2013 Lexus ES300h

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4

2013 lexus es300h Reviews and News

2013 Lexus ES300h Front Left Side View
Lexus has been offering hybrids since way back when, but for the most part they have been what you might call performance hybrids, in which the gasoline engine is not downsized but is supplemented by the battery-electric system. The result usually is performance that beats the standard, non-hybrid version and fuel economy that is only slightly better. Two more recent efforts were smaller, hybrid-only models: the CT200h and the HS250h. Both were designed for maximum fuel economy -- which strikes us as exactly what hybrid shoppers are looking for. However, the driving experience in the CT and, particularly, the HS fails to live up to the expectations one has of a Lexus, and the HS250h has since been dropped.
Now comes the newly redesigned Lexus ES, which gets a hybrid version for the first time, and you have to think that this is pretty much what a Lexus hybrid should have been all along.

Sips gas like a hybrid

First and most importantly, the ES300h scores big EPA numbers. The combined rating is 40 mpg, which breaks down as 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Those figures far exceed the V-6-powered ES350's 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. That's because, in place of the ES350's 268-hp V-6, the ES300h uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine. It's combined with two electric motor/generators fed by a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack (the same powertrain found in the Toyota Camry hybrid). The total system output is 200 horsepower, which is down substantially from the ES350's V-6. But the ES hybrid's stated 0-to-60 time of 8.1 seconds is only 1 second behind its V-6 sibling, and is hardly bog-slow compared to other high-mileage hybrids. Yes, calls for strong acceleration, such as highway merging, will keep the engine hung up at high rpms, but more casual acceleration is accomplished with little high-rpm droning. Overall, this hybrid system operates unobtrusively, and the gasoline engine's start-ups and shutdowns barely register. Your passengers are more likely to notice the powertrain's silent operation during low-speed EV driving. The ES has a drive mode selector, with the choices of eco, normal, sport, and EV mode. Even the faintest tap of the accelerator kicks you out of EV mode. Eco mode kills throttle response (and decreases A/C usage), while sport mode calls up more aggressive throttle mapping and also increases steering effort. Regardless of mode, steering efforts are pretty light, getting even more so as you wind on more lock (as in parking). The ES chassis is more composed than in the past, however, capably absorbing bumps without the nodding ride motions of an overly soft suspension. Finally, brake pedal feel is pretty wooden, but modulation is not bad for a hybrid.

Comfy cabin

The hybrid system's polish matches the upscale interior environment of the new ES. My test car was decked out in soft leather, glossy bamboo wood, and matte silver trim. The dashboard design emphasizes the cabin's width, and the large, 8-inch display is operated via Lexus' mouse-like Remote Touch controller. The latest ES is now derived from the Toyota Avalon, rather than the Camry, which means it's a bit larger outside than previous editions and much roomier inside. The back seat is particularly spacious, with a limo-like 40 inches of rear-seat legroom. Only the trunk is on the small side at 12.1 cubic feet, down 3.1 cubic feet versus the ES350 because of the hybrid system equipment housed behind the rear seat.

