2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling Review

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee
2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review


Engine: 2.5L Inline-4 + Hybrid
Output: 215 hp
Transmission: CVT, FWD
Fuel Economy (MPG): 43 city 44 hwy
Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 5.5 city, 5.2 hwy
Starting Price (USD): $44,490 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (USD): $55,415 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $55,305 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (CAD): $61,305 (inc. dest.)

There’s no direct way to get to Road America.

The famed Wisconsin racetrack resides in Elkhart Lake, about halfway between Green Bay and Milwaukee. For most, traveling to Road America involves either flying into Milwaukee or Chicago, and then driving north.

As the location of the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, I need to get to America’s national park of speed, Road America. With greater flight flexibility, I chose Chicago’s O’Hare airport as my starting point for my journey northward. Upon landing I was greeted with my ride for the week, a 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling. That’s a lot of letters and words crammed together, but each does have meaning behind the exact spec of car I’m driving.

Getting a Handle on Handling

To begin with, we’ll focus on the F Sport Handling portion at the end of the vehicle’s name. The ES comes in no fewer than 14 trim levels, split between regular gasoline powered vehicles and ones with hybrid technology. Regardless of which powertrain is selected, the top trims of the ES carry the F Sport designation. From there, the sedan is further split into two trims, the F Sport Design and the F Sport Handling.

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

The F Sport Design is merely an appearance upgrade and gets all the sporty looking details. The F Sport Handling gets the sportier appearance pieces as well as upgraded mechanical bits. The latter includes an adaptive suspension with solenoid-actuated shock absorbers all around. The rear suspension is upgraded to a double-wishbone set-up and there are performance dampers at all four corners. The cars’ Drive Mode Select has a few new settings like Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom modes.

The brakes are untouched, with the 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling still using 12.0-inch front rotors and 11.1-inch rotors at the rear. The 19-inch gloss black wheels are also the same on both F Sport models and wear 235/40R19 all-season tires.

Comfort and Poise

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

Even with the suspension upgrades, ride comfort is still well suited for long distance driving. The 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling is such a great companion on the interstate. It isolates occupants as it smooths rough road surfaces and flattens most bumps. In Sport S and S+ mode, the suspension tightens up a bit, but not drastically as this car is still more relaxed cruiser than corner carver.

That stated, in all settings, the suspension is still surprisingly nimble, especially compared to other non-F-Sport ES models. The upgrade suspension does a good job keeping the car flat without sacrificing the all-important ride comfort. It might surprise some unsuspecting passengers at how well this 3,730 lbs (1,692 kg) car will hold on around a long sweeping corner.

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

The sedan’s steering is equally silky. It has the right level of boosting for relaxed driving. I personally prefer the stiffer, sportier steering settings available with the F Sport, but even those require minimal effort. It fits nicely with the car’s highway cruiser persona.

The Little h Stand for Hybrid

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

Being the 300h, this Lexus is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a hybrid drivetrain. It sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. In total, the system generates 215 hp and is good for a claimed 0 to 60 mph run of 8.1 seconds. That may not sound overly swift, but the ES has decent power levels for real world use. The hybrid system is great at transitioning between the various drive modes.

The engine under heavy load can get loud and a bit buzzy, which does not align with the car’s otherwise serene personality. But keep the acceleration leisurely, and the car is rated to return 43 mpg (5.5 L/100 km) in the city and 44 mpg (5.2 L/100 km) on the highway. During 350 miles of driving, we averaged an impressive 44.3 mpg (5.3 L/100 km).

Sizeable Sedan

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

Although I’m travelling solo for this trip, I could easily have three more passengers with me. With a length of 195.9-inches (4,974 mm), there’s plenty of room inside the 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling. Legroom is generous all around with official measurements of 42.4 inches (1,077 mm) up front and 39.2 inches (996 mm) in the rear.

Headroom may appear on the low-end with official figures of 37.5 inches (953 mm) for front passengers and 37.4 inches (949 mm) for those sitting in the back. But in real world testing, my six-foot frame fits in both rows of seats easily. The front seats offer plenty of support and comfort, and even after hours behind the wheel, minimal fatigue is felt.

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

The interior is pleasing to the eye with multiple textures, materials, and design features included. It really stands out from lesser sedans, and I like how the dual screens blend into the dashboard.

Everything is laid out logically too, as it’s set up for ease of use. The only real negative with the interior is some surface scratches on the passenger side dashboard. It appears this may be an area that’s easy to scuff.

Features And Tech

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

As a luxury sedan, the 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling comes well equipped with features and technology. It includes a heat steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, NuLuxe interior trim, power driver and passenger seats, and a power telescopic steering wheel.

The upgraded infotainment system features a 12.3-inch screen that can support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly. My favorite feature of the audio system are the dual control dials. This innovative set-up looks like a single control dial but is actually two dials stacked on top of each other. The outer dial controls volume while the inner dial is for the tuner control.

Rounding out technology highlights, our ES tester also has a wireless phone charger, the optional head-up display, and the available power operating trunk. Centered in front of the driver is a color LCD multifunction display with the sliding center circle. I still love that moving gauge.

Premium Look, Premium Price

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

Unlike some other Lexus products, the exterior styling of the ES is quite restrained. There are some nice premium features like the optional triple bead LED headlights found on my test car. The shape has hints of aggression, but is subdued, reflecting the car’s character. Of course the car includes all the latest passive and active safety technology.

Pricing for the Lexus ES 300h begins at $44,490 ($55,305 CAD) including destination charges. As tested with all the option packages added on, the 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling comes in at $55,415 ($61,305 CAD) after destination charges.

2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling: The Verdict

2023 lexus es 300h f sport handling review

The 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling makes driving easy and less of a chore, all while coddling occupants. It truly is a perfect long-distance driving companion. It’s also in a class of one.

The ES 300h does not have too many true competitors that combine traditional family sedan packaging, hybrid technology, luxurious appointments, and plentiful comfort in the same way. There’s a specific buyer for a vehicle like this and Lexus has cornered the market. The constant expansion of the ES’ lineup only broadens its appeal, and the F Sport Handling is the best of the bunch.


How many miles per gallon does the 2023 Lexus ES 300h F Sport handling get?

The car is officially rated at 43 mpg city and 44 mpg highway.

What is the 0 to 60 of 2023 ES 300h?

The 2023 Lexus ES 300f F Sport Handling can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.1 seconds. 

Does Lexus ES 300h take regular gas??

Yes. Lexus recommends either regular or premium fuel for the ES 300h.  

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  • Ride Comfort
  • Fuel Economy
  • Passenger Space
  • Easy to Drive


  • Engine Can Get Noisy
  • Dash Easy to Scuff
  • F Sport Handling Could Be Even Sportier
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