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Thoughts after almost a month


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Here's my thoughts on the ES300h after almost a month of ownership.

Two words sum it all up for me. It's special.

And in case it helps someone who is shopping around, here's some pointers under different headings about the Lexus and other brands. I considered Audi A6, Merc E-Class... the usual suspects. 

Dodged that bullet
- The Audi A6 I didn't end up buying. (Check audi-sport.net for reports of issues on the new A6s). Objectively speaking, NO ONE SHOULD EVEN GO NEAR THE A6. Not in the current generation. I paid the deposit as well but pulled out in time ! Audi offered a damn good deal tbh but I could not muster the courage to buy in to all the issues that were repeatedly reported. The E Class came pretty close too. But in the end the ES won me over. It is excellent value, lovely to drive and a beautiful looking car.
- Topaz Brown interior: I was very keen on getting this but I saw one in real life and I think that interior colour combination will work in California but will be too drab here in U.K. due to the dark headliner. (This is subjective)
- Takumi Spec : Too expensive for the drivetrain on offer. I wouldn't mind paying Takumi spec money for the V6 or at least the 250HP AWD Hybrid drivetrain (now available in UK in Toyota Highlander)

Regrets
- Not getting the Sandstone interior. The light interior does make it feel spacious. Now that I have the black on black I feel claustrophobic when I compare that to the spaciousness I felt in the test drive car which had Sandstone interior (but I guess it's less upkeep/maintenance)

What could Lexus do better
- Make the boot lid electric opening and closing. (Don't really care for the kick sensor, but give me a switch on the inside and the key to open/close the boot lid)

- The semi-autonomous steering could be better. I find that it corrects the steering too many times at certain points. I have turned that off for now and only relying on lane departure steering correction. And the erratic (for me) behaviour is repeatable at exactly the same points on the same road. I think I should give Lexus the GPS coordinates of the locations and rest of the data Lexus can extract from my car's blackbox and see if they can fix it.

- Too many lights and too many colours in the central display. The LCD display itself is very good. But lights around it are a bit "Christmassy"

- Breaks. I didn't notice this on the test drive. But I have to be very deliberate with breaking or else it results very little breaking for the first 70% of break pedal travel and then a full on emergency breaking beyond that. The dealership has adjusted tyre pressures (I noted 2.9psi hot) and I am getting used to it. I guess it may be the pads bedding in.

Thought I would regret but don't
- The small screen. Not bad at all. It is a very good screen and has almost no glare and reflections. Get's very bright when needed and manages to remain vibrant enough and not appear washed out.
- The standard audio system. IIRC is about 300W and 8-channel. I listen to MP3 mostly and for music I don't even bother pluging in for CarPlay. For me, it is totally perfectly OK. (Having tried various brands, I think it all boils down to having a balanced centre channel and a dedicated sub and a channel for the sub and the ES has it). Quite a lot of it will depend on the the MP3 compression but for MP3s I get from iTunes (actually AAC) I am happy.

Pleasant Surprise
- The ambient lighting in Premium Pack is pretty chill. It doesn't allow all the customizations the A6 would have but I have read that multi coloured lighting gets old pretty quickly. However for the sedate/soothing nature of the ES, the door card and footwell lighting is just ... soothing.
- Drivetrain. Now, I did test drive for a few hours but I think something has changed for MY2021. The theoretical system torque is about 300Nm (221Nm just for the ICE) but my car doesn't feel all that weak when I compared to the 400Nm I remember from my previous diesel car. The test car felt more than adequate, but my car feels punchier than I remember the test car (or the engine is too "fresh" and not switching to Port Injectors yet)
- The Howl. No, not the CVT howl. The electric howl under 20mph. I honestly don't remember that from the test drive and maybe it's a MY21 addition but I just love that sound. (Checkout savagegeese review of the ES300h on YouTube, the opening sound before the piano kicks in). It's out of this world.

What the press got wrong.
- CVT howl. Carwow, Carbuyer, WhatCar and Driving Electric all mention this. Total non-sense. Not in anyway as bad or annoying as the press report it. My friend's Range Rover Sport SDV6 makes a worse sound when pulling through in high gear. I remember my 318i to be much louder on kick down. Also, I test drove a Volvo V90 Petrol, that car makes a racket on kick down. Compared to my previous A6 diesel, I would say the ES is not any louder or "droney" than that. On the A6 in Economy mode, I could hear the very annoying valve chatter at low speeds on a quiet road. No quibbles what so ever on the ES. It's all good.
- Lumpen drive. I don't understand the press' fascination with sporty/stiff suspension, disconnected steering, large wheels on a high-torque-at-low-rpm packages. It's great that Lexus made the ES the way it is. Works well on the emabarassment we have for roads here. The ES is such a departure from the staple and thankfully so. It's not a lumpen drive on the ES. It's comfortable, predictable, quiet, relaxing and safe.

