It’s widely known that Lexus has established itself as producing quality luxury vehicles. One of which is their 2021 ES 250 AWD F Sport midsize sedan. It exudes luxurious accommodations, superb ride and great resale value. And there are a host of versions of which to consider.
ES is offered in ES 250 AWD, ES 250 AWD Luxury, ES 250 AWD Ultra Luxury and ES 250 AWD F Sport. There’s also the ES 350 with 3.5-liter V6 and that comes in various trim versions plus an all new Black Line Special Edition that is a real looker.
For the fuel economy conscious, Lexus offers the ES 300h hybrid that uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and hybrid electric motor with nickel-hydride battery that produces a total system output of 215-hp for EPA mileage estimates of 43 city, 44-highway mpg. And who knows hybrid’s better than Toyota, Lexus’ parent company?
We were privileged to test the ES 250 AWD F Sport that, as its name implies, comes with a sporty interior, sport tuned suspension, brushed aluminum pedals and special badging.
Upon slipping into the racy red and black, heated/cooled, supportive and perforated leather front seats, ES’s large 12.3-inch display stands out and melds every so nicely into the top of the dash. Below it is a swoopy and curvy vertical stack housing HVAC controls, heated seats and heated steering wheel switches.
Atop the console is ES’s robust automatic transmission selector that is flanked by a touchpad for selecting the various functions such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity, Wi-Fi, Nav, audio, Lexus Enform App Suite and more. The touchpad does take some getting used to as it’s very sensitive and momentarily takes the eyes off the road when making selections. Connected to it is a large console box that doubles as the base for a wireless phone charger.
A pair of rotary switches sprout out from the sides of the gauge cluster. The one on the left is to disengage traction control and the one of the right is the mode switch for Sport, Normal and Eco modes. Sport livens performance by increasing rpms by 1,000 which holds shift points longer on the 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
ES’s single and large gauge cluster combines analog with a digital speed readout. It doubles as a driver information display for a host of operating information and alerts.
The AWD sedans back seat is exceptionally soft and comfy for two adults or three youngsters. Ingress/egress is easy thanks to wide opening doors.
ES’s trunk is fairly spacious with its 40.5 inches of loading depth. The rear seats do not fold but there is a pass-thru for carrying long items like curtain rods, a pair of skis or a two-piece fishing rod. Beneath the trunk floor is a hard foam bin for the jack and tools, along with six smaller bins to stow small items.
As an AWD vehicle, ES’s is a smart system that automatically sends torque to the rear wheels when slippage is sensed. When not needed, all torque returns to the front wheels.
ES gets its grunt from a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder producing 203-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 25 city, 34-highway mpg with start/stop engine technology. Coupled to the 8-speed auto trans, the 2.5L propels the ES with gusto both from a standing stop and during highway passing maneuvers.
The ES was loaded with safety features such as Lexus’ Safety System 2.0 Pre-Collision with pedestrian detection, all-speed radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert w/steering assist, intelligent headlamps and road sign assist, plus brake assist w/smart stop technology. This latter feature is extremely helpful when backing out of a parking spot and another vehicle or person crosses behind. It immediately senses them and automatically applies the brakes avoiding a collision or worse, hitting a pedestrian or animal.
As for handling, the F Sport package also includes an adaptive suspension for sporty driving dynamics which also affects smooth ride quality as the ES is shod with premium Michelin 19-inch tires. It’s also a typical Lexus quiet rider.
As a luxury AWD premium sedan, ES F Sport commands a premium price. With a long list of standard features, the extra charge options included a wireless charger ($75), 10.2-inch head-up display ($500), triple beam LED headlamps ($1,515), power rear sunshade ($210), Mark Levinson audio with navigation package, 12.3-inch display, Enform apps, dynamic voice control ($2,900), hands free power open/close trunk lid ($550), F Sport heated leather steering wheel, windshield wiper deicer, fast response heater ($180) all of which combines with a delivery charge of $1,025 to take the base price of $45,700 to $52,655. Shave off a couple extra cost options and the ES can compete price wise with competitive, and lesser quality compact sedans.
To its advantage, ES AWD F Sport gets impressive government safety ratings of a full five stars for an overall score; five for driver four for passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seat side crash; and four for rollover.
This all adds to Lexus’ fine quality build and luxurious comfort.