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Why ES 350 over ES 300h?

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Old 08-14-13, 11:01 AM   #1
markwill12
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Default Why ES 350 over ES 300h?

(Full disclosure - I just bought an ES 300h about a month ago).

This may come across as a provocative question but it's not intended that way. I am honestly quite intrigued by this and would appreciate some perspective. I was overtaken by an ES 350 driver who seemed more intent on zigzagging in between lanes than me - I was focused on my MPG Anyway, this thrill seeker got me thinking...

Why do some folks elect to purchase the 350 over the 300h? As far as I am aware there are two obvious differences.
  • Performance. As I understand, the 350 is more powerful. But the ES doesn't strike me as a car that is focused on performance. I would assume that most folks who see the ES as a desirable car don't place a huge emphasis on power (for me, the ES 300h is plenty). I'm guessing the IS would be a more obvious choice for those who place a premium on power.
  • Cost. For a car in this price range, I'm assuming the extra $2,700 or so isn't a major issue (although certainly something to consider), given the very clear MPG benefit. I guess the balanced consideration of this point is that if the cost isn't a major issue, then the extra cost of running the car isn't a major factor either and the lower MPG may be just fine for many.

I understand there are some minor styling differences (use of bamboo in the ES 300h, for example) but assume these are not factors the majority of folks would prioritize overall.

Personally, I love the extra range and fuel efficiency of the car and - frankly - how darn quiet it is And, as I say, for my type of driving the power I can get from the ES 300h is more than enough.

So, I am genuinely interested to know what the attraction would be in the ES 350. I am hoping I can get some considered answers without any 350 vs. 300h flaming

Thanks.

Mark

PS: Never really understood why the less powerful car is the one with the spoiler
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Last edited by markwill12; 08-14-13 at 11:20 AM..
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Old 08-14-13, 11:34 AM   #2
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For us, it would not have been cost effective. We do short term leases every two years. The lease terms on the 350 were more attractive leaving the 300h more costly to lease. When I crunched the numbers, the difference in fuel economy did not overcome the less costly lease of the 350. At the end of this lease, we will take a look at how the 300 has performed, and if we decide to purchase or if the lease terms are better, we could go that route. I have noticed that some 300 owners are reporting that they are not getting the fuel economy they expected. My wife says she's getting around 24 around town in her ES, which is a bit of an improvement over the IS250 she had as her prior car. We're pleased with that.

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Old 08-14-13, 11:37 AM   #3
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This is a great question, and as an actual owner, I had a very mixed bag of other vehicles that I cross-shopped against the ES 350. I would have loved to have bought a hybrid, but I opted out of the 300h primarily because of the 4 cylinder engine...

If Lexus had used the same hybrid powertrain as it did in the RX/highlander hybrids (3.5V6 synergy drive) it would have been a no-brainer win for the ES Hybrid.

While I hope this doesn't actually happen in the 300h, I didn't like the thought of the gas engine getting buzzy when pushed hard.... Also, the more cylinders available the smoother the idle can be even with all of the advanced engine mounts. Then again, hopefully at idle, the 300h can be completely still with electric-only. But then... in the winter, I've heard it needs the gas engine for the heat.... :S Would be great if 300h owners would post and dispel some/all of my concerns as non-issues.

One thing for sure about the 300h that is the refined start/stop technology .. it is night and day compared to BMW's implementation. On newer BMWs with start/stop it is absolutely horrendous compared to how smoothly Toyota is able to restart the engine from idle!
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Old 08-14-13, 11:46 AM   #4
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2 things: I hate the sound of a 4 cylinder, and the 300h does not have a glass top option.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:02 PM   #5
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Actually, I got the hybrid because of the sound (lack of it). After driving a Camry hybrid for 3 years, I hated the sound of an idling engine at a stop light, in the drive thru, in traffic.

It's the sound of gas being wasted. Also, since it is more quiet, I can appreciate my music even more or just enjoy the silence after a long noisy day
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Old 08-14-13, 12:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markwill12 View Post
(Full disclosure - I just bought an ES 300h about a month ago).

