When it debuted in 1989 alongside the LS flagship, the ES helped establish the Lexus brand. The ES has been in production ever since and is now in its seventh generation that went on sale for the 2019 model year. Prioritizing comfort over performance, the ES offers lots of passenger space amidst upscale appointments.
For 2021 the all-wheel-drive ES 250 joins the lineup alongside the standard front-drive ES 350 and hybrid ES 300h.
Spacious and sedate, the Lexus ES provides a comfortable driving experience. Although the sedan can be compared against similarly priced compact luxury sedans as well as similarly sized midsizers, the ES doesn't do much to stand out.
Indeed, the ES is terrifically roomy inside, and material quality is strong. However, the dashboard's design is somewhat bizarre, and Lexus' non-touchscreen infotainment system is a headache to use.
Ride quality is good on smooth surfaces, and the included driver-assist features help. On rough pavement, though, the suspension can feel floaty and busy. To be sure, the ES is built more for cruising than handling courses, even in performance-inspired F Sport trim. We've found that trim to be a bit noisy, while the ES 300h hybrid seems to be the quietest of the range and is certainly the most efficient. The new AWD model is definitely on the slower side, but acceleration is adequate and the extra driven wheels will provide some piece of mind for buyers in snowy climates.
The ES presents a strong value, available hybrid efficiency, and should have Lexus' well-known reliability. Still, its competitors offer more style, easier infotainment systems, and better driver engagement.
The ES350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 302 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. It powers the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. In MotorTrend testing, the ES 350 accelerated to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, or 5.9 seconds in F Sport trim. EPA-rated fuel economy is 22/32 mpg city/highway as standard, or 22/31 mpg in F Sport trim.
The ES300h is a hybrid using a 2.5-liter I-4 and electric motor, driving the front wheels through a CVT automatic. Total power output is 215 hp. MotorTrend measured a 7.8-second 0-60 mph time from the ES 300h. Fuel economy as rated by the EPA is 43/44 mpg.
New for 2021 is the ES250 AWD, which uses a 2.5-liter I-4 producing 203 hp and 184 lb-ft. That's sent through an eight-speed automatic to, as its name suggests, standard AWD. When we tested the AWD ES250, it needed 8.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. Fuel economy is 25/34 mpg, according to the EPA.
Standard driver-assist and active safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, road sign recognition, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking are included on most trims and optional on base trims.
Trunk capacity measures 13.9 cubic feet in all ES models.
Front-row headroom measures 37.5 inches in the ES, which compares to 39.6 inches in the Volvo S90. Second-row headroom is equal at 37.8 inches. Front-row legroom is 42.4 inches in the Lexus, a bit more than 42.2 inches in the Volvo. Second-row legroom is 39.3 inches in the ES, about an inch less than the 40.4 inches offered in the S90.
The ES is equipped with an 8.0-inch infotainment display, which is upgraded to a 12.3-inch unit on higher-end trims. A CD player, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity, and front-row USB ports are included on all, and built-in navigation comes with the larger display. All models include a 7.0-inch gauge cluster display. Premium technology options include a head-up display, wireless charging pad, and 360-degree-view camera system. A 10-speaker audio system is standard, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium setup is available.
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$1000||Lexus announces a College Graduate Reward Program on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-03-2022|
|$1000||Lexus announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-03-2022|
|$2000||Lexus announces a Retail Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$0||0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$5500||Lexus announces a Lease Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|