2021 Lexus ES 250

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in Sedans
2021 MODEL
$39,900 - $48,900
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2021 Lexus ES 250 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: September 8, 2020
Karan Rawat's image

Karan Rawat

Automotive Journalist

Toyota engineered a Camry with an all-wheel drive, so carrying it over to the Lexus only makes sense. The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD is adding all-wheel power to the ES for the first time, and it will cost at least $45,100(AWD Luxury), including destination charges. 

The ES250's powertrain is the same as seen in the all-wheel-drive versions of the Camry and Avalon. Its 2.5-liter inline-four engine makes 203 horsepower, and it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The seventh-gen Lexus ES has silently become one of the industry's best, most comfortable all-around sedans.

See detailed review »

Pros

Comfortable and quiet cabin

Excellent predicted reliability rating

Large trunk

Lots of standard safety features and excellent safety score

Cons

The infotainment system is fussy

No high-performance engine options

What's New?

All-new model for 2021


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

2021 Lexus ES 250 in Atomic Silver color 2021 Lexus ES 250 in Caviar color 2021 Lexus ES 250 in Eminent White Pearl color 2021 Lexus ES 250 in Matador Red Metallic color 2021 Lexus ES 250 in Nebula Gray Pearl color
Atomic Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Lexus ES 250 Base

Base

power
N/A
fuel
N/A
mpg
combined

$39,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $39,900 MSRP TBD TBD
N/A N/A N/A

2021 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

Luxury

power
N/A
fuel
N/A
mpg
combined

$45,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Luxury 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $45,100 MSRP TBD TBD
N/A N/A N/A

2021 Lexus ES 250 Ultra Luxury

Ultra Luxury

power
N/A
fuel
N/A
mpg
combined

$48,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Ultra Luxury 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $48,900 MSRP TBD TBD
N/A N/A N/A

Expert Review


The move to offer all-wheel drive in the third model year of this ES generation aligns with a growing industry trend. Automakers have been looking to the foul-weather tech to help hold consumer interest in sedans as more customers abandon traditional passenger cars in favor of crossovers and SUVs.

The Lexus ES 250 AWD goes up against Mercedes-Benz C300 priced at $41,400, the Audi A4 priced at $42,000, and the BMW 3 Series priced at $40,750.

2021 Lexus ES 250 front view
2021 Lexus ES 250 Rear view

2021 Lexus ES 250 Features

2021 Lexus ES 250 is offered in three trims: Base, Luxury and Ultra Luxury. The 2021 Lexus ES sedan will be available as an all-wheel-drive for the first time in the sedan's 31-year history. It is powered by a 203-horsepower inline-4 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive system is best for all-weather grip, not off-roading.

Trims

Base

Luxury

Ultra Luxury 

MSRP

$39,900

$45,100

$48,900

Key features

Dual-Zone climate control

8-inch multimedia color display 

Rain-sensing windshield wipers

  Interior Air Filter

14-way power-adjustable driver's seat

Heated and ventilated front seats 

  14-way power-adjustable driver seat

10 speaker pioneer audio system 

Power-folding outside mirrors & Power- tilt-& telescopic steering column

  Perforated-Nuxe leather trim

Parking assist

Lexus memory system for driver's seat, outside mirrors & steering wheel

   

Power rear sunshade

12.3-inch multimedia color display 

   

spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and intuitive

Mark Levison 17-speaker 1,800-watt PurePlay Premium 

Luxury trim is priced at $45,100, and it is equipped with loads of features like an 8-inch multimedia color display as standard. At the same time, the top model gets a 12.3-inch color display, the standard model receives a 10-speaker Pioneer Audio system, while the top model gets a 17-speaker PurePlay Premium audio system.

2021 Lexus ES 250 side view

2021 Lexus ES 250 Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

As part of the Toyota Brand, Lexus has a responsibility to prove Toyota’s famed reliability in its luxury segment. Lexus is a car brand that people love for its performance and style, as well as the reliability typically expected from anything Toyota. The fact the ES shares foundations with the Toyota Camry – a car that has built its entire fame on reliability – means we’d be amazed if it causes many problems to owners.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

The Japanese have always stood out for their reliability, and Lexus is no different. According to the consumer report in 2019, the Japanese carmaker was named the most reliable brand. Lexus has always been at the very top in terms of dependability for a long time now. 

The 2020 model of the Lexus ES 250 gets 81/100 in the J.D.Power Ratings and has been ranked top 2 sedans out 5. A well maintained Lexus should easily reach 200,000 miles on the odometer. All this only demonstrated that Lexus is one of the most trustworthy cars out there.

The 2020 ES 250 earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet released crash test info for the 2020 Lexus ES. It is fitted with Lexus Safety System + as standard. It is a suite of safety kit, including autonomous emergency braking that can spot pedestrians during the day and night, as well as cyclists during daylight hours. 

When it comes to maintenance, the Lexus is one of the cheapest cars to maintain compared to German cars. The average annual repair cost is $468, which means it has wonderful ownership costs. While repairs are more common, these issues are less likely to be severe than with other cars. 

