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2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD Review By Larry Nutson

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Luxury and comfort at a good price

LEARN MORE: Lexus News and Information Library 1995-Present

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Lexus reported U.S. sales of 304,476 vehicles for 2021. That’s up 10.7 percent on a volume basis. The ES 4-door sedan is Lexus’ top selling car model with 2021 sales of 45,406, up about 5 percent for the year.

The 5-passenger front-wheel drive ES was extensively updated for 2019 riding on a new platform with increased torsional stiffness for better comfort, ride quality and sportier chassis behavior. The ES became longer, lower and wider which provided more rear seat room.

The ES lineup grew for 2021 with the all-new Lexus ES 250 AWD, the first ES all-wheel drive model. And now for 2022 the ES received a refresh with a revised multimedia system, new safety and performance enhancements, a fresh exterior design and new exterior and interior colors. A new Dynamic Handling Package (DHP) is available on F SPORT gas models.

The 2022 model lineup consists of the ES 250 AWD, ES 350 and ES 300h, each offered in base, Luxury, F Sport and Ultra Luxury trims.

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Outside, the 2022 ES gets a new grille pattern and redesigned bi-LED headlights. New wheel designs in 17-, 18- and 19-inch dimensions are available. There are eleven different exterior colors to choose from.

In the cabin, the Lexus touchpad for the infotainment system has been the bane of much criticism from auto pundits. This has been changed. The display screen has been relocated 4.3 inches forward and now has touchscreen functionality. Lexus has kept the touchpad just in case some might prefer that feature.

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Lexus offers the ES with many premium and luxury features, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa connectivity, a WiFi hotspot, and a standard suite of Advanced Driver-Assist Safety (ADAS) features.

ES 250 AWD is powered by a 203-HP 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine that’s mated to an 8-speed automatic. The Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel drive (AWD) is designed to improve traction while also minimizing any negative impact on fuel efficiency. The system is front-wheel-biased and can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels. When AWD isn’t needed, a coupling on the rear axle can disengage the drive shaft for better efficiency. EPA fuel economy ratings for the ES 250 AWD are 28 mpg combined, with 25 city mpg and 34 highway mpg. Zero to 60 mph is in 8.6 seconds.

ES 350 is front-wheel drive and has a 302-hp 3.5-L V6 paired with an 8-speed automatic. Performance wise it’ll hit 60 mph in 6.6 secs. and top out at 131mph. EPA fuel economy ratings are 26 mpg combined with 22 city mpg and 32 highway mpg.

The ES 300h hybrid’s 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine and electric motor has a combined system output of 215-hp. The electric motor gets its power from a 29.1 kW Lithium-ion battery mounted underneath the rear seat. EPA rating is 44 mpg combined. Zero to 60 mph is in 8.1 seconds.

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The ES has a starting MSRP of $40,800 for both ES 350 and ES 250 AWD. The ES 300h starts at $41,900. Prices max out at $51,080. There’s a $1,075 destination fee for all. More information and details can be found at

My drive experience was in the ES 250 AWD F Sport which had a base price of $45,450. It was optioned up quite a bit with to bring the total price to $53,565. Head-up display, Navigation, Mark Levinson 17-speaker 1800 watt audio, hands-free power trunk, triple-beam LED headlights, and power rear sunshade are among the extras.

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The all-wheel drive was good to have since my drive was during a snowy winter period. ES F Sport models get exclusive 19-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels mounted with 235/40R19 all-season tires. I would have preferred a taller profile tire for winter use, however no tire issues developed during my drive.

The ES is very comfortable to drive. The cabin is nicely fitted, roomy and quiet. The rear seat truly has room for adults. The new touchscreen is indeed more user friendly. It’s not a rocket with its 203-hp, but the engine/transmission combo get the job done. The F Sport trim provides more driver engagement and pleasant driving dynamics with the selectable drive modes and Adaptive Variable Suspension.

In the recently published Consumer Reports ranking of the best car brands, Lexus was ranked fifth out of thirty-two brands. High quality, luxurious features and appointments, and very affordable in its class--that’s the 2022 Lexus ES.

Happy motoring!

© 2022 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy