The 2021 Lexus ES 250 has been updated to include all-wheel drive, a welcome addition for Northwesterner’s always on the lookout for traction.
Sending torque to all four wheels, the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine powers through conditions when traction is low to provide better acceleration with less tire slip. The improved traction of the ES 250 gives the vehicle the ability to accelerate better from a standing start with 203 horsepower and an estimated fuel rating of 28 combined MPG, better than other gas models in the ES family.
Dynamic torque control can provide effective traction for inclement and slippery weather while minimizing AWD’s typical drag on fuel economy. The system can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels.
When AWD isn’t needed, the electromagnetic controlled coupling on the rear drive axle can disengage the propeller shaft to help prioritize fuel efficiency. The AWD is designed to re-engage in an instant, when needed, and its operation is transparent to the driver and passengers.
The addition of AWD does not affect legroom, trunk room, ride comfort, cabin quietness or vehicle agility. Inside, the car has the same rear seat room as the FWD ES model for gas and hybrid.
The ES sedan is longer (+2.6 in), lower (-0.2 in) and wider (+1.8 in.) than the prior generation. The signature grille follows the path set forth by the LC coupe and the LS flagship, yet adds individual cues unique to the ES, like the vertical grille pattern. That theme is repeated at each corner of the bumper to give the ES a wide, planted look that promotes strength and stability.
ES 250 handles like a dream. Road surface and noise are softened to deliver a smooth, quiet driving experience. Precise steering controls and the suspension create carefree cornering.
My tester came with almost $12,000 in optional equipment, highlighted by a dynamic navigation system with voice recognition, and a Mark Levinson premium surround sound audio package with 1,800 watts delivered through 17 speakers.
Other upgrades included heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, Lexus memory system for the driver’s seats, outside mirrors and steering wheel, power rear sunshade, triple beam LED headlights, hands-free power trunk, wood trim with ambient lighting, 19-inch split, 10-spoke alloy wheels and more.
To make multimedia connectivity seamless for Lexus owners, all 2021 ES models feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. ES is also Amazon Alexa compatible, so drivers with an iPhone and Android devices can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions such as car-to-home and home-to-car commands, providing owners with Alexa-enabled devices in their home the ability to interact with their ES before they ever get behind the wheel.
The big cherry on top of this luxury ride is the extensive safety suite.
All grades of the 2021 ES feature Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. The Pre-Collision System employs both a millimeter wave radar and a monocular camera sensor system designed to detect a preceding vehicle, a bicyclist in daytime situations as well as a preceding
vehicle and a pedestrian in both daylight and low-light situations.
The Lane Departure Alert system is designed to alert the driver when it senses that the vehicle is deviating from its lane with audible and visual alerts, as well as steering wheel vibration. It’s also capable of providing a certain amount of steering assist to help keep the car from deviating from its marked lane.
The Lane Departure Alert with Lane Tracing Assist comes standard and is designed to detect lane markings to determine lane position and place the vehicle in the center of the lane when working in conjunction with the All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
If road markings are not detected, LTA is also capable, in certain conditions, of following the car ahead of it. Road Sign Assist is included as well and is designed to read certain road signs and display them on the multi-informational display.
Base Price: $40,925
Price As Driven: $52,380
Destination charge in included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.