This may come across as a provocative question but it's not intended that way. I am honestly quite intrigued by this and would appreciate some perspective. I was overtaken by an ES 350 driver who seemed more intent on zigzagging in between lanes than me - I was focused on my MPG Anyway, this thrill seeker got me thinking...

Why do some folks elect to purchase the 350 over the 300h? As far as I am aware there are two obvious differences.
  • Performance. As I understand, the 350 is more powerful. But the ES doesn't strike me as a car that is focused on performance. I would assume that most folks who see the ES as a desirable car don't place a huge emphasis on power (for me, the ES 300h is plenty). I'm guessing the IS would be a more obvious choice for those who place a premium on power.
  • Cost. For a car in this price range, I'm assuming the extra $2,700 or so isn't a major issue (although certainly something to consider), given the very clear MPG benefit. I guess the balanced consideration of this point is that if the cost isn't a major issue, then the extra cost of running the car isn't a major factor either and the lower MPG may be just fine for many.

I understand there are some minor styling differences (use of bamboo in the ES 300h, for example) but assume these are not factors the majority of folks would prioritize overall.

Personally, I love the extra range and fuel efficiency of the car and - frankly - how darn quiet it is And, as I say, for my type of driving the power I can get from the ES 300h is more than enough.

So, I am genuinely interested to know what the attraction would be in the ES 350. I am hoping I can get some considered answers without any 350 vs. 300h flaming

Thanks.

Mark

PS: Never really understood why the less powerful car is the one with the spoiler
The honest truth I think is that not many people are ready for Hybrid vehicles, I think more people will be purchasing these over these years. I can't speak for the ES but the GS hybrid I had was a master piece, it gave great gas mileage and had the power to shut others up. I think if they did do this with the ES it would be nice but it would defeat the purpose of saving a whole lot of MPG which was the intent of Lexus. I really have to say it is the technology that many are not ready for I mean the ES 350 gets 24 mpg combined vs 40 mpg in the ES 300h.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:14 PM   #7
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I fully accept the fact that someone with different driving habits and different priorities could come to a conclusion different from mine, but I started out with a thought of buying the hybrid, but, after taking test drives with both the ES350 and the ES300h, these are among the reasons why my thinking changed, and I ended up buying the ES350.

1. When I considered the kind of driving that I do, the differences in mpg, the cost difference between the two vehicles, how long I was likely to keep the vehicle, etc., my calculation was that the fuel cost savings of the hybrid and the initial higher cost of the hybrid would likely be pretty close to each other and that any financial advantage for either vehicle would be minimal.

2. The V6 in the ES350 had a noticeably smoother feel to it than the harsher feel of the 4 cylinder of the hybrid.

3. Even though my driving style is fairly conservative, I like the feel of security that the extra 70 or so HP of the V6 gives me on those occasions when I need it.

4. I do very little driving in urban areas and in stop and go conditions. With the ES350, I've consistently been averaging between 32 and 33 mpg. While higher mpg would be better, I can live with 32 or 33 mpg.

5. While not a major factor, with the hybrid, I would have lost trunk space and the pass through from the trunk into the cabin.

6. Another less important factor is that I liked the look of the wood in the ES350 better than the bamboo in the ES300h.

Again, if the kind of driving I do was different, I might have come to a different decision, and, as pointed out by another poster, had the ES hybrid been based on the 3.5 liter V6, I might also have been more inclined to go with the hybrid.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:14 PM   #8
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I have not purchased yet, but leaning towards the 350. I worry about reliability down the road, lack of power, but the unknowns of a hybrid at this point in time. Most of my driving will be freeway where I should get OK milage in the 350? Yes?
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Old 08-14-13, 12:21 PM   #9
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In Consumer Reports Road Test of the 350 and 300h the 350 was quicker 0-60 (6.7 vs. 8.2 sec) and in passing (4.3 vs. 5.2 sec). For me, this translates into a more satisfying seat of the pants feeling when merging and passing. Fuel economy is important to me but not a high enough priority to prefer the hybrid over the 350. It's great that ES buyers now have the option of the two.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:27 PM   #10
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I had a '11 ES350 before I bought the '13 ES300h. I wrote a review between the '11 350, '13 350, & '13 300h (use search). They all ride slightly different.

