The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD adopts its 2.5L four-cylinder engine and AWD system from the Toyota Camry family sedan with which the ES already shares most of its mechanical components. As with the Camry, AWD only comes with the four-cylinder; if you want the more powerful ES 350’s V6 or the thriftier ES 300h hybrid, those cars stick with front-wheel drive.
Lexus makes no mechanical alterations to the 2.5L engine, so the ES 250 AWD boasts the same 203 hp and eight-speed automatic transmission as the Camry AWD. The AWD system directs up to half the engine’s power to the rear wheels in slippery conditions and can disengage the rear axle in normal driving to save fuel. Lexus says the addition of AWD doesn’t affect the ES’s rear-seat room or cargo space.
We’ll have to wait until the car’s early fall on-sale date for the ES 250 AWD’s specs and pricing details, but Lexus says the new trim will be offered with at least one F Sport package with larger wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. Lexus says it estimates the ES 250 AWD’s combined fuel consumption rating will be 8.4 L/100 km, matching that of the Camry AWD in its upscale XLE and XSE trim levels.
ES 350 and ES 300h models are carried over from 2020. The ES 350 uses a 3.5L V6 with 302 hp, and the ES 300h pairs a four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor for 215 hp.
The other 2021 Lexus ES update is a Black Line Special Edition for the ES 350. It will be based on the F Sport trim and come painted blue or white and sporting a two-tone interior, adding black side mirror housings, a black rear spoiler, and dark F Sport wheels.