2021 Lexus ES 250

2021 ES 250 Photos
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Looking at the 2021 Lexus ES sedan, one couldn’t be faulted for thinking it unchanged from the previous model year. There is a significant new element, however, with Lexus offering an all-wheel-drive ES for the first time. The ES 250 AWD is a bone tossed to customers living in the Snow Belt, many of whom find the confidence of all-wheel drive an easier investment than a set of snow tires for their front-drive vehicle. With our first drive of the new AWD model, we’d have the opportunity to take it on a long trip to Northern Michigan and, as luck would have it, a terrific storm was headed our way complete with snow and bone-chilling temperatures. Aside from pushing lateral grip and balance to its limits on a race track — and, really, who tracks their ES? — it seemed the perfect opportunity to test the ES lineup’s newest improvement. The new feature comes with a caveat, though, which could be a deal-breaker for fans of the ES 350’s 3.5-liter V6: All-wheel drive can only be had in the also-new-for-2021 ES 250 designation, which indicates the sedan’s naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Unlike the I-4 in the ES 300h — ‘h’ standing for ‘hybrid’ — the 250’s mill doesn’t come linked to any electric motors. The engine and drivetrain go hand in hand. You can only get all-wheel drive with the I-4, and you can only get the non-hybrid four with all-wheel drive. Interestingly enough, the ES 250 AWD costs exactly as much as the V6-powered ES 350 in each of its trim levels. Both start at $41,025, and go up from there. If all that sounds familiar, perhaps it's because the mechanically related Toyota Avalon has the same price and drivetrain situation going on. It too is locked into the combinations of FWD/V6 and AWD/I-4, with equal price tags for both and for ultimately the same reason: the also-related Toyota Camry AWD. Because of the minuscule numbers the V6-powered Camry sells in, Toyota saw no need to invest in engineering the all-wheel-drive system to work with a V6. And since the lower-volume Avalon and Lexus ES are really only getting AWD because it can be essentially pulled off a shelf and plugged into the TNGA platform shared by all three, well, that's how you end up with this unusual ES 350 and ES 250 AWD situation. ES 250 AWD, left, ES 250 AWD F Sport, right   So what do the two extra driven wheels actually cost? Your soul? No, but close, depending on your priorities. Opting for AWD rather than the V6 forgoes 99 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque, as the ES 250 AWD offers 203 hp and 184 lb-ft, as opposed to the 350’s 302 hp and 267 lb-ft. The ES 250’s output falls below that of the ES 300h, with its 215 total horsepower. The 250 is also the slowest to 60 mph, at 8.6 seconds compared to 6.6 for the …
Full Review
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Looking at the 2021 Lexus ES sedan, one couldn’t be faulted for thinking it unchanged from the previous model year. There is a significant new element, however, with Lexus offering an all-wheel-drive ES for the first time. The ES 250 AWD is a bone tossed to customers living in the Snow Belt, many of whom find the confidence of all-wheel drive an easier investment than a set of snow tires for their front-drive vehicle. With our first drive of the new AWD model, we’d have the opportunity to take it on a long trip to Northern Michigan and, as luck would have it, a terrific storm was headed our way complete with snow and bone-chilling temperatures. Aside from pushing lateral grip and balance to its limits on a race track — and, really, who tracks their ES? — it seemed the perfect opportunity to test the ES lineup’s newest improvement. The new feature comes with a caveat, though, which could be a deal-breaker for fans of the ES 350’s 3.5-liter V6: All-wheel drive can only be had in the also-new-for-2021 ES 250 designation, which indicates the sedan’s naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Unlike the I-4 in the ES 300h — ‘h’ standing for ‘hybrid’ — the 250’s mill doesn’t come linked to any electric motors. The engine and drivetrain go hand in hand. You can only get all-wheel drive with the I-4, and you can only get the non-hybrid four with all-wheel drive. Interestingly enough, the ES 250 AWD costs exactly as much as the V6-powered ES 350 in each of its trim levels. Both start at $41,025, and go up from there. If all that sounds familiar, perhaps it's because the mechanically related Toyota Avalon has the same price and drivetrain situation going on. It too is locked into the combinations of FWD/V6 and AWD/I-4, with equal price tags for both and for ultimately the same reason: the also-related Toyota Camry AWD. Because of the minuscule numbers the V6-powered Camry sells in, Toyota saw no need to invest in engineering the all-wheel-drive system to work with a V6. And since the lower-volume Avalon and Lexus ES are really only getting AWD because it can be essentially pulled off a shelf and plugged into the TNGA platform shared by all three, well, that's how you end up with this unusual ES 350 and ES 250 AWD situation. ES 250 AWD, left, ES 250 AWD F Sport, right   So what do the two extra driven wheels actually cost? Your soul? No, but close, depending on your priorities. Opting for AWD rather than the V6 forgoes 99 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque, as the ES 250 AWD offers 203 hp and 184 lb-ft, as opposed to the 350’s 302 hp and 267 lb-ft. The ES 250’s output falls below that of the ES 300h, with its 215 total horsepower. The 250 is also the slowest to 60 mph, at 8.6 seconds compared to 6.6 for the …
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Retail Price

$40,000 - $49,000 MSRP / Window Sticker Price
Engine 2.5L I-4
MPG Up to 25 city / 34 highway
Seating 5 Passengers
Transmission 8-spd auto w/OD
Power 203 @ 6500 rpm
Drivetrain all wheel
Curb Weight 3,780 lbs
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