- The touch pad. It's not as annoying as the press make it sound. And many other brands are actually switching to touch pads. Mercedes and Acura(I don't we'll ever see one here in the U.K.) come to mind. Audi Haptic Touch MMI is a worse interface in my mind as it takes more attention and less likely to benefit from muscle memory.

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Agree with John, very nice and useful report that covered everything, almost.

How is your fuel consumption and until what speed you can run EV mode?

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Our first Lexus is no disappointment either. Good you like the one you bought too.

Sure, you will be happy with the car a long time as our car was bought 4-year-old and run as good as all the cars we have bought new.

The gearbox in the CT is also much quieter than many reviews tell and that the CT is not a big car is easily shown, but for people on front seat not taller than 195cm room is excellent; 180cm tall persons go in rear seat as well without problems, so these journalists must be basketball player height or just writing what they have been told to write.

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27 minutes ago, Vlady said:

Agree with John, very nice and useful report that covered everything, almost.

How is your fuel consumption and until what speed you can run EV mode?

hi Vlad,

I haven't reset the computer since delivery and have yet to do a full-to-full comparison. Having said that, the current consumption over approx 350 miles is just over 40mpg.

The best I have seen recorded in Lexus Link is over 50mpg.

Have been on the motorway maybe three or four times so far and I do notice the EV light coming on even on the motorway for short periods of time.

Last evening on return from the grocery run, it was running on EV for about 46% of the time and 44% of the distance.

I will try a full-to-full next time I refuel. I will be a happy bunny if this land yacht can show anything over 45mpg on petrol !

Cheers,

--E

 

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14 minutes ago, Las Palmas said:

Our first Lexus is no disappointment either. Good you like the one you bought too.

Sure, you will be happy with the car a long time as our car was bought 4-year-old and run as good as all the cars we have bought new.

The gearbox in the CT is also much quieter than many reviews tell and that the CT is not a big car is easily shown, but for people on front seat not taller than 195cm room is excellent; 180cm tall persons go in rear seat as well without problems, so these journalists must be basketball player height or just writing what they have been told to write.

hi John,

This is my first time buying Lexus. I had been interested in Lexus previously, but ended up getting an Audi in 2018 as they offered a very good deal (effectively took the VAT off the RRP an A6 S-Line Diesel). I have to say it didn't age well. Also, in 2018 ES was not available immediately here in UK.

On the A6, the door cards had developed a rattle in just about a month which the dealership could not locate and fix. The ride was a bit meh. Steering feel was anaesthetic and became wooly after I switched to all season tyres.

Fuel economy was OK. I managed almost 64mpg in one instance on the motorway.

All it did well was going fast in a straight line on the motorway.

The worst part, the right hand drive version of the A6 has a very weird seating position and the seats in the S-Line are hard. I never was able to find a seating position which didn't give me a back ache or left lower leg aches.

On the other hand, I have relatives in US who have had their Lexus GS for over ten years and almost 100k miles. I drove that car and that car felt nearly showroom fresh. No rattles, squeaks or other mechanical oddness. There was other wear and tear but on a blindfold, I couldn't have guessed the car was that old. That car was recently replaced with a newer GS. I don't think the same can be said about the Germans based on my personal experience.

I am not surprised that your CT feels like new. That's the core value of Lexus.

Cheers,

--E

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2 hours ago, e-yes said:

Thanks John, yes I have seen that 🙂

I'd be over the moon if I get 50mpg consistently 🤩

Cheers,

--E

So would I, but living where hills are very much up and down it seems not possible. Satisfied with around 6 litre per 100 km.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Agree entirely re the press. The CVT "howl" is a complete non-issue. The touchpad is not great when you first get in the car but you soon (i.e. within a few days) get used to it.

One thing re the "pads" - your brake pads don't really get much use in a CVT/hybrid. Instead, down to the last 5mph, it is more like a bicycle (if you imagine) as the chains essentially go the other way to slow you down. If you haven't driven a CVT/hybrid it is weird at first (I found it that way too in my first IS) but again, you soon get used to it.

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hi Ian,

When I took the test drive for a few hours, I didn't notice any issue with breaks. They were just as I would have them on a non hybrid.

I don't quite remember but the milage on the test car was just over 3000 miles. I have not even done 1000 miles yet so I am guessing/hoping that a few months down the line the breaks will start behaving like on a non hybrid.

Cheers,

--E

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