Lexus ES

The Lexus ES is based on a platform similar to the Toyota Avalon, and that car's longer wheelbase affords a roomier interior, particularly for rear passengers. The ES features independent suspension all around for a smooth, effortless ride.

The ES 350 comes powered by a 3.5L V6 that makes 268 horsepower and delivers an estimated 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. This is mated to a 6-speed sequential-shift automatic. The ES 300h Hybrid utilizes a 2.5L 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine that is paired with an electric motor. The duo produces 200 horsepower and returns an estimated 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. The 300h features an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission to deliver seamless, efficient shifts.

The ES is rich in standard equipment, with perforated NuLuxe upholstery, power locks and mirrors as well as one-touch up/down windows, 10-way power adjustable front seats, one-touch open-close power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, leather seating and much more. Technology features include steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, Display Audio with a back-up camera, driver-selectable engine mapping, 8-speaker sound system, and Lexus Enform Remote, which allows ES owners to remotely view and control certain features such as the locks, engine stop/start and climate control via mobile app. Bluetooth hands-free technology is also standard.

The ES' options and packages take the luxury to another level. Among the amenities available: hard-drive-based navigation with voice command, heated and ventilated leather seating, a panorama glass roof, a power rear sunshade and a Mark Levinson premium sound system. Other tech includes a lane-departure warning system, radar-based cruise control, parking assist and blind-spot monitoring.

Editors' Review

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is more impressive than you might think. After 800 miles in the saddle of this gold-plated Toyota Avalon on a drive to Michigan's upper peninsula and back, I'm happy to report the ES is an all-star road-tripper thanks to its comfort, refinement and fuel economy.

Redesigned a few years ago, the ES soldiers on with a few enhancements for 2021. Luxury, F Sport and Ultra Luxury models now come standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a special Black Line model is on the menu and, for the first time, you can get this venerable sedan with all-wheel drive, which comes standard with the base four-cylinder engine. That's the powertrain this example is fitted with, though it also features the F Sport package, which includes unique wheels, a mesh grille insert, other visual tweaks and a retuned suspension setup. Adaptive dampers are also available, though they're not fitted here.

The ES 250's interior is well built and comfortable. The materials employed are mostly high quality, from the supple leather to the aluminum brightwork to the almost organic hole pattern on the speaker grilles. Some not-so-great hard plastic can be spotted if you poke around and the switches that operate the heated and ventilated front seats are buried at the bottom of the center stack and look crude, especially compared to the ingenuous tuning and volume knobs, which are two concentric dials integrated into one assembly. It's not a big deal, but I love this little touch because not only does it look cool, it allows you to tune the radio without reaching halfway across the dashboard. I also appreciate this car's mechanical shifter. There's zero ambiguity to how it functions and you can rest your hand on it while cruising.

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The Good ~ Excellent adaptive cruise control ~ Over-the-road refinement ~ Cushy accommodations ~ Good fuel economy

The Bad ~ That damn infotainment system ~ Halfhearted performance ~ No fold-down seats

The Bottom Line Buy it for serenity, not sportiness.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 6
  • Features 8
  • Design 9
  • Media 4

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