2021 Lexus ES 250 review: Super cruiser

Victoria D. Doty

F Sport trims get these 19-inch wheels.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is extra amazing than you may well consider. Following 800 miles in the saddle of this gold-plated Toyota Avalon on a push to Michigan’s higher peninsula and back again, I am joyful to report the ES is an all-star street-tripper thanks to its comfort, refinement and gasoline overall economy.


  • Excellent adaptive cruise command
  • More than-the-street refinement
  • Comfortable accommodations
  • Good gasoline overall economy

You should not Like

  • That damn infotainment method
  • Halfhearted performance
  • No fold-down seats

Redesigned a handful of many years in the past, the ES soldiers on with a handful of enhancements for 2021. Luxurious, F Sport and Extremely Luxurious designs now arrive conventional with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-visitors alert, a special Black Line model is on the menu and, for the first time, you can get this venerable sedan with all-wheel push, which will come conventional with the base four-cylinder motor. That is the powertrain this illustration is equipped with, even though it also attributes the F Sport deal, which includes distinctive wheels, a mesh grille insert, other visual tweaks and a retuned suspension setup. Adaptive dampers are also out there, even though they’re not equipped right here.

The ES 250’s inside is very well built and cozy. The components utilized are largely higher high quality, from the supple leather-based to the aluminum brightwork to the almost natural and organic gap sample on the speaker grilles. Some not-so-excellent difficult plastic can be noticed if you poke around and the switches that run the heated and ventilated front seats are buried at the base of the middle stack and seem crude, particularly in contrast to the ingenuous tuning and quantity knobs, which are two concentric dials built-in into a person assembly. It is not a major deal, but I like this small contact mainly because not only does it seem amazing, it permits you to tune the radio without achieving halfway across the dashboard. I also enjoy this car’s mechanical shifter. You will find zero ambiguity to how it features and you can relaxation your hand on it whilst cruising.

In addition to all that, this Lexus’ cushy front bucket seats get two thumbs up. Even right after hours in the saddle they leave me feeling refreshed. A boon for travellers, the ES’ backseat is roomy and a great deal cozy, as well as it will come with a twelve-volt electricity outlet and a pair of 2.2-amp USB ports so everyone’s phone can remain totally juiced on extended drives. The ES 250 provides thirteen.9 cubic feet of trunk place, a very good total to be certain, but restricting this car’s versatility, the rear backrest does not fold down. At least a little go-by way of is included for prolonged cargo. Curiously, the glovebox is fairly little as very well, scarcely huge ample to hold the owner’s handbook.

As for tech, the ES will come conventional with Apple CarPlay, Android Automobile and Amazon Alexa compatibility. An 8-inch infotainment monitor is included on lessen-close designs, but a wonderful twelve.three-incher is out there, which includes embedded navigation. This screen appears to be like excellent, with lively shades, very good viewing angles and small glare. Sad to say, it is not contact-enabled (yet
), which implies you have to navigate Lexus’ tangled infotainment method with a dastardly trackpad on the middle console. This arrangement is as distracting as it is tough. Why the automaker hasn’t moved on to a little something improved right after all these many years is beyond me. As with other Toyota and Lexus products and solutions, infotainment tech is this car’s major weakness.

A cozy inside with a awful infotainment interface. At least the forthcoming 2022 ES will ultimately get a touchscreen.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As you may perhaps have guessed primarily based on its title, the ES 250 attributes a 2.5-liter motor, just like you can get in a Toyota Avalon or Camry. Devoid of a supercharger or turbo to present added oomph, this four-pot unit provides a modest 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Building the most of that output, the motor is paired with an 8-velocity automated transmission. That gearbox is largely agreeable, shifting quickly and easily dropping gears as required to hold matters relocating, even though at times it can feel a bit lumpy.

Pressed into luxurious-vehicle service, this Toyota motor is properly serviceable, but like governing administration paperwork it is really devoid of any joy. Uncouth vibrations can at times be felt, even though extra obvious are the unpleasant noises it generates whilst laboring, notably when climbing hills. Of study course, this motor is no firebrand, either, relocating the ES to sixty mph in a simply satisfactory 8.six seconds. But what this car’s powertrain lacks in emotion and verve it largely makes up for with outstanding effectiveness. This Lexus is rated at 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Merged, it really should return 28 mpg, even though it is really averaging about 32 mpg in my hands, a damn-amazing rating for a huge, cozy, non-hybrid sedan — a person equipped with all-wheel push, no fewer.

The ES 250’s steering and brake feel are good to the level of getting forgettable. These main controls get the position accomplished without earning any praise or scorn, which is A-Okay in my e-book. The car’s trip high quality, having said that, is attractive, even without those fancy adjustable dampers. Despite donning F Sport badges, this Lexus is gentle and peaceful, floating at any time so somewhat about huge roadway undulations and shielding travellers from just about all wind and tire noise, even at added-legal speeds. The darkish-finished 19-inch F Sport wheels are a acquire-acquire, way too, looking swanky without curdling that creamy trip.

This unassuming luxurious sedan is tremendous cozy.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The adaptive cruise command method with lane centering is effective phenomenally very well, effortlessly and attentively adjusting the vehicle’s velocity as needed and maintaining it locked in the center of its lane. Other handy amenities like lane-departure warning, automated higher beams, street-indicator recognition and extra are also bundled in the Lexus Safety Procedure In addition 2. suite of highly developed driver aids, which is conventional on each model.

The 2021 ES sedan starts off at 41 grand and transform which includes $1,025 in shipping service fees, which just isn’t a lousy price tag for a cushy cruiser from a blue-chip brand name. As tested, the illustration observed right here checks out for a even now realistic $53,four hundred. Apart from F Sport trimmings, a wi-fi charging pad ($seventy five), the navigation deal ($2,900), LED headlamps ($1,515) and a handful of other solutions padded the base line. Even now, that is a extra-than-realistic figure, particularly when you think about the regular new-car transaction price tag in the US these times is around $40,000.

Positive, there are a handful of matters to gripe about, but the ES 250 is an agreeable luxurious sedan… furnished your anticipations are realistic. If you want tire-roasting acceleration or the agility of a superbike you will be sorely upset. Having said that, if you drop those pretenses and settle for that this is a peaceful, cushy cruiser, it is really easy ample to get pleasure from this Lexus.

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