2021 Lexus ES Expert Review
After six generations, the Lexus ES sedan is still going strong for 2021, taking a backseat only to the RX crossover SUV in overall Lexus sales. BMW may make a sportier handling sedan and Audi may have a more opulent interior, but the ES’s reputation for bulletproof reliability and resale speaks volumes about what matters most to luxury car buyers. A modest but capable V6 (in the ES 350), respectable handling and a long list of luxury features are the ES strengths, while the hybrid ES 300h offers all this plus 40 mpg. Aggressive yet handsome, the ES doesn’t stray too far from the formula most buyers find appealing, and its user-friendly interfaces are a welcome relief from overly complex touch screens and button-littered dashboards.
What’s New for 2021
Fresh from a complete remake last year, the 2021 Lexus ES receives only a few notable changes. LED fog lights replace the old fashioned bulb lamps, and heated and cooling seats can now be ordered with Lexus’ faux-leather NuLuxe perforated seat trim. Apple’s Siri Eyes Free technology is added to the equipment roster.
No Lexus is Spartan when it comes to interior amenities, and for 2021, the ES has upped the ante. The cabin’s design is sophisticate yet still logical and easy to figure out. The more contemporary design boasts clean lines and soft surfaces. All models employ a dial above the shift knob that can set the car to “normal,” “sport” or “eco” modes, and hybrid models have a button that allows the car to drive a short distance on battery power alone, similar to the Toyota Prius. The seats are comfortable for four adults thanks to a roomy back seat.
One look at the front of the 2021 Lexus ES is all it takes to know this is not the Lexus of old. Up front the ES shows of a dynamic spindle grille that is defining new Lexus models. On the sides, flared fenders and a high beltline give a slightly aggressive impression. Around back, the snubbed trunk flows smoothly from the C-pillars. The ES 350 has twin tailpipes peeking from beneath the bumper, while the ES 300h hybrid has just one that is hidden below a spoiler running under the bumper. The Lexus ES rides on low-resistance tires and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, with larger wheels optional.