The 2021 Lexus ES model lineup has received some big changes.
After giving the Lexus IS sedan a refresh for the 2021 model year, Lexus is expanding the recently-redesigned ES model range with two new variants. For the first time, the Lexus ES is available with all-wheel-drive with the launch of the new 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD model offering improved traction in snow, rain, and gravel. This results in better acceleration with less tire slip.
Sending power to all four wheels is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 203 horsepower, but the torque figure hasn't been confirmed. With an estimated fuel rating of 28 mpg combined, the 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD offers better fuel economy than any other gasoline version of the ES sedan.
This is thanks to Lexus' Torque Control AWD that can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels when the front wheels start to lose traction. To prioritize fuel efficiency, the rear axle's prop shaft can be disengaged when AWD isn't required.
According to Lexus, the legroom, trunk room, ride comfort, cabin quietness, and agility isn't compromised with the addition of an AWD system. Inside, the car also has the same rear-seat hip point height as the FWD ES gasoline and hybrid models. All suspension tuning, wheels, and tires that distinguish the ES model trims also carry over to the AWD versions, meaning the ES F Sport AWD features the same sporty suspension and 19-inch wheels as its FWD counterpart.
Also joining the 2021 Lexus ES lineup is the limited ES 350 Black Line Special Edition. Limited to 1,500 units, the new Black Line Special Edition is based on the F Sport and available with three exterior colors including Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0, Obsidian, and Ultra White. Inside, the Black Line features a two-tone interior unique to the F Sport with white and black trim and gray stitching. Other unique design features include black mirrors, darkened F Sport wheels and lug nuts, and black rear lip spoiler.
In addition, Lexus is offering a custom two-piece set of travel cases designed by Zero Halliburton with a chrome logo badge laser etched with "Zero Halliburton for Lexus", a Lexus grille motif and an embossed leather Lexus logo badge.
Powertrain options for the Lexus ES 350 remain unchanged, offered with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 302 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid Lexus ES 300h, on the other hand, combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline unit with an electric motor to produce a combined 215 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque.
For 2021, the nickel-metal hybrid battery has been replaced with a lithium-ion battery relocated from the trunk to underneath the back seat. This improves the trunk space and front-to-rear weight distribution for better handling.
All 2021 Lexus ES models are offered with an eight-inch infotainment display, which can be upgraded to 12.3 inches with the available navigation package.
For 2021, all Lexus ES trims now come with a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert assist as standard. Also available on all ES models for 2021 is a 10 year trial of the Lexus Enform Safety Connect service, a three year trial for Lexus' Enform Remote app, a three month/4GB trial for the Lexus Enform Wi-Fi service, and a ten year trial for Lexus Enform Service Connect.
All 2021 Lexus ES trims also include the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard, which includes a pre-collision system, lane departure alert with lane tracing assist, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, and a road sign assist.
Pricing for the 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD and ES 350 starts at $39,900, while the Luxury and Ultra-Luxury trims start at $45,100 and $48,900 respectively.
The 2021 Lexus ES F Sport starts at $45,700, while the Black Line Edition starts at $46,550.
Dealer deliveries for the 2021 Lexus ES range will start in early fall 2020.