2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD Review

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2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD
Contributing Author: Anne Fleming

The new 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD is both affordable and desirable. For those wanting this up brand, they will not be disappointed, as this is the first time Lexus is making the ES available with AWD. 


It starts at $39,900 and there are options running this vehicle up all the way to just shy of $52K. 


Most of its competitors offer AWD, but buyers looking for this feature will pay dearly for it. AWD adds a more confident and stable ride when the weather is less cooperative. However, it has no bearing on the quietness in the cabin, as the ES has a very noiseless interior.   

Those wanting a stronger engine can get a V6, but without the AWD.  

The 250 has always been a solid starter and accelerator, with 203 horsepower and a 2.5-liter engine with 4 cylinders and 184 lb-ft of torque. Handling is responsive on any terrain; the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) offers advanced driving performance vis-à-vis its predecessor.  

We like the Drive Mode Select. It allows the driver to choose from up to three (3) modes that best suit them: Normal, Eco or Sport. Each speaks for itself and can be customized and easily moved, depending upon traffic, road condition, and driver preference.  

Fuel Economy:  

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 has done well on gas consumption, with 25 city mph, and 34 highway mph.  

The Car: 

2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

The 2021 Lexus ES 250 is the entry full-sized sedan for Lexus. This is the marker where unreasonable luxury meets refined upscale mettle and prowess. The high-quality features of this sedan are intriguing. So much so that, once you’re in, you won’t want to drive another. Even if the ES is at the first rung on the ladder, it makes for a great value that’s stately for a five-passenger drive.  

This model is an all-around upgrade and rivaled by just a few. The infotainment system is wide-angled, being over 12” from end to end, and really a standout.  Yes, we would like the infotainment system to be transformed from the mouse movement to knobs and switches to make it easier on all. Enough of that. 

The vehicle really is a standout. When it comes to durability and reliability, Lexus is top dog. Place it next to a Volvo or BMW and there is no comparison over the long-term, Lexus wins.  

There are lots of cup holders, comfort, amenities, and relaxation in the ES. The driver’s seats have lumbar support, and the front seats have coolers and heaters for personalized seating.  

The consideration on this vehicle is that so many items are options, and they quickly add up. 


Loaded with Air Bags, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, and Steering Assist. Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 allows for safe driving like Lane Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, and more.  

Brake Assist, Disc Brakes, Tractions Control, Child Safety Locks, AWD, Daytime Running Lights, Turn Signal Mirrors, Cross-Traffic Alert. Auto-Leveling Headlights. Trunk-Release. Push-Start. First Aid Kit. Spare in the trunk. Automatic High Beams.  Automatic Emergency Brake.  

Note: Consumers will need to fork out a grand for the blind-spot monitor option, as it is not available on the basic model, nor is the parking assist technology. 


2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

Technology and the Lexus ES are synonymous with each other. Let’s go through the amenities. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, hands-free Bluetooth driving, Satellite, and HD Radio, 10 Mark Levinson Audio Speakers, and a WIFI Hot Spot, as well as a Charging Station. 

The 12.3” Infotainment Display is super easy to see, and the visuals are great, especially the Backup Camera. Touchpad controls are not great to engage for the driver. I sure wish Lexus would make the touchpad easier to use by switching to dials. 

Moonroof, Dual-zone Automatic Personalize Climate Control. Keyless Entry and Push Button Start.  

Other technology Driver Assistance features include Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Recognition, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. 

Aesthetics & Styling:  

2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

This 2021 exterior profile is muscular and sleek, we like the look and the contours. The Lexus ES has a super sexy hourglass grille, with the extended front hood and headlights all working together in design unison. The lightning-bolt-esque headlights frame the front of the vehicle in a vigorous, powerful way. The two-tone mirrors are appealing, as they collapse when not in use to save space when parking. This is all supported on 18″ wheels, giving this a bold, stand-alone profile.

On the interior, with all the Comfort Creatures, drivers and passengers alike will enjoy the luxe ride. Nothing to agitate, only designed to ignite the soul and spirit. The material used will inspire, its tactile seats and steering wheel are leather and encourage a longer drive. The paddle shifters, well, they could have stayed at home – no idea how many Lexus drivers are using this feature, but it’s there just in case.  

Legroom and space are appreciative and attractive, especially rear legroom – a plus for adults in the back. There are two complete LATCH sets in this model for car seats. The trunk is spacious enough. Note: there’s a spare tire.   


4 Years/50,000 Basic Warranty. 6 Year/70,000 Powertrain Warranty. 

Like what you see? Shop the Lexus ES on BestRide today! 

Anne Fleming began reviewing cars years ago. After a disempowering car buying visit made her realize how undervalued women’s voices were in the automotive world, she started a platform for women to rate their car dealership experience and make their voices heard.

Visit women-drivers.com to write a review about your car dealership experience.