F Sport trims get these 19-inch wheels.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is extra spectacular than you may assume. After 800 miles within the saddle of this gold-plated Toyota Avalon on a drive to Michigan’s higher peninsula and again, I am comfortable to report the ES is an all-star road-tripper because of its consolation, refinement and gasoline financial system.


Glorious adaptive cruise controlOver-the-road refinementCushy accommodationsGood gasoline financial system

Do not Like

That rattling infotainment systemHalfhearted performanceNo fold-down seats

Redesigned just a few years in the past, the ES troopers on with just a few enhancements for 2021. Luxurious, F Sport and Extremely Luxurious fashions now come commonplace with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a particular Black Line mannequin is on the menu and, for the primary time, you may get this venerable sedan with all-wheel drive, which comes commonplace with the bottom four-cylinder engine. That is the powertrain this instance is fitted with, although it additionally options the F Sport bundle, which incorporates distinctive wheels, a mesh grille insert, different visible tweaks and a retuned suspension setup. Adaptive dampers are additionally obtainable, although they are not fitted right here.

The ES 250’s inside is properly constructed and cozy. The supplies employed are principally prime quality, from the supple leather-based to the aluminum brightwork to the virtually natural gap sample on the speaker grilles. Some not-so-great exhausting plastic will be noticed in case you poke round and the switches that function the heated and ventilated entrance seats are buried on the backside of the middle stack and look crude, particularly in comparison with the ingenuous tuning and quantity knobs, that are two concentric dials built-in into one meeting. It isn’t a giant deal, however I really like this little contact as a result of not solely does it look cool, it permits you to tune the radio with out reaching midway throughout the dashboard. I additionally respect this automotive’s mechanical shifter. There’s zero ambiguity to the way it features and you may relaxation your hand on it whereas cruising.

Along with all that, this Lexus’ soft entrance bucket seats get two thumbs up. Even after hours within the saddle they depart me feeling refreshed. A boon for passengers, the ES’ backseat is spacious and lots comfy, plus it comes with a 12-volt energy outlet and a pair of two.2-amp USB ports so everybody’s telephone can keep absolutely juiced on lengthy drives. The ES 250 provides 13.9 cubic ft of trunk area, a superb quantity to make certain, however limiting this automotive’s versatility, the rear backrest doesn’t fold down. A minimum of a small pass-through is included for prolonged cargo. Curiously, the glovebox is kind of small as properly, barely giant sufficient to carry the proprietor’s guide.

As for tech, the ES comes commonplace with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility. An 8-inch infotainment display is included on lower-end fashions, however an exquisite 12.3-incher is obtainable, which incorporates embedded navigation. This show appears nice, with vibrant colours, good viewing angles and minimal glare. Sadly, it isn’t touch-enabled (but
), which implies it’s important to navigate Lexus’ tangled infotainment system with a dastardly trackpad on the middle console. This association is as distracting as it’s troublesome. Why the automaker hasn’t moved on to one thing higher in spite of everything these years is past me. As with different Toyota and Lexus merchandise, infotainment tech is that this automotive’s largest weak spot.

A comfortable inside with a awful infotainment interface. A minimum of the upcoming 2022 ES will lastly get a touchscreen.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As you could have guessed based mostly on its title, the ES 250 contains a 2.5-liter engine, identical to you may get in a Toyota Avalon or Camry. And not using a supercharger or turbo to supply further oomph, this four-pot unit delivers a modest 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Taking advantage of that output, the engine is paired with an eight-speed computerized transmission. That gearbox is usually agreeable, shifting shortly and readily dropping gears as required to maintain issues transferring, although often it may possibly really feel a bit lumpy.

Pressed into luxury-car service, this Toyota engine is completely serviceable, however like authorities paperwork it is devoid of any pleasure. Uncouth vibrations can often be felt, although extra noticeable are the disagreeable noises it generates whereas laboring, notably when climbing hills. After all, this engine isn’t any firebrand, both, transferring the ES to 60 mph in a merely ample 8.6 seconds. However what this automotive’s powertrain lacks in emotion and verve it largely makes up for with glorious effectivity. This Lexus is rated at 25 mpg metropolis and 34 mpg freeway. Mixed, it ought to return 28 mpg, although it is averaging about 32 mpg in my palms, a damn-impressive rating for a big, comfy, non-hybrid sedan — one fitted with all-wheel drive, no much less.

The ES 250’s steering and brake really feel are advantageous to the purpose of being forgettable. These main controls get the job completed with out incomes any reward or scorn, which is A-OK in my e-book. The automotive’s experience high quality, nonetheless, is beautiful, even with out these fancy adjustable dampers. Regardless of carrying F Sport badges, this Lexus is smooth and quiet, floating ever so barely over giant roadway undulations and shielding passengers from almost all wind and tire noise, even at extra-legal speeds. The dark-finished 19-inch F Sport wheels are a win-win, too, wanting swanky with out curdling that creamy experience.

This unassuming luxurious sedan is tremendous comfy.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The adaptive cruise management system with lane centering works phenomenally properly, easily and attentively adjusting the automobile’s pace as wanted and protecting it locked in the midst of its lane. Different useful facilities like lane-departure warning, computerized excessive beams, road-sign recognition and extra are additionally bundled within the Lexus Security System Plus 2.0 suite of superior driver aids, which is commonplace on each mannequin.

The 2021 ES sedan begins at 41 grand and alter together with $1,025 in supply charges, which is not a foul worth for a soft cruiser from a blue-chip model. As examined, the instance seen right here checks out for a nonetheless affordable $53,400. Apart from F Sport trimmings, a wi-fi charging pad ($75), the navigation bundle ($2,900), LED headlamps ($1,515) and some different choices padded the underside line. Nonetheless, that is a more-than-reasonable determine, particularly when you think about the common new-vehicle transaction worth within the US as of late is round $40,000.

Certain, there are some things to gripe about, however the ES 250 is an agreeable luxurious sedan… supplied your expectations are affordable. For those who want tire-roasting acceleration or the agility of a superbike you’ll be sorely disenchanted. Nonetheless, in case you drop these pretenses and settle for that it is a quiet, soft cruiser, it is simple sufficient to take pleasure in this Lexus.


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