Photos: Lexus
The 2022 Lexus ES300h sits as the middle child in the Lexus family of luxury sedans, between the sporty compact IS and the big body flagship LS, and is the best-selling sedan in the Lexus lineup. This seventh-generation Lexus ES debuted in the model year 2019 and has received numerous technology, safety, and packaging upgrades for the model year 2022 to help keep the ES relevant in today’s fast-changing vehicle market.

Exterior

The Lexus ES300h design is an elegant, understated design. Flowing body lines and sculpted front and rear fascias help give the ES300h a distinctively upscale feel. The signature spindle grill receives a new pattern across the entire ES300 line for model year 2022. Standard bi-LED headlamps were redesigned for 2022, though our Ultra Luxury trim tester wore the fantastic optional triple-beam LED headlamps.

Also new for the Ultra Luxury trim in 2022 are updated 18-inch 10-spoke alloy noise-reduction wheels. LED taillights are standard, along with a color-matched rear deck spoiler.

Lexus designers have done a great job making the ES300h look longer and lower than it is. The result is a car that has plenty of road presence and could be mistaken for a much more expensive car than it is.

Interior

Lexus ES300 F-Sport Interior Shown

Lexus has given the ES several upgrades for the model year 2022 throughout all trim levels. A redesigned center stack has been moved forward and canted towards the driver, making controls and the touch screen easier for the driver to access. Lexus calls this concept “Seat in Control,” which means all controls are within reach and accessible from the moment the driver enters the car.

All 2022 Lexus ES models get an updated technology stack. Lexus ES300h Ultra Luxury models, like our tester, receive a new 12.3-inch touchscreen display as optional equipment, while a new 8-inch screen is standard. The interface is responsive and fast to switch between various screens and functions. Graphics are high resolution, though not as clean and crisp as the new cloud-connected navigation found in the Lexus NX. Wired versions of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as are Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls. A wireless phone charger is also now standard in the center console.

Our Lexus ES300h Ultra Luxury tester featured an optional Mark Levinson 17-speaker sound system, which provided excellent sound quality. Lexus has always been known for having great-sounding audio; this system is no exception.

While the new screen and button interface are welcomed in the ES300, the ubiquitous Lexus trackpad is an exercise in frustration. It’s amazingly difficult to use while the vehicle is being operated and should be the first thing Lexus addresses in the next update to the Lexus model line. Thankfully, the new Lexus NX shows us what Lexus can do when allowed to innovate with human interface devices and hope that it makes its way to the ES quickly. Thankfully, Lexus includes enough buttons and touch functionality that the trackpad can be largely ignored.

Multi-function Instrument Cluster Shows Various Telemetry Based on Selected Drive Mode

Seating surfaces in the ES300h Ultra Luxury are semi-aniline quilted leather with a 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 10-way power adjustable for the passenger seat. Both front seats are heated and ventilated, as is expected in this vehicle segment. The seats are supportive while remaining plush for comfort on extended drives.

Rear seats provide ample legroom for average-size adults, though individuals over 6 feet tall will want to opt for the front passenger seat on long trips. Manual passenger window shades and a power rear window shade are standard on the Ultra Luxury trim.

Our ES300h tester trunk space is rated at 13.9 cubic feet, the same as all other Lexus ES models.

Performance and Economy

The “h” in the ES300h name means this is a hybrid model. The hybrid powertrain is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine paired to a CVT transmission and 29.1 kW lithium-ion battery with a permanent magnet electric drive motor. The combined output of the ICE and Hybrid powertrain is 215 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque.

While that doesn’t seem like a lot of power on paper in the age of countless 300+ horsepower SUVs, the powertrain is refined and plenty powerful to get the ES300h moving on the highway or around town. The CVT transmission is extremely smooth, and the hybrid system engages completely unbeknownst to the driver and passengers. This is an extremely refined powertrain where numbers don’t tell the full story.

New for 2022 is an updated braking system in the ES. Regenerative and hydraulic brake control has been optimized to make the pedal feel better and regenerative braking smoother.

Lexus ES300h fuel economy is exceptional, rated at 43 city/44 highway/44 combined. In the week we spent with the ES300h, we achieved 45mpg in mixed driving, bettering the EPA estimates.

Safety Features

The 2022 Lexus ES300h receives numerous safety upgrades, including standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Additional ES300 safety features include:

  • Pre-Collision with Frontal Collision Warning
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Pedestrian and Bicyclist Detection with enhanced range
  • Intersection Turning Assist
  • Emergency Steering Assist
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Reduction
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Lane Tracing Assist
  • Intelligent High Beams
  • Road Sign Assist

Pricing and Final Thoughts

Our 2022 ES300h Ultra Luxury tester starts at $51,080 with a price-as-tested of $56,005.00 including the $1,075 destination charge. Major options include the $1,215 Triple Beam LED Headlights, $1,080 Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package, and $1500 in minor options like illuminated door sills, trunk mat, and premium paint.

While $56k opens up any number of upper-trim levels luxury mid-size options like the Acura TLX, Audi A4, and BMW 3-series, few are as refined and efficient as the 2022 Lexus ES300h. With a classic luxury interior, best-of-class fuel economy, and a refined ride, the Lexus ES300h continues to be the best-selling sedan in the Lexus lineup. Individuals looking for a more engaging drive experience or bolder styling should look elsewhere. For those looking for comfort, reliability, and refinement, the Lexus ES300h is the perfect candidate for a daily driver.

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Zerin Dube

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