2021 Lexus ES 300h

What’s new

  • The Lexus ES 300h carries over essentially unchanged
  • Part of the seventh Lexus ES generation introduced for 2019

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent ride quality and a quiet cabin
  • Good fuel economy for the size and power
  • Comfortable and mostly upscale interior
  • Cumbersome infotainment interface
  • Disappointing quality of some interior materials
  • Rear seats don't fold down
  • Acceleration is slow by luxury sedan standards
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MSRP Starting at
$41,810

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2021 Lexus ES 300h Review

While there are quite a few luxury hybrid vehicles available for 2021, most of them are plug-in hybrids. So what if you just want a regular hybrid to help keep cost and complexity in check? One option could be the Lexus ES 300h. This luxury sedan is comfortable and quiet and offers seriously impressive fuel economy. The EPA estimates that the 300h will get 44 mpg combined, which is excellent for any sedan, let alone a luxury ride.

The 300h has some drawbacks, such as poor acceleration for its class and an infotainment system with a steep learning curve. But overall this is a pretty appealing sedan. For all the details on the ES 300h and how it performs in the real world, read our Expert Rating below.

Edmunds’ Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team

Our verdict

7.9 / 10
The Lexus ES 300h is one of just a few luxury midsize hybrid sedans. Fuel economy is excellent, and the 300h handles surprisingly well and retains the Lexus hallmark focus on comfort and serenity. European plug-in hybrids are typically sportier, but the ES remains one of today's best all-around performers.

How does it drive?

7.0
You don't expect much vigor or verve from a luxury hybrid, but the ES 300h handles surprisingly well. It stays composed in corners, with better body control than you'd expect from a luxury sedan. The ES 300h isn't made for stoplight sprints, but acceleration is decent for a hybrid. In Edmunds testing it achieved a 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds.

The 300h's steering has the same numb, light effort that plagues many hybrids, although Sport mode gives it a livelier feel. Braking is unfortunately clunky, with a harsh sensation when the ES switches between its regenerative and friction brake modes. Otherwise, the engine and CVT automatic's smooth acceleration makes the ES a pleasure to drive, even in city traffic, where it feels like it's gliding.

How comfortable is it?

8.5
Comfort and a sense of isolation remain ES hallmarks. The front seats are firm and supportive, without excessive side bolsters to impede entry and exit. The rear seats are just as comfortable, if a bit wide and flat. You can sit up front or in back for long stretches without fatigue.

This latest 300h hasn't lost its ability to absorb bumps and road rash either. There's a bit of intrusive wind noise at highway speeds — more than we'd expect of a Lexus — but maybe it's just more noticeable since the car tames road and tire noise so well. Engine noise is almost imperceptible. More warmth from the seat heaters on cold days would be nice.

How’s the interior?

8.5
Getting in and out of the ES is no trouble thanks to the low seat cushions and wide door openings. There's also a good-size gap between front passengers and door panels that creates a feeling of space. There's loads of room in the back seat, especially between the seatbacks and knees, even for 6-foot-tall passengers.

Drivers of most heights and body types should find a comfortable driving position given the ES' power-adjustable seat and mostly clear views all around the car. Only the ES' incoherent array of buttons and switchgear is inexplicably inelegant in an otherwise elegant cabin. (The volume knob is great, though, and feels like an old-school stereo receiver.)

How’s the tech?

6.5
Our test car came with the spectacular-looking 12-inch infotainment display. The widescreen navigation maps look great thanks to excellent color contrast and indicators. But using the touchpad controller while in motion is onerous; a dial-and-button controller would be preferable. Fortunately, you can control many nav, phone, audio and even climate control functions through voice commands.

The ES also includes several standard driver safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, which help minimize lane wandering. This isn't semi-automated driving, and the degree of steering correction is limited, but it's useful for occasional lapses of attention.

How’s the storage?

8.5
You get a big trunk with the ES 300h. The battery pack resides beneath the rear seats, so cargo space is 16.7 cubic feet, the same as in the non-hybrid ES. Unfortunately, you can't fold the rear seats to increase space; there's only a pass-through slot for long items.

Storage for small items inside the cabin is abundant. There's also plenty of space for child safety seats, and they're easy to install. Just detach the plastic tabs over the car seat anchors in the seat cushions. Generous rear-seat room means most seats will fit without a need for sliding up the front seats.

How economical is it?

