Smooth Operator: The 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus ES 300h
The 2020 Lexus ES 300h.
In this time of uncertainty and stress, it's nice to know there's the 2020 Lexus ES 300h.  If you comb through the back posts of TireKicker (now that we all have some extra time), you'll find frequent praise for this car over the past 12 years, and the new one is the best yet.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus ES 300h

The ES 300 is based on the Toyota Avalon platform, but they are two very different vehicles.  And the 300h is the hybrid version of the ES.

Hood up shot of 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Hybrid powerplant in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

The hybrid is a combination of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor.  The combined horsepower of 215 doesn't sound like a lot, and its 0-60 time of 8.1 seconds is on the leisurely side for a modern luxury automobile, but there's no denying the upside---an EPA-estimated 43 miles per gallon city, 44 highway.  The transmission is a continuously variable automatic, which was hands-down the smoothest, quietest, best CVT we've tested.

Side view of 2020 Lexus ES 300h

The styling is smooth, sleek and aggressive and connects the ES to its big brother, the LS 500.  The long wheelbase from the Avalon platform allows for a silky-smooth ride.

Rear seat in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Front seats in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Best of all, the 2020 Lexus ES 300h has a base price of only $41,670, which comes with the following as standard equipment:

  • Drive mode select (Eco, Normal, Sport)
  • Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
  • 17-inch split five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Rear spoiler
  • Lexus Safety System + 2.0 (Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beam headlamps and road sign assist)
  • Brake assist with Smart Stop technology
  • SmartAccess with pushbutton start/stop
  • Backup camera with dynamic gridlines
  • Bi-LED headlamps and daytime running lights
  • Lexus Enform Safety Connect (three year trial)
  • Lexus Enform Service Connect (included for the first ten years of ownership)
  • Lexus Multimedia System with eight-inch color display, ten-speaker Lexus Premium sound system and voice command
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Lexus Enform wi-fi, 4GB (three month trial included)
  • Lexus Enform Remote (three year trial), compatible with smartphone, smart watch, devices enabled with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa)
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (three month trial included)
  • Ten-way driver and front passenger power seats
  • Electrochromic heated outside mirrors
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • One-touch open/close power tilt/slide moonroof
  • Carpeted floor mats
Instrument panel in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Gauge cluster in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Infotainment and HVAC in 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Stop there and you'd have a very nice luxury car for only a little more than loaded Camry money. 

Of course, like most of our testers, this one came with extra-cost options:

  • Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and intuitive parking assist with auto braking ($1,065)
  • Wireless charger ($75)
  • 18-inch split ten-spoke alloy wheels ($770)
  • 10.2-inch head-up display ($500)
  • Triple beam LED headlights ($1,515)
  • Power rear sunshade ($210)
  • Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package---upgrade to 12.3-inch color multimedia display, Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation (three-year trial included), Dynamic Voice Command (included for the first ten years of ownership), Lexus Enform Destination Assist (three year trial included) and Mark Levinson PurePlay 17-speaker, 1,800 watt premium surround sound audio system---($2,900)
  • Hands-free power open/close trunk ($550)
  • Premium Package---Lexus memory system for driver's seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power folding outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats--- ($1,375)
  • Heated wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel with windshield wiper de-icer and fast-response interior heater ($480)
  • Wood trim with ambient lighting ($540)
  • Illuminated door sills ($400)
  • Trunk mat/cargo net/wheel locks, rear bumper applique' and key glove ($365)
Front view of 2020 Lexus ES 300h

Rear view of 2020 Lexus ES 300h

With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $53,530.

I could make an argument for buying the base model and having the steal of the century at $42,785, delivery included---although I'd absolutely add $2,900 for the Mark Levinson audio, but that's me.

I can also make an argument for taking it equipped like this one.  In today's world, $53,530 is not much money for the comfort, luxury and reliability of this Lexus.  Factor in the gas savings from getting 43 miles per gallon in the city and 44 on the highway and you just might be money ahead.