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Used 2016 Lexus ES 300h Base Sedan Review

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Lexus ES 300h Base Sedan.

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Love the car!
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Performance does suffer a tiny bit because this is a hybrid (I say this most likely because I had a V6 car before), but it is meant to be a quiet, smooth sedan that provides plenty of luxury and superior comfort. You simply can't ask for a car that has V6 performance, a luxury badge, 40MPG AND an MSRP just above $40K. The car does provide instant acceleration because of the continuously … variable transmission, which I am a big fan of. Step on the gas pedal and the feel is instantaneous, unlike a traditional automatic that has to constantly shift gears to get optimal performance. CVT is hated by many people because they think it is boring, not performance-oriented and can be very noisy. However, the CVT on this Lexus is nothing like this. The car's sound insulation is superior, you can barely hear the engine at all during normal driving, city or highway. It is also what helps the car gets the gas mileage because of reduced parts and better efficiency. Without even trying (as I said I had a V6 car before, so I don't drive very gently), I easily get at least 38+ MPG, sometimes even better (40-42 MPG), whether on the highway or in heavy traffic during rush hours, and I think this is really amazing. For my previous V6, in heavy traffic gas mileage easily falls below 15 MPG, especially for shorter trips. I had to frequently go to gas station every few days because the engine wastes too much gas when idling or starting/stopping in city traffic. This hybrid car however shuts off the gas completely when coming to a stop or driving at low speeds, and the car runs on the battery entirely. The result is extreme quietness and you won't feel the car's vibration when waiting for the light at an intersection. To me, I would even say the city traffic is now not as bad thanks to the car's advanced hybrid technology and superior sound insulation. I now seriously question myself why I spent the extra $$$ to get a V6, not needing the extra power, and spending more $$$ on premium gas that was not used to generate that power but was wasted. I am saying all of these probably because I have never driven a hybrid before and I don't really know how other hybrids drive, but I doubt the level of comfort, performance, efficiency will be comparable to these of ES300h. What's even better with this car is that it only requires regular (87 octane rating) gas. Also, the front seats are extremely comfortable and with the perforated seats and the safety features, so this is not just a getting-from-A-to-B commute sedan but will also be a nice place to spend time in if you are traveling for longer distances. There are interior cosmetic changes over the 2015 model - and I would say the steering wheel, dash and the gear knob look way better than the previous generation. Overall the interior is just elegant and beautiful. I would definitely recommend this car to anyone who is looking to buy a reasonably priced, entry-level luxury sedan that combines reasonable performance and gas efficiency. Lexus offers a longer warranty, one full year of complementary maintenance, and with its reputable long-term reliability the car should provide a worry-free, enjoyable driving experience.
5 out of 5 stars
Great car for the money
Cliff Leegard,09/30/2016
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
If you are looking for a quiet car with luxury features and good gas mileage this is the car for you. Driven carefully you can get 42 MPG around town. I only have 1100 miles on the car and first trip on the freeway at 75MPH caused the indicated mileage to drop to 36MPG. Complaints: trunk is rather small but adequate, no cubby hole space to store things except in doors. Console should … have more storage as well. One glove compartment- which is pretty much filled with the 5-6 volume instruction manuals. However, thanks for the manuals - much better than a CD/DVD that I cannot look at if I have a question when I am on the road. One complaint on the mouse system- it has three ways to select something (2-side buttons or push down on the joystick - it needs one button programmed to go-back instead of me having to select the go-back icon on the screen which is time consuming. It is a fairly long car but will be a good compromise car for trips on the road for comfort and town car for good gas mileage. I bought the Ultra-Lux package, which has the cooled softer leather seats, plus rear and side sun shades plus the Mark Levinson sound which I feel was worth the extra $2-3000.
4 out of 5 stars
Lots to love, but some disappointments as well
robert finn,07/03/2016
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have had my 2016 ES300h for 2 years. I really like the outside styling and the interior is luxurious and very comfortable. I am getting very good gas mileage. Acceleration in power mode is very good, but I don't use it that often, preferring to get better fuel economy. I find the ride to be very smooth and quiet. The safety features are terrific. In general I love the car, but here are … some issues that have disappointed me. 1. The Sirius/XM satellite radio reception is TERRIBLE…music fades out every day, this makes me wish I had a different car. I had sirius/xm reset the signal but that did not help. July 15 2016 update: I took the car in to Lexus of Austin to research the audio problems described in #1 above. The service rep said it is a problem recognized by Lexus that affects a few (random) vehicles across all the Lexus models but they do not know how to fix it. It is weak reception signal that causes dead spots and also lack of HD reception which causes some stations to sound very bad, while other stations sound full and rich. They informed me it could be many months before the issue might be fixed. They recommended that I contact Lexus USA customer service to file the issue. I ended up putting Spoify on my iPhone and cancelling my Sirius/XM subscription. 