Tuesday’s Eco-Run Impressions: Lexus ES 300h & Chevrolet Volt

I knew as soon as they handed me my schedule this morning (each driver gets two cars per day—one for morning, the other, afternoon) that I wasn’t going to be much of a contender for the Green Jersey. We’re competing for the best fuel efficiency; small devices measure our driving styles along with the speed.

It’s no secret that, of all the ways to drive more fuel-efficiently, lightening your foot is the most effective. (Just ask today’s winner who was nearly sodomized by irate commuters for doing 20km under the speed limit during rush hour.)  My rides didn’t make that prospect impossible. Just improbable.

Lexus ES 300h

The days of dreary hybrids ended some years ago with the introduction of the CR-Z from compatriot company, Honda. Now the Lexus ES 300h has buried them. Its three driving modes, Eco, Normal, and Sport each offers the driver an utterly unique car. In sport mode, you’re a laser, capable of leaping to the head of the class at the speed of smiles. The steering is balanced and the turns are as fluid and graceful as an Olympian figure skater.

Smart: the inside festival of leather was bright coloured, incurring much less need for A/C.

Chevrolet Volt

It’s not as fun to drive as the Lexus, but it’s an excellent experience nonetheless. There’s plenty of instant torque delivery and some decent weaponry against inertia in the corners. It’s also very pretty in its aerodynamic design and more than a little practical with seats that flatten, expanding further an already long trunk. A very comfortable sport driver’s seat promotes driver involvement.

Smart: the Volt is not a traditional hybrid. It’s really an EV that can extend its own electric power with an onboard gasoline engine that acts only as a generator, recharging the battery in traffic. I did 98km on 1.1L of gas.

Note: An earlier version of this article referred to Honda as Lexus’ sister company. We regret the error. 

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

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