Quick, name a midsize luxury car that retains the classic idea of premium motoring! If you said the Lexus ES, then you’d be right. This car remains one of the last sedans to offer a comfort-focused experience. Whereas competitors march towards ever sharper cars and directing those wanting comfort to SUVs, Lexus continues to follow its roots by giving you two different flavors of its second-oldest nameplate. The 2022 Lexus ES 300h, in particular, gives you that sense of isolation and cushiness. Let’s take a deep dive and see how this car continues to stick to a tried and true game plan with electrification.
2022 Lexus ES 300h: Changes for 2022
Refreshed for 2022, the Lexus ES receives subtle design tweaks and the availability of the F Sport model with the hybrid powertrain. However, treat the ES 300h F Sport as an appearance package. Although it gets a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels, comfort remains its primary mission. You must go to the ES 350 to get goodies like the adaptive variable suspension.
Inside, the 2022 Lexus ES 300h gets a revised center stack with the main 12.3-inch display angled towards the driver. Everything else remains the same, which isn’t a bad thing. Outstanding fit and finish and high-grade materials grace the ES 300h’s cabin. Areas you interact with frequently feel expensive and befitting of a premium sedan. Together with lots of sound insulation, you get a serene environment at all speeds, perfect for long trips or slogging in traffic. F Sport models get supportive and supremely comfortable seats that you can easily spend endless miles in. Those in the rear get extensive legroom and surprisingly generous headroom despite the low roofline. The lack of a large center hump also frees up more space, allowing for three across to sit comfortably.
Thanks to a new touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the user interface is simpler and more intuitive to use. Although its response times remain slow, you don’t need to deal with the inconsistent sensitivity levels of the touchpad. Certain functions require using the buttons around it, which can get a little finicky. Since the F Sport model slots just above the base ES 300h, it gets a standard 10-speaker audio system. While clear, it’s not as immersive as the optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system, one of the best in the industry.
All ES models get the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of driver assistance features. This builds on the older 2.0 suite with improved accuracy. As a result, it does a better job of keeping you centered in your lane and navigating turns on the highway. Additionally, adaptive cruise control reacts more proactively to other vehicles merging into your lane and applies the brakes more smoothly. It also follows a little closer in all distance settings, reducing the chances of someone cutting you off.
2022 Lexus ES 300h: Classic Cruiser, Modern Confidence
Unlike other luxury sedans trying to do too many things at once, the ES 300h focuses on its core strength: comfort. Even with 19-inch alloy wheels, it gracefully glides over poorly maintained surfaces and keeps the cabin nicely isolated. All of that cushiness doesn’t cause the car to get floaty. It still possesses respectable body control, stable handling, and accurate steering. Smooth transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking give the brake pedal a natural feel. The car doesn’t suddenly give you full stopping power after only pressing halfway.
The 215-hp hybrid powertrain amplifies the ES 300h’s serene and relaxing demeanor. It couples a 2.5-liter I-4 with an electric drive motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a planetary gear set. This gives you seamless acceleration when you put your foot down on the accelerator minus all the racket. Although the ES 300h weighs 3,730 pounds, you’re never left wanting thanks to the electric motor’s instant torque. The lack of a traditional gearbox also contributes its linear power delivery.
EPA-rated at the 43/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined, the ES 300h offers exceptional efficiency. During my week, I matched these estimates and managed to go over 500 miles on one tank of gas. Currently, the closest competitors to the ES 300h are the BMW 530e and Audi A7 PHEV. However, both are plug-in hybrids and cost more.
Go Classic with the 2022 Lexus ES 300h
As sporty as the F Sport model looks, the best ES 300h remains the luxury versions. These fit the car’s tranquil and cushy character as a classic premium midsize sedan. Starting at $43,225, the ES 300h also represents a great value thanks to its long list of standard equipment. Even the Luxury and Ultra Luxury trims, which cost around $55,000 full-loaded, are great deals, especially when you consider the blend of comfort, efficiency, and build quality.
Once again, the F Sport stands out as the odd one out because of how it’s equipped. Along with this version not fitting in with ES 300h’s personality, it’s best to skip this version unless you’ve fallen in love with its looks. Overall, the 2022 Lexus ES 300h remains one of the last bastions of old-school luxury motoring. It’s the sedan for those prioritizing comfort and isolation above everything. Having a hybrid powertrain only sweetens the deal and makes the car even more compelling.