2. Voice recognition is not good, making it difficult to enter destinations into the Nav system. I would prefer Apple Play. 3. Nav system directions (by Tom Tom) are not good compared to google maps or garmin devices. I would prefer Apple Play. 4. In the summer, climate control defaults to “recirculating” air instead of fresh air from outside, so I have to press the climate control button twice every time I drive the car just to get fresh air! This seems like a design flaw. 5. Limited storage: Front side door storage bins should include a cup holder, but they don't 6. Limited storage: The front cup holder along center console is TOO far back to reach with a normal arm position 10. Limited storage: No small compartment for sunglasses Update: I bought a visor clip for my sunglasses. Not as elegant, but it works. I bought this car because I wanted a hybrid. My last car was an Acura TL. I would have bought a TL hybrid if one existed. The Acura did not have any problems with satellite radio reception, defaulted climate control to FRESH air (what a concept)!, and had more storage compartments (for cups and sunglasses and cell phones). July 2018 update: I've now owned this ES300h for 2 years. I don't regret it. I found work-arounds for most of the issues listed above. I get compliments from friends and strangers about this car.....about it's beauty, styling and luxuriousness.
4 out of 5 stars
Lexus ES 300h v. Avalon Ltd hybrid
john sims,01/24/2017
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I read the reviews describing the Lexus 300h and Avalon ltd as comparable. I shopped for > 1 yr. I bought because of a good deal (thank you Edmunds for posting the incentives); in August 2016 the incentive on the Lexus was $3500 and the Avalon was $1000. I test drove both cars and here are the differences I think that exist. The Lexus was a little quieter, the sound system a … little clearer, the wood finish clearly bamboo wood (and nicely finished), the seats a little more comfortable, and the interior a little bigger. the Lexus Navi system is 1" larger and recessed so it isn't as affected by sunlight. The bad parts of the Lexus are the storage--less trunk space, glove compartment, center console space. it doesn't have the number of "nooks and crannies" that a Toyota does. The Avalon Ltd had these included--plus the rear windowshade. neither trunk passthru works. (the non-hybrid models have a trunk pass thru .) the maintenance cost of the Lexus will be higher; my wife's Sienna has 24 mths free maintenace; the Lexuas has 12. Oh.... the additional "24/7 roadside assistance" on the additional service package is really AAA so just join AAA. compared to my previous car (an 8 yr old Acura RL), the Lexus has worse interior storage, much better mileage, better visibilty / smaller blindspot, and similar size trunk. I had previously thought that the Acura had small storage space! the Lexus' glove compartment, center console have even less storage room than the Acura! the acceleration on the Acura is definitely much better but the hybrid is acceptable. I wish the Lexus ES and/or the Avalon had a AWD AND hybrid model. I guess my biggest surprise disappointment was that I expected more interior storage in the Lexus---especially since our Sienna has so many clever nooks for cup holders, console, etc. update 7/31/17: I've owned the car 11 months now. it is a comfortable car. the rear seating area is very spacious. my favorite feature, however, is the bluetooth "auto connect and play" feature with my iPhone. after the car starts, it automatically connects and plays whatever audio (music or podcast) through the sound system. this is very convenient and meets my music content needs. the most frustrating part of ES 300h ownership is not related to the car itself. it is the Lexus "e-mail reminder" feature which reminds me to service my car depending on the time (estimated mileage) weather (wiper blades in the winter), etc. the worse episode was when it "automatically" made an appointment for me (that I did not request and cancelled by calling person to person) and then sent me an admonishment that "I did not show". Lexus really needs to fully test a software feature before activating it. the navigation screen does not have as many customization options as the Acura (nor is it as easy to program a route). the Acura is better suited for 1 handed control---the main navigation screen knob with rotate and press feature is much easier (and IMHO, safer) than the Lexus mouse-like control. Lexus should just provide a touch-screen (like the Sienna) which would be more intuitive. The blind spot monitor and rear view camera showing the anticipated direction of the car based on the wheel position is very helpful. update 1/31/18: t I've delighted and still enjoy is the "custom seat" setting. when you get in the car, there is a lot of space between the steering wheel and seat; very easy to slide in. When the car starts, the seat slides forward and tilts to your custom settings, making you feel like you're in a spaceship. I still believe the Acura navi system is more ergonomic. the Lexus interior storage is still poor. update 8/4/18: pleasantly mildly surprised that at low mileage (< 7500 miles/yr), I only need to take it in to dealer to maintain once a year. (helps offset 50% higher cost of maintenance over Toyota; 30% higher than Acura). Acura was a little more specific about what would be done at each service appointment needed; Lexus just says, "needs service maintenance". car is still comfortable, still not enough storage. voice command is hard to learn (haven't learned how to use it; easier to pair phone via bluetooth and use phone to call, etc.) navigation system needs work; POI is not bad but need to enter entire address, incl. city. Using the 10 digit phone number to enter POI on the Acura is much, much easier. can't move map around to see "ahead". 8/23/19 update: still happy with mileage and comfortable seats. E300h definitely does not corner well. still wish for hybrid/AWD. would look at Tesla 3. 8/31/20 update: still happy with mileage and comfortable seats. E300h definitely does not corner well. still wish for hybrid/AWD. still wish for better storage. I would look at Tesla 3.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2016 Lexus ES 300h Base Sedan

