JOHANNESBURG - Lexus is hoping to get more luxury sedan buyers into hybrids with the launch of the ES300h EX model, which slots neatly between the current ES250 EX and ES300h SE.
At R774 300 it costs a cool R136 600 less than its SE hybrid sibling, but still R133 900 more than the non-hybrid ES250 EX.
It’s a more affordable way to experience the Japanese brand’s four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain, which mates a 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine, with direct injection as well more efficient Atkinson-cycle port injection, to an electric motor for a total system output of 160kW. It’s not a lot quicker than the non-hybrid 250 model, with Lexus claiming an 8.9 second 0-100km/h sprint time versus 9.1s, but there is an economy advantage, with the 300h sipping a claimed 4.6 litres per 100km/h versus 6.6 l/100km for the 250.
The hybrid model employs a CVT gearbox, but there are eight ‘simulated’ gears which the driver can flick through using steering-mounted paddle shifters.
Given the 136 grand price difference between the 300h EX and SE models, it’s understandable that Lexus has removed a few luxury items from the former, although that information had not been made available at the time of writing.