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2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury (car review)

WHILE ‘reliability’ is often the first card that owners draw on their foes, the refreshed 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury beats its rivals with practicality and supreme comfort as well. It’s secured its reputation in the luxury space, an area where it excels.

Up against the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé and Audi A5 Sportback, both of which continue to evolve with sharp driving dynamics and a space-age interior, the Japanese offering boasts plenty of road presence thanks to its signature grille.

Draped in stunning Deep Blue paintwork, its creases and curves are distinctly Lexus, although it’s easy to see its connection to the Toyota Camry and Avalon. It’s not a significant issue, but the ES could do with pulling some extra style from the IS or LC.

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The colour too, at least on our tester, feels a little pensioner, and we’d recommend taking a good look at hues like Vermillion or Sonic Quartz. Putting all that to the side, the Lexus ES 250 Luxury makes a strong impression when first entering the cabin.

That’s thanks to supportive (and heated) front seating, a sleek interior layout and good build quality. The ergonomics are solid, with switches and dials exactly where you would expect them to be. That is, apart from the drive mode and traction settings.

2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury
2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

These are positioned to give the dashboard little ‘Shrek ears’. It’s no Audi Virtual Cockpit, but the 7.0-inch TFT gauge cluster is crisp, lag-free, and easy to configure. Not to mention the fact the animated start-up sequence is one of the coolest in the industry.

Unfortunately, the thick-needled secondary gauges on the right appear a little on the cheap side, dating an otherwise space-age gauge cluster. This issue is addressed in F-Sport models with an 8.0-inch display, but that variant demands a hefty premium.

To operate the infotainment system, Lexus’ infamous remote touch controller, or ‘mousepad of doom’, remains fitted. However, the system has seen a drastic improvement thanks to the inclusion of a 12.3-inch touchscreen.

While the mousepad still has a learning curve, it’s a breeze to use once you understand it. The inclusion of haptic feedback and shortcut buttons make the system a tad easier to operate while driving too, so give it another chance.

Should you still find the infotainment difficult to operate, all ES variants are fitted with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. One of our few criticisms about the interior relates to the ambient lighting, or lack thereof.

dash
Inside the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

Even if most of Lexus’ clientele prefer driving in the dark, the Germans all offer interior lighting, at least as an option. The other issue is the standard sound system, which is mediocre for a luxury car at this price point.

While the Japanese car maker’s competitors have downsized and turbocharged their engines to pursue fuel efficiency, the ES 250 uses a feudal, unstressed 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

When mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the peak-hour commute is effortless and silky smooth. With a reasonable 152kW of power and 243Nm of torque at your disposal, the 0-100kmh sprint is achieved in 9.1 seconds.

It’s not athletic by any means, but the ES 250 is quick enough to safely merge and overtake on the motorway. Steering is decent – it’s obviously no LC 500, but the wheel offers adequate feedback and has decent weight to it.

As for handling, it’s about what you would expect from a front-wheel-drive, 1.6-tonne luxury sedan. With weeks of downpour in Sydney during testing, we were forced to manoeuvre the ES 250 Luxury through light mud and pool-sized puddles.

front seats
Inside the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

It’s why our photographs showcase a dirt-painted Lexus, and yet, not once did we find ourselves struggling for traction in the rain. When it comes to ride quality and sheer comfort, the Lexus ES threatens the German trinity on their podium.

Where it lacks theatre and charisma, it compensates in spades of serenity. The radar-active cruise control is standard across the range and worked without a hiccup during testing, turning long journeys into child’s play.

We were genuinely impressed by the drive, suspension and sound insulation, and it soon became clear why the ES is a sought-after fleet vehicle. Whether it’s family or executives in the backseat, they should be good for headroom provided they’re under 190cm.

Taller passengers may frown at the sloping roofline, but they will appreciate the near-endless legroom. ISOFIX anchor points are available should you wish to transport young children.

The boot has slight ‘load lip’ but offers 473-litres of space for your weekend adventures. The cabin features plenty of cubbies, including a deep storage pocket between the front seats that can open from either side.

rear seats
Inside the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

Unless you’re shopping at Bunnings or IKEA, it’s a reasonably practical car. Well, that is until you consider that we missed the claimed 6.6-litres/100km combined fuel economy figure and averaged 8.9-litres/100km.

The 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury also has an ace up its sleeve thanks to its manufacturer ties with Toyota. While the 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty is reasonable, Lexus’ near-impeccable reliability record makes long-term ownership less intimidating.

With the current spec Lexus IS sedan, RC coupé and CT hatchback discontinued in Australia, the ES 250 Luxury is now your entry-ticket into ownership, at a cool $61,620 before on-road costs.

This leather-lined machine is so left field and different, it’s tricky to determine what it competes against on price alone, but the Audi A4 35 TFSI, which kicks off at $59,900, is probably a legitimate combatant.

Even though it didn’t leave us salivating like the blood-pumping GS F, we felt nothing but admiration for the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury. It’s an exceptional fleet vehicle, a brilliant cruiser, and a great everyday commuter.

engine bay
Under the hood of the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury

To build your own, you can visit the Lexus Australia website. We recommend shopping around on price, or you can hop on over to somewhere like PriceMyCar to get the best price.

Our test vehicle was supplied by Lexus Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury, contact your local Lexus dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8.5
Exterior styling
7.5
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
9
Family friendliness
9.5
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - superb ride and insulation; generous list of standard equipment; proven reliability record.
Cons - a little thirsty; lacks soul and character; no ambient lighting in an otherwise techy cabin.
Mustafa Arifeen
Mustafa Arifeen
Mustafa is an avid car enthusiast who has a soft spot for American and Italian classics. Naturally, he adores the 1984 De Tomaso Pantera GT5.

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2022 Lexus ES 250 Luxury (car review)<strong>Pros -</strong> superb ride and insulation; generous list of standard equipment; proven reliability record.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> a little thirsty; lacks soul and character; no ambient lighting in an otherwise techy cabin.