Pros & Cons

  • Efficient hybrid powertrain
  • comfortable ride and composed handling
  • luxurious and well-built interior
  • generous rear legroom.
  • Electronics interface can be complicated and distracting to use.

Full Edmunds Review: 2016 Lexus ES 300h Sedan

What’s new

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 gets improved sound deadening in the cabin, a number of minor interior tweaks, a new grille and various other exterior styling updates. Bi-LED headlights are a new option, and a new safety package features a mildly revised version of the Lexus pre-collision system with pedestrian-detection capability.

Edmunds says

The 2016 Lexus ES 300h brings stellar fuel efficiency to the entry-level luxury sedan segment. Great fuel economy and Lexus pampering: It's a win-win situation.

Vehicle overview

Now that hybrid cars are fairly commonplace, it might surprise you to learn that the 2016 Lexus ES 300h is one of only a handful of entry-level luxury hybrid sedans on the market. In keeping with the general idea behind hybrids (Let's save fuel!), the ES 300h emphasizes good gas mileage over pure power. But it also takes its mission as an entry-level luxury sedan very seriously and offers all the space and comfort you'll find in its V6-powered ES 350 sibling.

The 2016 Lexus ES 300h luxury hybrid sedan is comfort-oriented, with loads of luxury features.

Roomy for its class, the Lexus ES 300h is a relaxing place to spend time, and passengers seated in the back have plenty of space to stretch their legs. There are also the premium-level appointments, impressive build quality you'd expect from a Lexus and a smooth and tranquil ride quality. Of course, what makes the ES 300h truly desirable is its outstanding fuel economy. Its four-cylinder hybrid powertrain helps this sedan achieve an EPA combined rating of 40 mpg, and pulls this off while offering acceptably quick acceleration and handling that's on par with that of the ES 350.

Lexus hasn't made many changes this year, but the 2016 ES 300h's updated front-end styling stands out, and its newly optional bi-LED headlights are an upgrade over the low-beam-only xenon headlights offered previously. The company has also added a couple extra buttons to the Remote Touch controller (included with the optional navigation system) in an effort to improve ease of use. Inspired by a computer mouse, the rather clumsy Remote Touch interface is one of the few knocks against the Lexus ES 300h. If in-car connectivity is a priority, you'll want to try it out thoroughly during your test-drive.

Apart from that caveat, the 2016 Lexus ES 300h offers a pretty complete package. One of the few alternatives is the 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. It isn't quite as refined or roomy as the ES 300h, but it is less expensive and posts similar fuel economy. Another way to go would be to buy a loaded version of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which is mechanically similar to the ES 300h and equipped with a more conventional (and easier to use) touchscreen electronics interface. Likewise, you might want to look at the Honda Accord Hybrid, as it's a well-appointed car in its own right and returns even better fuel economy. If you don't need quite as much space, the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid should be an interesting option to consider. For shoppers seeking a truly roomy car with premium accommodations and big fuel economy numbers, though, the Lexus ES 300h remains a compelling choice for 2016.

2016 Lexus ES 300h models

The 2016 Lexus ES 300h is the hybrid version of the five-seat Lexus ES 350 midsize luxury sedan, which is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights (low-beam setting only), LED taillights, running lights and foglights, a sunroof, heated mirrors with memory function, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, a trio of driver-selectable drive modes (Eco/Normal, EV only and Sport), dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with two-way lumbar adjustment), perforated premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, Lexus Enform Remote (allows for smartphone control of certain vehicle functions) and Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications. Also standard is the Display Audio interface (includes a 7-inch touchscreen and multipurpose control knob), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free (iPhone voice control integration), and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB audio interface.