A bargain among Lexus hybrids

At $39,725, the ES350h is $2750 more than the ES350 -- that's easily the lowest hybrid price premium in the Lexus lineup. Considering that the ES300h's annual fuel cost (as calculated by the EPA) is nearly $1000 less than its V-6 sibling, the extra cost of the ES300h is recouped in only three years. (Shoppers can get a more accurate look by customizing the EPA's cost calculator to better reflect their own driving circumstances).
Know, however, that with either the ES300h or the ES350, you'll likely be adding several thousand dollars worth of options. Both models come in a single trim level and are similarly equipped, but many of the items you might expect on a Lexus are extra-cost. Among them: navigation, wood interior trim, heated seats, a backup camera, HID headlamps, and leather (although hardcore greenies might consider the standard NuLuxe synthetic leather to be a badge of honor).
Even after a dip into the options pool, the ES300h is still less expensive and gets much better fuel economy than a performance hybrid like the GS450h, and it's roomier and more polished than -- but nearly as economical as -- the much smaller CT200h. For shoppers looking to combine luxury of a Lexus and the great mileage of a hybrid, the ES300h delivers.
2013 Lexus ES300h
Base price (with destination): $39,725
Price as tested: $46,070
Standard Equipment:
2.5-liter four-cylinder electric hybrid
Continuously variable automatic transmission
NuLuxe synthetic leather trim
Keyless entry and ignition
Power windows
Power door locks
Power driver's and passenger's seat (10-way)
Power side mirrors
Power moonroof
Heated, power mirrors
AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system w/aux and USB inputs and 8 speakers
Steering-wheel-mounted audio, phone, and display controls
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Auto on/off headlights w/LED daytime running lights
Options on this vehicle:
Navigation system- $2625
Navigation w/weather and traffic
8-in. VGA screen
Lexus Enform w/app suite, Lexus Insider
Backup camera
HD radio and DVD player
XM sports & stocks
Luxury package- $1370
Perforated, leather-trimmed interior
Heated & ventilated front seats
Bamboo wood trim
Ambient lighting
Power tilt & telescoping steering column
Memory for power seat, mirrors, and steering column
HID headlamps- $515
Blind spot monitor w/cross traffic alert- $500
Parking assist- $500
Heated, wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather shift knob- $450
Power rear sunshade- $210
Rain-sensing wipers- $155
Key options not on this vehicle:
Ultra-luxury package- $8700
Fuel economy:
40 / 39 / 40 mpg
2.5L I-4 electric hybrid
Horsepower: 200 hp
Torque: N/A
Continuously variable automatic
Curb weight: 3660 lb
17 x 7 inch alloy wheels
215/55VR17 tires
Buick LaCrosse eAssist
Lincoln MKZ hybrid
2013 Lexus ES300h Review
2013 Lexus ES300h Review

The 2013 Lexus ES300h offers a hybrid engine in an entry-level luxury sedan. Essentially an ES350, the ES300h is based on the Toyota Avalon and borrows its engine from the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The ES300h provides consistently predictable comfort with a spacious interior, a suitable ride, and fuel-economy that’s impressive even for a hybrid. A broad range of luxury and technology options help maintain the ES300h’s place as a good choice for buyers seeking a luxury hybrid at entry-level prices.

New For 2013

The ES350 is completely redesigned for 2013. The Hybrid model is a new addition. It is $2750 more expensive than the V-6 sedan but is EPA rated at a stratospheric 40/39 mpg city/highway.


The Lexus ES has consistently and predicatively evolved in looks and features from one refreshing to the next. The 2013 Lexus ES300h proves no exception. Lexus has adopted some styling cues from the new GS, like a more angular front, and a more sharpened stance. However, the ES's silhouette is still instantly familiar and the entire exterior remains a conservative expression of restraint. Lexus added a large, more angular Audi-esque grille which is shaped in a sharpened hour-glass design. Light-emitting diode (LED) running lamps trim the bottom headlight housing, and small fog lamps sit snugly in sharply concaved airdam-recesses. The details on the back of the ES fit the same sharp and angular theme. However, everything in between remains a case-study in typical Lexus styling.

Available exterior colors are notably deep and Lexus worthy. The Hybrid option wears the same 17-inch, split-six-spoke alloy wheels as the ES350 but deletes the availability of a panoramic glass roof. Overall, only a metallic badge separates the ES300h’s exterior from the ES350. One notable absence on this luxury-like sedan is that of standard high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. These lights have become ubiquitous as standard features in most luxury vehicles. HID headlamps can be included as an option but are not a standard feature.

Interior & Cargo

The 2013 Lexus ES300h offers a spacious cabin and gives occupants the most front and rear legroom in its class. The new ES presents a more modern and stylish environment than in the past, but often overdoes some of it touches. Too much matte-metallic trim and piano-black tint can create a monotonous feel in an otherwise luxurious cabin. Material quality varies depending on which luxury or interior package is purchased. Yet, in true Lexus fashion, excellent build quality can be found throughout. For the most part, the Hybrid looks and feels like a regular ES. One hybrid-exclusive touch is an available bamboo trim. True to hybrid eco-chic fashion, sustainable bamboo trim can be added to the 2013 Lexus ES300h. This includes steering-wheel trim which is bowed from a single piece of bamboo and then sanded by hand. The bamboo trim looks especially striking and would be an attractive option for all Lexus vehicles. Standard features include eight-way power front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar) and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. A convenient auto-dimming rearview mirror comes standard as well.

