Smart Money: The 2016 Lexus ES 300h

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus ES 300h
The 2016 Lexus ES 300h.
The cost or cost saving of owning a hybrid is a difficult thing about which to make a blanket statement. Some cost so much more than the non-hybrid equivalent and improve fuel economy by such a small percentage that it will take 11 years or more to pay for itself in gasoline saved.

Then, there's the Lexus ES 300h, which makes the math extremely compelling.

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus ES 300h
2016 Lexus ES 300h.
A 2016 gasoline-powered Lexus ES 350 has a starting price of $38,000.  The EPA fuel economy estimate is 21 miles per gallon city, 31 highway.  The hybrid ES 300h starts at $40,920, a mere $2,920 more---and the fuel economy estimate (utterly reliable from our experience) is 40 city, 39 highway. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Hybrid Cost Calculator, the fuel saved pays for the extra cost of the hybrid in just 5.2 years. That's less than the length of a typical car loan and a fraction of the usable life of the Lexus ES 300h, which combined with its high long-term trade-in value, makes 8 or 10 years of ownership a realistic expectation.

Interior view of 2016 Lexus ES 300h
2016 Lexus ES 300h interior.
What's more, the ES 300h is a fully realized luxury car at its $40,920 base price, with an extensive list of standard equipment (click here).  And it can be optioned up to even greater opulence, as was our test car, which had:

  • Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert ($500)
  • Lexus Safety System+ including pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and bi-LED headlamps ($1,015)
  • Navigation paired with a Mark Levinson premium audio package including a 15-speaker, 835-watt system with an in-dash CD/DVD player, 8-inch color screen, Lexus' Enform app suite and a backup camera ($2,650)
  • A one-touch power trunk ($400)
  • Intuitive parking assist ($500)
  • Rain-sensing wipers with de-icer ($155)
  • The Ultra-Luxury Package with wood trim interior, driver and passenger heated and ventilated memory seats, a power rear window sunshade, manual rear door sunshades, a driver's seat power cushion extender, ambient lighting, and a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel ($450).
With delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $50,530.  

I have sung the praises of the ES 300h before---with the 2015 and the 2014 models. Each time brings a deeper appreciation of its value.  A luxury car that nearly doubles its gasoline-powered twin's city mpg estimate for $2,920 more is a remarkable accomplishment.