Luxury and comfort are practically Lexus trademarks, and the ES 300h's cabin doesn't skimp on either.

There are many individual options and packages available, but their availability varies by the region in which you live. Also note that many items and packages must be purchased in combination with one another.

The Navigation package includes a larger 8-inch display screen, the mouselike Remote Touch electronics interface, a navigation system, voice controls, traffic reporting, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity and the Enform suite of smartphone-connected apps and concierge services. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system with DVD-audio capability can be added as well. The Safety System+ package includes adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system (the Lexus pre-collision system), a lane departure warning system with steering assist and automatic high-beam headlight control.

The Premium package adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory functions and several wood trim choices. The Luxury package includes all the Premium items, plus wood trim for the center console, leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats. The Ultra Luxury package includes items from both the Premium and Luxury packages, plus a driver seat cushion extender, passenger seat memory functions, manual rear side sunshades and ambient lighting.

Stand-alone options include upgraded bi-LED headlights, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers and many of the items from the above packages.

The ES 300h's LED taillights have a more defined "L" shape for the 2016 model year.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Lexus ES 300h features a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that together send 200 horsepower to the front wheels.

In Edmunds testing, an ES 300h went from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, and though this isn't quick for a conventional entry-level luxury sedan, it's pretty good for a hybrid. The EPA's estimated fuel economy is an excellent 40 mpg combined (40 city/39 highway). We got 40 mpg during Edmunds testing.


Standard on the 2016 Lexus ES 300h are antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard are a rearview camera and Lexus Safety Connect with automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle location and an emergency assist button.

The Lexus Safety System+ option bundles the pre-collision system, lane departure warnings (with steering assist to help keep the car centered in its lane), adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlight control. The pre-collision system is a fairly basic frontal collision warning system, though it does have the ability to apply the brakes automatically in a potential collision situation and, for 2016, it's able to detect pedestrians in addition to other vehicles.

Other optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts.

In Edmunds brake testing, an ES 300h stopped from 60 mph in 129 feet, which is longer than average for an entry-level luxury sedan.

In government crash testing, the Lexus ES 300h received five out of five stars for overall safety, and for its protection in frontal- and side-impact crashes. The Lexus ES 350, on which the ES 300h is based, received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Its seat and head restraint design was also rated Good for whiplash protection in rear impacts.


The 2016 Lexus ES 300h delivers a refined driving experience bolstered by its hybrid powertrain's quiet, all-electric operation at lower speeds. While the hybrid ES is noticeably less quick than the V6-equipped ES 350, most buyers will find its acceleration fully acceptable in normal driving situations and an acceptable trade-off for the hybrid's improved fuel economy.

Brake pedal feel is also impressively normal for a hybrid. You'll be hard-pressed to detect the transitions between the hybrid system's regenerative braking (which helps recharge the hybrid's battery pack) and application of the conventional brakes. At highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably silent and is largely devoid of wind or road noise. Bumps and ruts in the road are well absorbed by the suspension, but don't expect complete isolation from road imperfections: The ES hybrid is tuned to deliver a balance between out-and-out comfort and handling precision.


The 2016 Lexus ES 300h's cabin presents a modern, stylish environment. The optional interior trim of sustainably grown bamboo is an especially attractive touch. The richness of the materials depends on whether you opt for one of the luxury packages, but in typical Lexus fashion, everything is put together with care regardless of how the ES is equipped.

The climate controls are simple to use, but the audio system is a little more complicated due to the sheer number of available media types. This is true whether you get the standard Display Audio touchscreen/multipurpose knob controller or the upgrade Lexus Remote Touch system included with the Navigation package. The latter is a mouselike device that controls a cursor on a large centrally located screen. Although interacting with this interface is very similar to using a computer mouse, the ultra-sensitive nature of the controller can make it clumsy and distracting to use while driving. For 2016, Lexus has added "Enter" buttons to each side of the mouse in the hope of making it easier to operate, but we haven't yet tested this revised setup. Bottom line: If tech features are important to you, we recommend playing around with Remote Touch before you take an ES 300h home.

Lexus has added "Enter" buttons to the sides of the Remote Touch controller in the 2016 ES 300h.

Six-footers will be quite content in the ES 300h's front seats. Rear-seat legroom is impressive as well, although taller occupants may find the seat to be positioned a little low. The rear-mounted battery pack cuts trunk capacity to 12.1 cubic feet (versus 15.2 cubic feet in the ES 350), and the rear seats do not fold.

Since the ES 300h is more full-size than midsize in dimensions, its backseat is very spacious and accommodating.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2016 Lexus ES 300h in Virginia is:

not available