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This hybrid offers the perfect ride

JUST RIGHT: The Lexus ES 300h may not be the hottest machine on the road, but it has a classic look and its size is perfect for everyday use.
This hybrid offers the perfect ride

SOPHISTICATED: There is plenty of legroom in the Lexus ES 300h, thanks to the car's elongated wheelbase.


    Oct 29, 2013

    This hybrid offers the perfect ride

    The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

    HANDS down, the Lexus ES 300h is the best car I've driven.

    It lived up to the Lexus reputation of being one of the most "perfect" cars on the road. So perfect, in fact, that Lexus has been trying to reshape the brand to gain a more dynamic appeal.

    The drive proved that getting behind the wheel is not always about power and "feeling" it, but about how comfortable and relaxed you can be.

    In terms of comfort, the sixth-generation ES 300h far surpassed any vehicle I've driven. The size was also perfect, for while the LS 600h is one of the most majestic and graceful cars available, the 300h is more ideal for everyday use.

    I felt my hands did little more than effortlessly guide the engine, while my right foot had to only touch the pedals to accelerate or break. And the turns, no matter how sharp, were no problem at all.

    The high fuel efficiency of 14km a litre on this hybrid added to my affection for the car, as it showed that it is a car that satisfies on so many levels, including performance, convenience and power.

    I say power because, contrary to what some may believe of Lexus cars, the ES goes off like a shot and climbs hills like a pro - provided that you don't go off-road, of course.

    The legacy of the ES is perhaps why it's so perfect.

    First launched in 1989, the ES has stayed with Toyota for quite a while now, recording more than 1.4 million sales globally.

    The ES line-up understandably accounts for one fourth of all Lexus sales. The ES 300h is its first hybrid.

    It is fitted with a 2.5-litre engine and an upgraded hybrid system that pounds out a horsepower of 200, and the official fuel economy is at 16.4kml.

    The cabin is superbly sophisticated and, thanks to the elongated wheelbase, legroom is more than enough (nobody in the back complained).

    I was delighted to find that there were minimal gadgets and knobs to keep you from being distracted, but I didn't enjoy using the joystick for navigating the touchscreen. Still, I was able to work it much easily than the rotund mouse Hyundai opts for.

    In South Korea, the Lexus ES is available in four trims, with prices ranging from 49 million won (S$57,100) to 61 million won.

    I admit, the ES may not be the hottest machine on the road, but its lines and curves are classic and refined.