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F Activity trims get these 19-inch wheels.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is a lot more remarkable than you might consider. Immediately after 800 miles in the saddle of this gold-plated Toyota Avalon on a generate to Michigan’s upper peninsula and again, I am happy to report the ES is an all-star highway-tripper thanks to its comfort and ease, refinement and fuel financial system.


  • Fantastic adaptive cruise regulate
  • Over-the-highway refinement
  • Cushy accommodations
  • Good fuel financial system

Really don’t Like

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

Redesigned a number of years back, the ES soldiers on with a number of enhancements for 2021. Luxurious, F Activity and Extremely Luxurious products now arrive common with blind-place monitoring and rear cross-site visitors alert, a exclusive Black Line design is on the menu and, for the initially time, you can get this venerable sedan with all-wheel generate, which arrives common with the foundation 4-cylinder motor. Which is the powertrain this case in point is equipped with, however it also characteristics the F Activity bundle, which contains special wheels, a mesh grille insert, other visible tweaks and a retuned suspension setup. Adaptive dampers are also offered, however they are not equipped right here.

The ES 250’s interior is nicely constructed and comfortable. The materials utilized are typically high high-quality, from the supple leather-based to the aluminum brightwork to the nearly natural and organic gap pattern on the speaker grilles. Some not-so-terrific tough plastic can be noticed if you poke all over and the switches that run the heated and ventilated front seats are buried at the base of the heart stack and glimpse crude, specially as opposed to the ingenuous tuning and volume knobs, which are two concentric dials built-in into a person assembly. It truly is not a major deal, but I really like this small contact because not only does it glimpse interesting, it permits you to tune the radio with out reaching halfway throughout the dashboard. I also recognize this car’s mechanical shifter. There is zero ambiguity to how it functions and you can relaxation your hand on it though cruising.

In addition to all that, this Lexus’ soft front bucket seats get two thumbs up. Even immediately after hours in the saddle they go away me sensation refreshed. A boon for passengers, the ES’ backseat is spacious and loads comfortable, moreover it arrives with a 12-volt electrical power outlet and a pair of 2.2-amp USB ports so everyone’s cellphone can remain fully juiced on lengthy drives. The ES 250 delivers thirteen.9 cubic ft of trunk area, a superior total to be sure, but restricting this car’s versatility, the rear backrest does not fold down. At least a smaller move-via is incorporated for lengthy cargo. Curiously, the glovebox is rather smaller as nicely, hardly significant enough to hold the owner’s guide.

As for tech, the ES arrives common with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility. An 8-inch infotainment screen is incorporated on reduced-conclude products, but a attractive 12.three-incher is offered, which contains embedded navigation. This screen appears terrific, with vibrant shades, superior viewing angles and small glare. Unfortunately, it is not contact-enabled (nonetheless
), which suggests you have to navigate Lexus’ tangled infotainment method with a dastardly trackpad on the heart console. This arrangement is as distracting as it is tough. Why the automaker hasn’t moved on to anything greater immediately after all these years is beyond me. As with other Toyota and Lexus solutions, infotainment tech is this car’s most important weak spot.

A comfy interior with a awful infotainment interface. At least the impending 2022 ES will ultimately get a touchscreen.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As you could have guessed centered on its name, the ES 250 characteristics a 2.5-liter motor, just like you can get in a Toyota Avalon or Camry. Devoid of a supercharger or turbo to offer added oomph, this 4-pot device delivers a modest 203 horsepower and 184 pound-ft of torque. Producing the most of that output, the motor is paired with an 8-velocity automatic transmission. That gearbox is typically agreeable, shifting quickly and quickly dropping gears as essential to keep things going, however from time to time it can feel a bit lumpy.

Pressed into luxurious-car or truck services, this Toyota motor is flawlessly serviceable, but like governing administration forms it truly is devoid of any pleasure. Uncouth vibrations can from time to time be felt, however a lot more apparent are the disagreeable noises it generates though laboring, significantly when climbing hills. Of training course, this motor is no firebrand, both, going the ES to sixty mph in a basically satisfactory 8.six seconds. But what this car’s powertrain lacks in emotion and verve it largely can make up for with excellent effectiveness. This Lexus is rated at 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Blended, it must return 28 mpg, however it truly is averaging about 32 mpg in my hands, a damn-remarkable rating for a significant, comfortable, non-hybrid sedan — a person equipped with all-wheel generate, no considerably less.

The ES 250’s steering and brake feel are great to the stage of becoming forgettable. These major controls get the job accomplished with out earning any praise or scorn, which is A-Okay in my e-book. The car’s ride high-quality, nonetheless, is lovely, even with out those fancy adjustable dampers. Despite sporting F Activity badges, this Lexus is tender and silent, floating ever so a bit more than significant roadway undulations and shielding passengers from nearly all wind and tire sounds, even at added-lawful speeds. The darkish-concluded 19-inch F Activity wheels are a gain-gain, much too, on the lookout swanky with out curdling that creamy ride.

This unassuming luxurious sedan is super comfortable.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The adaptive cruise regulate method with lane centering operates phenomenally nicely, easily and attentively altering the vehicle’s velocity as essential and holding it locked in the center of its lane. Other helpful facilities like lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, highway-indication recognition and a lot more are also bundled in the Lexus Protection Procedure Furthermore 2. suite of innovative driver aids, which is common on just about every design.

The 2021 ES sedan begins at forty one grand and modify together with $one,025 in shipping and delivery costs, which is just not a terrible price for a soft cruiser from a blue-chip brand. As examined, the case in point noticed right here checks out for a still sensible $53,400. Apart from F Activity trimmings, a wi-fi charging pad ($75), the navigation bundle ($2,900), LED headlamps ($one,515) and a number of other alternatives padded the base line. Nevertheless, that is a a lot more-than-sensible determine, specially when you look at the average new-auto transaction price in the US these times is all over $forty,000.

Certain, there are a number of things to gripe about, but the ES 250 is an agreeable luxurious sedan… delivered your anticipations are sensible. If you desire tire-roasting acceleration or the agility of a superbike you will be sorely unhappy. Even so, if you drop those pretenses and accept that this is a silent, soft cruiser, it truly is easy enough to enjoy this Lexus.