9.0
With an EPA rating of 44 mpg combined, the ES 300h is one of the more efficient sedans you can buy. We observed 46.2 mpg on our evaluation route, which indicates that the EPA ratings are attainable.

Is it a good value?

8.5
For a relatively affordable sum, the redesigned ES 300h delivers a substantial luxury experience. The upholstery feels supple and substantial, and the cabin shows typical Lexus attention to detail: tight panel gaps, high-quality controls and detailed stitching. Warranty coverage is on par for the segment.

It doesn't cost much more than a top-of-the-line Toyota Avalon Hybrid. Why not splurge a bit and get the Lexus?

Wildcard

7.5
The ES 300h isn't as fun to drive as more expensive European plug-in hybrids. But it excels in other ways. It's comfortable without being floaty, large without feeling ponderous, and serene without being detached. Sublime suspension tuning, a wonderful audio system, and a welcoming and roomy interior are other advantages.

Which ES 300h does Edmunds recommend?

The base trim on the Lexus ES 300h comes relatively well equipped, but we recommend upgrading to the midlevel Luxury trim. On top of the standard equipment, the Luxury trim adds heated and ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and upgraded interior materials including leather upholstery.

Lexus ES 300h models

The 2021 Lexus ES 300h is a midsize luxury sedan available in three trims: the base ES 300h, Luxury and Ultra Luxury. All trims are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor (215 total system horsepower) and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Only front-wheel drive is available.

Base
The base 300h gets an impressive number of standard features including:

  • LED headlights
  • Sunroof
  • Simulated-leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • 8-inch central infotainment display
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • 10-speaker sound system

Standard safety tech for the base 300h includes:

  • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Lane keeping assist (steers the ES back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker)
  • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)
  • Adaptive cruise control (adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the vehicle and the car in front)

A Premium package adds:

  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Driver-seat memory settings
  • Power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Power-folding mirrors

Luxury
The Luxury trim has the features of the Premium package plus:

  • Leather upholstery and wood trim
  • Additional front seat adjustments
  • Power rear sunshade
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
  • Parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of or behind the vehicle when parking)

Ultra Luxury
The Ultra Luxury adds to the Luxury equipment with:

  • Heated steering wheel
  • Manual rear door sunshades
  • Upgraded suspension
  • Hands-free trunk release
  • Rear automatic braking with pedestrian detection (brakes if sensors detect an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)

Other options include:

  • Navigation system with a 12.3-inch display
  • 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Head-up display

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2021 Lexus ES 300h.

5 star reviews: 100%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 0%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 5.0 stars based on 2 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

    Most helpful consumer reviews

    5 out of 5 stars, Nicely Appointed Mid-Size Hybrid
    Richard,
    4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

    Full set of modern safety features. Roomy trunk. Great deal on lease. Very comfortable. Hybrid drive very smooth and efficient. Able to connect Android cell phone to screen; can use Google Maps. Poor choice of exterior colors, but they had one my wife liked. Dealer sent out person to do orientation for all the features; he stayed 2.5 hours till we knew all the features and "buttonology."

    5 out of 5 stars, Beautiful car! Better ride!
    Pat Kunnecke,
    Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

    My wife and I love to travel and have gone through three ES models before this purchase. Just love the ride and luxury interior. Decided on the 300h this time and are very pleased. Still a smooth ride with plenty of pickup for the interstate on ramps. But now we add the 40+ mpg for both in town and long trips. It’s a beautiful ride.

    Write a review

    See all 2 reviews



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    Build Your ES 300h
    At a Glance:
    • 10 Colors
    • 2 Trims
    • $41,810starting MSRP

    Features & Specs

    4dr Sedan features & specs
    4dr Sedan
    2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT
    MSRP$41,810
    MPG 43 city / 44 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
    Horsepower215 hp @ 5700 rpm
    See all for sale
    Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan features & specs
    Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan
    2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT
    MSRP$50,810
    MPG 43 city / 44 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
    Horsepower215 hp @ 5700 rpm
    See all for sale
    Luxury 4dr Sedan features & specs
    Luxury 4dr Sedan
    2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT
    MSRP$47,010
    MPG 43 city / 44 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
    Horsepower215 hp @ 5700 rpm
    See all for sale
    See all 2021 Lexus ES 300h features & specs

    Safety

    Our experts’ favorite ES 300h safety features:

    Lexus Safety System+ 2.0
    Bundles a variety of standard safety features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
    Panoramic View Monitor
    Displays a 360-degree image of the area around the vehicle to aid in parking maneuvers.
    Blind-Spot Monitor
    Warns the driver if a vehicle is in the ES 300h's blind spot.