Warranty

Lexus not only is reliable but also offers one of the best warranty schemes for its customers. Lexus offers the standard four-year / 50,000 miles basic warranty, powertrain warranty up to 6 years / 70,000 miles with Roadside assistance service up to 4 years / unlimited miles and corrosion and perforation warranty of 6 years / unlimited miles.

Criteria

Period

New vehicle limited warranty 

4 years/ 50,000 miles 

Powertrain warranty 

6 years / 70,000 miles 

Roadside assistance service

4 years / unlimited miles 

All the cars offer a standard new vehicle warranty of 4 years / 50,000 miles. Same with the Roadside assistance, but Lexus offers unlimited miles while rivals offer 50,000 miles. In terms of the extended warranty, Lexus offers ten years / 120,000 miles, whereas the rest offers almost the same schemes as well except for Mercedes Benz, where one can renew anytime with no year limit.

Miles per Dollar

For every mile you’ll make in your ES 250, you’ll be shelling out $1.5. This price is still favorable compared with the European competition, especially when they’re equipped to the same levels.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Buying Advice

Well, as there isn’t much difference between the two trims except for some added features in top trim- Ultra Luxury. We recommend the Luxury trim. It offers everything that a standard luxury vehicle has to with features like an 8-inch color display system, dynamic voice command, perforated leather interior, and a wooden trim with ambient lighting.

Is buying a used Lexus ES 250 a good idea?

The ES250 is a brand new model, so finding a used car in the market will be next to impossible.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Engine and Performance

The Lexus ES 250 AWD is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder offering 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive is standard. 

2021 Lexus ES 250 engine

Dynamic Torque-Control AWD can provide adequate 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.

Models 

2021 Lexus ES 250

Mercedes Benz C300

Audi A4

BMW 3 Series

Engine

2.5-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

Drivetrain

AWD

RWD

AWD

RWD

Transmission 

8-Speed automatic

9-Speed automatic

7-Speed automatic

8-Speed automatic 

Power

203hp@6,500rpm

255hp@5,800

248hp@5,000rpm

255hp@5,000rom

Torque

184Ib-ft@5,000rpm

273Ib-ft@1,800rpm

273Ib-ft@1,600rpm

295hp@1,500rpm

Lexus is the only car to offer a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4 engine, whereas the rest offer a forced-induction. Lexus and Audi come with AWD as standard. The Lexus, despite having a bigger engine, stays behind in competition than most of the rivals.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Acceleration And Braking Performance

It’s a shame that Lexus hasn’t paired the all-wheel-drive system with the more powerful V6. In terms of acceleration, the Lexus ES 250 clocks 0-60 mph in 8.6-sec and the Quarter mile in 14.6 sec with a top speed of 131 mph. 

2021 Lexus ES 250 accelerate 0-60 mph just in 8.6 sec.

In terms of braking performance, the Lexus ES 250 in front gets a 12.0-inch ventilated disc and a rear 11.1-inch solid disc with four channels, four sensors Anti-lock braking system. It stops 60-0 mph at a distance of 110 ft. The “Torque Control” system can pinch the inner wheel’s brakes when cornering to create the sensation of torque vectoring.

Models

2021 Lexus ES 250

Mercedes Benz C300

Audi A4

BMW 3 Series

0-60 MPH

8.6 sec

5.7 sec 

5.1 sec 

5.6 sec 

Quarter mile

14.6 sec

14.1 sec

14.4 sec

14.4 sec

Top Speed 

131 mph

155 mph 

155 mph 

156 mph 

60-0 MPH

110 ft

124 ft

N/A

103 ft

Lexus ES 250 is the slowest to accelerate from a standstill. The Audi A4 is the quickest to clock 0-60 mph in 5.1 sec. Where the Lexus does slightly better is in braking, but that is also overtaken by the BMW 3 Series, which stops in just 103 ft.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Fuel Economy

When AWD isn’t needed, the electromagnetically controlled coupling on the rear-drive axle can disengage the propeller shaft to prioritize fuel efficiency.

In terms of mileage, the 2021 Lexus ES 250 does just about 20 mpg in the city, on the highway, it does about 32 mpg and combined 26 mpg. It offers a fuel tank of 15.9 gallons.

Models 

2021 Lexus ES 250

Mercedes Benz C300

Audi A4

BMW 3 Series

MPG (city)

25

24

23

26

MPG (highway)

34

35

34

36

MPG (combined)

28

28

27

30

Fuel Capacity 

15.9 gallons

17.4 gallons

15.3 gallons 

15.6 gallons 

Rang (city/hwy/combined)

350/509/413 miles

418/609/487 miles 

352/520/413 miles 

406/562/468 miles

Lexus ES 250 fails miserably in gas mileage against its competitors despite being an introvert in performance. Lexus does the least in the city as compared to the rest, and it is the same case on the highway too, where the Audi and the rest of the cars perform a class above the new Lexus does, that also with more power.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Interior

Lexus says the ES 250 AWD has the same legroom, trunk room, ride comfort, cabin quietness, and vehicle agility as any other Lexus ES. According to the available information, in the New Lexus ES 250 cabin, you get a Perforated Nuluxe trim, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, 14-way power-adjustable driver seat with wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and ambient lighting across the doors. 

