To compare.  Toyota Camry and Lexus ES300h, taxis love them, and we know why!

To compare. Toyota Camry and Lexus ES300h, taxis love them, and we know why!


In Paris and major French cities, these cars are everywhere, often replacing the aging Toyota Prius in fleets of taxis or fleets of private drivers. Apart from this well-targeted customer, there is no salvation.

Private customers for Lexus ES 300 h and Toyota Camry are rare. However, the latter places the first series of sedans sold in the United States. Can the big French wheel find happiness in these big sedans?

To find out, we forced these two Japanese women on a round trip between Paris and Omaha Beach in Normandy.



Lexus is a sedan of about five meters

Lexus IS 300 h, Japanese Mercedes

As for the Camry, this ES 300h is based on its hybrid engine, a hallmark of the Toyota group, with more than fifteen years of experience and more than five million units produced. The lines are casual but not charming.

Inside, we discover a chic and well-finished interior. Our test model’s camel leather is nice and the controls are neat.

The temperature is controlled using a chrome bar, the multimedia system is average but bright and the instrumentation has a refined design.

But the real originality comes from screens that act as mirrors. It is effective, safe and pleasant to use.


When it arrives in Normandy, the Lexus ES 300 h will have used only 5.8 liters per hundred.jpg
When it arrives in Normandy, the Lexus ES 300 h will have used only 5.8 liters per hundred.jpg

Toyota Camry, a taxi made in the USA

Toyota, on the other hand, has slightly smoother lines. Inside, the finish is very faithful but more pragmatic than in the Lexus. The black lacquer that covers the console and the overall presentation is starting so far but everything is in place.

The seats are very generous and welcoming, reflecting the target audience, the average American. Adjustments are accurate, the equipment is soft to the touch, it is almost error-free.

At the back, it’s a Byzantium, with plenty of space, and reclining passenger seats. In terms of the trunk, with 500 liters, we understand why taxis are the first fans of this model.

Queen of corks

After a few kilometers in the traffic of Charles De Gaulle airport at the wheel of the Lexus ES 300 h, the first observation is important. The car is very smooth, quiet, and pleasant to drive at high speeds. A smooth ride that suits him perfectly.

This is also the case of the Toyota Camry, which has the same technology. Under these conditions, our two sedans take full advantage of their hybrid engines. Evaluation after 50 kilometers: all are set below 5 liters per hundred.

Good performance in excellent conditions. But what about highways, terrain less suitable for hybrids?


The Lexus ES 300 h is the first companion to the Toyota Camry
The Lexus ES 300 h is the first companion to the Toyota Camry

Comfort above all

Suspended at 130 km/h in the right lane, our two sedans don’t just drive in hot weather. Electricity stores the grain to preserve proper use. For this type of terrain, Lexus gives us the benefit of a very useful audio equipment.

Combined with high-quality soundproofing, this ES 300 h turns into a hall. For its part, Toyota is not suitable.

Comfort is king. Do we regret the mechanics that ran on the toll exit or on the acceleration lanes. A feature common to all Toyota hybrids, however it’s largely toned down here on this big engine.


After a few days of the secondary network, consumption decreased to 5.3 liters
After a few days of the secondary network, consumption decreased to 5.3 liters

Use, big surprise

After 303 kilometers covered at the wheel of our two salons, of which about 250 on the highway at 130 kilometers per hour, it’s time to take stock of our two “taxi cars”. And it is surprising that we see a very good score of Toyota Camry, which the on-board computer shows an average consumption of only 5.6 liters per hundred.

As for the Lexus, unsurprisingly, the two cars share the same 218 horsepower powertrain. The result is very close to 5.8 liters per hundred. Pleasant performance on the highway, very close to the manufacturer’s figures, achieved by running eco-finally not too restrictive on this type of route.

Balance sheet, better than diesel

At a time when every liter counts, the highway use of our two Japanese sedans calls. At 95 liters less unleaded than a liter of diesel, Toyota’s hybrid system offers a very attractive alternative to big diesels.

We understand why these vehicles are taxi favorites, combining first-class hospitality, comfort and savings. It should be noted that many of these drivers are now converting their Toyota hybrids to Ethanol E85, further increasing the cost per kilometer.


More discreetly the Camry is also more available


Toyota Camry specs

Engine: petrol, 4 cylinders

Displacement (cm3): 2,487

Power (hp @ rpm): 177 @ 5,700

Torque (Nm at rpm): 221 at 3,600

Motor: electric, synchronous with permanent magnets

Power (kW-hp): 88-119

Torque (Nm): 202

Total power (hp): 218

Drivetrain: front wheel drive

Gearbox: automatic, variable speed CVT

Curb weight (kg): 1,660

Top speed (km/h): 180

Height: 4.89m

Width: 1.84m

Height: 1.45 m

Wheelbase: 2.83m

Trunk volume: 500 l

Price: from €39,850


The front of the Lexus is aggressive and modern


Technical sheet Lexus ES 300 h

Engine: petrol, 4 cylinders

Displacement (cm3): 2,487

Power (hp @ rpm): 177 @ 5,700

Torque (Nm at rpm): 221 at 3,600

Motor: electric, synchronous with permanent magnets

Power (kW-hp): 88-119

Torque (Nm): 202

Total power (hp): 218

Drivetrain: front wheel drive

Gearbox: automatic, variable speed CVT

Curb weight (kg): 1,680

Top speed (km/h): 180

Height: 4.98m

Width: 1.87m

Height: 1.45 m

Wheelbase: 2.87m

Trunk volume: 454 liters

Price: from €51,690