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2020 Lexus ES Hybrid Review

The 2020 Lexus ES Hybrid earns a good overall score and holds its own in our luxury hybrid and electric car rankings. It's quiet and fuel-efficient, with plenty of space for passengers and cargo. However, a distracting infotainment system holds this Lexus back.

Pros & Cons

  • Cushy ride
  • Posh cabin
  • Roomy cabin
  • Supportive seats
  • Large trunk
  • Vexing infotainment system
  • Not that sporty

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.2
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.5 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Lexus ES Hybrid a Good Car?

Yes, the 2020 ES Hybrid is a good car. The 300h, as it is also known, earns great fuel economy ratings. It's not the most athletic car on the road, but the ES Hybrid provides a pleasantly serene ride, and the hybrid powertrain never feels weak. Inside, you'll find a handsome, well-appointed cabin, with plenty of passenger space and a lot of standard features. Not all of these features are the most intuitive to use, especially the infotainment system’s Remote Touchpad controller.

There's also a nonhybrid Lexus ES, which we cover in a separate review.

Should I Buy the Lexus ES Hybrid?

As detailed above, there are many reasons to like this car. If you have no qualms about the infotainment system, then you should definitely consider the ES Hybrid. Its price tag sits in the low-to-mid-$40,000s, making it a solid value among luxury vehicles as well. Of course, it never hurts to comparison shop, so you may also want to check out alternatives like the Toyota Avalon Hybrid or even the nonhybrid Lexus ES.

Compare the ES Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and ES »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus ES Hybrid?

The 2020 Lexus ES 300h belongs to a generation that began with the 2019 model year. The only notable change for 2020 is that Android Auto is now standard.

In redesigning the ES Hybrid for 2019, Lexus refined the sedan's suspension system, made an impressive suite of safety features standard in every trim, and gave the sedan a boost in horsepower. However, Lexus did not overhaul the infotainment system, and many drivers will find the interface overly distracting to use while driving, an issue that also plagued the 2018 ES Hybrid.

You can potentially save thousands with an even older ES Hybrid, though you'll miss out on the updates from the redesign. We recommend checking out the 2019 ES 300h, as these are similar to 2020 models, aside from the lack of Android Auto.

If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2017 ES Hybrid, 2018 ES Hybrid, and 2019 ES Hybrid. And be sure to look at our Used Car Deals page to learn about the savings and discounts available on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 ES Hybrid »

We Did the Research for You: 10 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all models of the current ES Hybrid generation, which debuted for 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Cost?

The base ES Hybrid costs $41,760. That's reasonable for a luxury hybrid sedan. Things don't get much more expensive as you climb the trim ladder, either. The range-topping ES Hybrid Ultra Luxury starts at $45,610.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus ES Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lexus ES Hybrid or Toyota Avalon Hybrid?

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid may not be a luxury sedan, but it compares favorably to its Lexus corporate cousin. In fact, the Toyota has two key advantages over the Lexus. First, the entry-level Avalon Hybrid costs several thousand dollars less than the ES Hybrid. The second big advantage for the Avalon Hybrid is its infotainment system, which is more user-friendly than the Lexus setup. If you don't want to lose out on the luxury accoutrements, choose the Avalon Hybrid Limited, which is decked out with leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, and an upgraded sound system.

Which Is Better: Lexus ES Hybrid or ES 350?

The Lexus ES 350 is the nonhybrid version of the ES Hybrid. There are only a couple of noteworthy differences between these Lexus ES models. The first is somewhat obvious: The ES 350 doesn't have a hybrid powertrain. Instead, it features a 302-horsepower V6 engine. The nonhybrid Lexus ES is quicker, but the hybrid gets significantly better gas mileage. The other difference is that the ES 350 also offers a more athletic trim, the Lexus ES 350 F Sport. This trim has an adaptive suspension that improves handling. Overall, your decision comes down to whether or not you want the hybrid powertrain.

Compare the ES Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and ES 350 »

ES Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the ES Hybrid Seat?

The ES Hybrid seats five people. This hybrid sedan earns a lot of praise for its inviting accommodations. The seats are well-cushioned and supportive, and very few midsize sedans offer more back-seat legroom than the ES.

ES Hybrid and Child Car Seats

For securing child safety seats, the ES Hybrid has a complete set of LATCH connectors on each of the rear outboard seats and a tether-only connection for the middle seat.