2021 Lexus ES 250 Seats

Lexus says there are no changes to the ES250 AWD's chassis tuning, and claims that the packaging of the all-wheel-drive system does not affect interior dimensions or cargo space.

Models 

2021 Lexus ES 250

Mercedes Benz C300

Audi A4

BMW 3 Series

Seating capacity 

5

5

5

5

Front row (head/shoulder/leg)

37.5/55.9/42.4

37.1/55.3/41.7

38.9/55.9/41.3

38.7/56.0/42.0

Rear row (head/shoulder/leg)

37.8/54.3/39.2

37.1/55.0/35.2

37.4/54.5/35.7

37.6/54.6/35.2

All the cars offer a standard 5 seat capacity. It is the Mercedes-Benz C300, which provides the least amount of space, while the Audi A4 is the more spacious car here, and the Lexus ES 250 battles it out for the second place against the BMW 3 Series.

How’s the 2021 Lexus ES 250 infotainment system?

When it comes to infotainment, the Lexus ES 250 comes with an 8-inch multimedia color display with Android Auto, Apple Carplay, and Amazon Alexa navigates through a remote touch interface pad. It also gets a 7-inch MID screen, integrated SiriusXM satellite radio, backup monitor, and a 10-speaker Pioneer audio system.

Lexus’s connected services include Lexus Enform safety connect, Lexus Enform service connect, which offers Wi-Fi, 4G, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant compatibility. Lexus Navigation package includes Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation, Lexus Enform Destination Assist and the Dynamic voice command.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Exterior

On the exterior, the Lexus stood out for its unique design language at the front with its signature spindle grille. It is the same with the ES 350, although it sits quite lower than its older sibling. It also has longer 17-inch alloy wheels; it is quite a stylish car. The ES 250 gets LED DRLs with LED low beam and high beam headlights. It also gets moonroof, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, shark fin antenna, 10 different colors, and Anti-chip paint on lower body panels.

2021 Lexus ES 250 third quarter view

The ES shares some of its structure with the Toyota Camry and the Toyota Avalon, but it has more styling cohesion than either of those plus far fancier inside. Think of it as a scaled-down version of the LS full-size luxury sedan.

Models 

2021 Lexus ES 250

Mercedes Benz C300

Audi A4

BMW 3 Series

Curb weight 

3780 lbs

3472 lbs

3627 lbs

3589 lbs

Length

195.9”

184.5”

186.1”

185.7”

Width

73.4”

71.3”

72.5”

71.9”

Height 

57.9”

56.3”

56.2”

56.8”

Ground clearance

5.0”

3.8”

N/A

5.7”

Wheelbase 

113.0”

111.8”

111.0”

112.2”

Lexus ES 250 is the heaviest amongst its rivals, weighing up to 3649 Ibs. It is also the longest of all the cars with a decent ground clearance of 5.0inches compared to Mercedes-Benz 3.8inches, and it has the longest wheelbase of 113.0 inches.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Safety

The 2020 ES earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet released crash test info for the 2020 Lexus ES.

It also gets loads of features as standard like the Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane tracing assist with lane departure alert, and steering assist. All-speed dynamic radar cruise control with frontal collision warning, automatic emergency brakes, and pedestrian detection. Vehicle stability control, traction control, impact-absorbing door and body construction, intelligent high beam, and collapsible steering column are just out of many more Lexus offer as safety features.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Competition

2021 Lexus ES 250 Vs. Mercedes Benz C300

Mercedes-Benz C300 is $1000 costlier than the Lexus ES 250. The vehicle offers a smaller engine than the Lexus but makes more power than the Lexus. Unlike theES, it is quicker and offers more gas mileage with a bigger fuel tank of 17.4 gallons.

2021 Mercedes-Benz C300

Overall the Lexus was supposed to be an alternative to the likes of Mercedes-Benz. Lexus ES 250 may be a much better car in terms of safety features but lacks many other things that Mercedes-Benz capitalizes on.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Vs. BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series is the cheapest of the two priced at $40,750 offers a 2.0-liter engine. Again more grunt than what Lexus offers, but it loses out the German here- the BMW 3 Series. It is the most fuel-efficient vehicle amongst the two as well.

2021 BMW 3-series

Overall yet again the Lexus ES 250 fails to impress. The ES is more luxurious overall, though budget-conscious shoppers may want to consider a nicely equipped BMW 3 series.

2021 Lexus ES 250 Final Verdict

Lexus ES 250 is a true luxury sedan and gets the AWD setup for the first time. It has an ever-impressive warranty service, but the Lexus ES 250 misses on so many different things and doesn’t excite. One of the significant issues is its lack of power with its naturally aspirated powertrain. However, in this segment, it is a stylish and unique looking car offering premium luxury with loads of features.

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