MotorBeam tests the Lexus ES300h to tell you what makes it so desirable.
Lexus has finally and officially entered the Indian car market.
The ES300h is the most affordable sedan and the second most affordable car in the Japanese carmaker's line-up after the NX crossover.
The ES300h is based on the Toyota Camry and shares its underpinnings and the powertrain with the latter.
In terms of the exterior design, the Lexus ES300h gets all the signature Lexus design elements like the spindle-shaped grille, L-shaped LED DRLs and fog lamps housing and L-shaped graphics inside the tail-lights.
The sedan runs on 17-inch alloy wheels and overall it looks quite quirky from the front and a proper business-class car from the rear.
Get inside the cabin of the Lexus ES300h and an ergonomically designed dashboard with premium quality materials welcome you.
The 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel gets a plethora of buttons and the two-pod instrument cluster houses a small MID display in between.
The screen for the infotainment takes centre stage which can be operated via a knob on the centre console. No, the unit isn't a touchscreen.
In terms of features, the ES300h gets leather upholstery, 3-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power adjustable front seats, Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system, Ambient Lighting, rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, electric moonroof and cruise control.
The aircon vents have been neatly tucked in between the infotainment system and the centre console buttons.
There is also a small analog clock in between the AC vents.
The front and rear seats are uber comfortable and offer good support and comfort.
At the rear, there is good knee room and headroom.
Under-thigh support and lower back support is good as well.
Powering the Lexus ES300h is a 2.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor.
Combined power output from the engine and the electric motor is 202 HP of power and 213 Nm of torque.
Turn on the ignition and the first thing you will notice is how refined and quiet this car is.
Power is dished out in a linear manner and the engine doesn't love to revved hard.
The powerplant gets vocal at higher RPMs but NVH levels are well contained.
The hybrid powertrain comes mated to an e-CVT transmission.
There are three driving modes on offer - Eco, Sport and Normal.
Eco cuts off performance and focuses on giving you the best mileage while Sport mode does the exact opposite.
There is also a pure EV mode which offers a limited range. Drive the vehicle sedately and it will deliver an overall mileage of 12-13 km/l.
In terms of dynamics, the Lexus ES300h slightly disappoints.
The steering doesn't weigh up well at higher speeds and the feedback too isn't all that great.
However, in Sport mode, things get better. The steering and dampers stiffen up and the ride quality is just superb. The grip from the 215-section tyres are great but braking performance isn't. There is lack of initial bite.
Coming to safety features, the ES300h packs in quite a lot. You get 10 airbags, ABS, VSC, ISOFIX child seat mounts and Hill Start Assist.
In terms of the after-sales service, the Japanese automaker has a limited reach across the country.
At Rs 74 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), the Lexus ES300h offers great space, equipment and good efficiency but there are a host of rivals out there it has to contend with.
Buying the sedan makes sense if you really want to do your bit in conserving the environment.