ES Hybrid Interior Quality

The ES Hybrid's cabin provides the cushy environment you expect from a luxury sedan. It looks great, with modern styling, and it features high-end materials throughout.

ES Hybrid Cargo Space

With its 16.7-cubic-foot trunk, the ES Hybrid has a good amount of cargo space for a hybrid car. That's enough room for a shopping trip or weekend getaway.

ES Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, three USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 10-speaker audio system. Available features include a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, navigation, a 12.3-inch display, and wireless device charging.

There are plenty of standard features in the ES Hybrid, but the infotainment system really takes the shine off of all that technology. It has a complex interface and a distracting mouselike touchpad controller used to adjust settings.

Read more about interior »

ES Hybrid Performance

ES Hybrid Engine: Nothing to Complain About

This Lexus features a 215-horsepower hybrid powertrain comprised of a four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and a continuously variable automatic transmission. That may not sound like a lot of power, but the ES Hybrid never feels slow. It's quick off the line, and it has enough juice for any driving situation.

We review the nonhybrid ES 350 separately.

ES Hybrid Gas Mileage: Pretty Good

Even by hybrid standards, the ES 300h gets good fuel economy: 43 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Still, those ratings can't hold a candle to the overall efficiency of pure EVs like the Tesla Model 3 and Model S.

ES Hybrid Ride and Handling: Great Ride, So-So Handling

The ES Hybrid prioritizes comfort, and the ride quality stands out as a result. Rough roads won't leave occupants feeling jostled about thanks to a suspension that does a great job of absorbing impacts. This Lexus isn't exactly a corner carver, but it remains composed on winding roads.

Read more about performance »

ES Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus ES Hybrid Reliable?

The 2020 Lexus ES Hybrid has an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Lexus ES Hybrid Warranty

Lexus covers the ES Hybrid with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the hybrid system.

Read more about reliability »

ES Hybrid Safety

ES Hybrid Crash Test Results

The 2020 ES Hybrid earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

ES Hybrid Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, low-light pedestrian detection, daytime bicyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Many of these features are part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.

Available features include blind spot monitoring, a head-up display, parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Read more about safety »

ES Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The ES Hybrid is 16.3 feet long and has a curb weight of 3,704 pounds.

Where Is the Lexus ES Hybrid Built?

Lexus builds the 2020 ES Hybrid in Japan.

Which Lexus ES Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The Lexus ES 300h Hybrid comes in three trims: base, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury. All models feature a four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

All ES Hybrid models come with a nice array of infotainment and driver assistance features, so the base ES 300h will be just fine for many buyers. It's also available with upgrades like a larger infotainment screen, navigation, and an upgraded sound system. The Luxury and Ultra Luxury trims don't add much beyond a few comfort features, like upgraded upholstery and seats that are heated and ventilated.

We review the nonhybrid ES 350 separately.

Lexus ES Hybrid

The base ES Hybrid costs $41,760. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, three USB ports, Bluetooth, a CD player, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a 10-speaker audio system.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, low-light pedestrian detection, daytime bicyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Many of these features are part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.

Lexus ES Hybrid Luxury

The ES Hybrid Luxury starts at $44,615. In addition to the base trim's features, it comes with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and added power-adjustability for the front seats.

Lexus ES Hybrid Ultra Luxury

The ES Hybrid Ultra Luxury starts at $45,610. The Ultra Luxury trim comes with a hands-free power trunk lid and upgraded leather upholstery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2020 Lexus ES Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Lexus ES Hybrid meets almost every requirement that a luxury sedan shopper could have. It's upscale, comfortable, spacious, and loaded with tech features. It delivers a smooth ride, and it gets good fuel economy. The infotainment system is definitely a negative, but if you can get past that, then this is a car worth buying.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Overall, the 2019 Lexus ES is a significantly better car than before, with higher-fidelity handling, [a] strong complement of safety features and a nicer cabin. I wouldn't go so far as to call the new ES truly sporty, but it is more confidence inspiring." -- CNET (2019)
  • "Altogether, these changes have universally succeeded: The new ES is sleeker, quieter and more comfortable. Ride quality and handling have both improved as well. This Lexus now competes more closely with the more expensive midsize luxury cars it routinely outsells in terms of quality, and there are fewer places where cost-cutting is evident." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "I'd recommend the ES300h hybrid over the rest of the family, and I'd choose this car over competitors from Acura, Infiniti and Buick, but probably not Cadillac." -- Autoweek (2019)
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