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August 18, 2013

New Lexus ES 300h goes far with class

After you weed out lucky, one-hit rock stars and professional athletes, luxury cars seem to go most often with mature drivers. They’ve worked long enough to afford the higher prices luxury cars command.

At the opposite end, junky old heaps most often are associated with students and young drivers just starting out, who can’t afford more than a second-, third-, or fourth-hand car.

And it’s those youngsters in their limping crates who we typically link with rollicking road trips, the meandering, go-nowhere escapes in which surprises along the roadway are more the goal than any destination. That’s not just because emerging adults feel a greater impulse to explore and seek adventure. They also have more time and leisure to wander, because they’re not yet weighted with responsibilities, like children or even grandchildren.

So it might seem silly for me to present the Lexus ES 300h as a worthy road-trip companion. With a list price topping $40,000 – before you add any options – the ES 300h is an elegant and pampering luxury car with a sophisticated, gasoline/electric hybrid drive system. It’s not the sort of car you’d expect some dopey kid to take on a carefree highway adventure.

But a traveler’s casual and open-eyed spirit creates a road trip, not his age or the vehicle beneath him. Therefore, I can endorse the ES 300h as road-trip worthy without reservation because it worked so well for me.

Of course, the gleaming and spacious Lexus performed so well as a spontaneous travel companion because it is fundamentally so accommodating. The car is comfortable in any circumstances. It moves with economy everywhere it travels. Its equipment makes any driving easier to manage. Its big cabin gives passengers room to relax whether you’re carrying them around the corner or across the state.

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