Lexus, which has been teasing out details of its forthcoming ES 300h hybrid that it first unveiled at the New York Auto Show in April, recently announced pricing for the vehicle set to debut next month. Plans call for this green car offering to have a dollar tag of $38,850, putting it $2,750 over the asking price for the regular 2013 ES 350, which is the ES 300h’s regular engine under the hood sibling.
The ES 300h, said to be the lowest priced hybrid premium in the Lexus line up, will be driven by a 2.5-liter, four cylinder Atkinson cycle engine mated to a permanent-magnet, electric drive motor better known as Lexus Hybrid Drive technology that has a combined 200 horsepower of total system power. This electric motor will have a function which allows the driver to cruise around short distance drives, at reduced speed, using only the power from the vehicle’s associated battery pack.
This hybrid, which is equipped with regenerative braking to return energy to the battery pack, is expected to earn EPA fuel economy ratings of approximately 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined, according to Lexus. How these numbers play out in reality will depend in part upon driving habits, which are influenced by the ES 300h’s multi-mode driving selector function. Besides the EV only mode, it also offers choices for a blend of performance and efficiency that is suited to everyday driving, fuel economy over performance or increasing powertrain and steering responsiveness.
Safety features in the ES 300h will include a stiffer chassis with shock absorber dampening, 10 airbags, a blind spot monitor and a system that uses sub-millimeter wave radar, designed to detect certain obstructions traveling ahead and to prepare the vehicle for a potential collision.
On the interior, besides the luxury touches, one gets a bevy of technological offerings to fiddle with. These include, depending upon options chosen, a 15-watt, 835 watt audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, Bluetooth audio, GPS HDD navigation and an “app suite” that allows for connectivity to select Internet based offerings like OpenTable and Yelp.