Climate controls are still easy to learn and operate. However, available options like Display Audio or Navigation packages can quickly make things more complicated. The Lexus Remote Touch system is included in these packages and it is with this system where things can get tricky. A mouse-like device operates similarly to a laptop touch-pad and controls a cursor on a large, in-console screen. As with any new user interface, the system takes some practice to use effectively. Once mastered, occupants can easily access all the electronic conveniences and entertainment features expected from a luxury sedan.

Lexus based the 2013 ES model on the full-size Avalon rather than on the Camry like previous models. As a result, legs, heads, hips, and shoulders should find ample room. The ES350’s trunk space rates as average. The Hybrid reduces trunk capacity further by a 3.1-cubic feet reduction for a total of 12.1-cubic feet of volume. No other cargo capacities or passenger areas were affected by the hybrid addition.


Every 2013 Lexus ES300h comes standard with a class-leading, 10-airbag system. A Safety Connect communications option is available. This system incorporates automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, and an emergency assistance button (SOS). Enhanced Roadside Assistance comes standard with Safety Connect.

The standard Smart Stop Technology feature automatically reduces engine power when the brake pedal is firmly applied, even if the accelerator pedal is fully pressed. Other important standard safety features are stability control and traction control. A first-aid kit and small tool-kit also come along as standard features.

Optional safety features include parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system, and a blind-spot monitor. The blind-spot monitor includes a rear cross-traffic alert system. The optional adaptive cruise control includes a pre-collision system, which activates seat-belt pretensioners and applies the brakes in the event of an impending collision.

Driving Experience

Because so many Lexus ES owners trade-in their vehicles for a new ES, most drivers buy a driving experience which exactly meets their expectations. The same soft cruising and quiet ride indicative of Lexus vehicles have found their way into the 2013 ES. The 2013 Lexus ES300h delivers an even more serene driving experience on behalf of its all-electric hybrid power plant. The cabin remains silent at highway speeds. The suspension absorbs bumps and ruts so well that passengers barely notice rough roads.

The 2013 Lexus ES300h borrows the Toyota Camry Hybrid’s four-cylinder gas/electric powertrain. The four-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor produces 200 horsepower. The entire system is combined with front drive and a continuously variable automatic-transmission (CVT) to produce EPA rated 40/39 mpg city/highway fuel economy.

No Lexus ES can be deemed even slightly sporty. However, the 2013 ES includes a more structurally rigid body than before, and Lexus has improved its suspension and steering. While still not sporty, the additions produce more precise steering responses and better handling than in the past. But the 2013 Lexus ES300h is more about fuel economy than quarter-mile sprints, and this Lexus moves pretty quick for a hybrid.

Key Competitors For The 2013 Lexus ES300h

  • Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  • Acura TL
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Volvo S60


2013 Lexus ES 350 Front Left View 2
The 2013 Lexus ES has had a good past few weeks – not only does it continue to be the brand's best-selling sedan, it also achieved a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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2013 Lexus ES300h
2013 Lexus ES300h
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
40 MPG City | 39 MPG Hwy
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2013 Lexus ES300h
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40 MPG City | 39 MPG Hwy
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2013 Lexus ES300h
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
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2013 Lexus ES300h
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2013 Lexus ES300h Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.5L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
40 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
39 MPG
200 hp @ 5700rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 48 months
70,000 miles / 72 months
Unlimited miles / 72 months
Unlimited miles / 48 months
Recall Date
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Avalon and Avalon Hybrid vehicles manufactured October 19, 2012 to October 27, 2015 and 2013-2015 Lexus ES350 and ES300h vehicles manufactured June 18, 2012 to July 6, 2015. The affected vehicles are equipped with a Pre-Collision System (PCS) as optional equipment. In these vehicles, the PCS may unexpectedly activate and apply the brakes when the radar detects a steel joint or plate in the roadway as an object.
A vehicle that unexpectedly brakes increases the risk of a crash.
Remedy parts for a permanent fix for this issue are not yet available. On November 18, 2015, Toyota sent owners an interim notification and dealers will temporarily disable the PCS. When the improved PCS components are available for the permanent remedy, owners will be mailed a second notification. These repairs will be performed free of charge. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-888-270-9371. Toyota's numbers for this campaign are F1V and F2E.
Potential Units Affected
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing

IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2013 Lexus ES300h

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $39,193 What's This?
Value Rating: Below Average