2021 Lexus ES 250 review: Super cruiser

F Sport trims get these 19-inch wheels.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is additional impressive than you could possibly believe. After 800 miles in the saddle of this gold-plated Toyota Avalon on a travel to Michigan’s higher peninsula and back, I’m happy to report the ES is an all-star road-tripper many thanks to its consolation, refinement and fuel overall economy.

Table of Contents


  • Exceptional adaptive cruise control
  • Above-the-road refinement
  • Soft accommodations
  • Fantastic fuel overall economy

Really don’t Like

  • That damn infotainment technique
  • Halfhearted general performance
  • No fold-down seats

Redesigned a number of yrs back, the ES troopers on with a number of enhancements for 2021. Luxurious, F Sport and Extremely Luxurious versions now come normal with blind-spot checking and rear cross-traffic notify, a distinctive Black Line model is on the menu and, for the initial time, you can get this venerable sedan with all-wheel travel, which arrives normal with the base four-cylinder engine. That is the powertrain this illustration is equipped with, even though it also characteristics the F Sport offer, which contains unique wheels, a mesh grille insert, other visual tweaks and a retuned suspension setup. Adaptive dampers are also readily available, even though they’re not equipped listed here.

The ES 250’s interior is effectively crafted and relaxed. The components employed are generally large quality, from the supple leather to the aluminum brightwork to the virtually organic and natural hole sample on the speaker grilles. Some not-so-excellent hard plastic can be noticed if you poke about and the switches that function the heated and ventilated front seats are buried at the bottom of the centre stack and glance crude, especially when compared to the ingenuous tuning and volume knobs, which are two concentric dials integrated into one assembly. It’s not a major offer, but I appreciate this little touch mainly because not only does it glance neat, it permits you to tune the radio with no reaching halfway across the dashboard. I also respect this car’s mechanical shifter. There is certainly zero ambiguity to how it features and you can relaxation your hand on it even though cruising.

In addition to all that, this Lexus’ cushy front bucket seats get two thumbs up. Even following hours in the saddle they go away me sensation refreshed. A boon for passengers, the ES’ backseat is spacious and lots relaxed, additionally it arrives with a twelve-volt ability outlet and a pair of two.two-amp USB ports so everyone’s mobile phone can remain absolutely juiced on extended drives. The ES 250 features thirteen.9 cubic toes of trunk area, a good amount of money to be absolutely sure, but restricting this car’s versatility, the rear backrest does not fold down. At the very least a compact go-as a result of is bundled for lengthy cargo. Curiously, the glovebox is rather compact as effectively, hardly massive sufficient to maintain the owner’s guide.

As for tech, the ES arrives normal with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility. An eight-inch infotainment display is bundled on reduce-finish versions, but a wonderful twelve.three-incher is readily available, which contains embedded navigation. This display screen looks excellent, with vibrant colours, good viewing angles and small glare. However, it is not touch-enabled (nonetheless
), which indicates you have to navigate Lexus’ tangled infotainment technique with a dastardly trackpad on the centre console. This arrangement is as distracting as it is tricky. Why the automaker has not moved on to one thing far better following all these yrs is outside of me. As with other Toyota and Lexus items, infotainment tech is this car’s biggest weak point.

A cozy interior with a awful infotainment interface. At the very least the future 2022 ES will lastly get a touchscreen.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As you may possibly have guessed based mostly on its identify, the ES 250 characteristics a two.5-liter engine, just like you can get in a Toyota Avalon or Camry. With no a supercharger or turbo to supply added oomph, this four-pot unit provides a modest 203 horsepower and 184 pound-toes of torque. Producing the most of that output, the engine is paired with an eight-pace computerized transmission. That gearbox is generally agreeable, shifting swiftly and commonly dropping gears as expected to hold things relocating, even though at times it can really feel a little bit lumpy.

Pressed into luxury-motor vehicle services, this Toyota engine is beautifully serviceable, but like govt bureaucracy it truly is devoid of any pleasure. Uncouth vibrations can at times be felt, even though additional visible are the uncomfortable noises it generates even though laboring, specifically when climbing hills. Of program, this engine is no firebrand, either, relocating the ES to 60 mph in a merely enough eight.six seconds. But what this car’s powertrain lacks in emotion and verve it mostly helps make up for with fantastic performance. This Lexus is rated at 25 mpg city and 34 mpg freeway. Merged, it really should return 28 mpg, even though it truly is averaging about 32 mpg in my fingers, a damn-impressive score for a massive, relaxed, non-hybrid sedan — one equipped with all-wheel travel, no a lot less.

The ES 250’s steering and brake really feel are great to the stage of becoming forgettable. These major controls get the occupation carried out with no earning any praise or scorn, which is A-Alright in my book. The car’s trip quality, having said that, is charming, even with no these fancy adjustable dampers. Inspite of sporting F Sport badges, this Lexus is delicate and silent, floating ever so somewhat more than massive roadway undulations and shielding passengers from virtually all wind and tire sounds, even at added-lawful speeds. The dark-concluded 19-inch F Sport wheels are a acquire-acquire, way too, searching swanky with no curdling that creamy trip.

This unassuming luxury sedan is super relaxed.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The adaptive cruise control technique with lane centering will work phenomenally effectively, efficiently and attentively modifying the vehicle’s pace as needed and retaining it locked in the middle of its lane. Other useful facilities like lane-departure warning, computerized large beams, road-signal recognition and additional are also bundled in the Lexus Security Program As well as two. suite of advanced driver aids, which is normal on each model.

The 2021 ES sedan starts off at forty one grand and modify which includes $1,025 in delivery charges, which isn’t a undesirable price tag for a cushy cruiser from a blue-chip model. As examined, the illustration witnessed listed here checks out for a nevertheless reasonable $53,400. Apart from F Sport trimmings, a wireless charging pad ($seventy five), the navigation offer ($two,900), LED headlamps ($1,515) and a number of other options padded the bottom line. Even now, which is a additional-than-reasonable determine, especially when you think about the average new-vehicle transaction price tag in the US these times is about $40,000.

Sure, there are a number of things to gripe about, but the ES 250 is an agreeable luxury sedan… delivered your expectations are reasonable. If you motivation tire-roasting acceleration or the agility of a superbike you will be sorely dissatisfied. Even so, if you drop these pretenses and settle for that this is a silent, cushy cruiser, it truly is straightforward sufficient to take pleasure in this Lexus.

Maria J. Danford

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