and cargo room. It doesn’t have many direct competitors — the 2019 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the only other like-minded luxury midsize in this price range — and we think buyers looking to step up from everyday hybrids will enjoy its enticing blend of luxury and value.
2019 Lexus ES 300h configurations
The 2019 Lexus ES 300h is a midsize luxury sedan sold in three main trim levels with numerous available features packages and stand-alone options. Note that some options and configurations may be limited depending on where the car is purchased.
The ES 300h features a hybrid powertrain (a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired to an electric motor) that produces 215 total system horsepower. Those who prefer a bit more oomph under the hood are encouraged to check out the similar V6-powered 2019 Lexus ES 350.
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Standard features on the 2019 Lexus ES 300h include 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a digital instrument panel, dual-zone automatic climate control, selectable driving modes, power-adjustable front seats, simulated-leather upholstery, onboard Wi-Fi, an 8-inch central display, three USB ports, and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.
Every ES 300h also comes with a wealth of advanced safety features, including a rearview camera, automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, and a pre-collision warning system with automatic emergency braking.
On the base ES, you can order the optional Premium package, which adds automatic wipers, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, and heated and ventilated front seats.
The Luxury trim includes those upgrades, plus heated mirrors, sound-reducing side windows, leather upholstery, ambient lighting and genuine wood trim. The Ultra Luxury package pulls out all the stops with hands-free trunk release, upgraded leather upholstery, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades, and special chassis dampers that help absorb vibrations when cornering.
Notable stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, adaptive suspension dampers, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, rear pedestrian alert with automatic braking, a 360-degree parking camera, and a wireless charging pad. An optional navigation system is paired with a larger 12.3-inch display screen and Apple CarPlay functionality.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2019 Lexus ES 300h (2.5L 4-cyl hybrid | CVT automatic | FWD).
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The best value in Es 300 2019 is a base model with manual gearbox, but it’s still decently priced after adding fancy audio, leather, and a moonroof.