It’s no surprise the Lexus ES won the prestigious Kelley Blue Book Best Buy of 2021 award in the luxury car category. This midsize sedan boasts an elegant, well-designed exterior. And its interior layout is among the best in the segment. Though the Lexus ES may not please every consumer, it’s still ahead of the pack when it comes to luxurious driving.
What makes the Lexus ES KBB’s best buy?
The 2021 Lexus ES won Kelley Blue Book‘s prestigious award thanks to its many luxurious amenities, quiet cabin, and attractive pricing. Its timeless design has also set a high bar for competitors.
The interior boasts a user-friendly remote touch infotainment system. KBB appreciates the large, easy-to-use 12.3-inch display. The system also includes a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth, and up to 10 speakers, which are more than enough for this five-seater. It also comes with additional standard features such as a keyless entry, a moonroof, and climate control options.
The Lexus ES abounds with safety and driver-assist features, too. They include automatic emergency braking, a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and a head-up display. There’s also road sign assist, collision warning with pedestrian detection, and intelligent high-beams.
Performance of the Lexus ES
The 2021 Lexus ES offers two powertrains and a dozen models, including three hybrid trims. KBB praises the V6 models for their handling and “ample power delivered to the front wheels via the smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission.”
And for the first time, Lexus offers an all-wheel-drive ES. The F Sport AWD model packs a V6 and an eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters. It also provides a sport-tuned suspension for tighter handling. KBB says it isn’t as stiff as European sport sedans.
Then there’s the ES 300h. This front-wheel-drive hybrid packs a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor. It harnesses “a total output of 215 hp,” KBB reports. The 300h can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. It isn’t the quickest off the starting line, nor is it the fastest ES at 112 mph. But what it lacks in power, it makes up for in fuel economy.
Overall, KBB finds the Lexus ES “quite pleasant to drive.”
The best of the ES 250, 350, and hybrid models
One of the key differences between the ES 250 and ES 350 is that the 350 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. If you need this feature, the ES 250 is your best bet. But the 350 comes with more horsepower, producing up to 302 hp with its 3.5-liter V6 engine. Acceleration is also two seconds faster on the 350. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
Gas mileage is another important factor. The ES 250 has an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The ES 350 gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Of course, the Lexus ES hybrid boasts the best fuel economy, at 43 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.
But the biggest selling point is the price. The base ES 250 starts below $40,000, making it a steal for a luxury car. And “even in the higher-trim V6 and hybrid models, it’s difficult to break the $50,000 barrier,” KBB noted.
Kelley Blue Book considered Lexus ES’s attractive “cost-to-own and resale” numbers when making its final decision. And because the Lexus ES offers “a high level of standard equipment” at “competitive pricing,” it easily earned the Best Buy of 2021 award in the luxury car category.