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Lexus new ES300h hybrid sedan– far from a dressed-up Camry

The Lexus ES sedan has long been seen as just a dressed up Toyota Camry, but in the latest model launched last September it is a very much more an individual package. The latest Lexus ES300h hybrid sedan is pure luxury in two models – the Luxury at 59,888 and the Sports Luxury at 74,888 – I tested the latter – sedans may be out of favour but this car is simply a class act for several reasons – Lexus have teamed a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with an 88kW hybrid drive-train – refined with great performance with fuel economy a high point for a large car and I averaged 5.2L/100km with some spirited driving.
Impressive when you consider this is a large sedan by any measure. Superbly built with impeccable finish and with such a quiet hybrid drive-train it purveys a real luxury feel. A front-wheel-drive with the nickel-metal hydride battery located under the rear seat offering good balance. Drive is via a CVT automatic with manual shift paddles and three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. In slow city traffic the ES300h runs purely electric and its super quiet with impressive sound deadening. From a driving sense the large head-up display is a real high point which projects speed, speed limit and navigation information onto the windscreen – a great driving aid that should be part of more cars today. On the other hand Lexus’s lap-top style touch pad requires enormous concentration and takes your eyes off the road the only real negative on this excellent premium sedan. I’m David Berthon

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