    NHTSA Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars

    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

    Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
    Side Crash RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Side Barrier RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
    Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
    RolloverRating
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.5%

    Lexus ES 300h vs. the competition

    Lexus ES 300h vs. BMW 5 Series

    The 530e is a plug-in hybrid, which offers 21 miles of all-electric range. This requires a larger battery, and it brings with it a larger price. However, once the 5 Series runs out of electricity, it gets much lower fuel economy than the Lexus. If your daily commute is relatively short, however, the 530e might make more sense.

    Compare Lexus ES 300h & BMW 5 Series features

    Lexus ES 300h vs. Honda Accord Hybrid

    If you're looking for a comfortable, fuel-efficient hybrid, but you don't need the luxurious look and feel of the Lexus 300h, consider a vehicle like the Honda Accord Hybrid. Even in its topped-out Touring trim, the Accord Hybrid is less expensive than the ES 300h (which you'd probably expect) but it offers more legroom, more cargo space and nearly the same fuel economy. The ES gets an EPA-estimated 44 mpg combined, while the Accord checks in at up to 48 mpg combined.

    Compare Lexus ES 300h & Honda Accord Hybrid features

    Lexus ES 300h vs. Lexus ES 350

    Maybe the ES' style and on-road comfort appeal to you, but the hybrid doesn't fit your needs. Well, good news: Lexus offers the ES with a standard powertrain. Under the hood of the ES 350 is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out a healthy 302 horsepower. The 350's engine makes it more enjoyable to drive than the 300h, even if it takes a big hit in the fuel economy department. (The 350 has an EPA combined rating of just 26 mpg.) It's worth noting, however, that you can get into the ES 350 in Ultra Luxury trim for about the same price as the Luxury trim of the 300h.

    Compare Lexus ES 300h & Lexus ES 350 features

    FAQ

    Is the Lexus ES 300h a good car?

    The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 ES 300h both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.9 out of 10. You probably care about Lexus ES 300h fuel economy, so it's important to know that the ES 300h gets an EPA-estimated 44 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the ES 300h has 13.9 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Lexus ES 300h. Learn more

    What's new in the 2021 Lexus ES 300h?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h:

    • The Lexus ES 300h carries over essentially unchanged
    • Part of the seventh Lexus ES generation introduced for 2019
    Learn more

    Is the Lexus ES 300h reliable?

    To determine whether the Lexus ES 300h is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the ES 300h. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the ES 300h's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

    Is the 2021 Lexus ES 300h a good car?

    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Lexus ES 300h is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 ES 300h and gave it a 7.9 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 ES 300h is a good car for you. Learn more

    How much should I pay for a 2021 Lexus ES 300h?

    The least-expensive 2021 Lexus ES 300h is the 2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $41,810.

    Other versions include:

    • 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) which starts at $41,810
    • Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) which starts at $50,810
    • Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) which starts at $47,010
    Learn more

    What are the different models of Lexus ES 300h?

    If you're interested in the Lexus ES 300h, the next question is, which ES 300h model is right for you? ES 300h variants include 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT). For a full list of ES 300h models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2021 Lexus ES 300h

    2021 Lexus ES 300h Overview

    The 2021 Lexus ES 300h is offered in the following submodels: ES 300h Sedan. Available styles include Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

    What do people think of the 2021 Lexus ES 300h?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2021 ES 300h 5.0 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 ES 300h.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 ES 300h featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 2021 Lexus ES 300h?

    2021 Lexus ES 300h Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

    The 2021 Lexus ES 300h Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $52,220. The average price paid for a new 2021 Lexus ES 300h Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) is trending $6,230 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $6,230 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $45,990.

    The average savings for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) is 11.9% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 6 2021 Lexus ES 300h Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.

    2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

    The 2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $42,835. The average price paid for a new 2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) is trending $6,018 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $6,018 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $36,817.

    The average savings for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) is 14.1% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 12 2021 Lexus ES 300h 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.

    Which 2021 Lexus ES 300hs are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Lexus ES 300h for sale near. There are currently 58 new 2021 ES 300hs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $49,215 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Lexus ES 300h. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $3,023 on a used or CPO 2021 ES 300h available from a dealership near you.

    Can't find a new 2021 Lexus ES 300hs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Lexus ES 300h for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $21,418.

    Find a new Lexus for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $11,465.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 2021 Lexus ES 300h?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out Lexus lease specials