February/March 2019

A hybrid road trip

GM Business Connect recently took up the challenge to write a review of the new Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Saloon, kindly supplied by Lexus Stockport, part of the RRG Group. After driving the car for a week, Paul Mirage reported on the experience of owning the latest Lexus luxury saloon.

About the Car
“When I was asked to test drive the next generation Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Saloon, I wasn’t sure what to expect. On the one hand Hybrid vehicles tend to have a reputation for a distinct lack of performance, yet the latest offering from Lexus was very much what you’d expect in terms of speed and power from a luxury saloon. As a large saloon the front wheel drive ES feels comfortably agile with nicely responsive steering and excellent handling.

“The range has only one engine derivative available – a 218hp 2.5litre hybrid with a declared fuel economy of just over 60mpg. The performance is not sluggish but neither does it rival the competition, instead, the impressive fuel consumption mixed with the low emissions mark this as a favourite with cost conscious drivers and fleet owners alike. In fact, the respectively low starting price coupled with an impressive set of standard extras will rank this as offering exceptional value for money in the executive saloon market. The hybrid system itself offers an efficient and remarkably smooth driving experience, and the Nikel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries enjoy a 15 year guarantee when the relevant parts are regularly serviced and maintained.

“My experience driving the ES was of a smooth, quiet and very well equipped cruiser. The external styling enjoyed the distinctive sweeping grill of recent Lexus models, and internally the cabin was busy with well-styled options, many of which are standard. There was plenty of room for passengers although the headroom in the back may be a little confined for some. My other observation was that unfortunately the rear seats didn’t fold down due to the position of the batteries.”

The drive

Lexus ES Luxury Hybrid Saloon

“The road handling and agility for a large saloon was excellent, especially as the car felt quite heavy on the road. I particularly liked the choice of driving modes – Normal, Eco and Sports – operated easily from bolt controls positioned above the steering column.

“Normal mode  I called this the ‘safe mode’. It dips from battery to petrol as suits your driving requirements but still ensures there is plenty of power available for acceleration when required. This is where Hybrids really come into their own, offering instant responses to different driving styles.

“Eco mode  This is just what you need when driving around town in heavier traffic. If you constantly keep looking at the fancy energy monitor in the centre of the dashboard as I did, it’s easy to feel somewhat psychologically tight fisted trying to get the best out of your petrol consumption. This mode is perfect for everyday commuting in around Manchester including the car parks I call the M60 and M56 – not forgetting Regent Road!

“Sports mode  As expected this is for appreciating the excellent agility and handling of the ES. Paddle controls were also available for making the driving experience more personal, and when activated the display counter automatically turns red letting you know in no uncertain terms you were driving in a more exciting manner.”

Practical motoring
“The boot space on the ES was in line with most executive saloons, and I was told you can easily get a set of golf clubs in as well as suitcases. You can open the boot remotely which is great when your hands are full, which for me they usually are, and it’s this sort of small attention to detail that marks the ES as excellent value. With so many features the dashboard and steering column were very busy with controls, however, the finish of the cabin was very plush, and although there was a lot that needed identifying, all the buttons and controls were finished to a very high standard. The feeling inside the ES was definitely that of luxury motoring.

“I quite liked the control panel in the centre of the car next to the automatic gear control, and the Sat Nav was easy to use and follow. There were also blind spot monitors on the wing mirrors were extremely useful, they warn you of traffic approaching you from behind and either side of you, which I personally think should be mandatory on any new vehicle as a necessary safety feature.

“As mentioned the specifications that are standard really make a huge difference to the value for money the ES offers, and I really liked all the gadgets including the heated steering wheel – especially on the recent cold winter mornings. I picked up the car with a ¼ of a tank of fuel and filled up a few days later costing £45. Then did over 400 miles with just under ¼ of a tank spare, which I think is pretty good, especially considering the time I spent in Sports mode!”

Lexus Stockport
Lexus Stockport is a purpose-built premium brand dealership that provides a luxurious yet comfortable environment for the customer to experience the Lexus brand and latest range of Self-Charging Hybrid models. Situated on Rooth Street, Stockport since 2000, this state-of-the-art facility provides the very best levels of customer service and easy access from the M60 motorway.

The 2019 model line-up for Lexus showcases a truly unique range of cars; all offering industry-leading hybrid technology to deliver lower emissions and running costs. Further to this, with the introduction in 2018 of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) which provides more accurate testing and regulations for new car emissions and ‘real-world’ fuel consumption, Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid technology seamlessly combines petrol and electric power to offer high efficiency with no compromise on power. For 2019, the latest hybrid cars to join the range are the UX Compact SUV and the ES Luxury Saloon. The new UX challenges everything that has gone before. Its bold design expresses unmistakable strength, yet its elegantly sculpted surfaces suggest a character that is both stylish and dynamic; offering a world of no compromise and smooth, responsive driving.

Lexus UX Compact Hybrid SUV

Innovative technology in the UX includes the Panoramic View Monitor which gives an amazing 360° birds-eye view of the car and its surroundings through an unprecedented 10.3” screen. There’s no need to worry about troublesome cables as well with the availability of a Qi-compatible wireless charger, allowing you to charge a device such as a smartphone simply by placing it on the charger. The exciting new Lexus ES shatters preconceptions about executive saloons. Benefitting from a brave new approach to design, this made it lower, wider and sleeker. Combining a stunning coupé-like silhouette with the space and refinement of a flagship saloon, the ES delivers elegance and comfort in one exceptional vehicle.

Furthermore, the Lexus ‘Takumi’ master craftspeople oversee all of the exquisite detailing, from the stitching on the seats to the sharp and seductive Aluminium cabin trim. All new ES models are equipped as standard with the very latest second generation Lexus Safety System+ comprising advanced technologies, resulting in the safest premium saloon ever tested by Euro NCAP. A Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid vehicle also charges itself as you drive. No plugging in, no compromise. Whether a compact hatchback, an SUV crossover, a saloon or high-performance sports coupe, the Hybrid system adapts to your needs and your lifestyle. With unrivalled expertise, over 1.3 million sold worldwide and counting, Lexus is bringing hybrid luxury firmly into the present.

Every Lexus delivers legendary craftsmanship and build quality and the highest attention to detail with engineering expertise. With this in mind, the combination of luxury, performance, advanced hybrid technology and low CO2 emissions deliver reduced benefit-in-kind bills and competitive whole life running costs. Whether it be new or used car sales, servicing or accessories, the experienced team at Lexus Stockport are well placed to create amazing for every customer. Centre Principal, Fred Goodwin, and the team look forward to giving you their unique expertise and a warm welcome.

For more information or to get in touch,
call 0161 475 3631 visit www.rrgcontracthire.com or www.lexus.co.uk/stockport