I do sometime miss the power of the 350 but I just switch to 'Sport' mode to get some of the kick of the 350. But for the most part, I keep the 300h in 'Eco' mode for improved FE.

Another reason I got the 300h is because I usually put aftermarket wheels on my cars and when I do my cars lose 2-4 mpg which happened to this one. But I still get better gas mileage than my '11 350.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:13 PM   #11
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I did not wind up in the ES at all, but I gave a lot of thought and test driving to the 350 vs the 300h before I moved on to the GS.

For me it would have definitely been the 350 over the 300h, and here's why:

1. I don't like the way hybrids drive. We had a Prius, and I drove the 300h and the 350 extensively back to back and I don't like the less refined engine noise/feel or the CVT.

2. I don't like the bamboo trim, I prefer the normal wood

3. I don't like the exterior trim differences on the 300h, I prefer the rear bumper with the chrome exhaust tips, I hate the 300h's wheels
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Old 08-15-13, 02:24 AM   #12
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I purchase the 300h because even though it cost a few thousand more than the gasoline model, I believe it will resell for more on trade in. It's my understanding that hybrid vehicles retain their value better than gasoline powered vehicles and therefore it should trade in or sell for more than the gasoline model. This is in addition to the fuel savings. By the way, I've been getting about 35 mpg average in San Diego with lots of hills. I have a friend who purchased the gasoline virgin and he's been getting about 17 to 20 mpg around San Diego in the same hilly neighborhoods. I'm glad I bought a hybrid.
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Old 08-15-13, 06:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 619 View Post
I purchase the 300h because even though it cost a few thousand more than the gasoline model, I believe it will resell for more on trade in.
The relative resale or trade in value of the ES350 compared to that of the ES300h several years down the road is uncertain and will, most likely, be determined by the reliability history, both real and perceived, that the hybrid develops over the next few years. Historically, the main factor that has negatively impacted the resale value of hybrid vehicles has been concern about the need to replace their batteries.

What is likely, based on the history of other hybrid vehicles, is that, several years down the road, the ES300h will sell for more than a similarly equipped ES350 of the same model year, but the difference in resale value will only be a relatively small fraction of the difference in initial cost. But, again, based on how reliable the ES300h turns out to be, the difference in resale value could be greater, or it could even be lower than that of the ES350. Predicting how well the resale value of the hybrid will hold up compared to that of the non-hybrid is, at this point, pretty much of a crap shoot, and I suggest that making a well-reasoned choice between the two vehicles is better made based on a number of factors other than speculation about their relative resale values. With that said, I can think of a number of good reasons to go with the ES350 and a number of other good reasons to go with the ES300h.
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Old 08-15-13, 07:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 619 View Post
I purchase the 300h because even though it cost a few thousand more than the gasoline model, I believe it will resell for more on trade in. It's my understanding that hybrid vehicles retain their value better than gasoline powered vehicles and therefore it should trade in or sell for more than the gasoline model. This is in addition to the fuel savings. By the way, I've been getting about 35 mpg average in San Diego with lots of hills. I have a friend who purchased the gasoline virgin and he's been getting about 17 to 20 mpg around San Diego in the same hilly neighborhoods. I'm glad I bought a hybrid.
This was my thought as well but I found that in certain areas such as east coast the hybrid technology is still new to some people. When I tried to resell it the highest I could get was 22K when it was worth 33K so depending on your area it really matters on how much resale you really have in the car. I think Lexus hybrid system is really bullet proof but no many people think the same way I do.
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Old 08-15-13, 07:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexBob2 View Post
In Consumer Reports Road Test of the 350 and 300h the 350 was quicker 0-60 (6.7 vs. 8.2 sec) and in passing (4.3 vs. 5.2 sec). For me, this translates into a more satisfying seat of the pants feeling when merging and passing. Fuel economy is important to me but not a high enough priority to prefer the hybrid over the 350. It's great that ES buyers now have the option of the two.
I would like to know what mode they were in when they tested the ES300h 0 to 60. Eco, Normal, or Sport? I guess the same goes for the ES 350. Inquiring minds want to know. My ES300h seems to have loads of get up and go off the line in sport mode.
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Old 08-15-13, 07:32 AM
 
 
 
 
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