2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD
Adding all-wheel drive to the Lexus ES seemed like the logical thing to do. There are places where AWD will work because of customer demand, such as anywhere along the snow belt.
To do so, there were some decisions that needed to be made. Some may surprise you. That is why we were wondering if those “surprises” helped one of our favorite luxury sedans in the market?
The Lexus ES already came with a choice of a V6 engine or a Hybrid driveline. By adding all-wheel drive to the mix, they added a third power source. It is a 203-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is found on the 2022 Lexus NX, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power onward to all four wheels through an electronic transfer system, which Lexus calls its Dynamic Torque Control.
Why a four-cylinder engine instead of the V6 or hybrid driveline? One of the challenges was to work with the subframe and chassis that is already on the ES. The four-cylinder engine took up less room underneath the hood, therefore they were able to fit the all-wheel drive system better.
With that challenge met, we wondered if this system worked. We also wondered if they made the right decisions in installing an all-wheel drive system in the Lexus ES.
For 2022, Lexus received a mild update for the ES. A new grille texture and some updated details can be seen on other trim levels. Our tester was the F Sport model, which had the familiar mesh grille texture and a few new details compared to previous model years.
The mesh Spindle Grille is matched with a narrow set of triple-beam headlamps and boomerang LED driving lights announcing its arrival at your destination. The ES exhibits a sleek profile with a rakish roofline and a sculptured rear deck crowned by a rear spoiler. The taillights are tapered completing the look. We also liked the wide opening doors for better entrances and exits.
Finishing up the exterior look at a set of 19-inch black alloy wheels that contrast well with the silver exterior paint color.
We always like the ES’s stylish cabin. It is complimented with a wide infotainment screen right above the center stack. That screen is now touch capacitive and closer to the driver, while it is still primarily controlled by a touch pad on the center console.
The F Sport offers the sliding large dial that provides more information on the side screen. The switches for the traction control and drive modes flank the instrument binnacle. The thick-rimmed steering wheel offers tactile controls and a thick rim for better control. The climate control is complete with automatic settings for the heated and cooled seats, as well as dual zones.
Perforated leather seats offer deep bolstering as expected in an F Sport model. Rear seat room is very good for plenty of bodies. Despite the rakish roofline, someone with a tall torso can find headroom in the rear. The rear seatbacks do fold down to increase the cargo space that is already very generous. With the seatbacks up, there is 13.9 cubic feet of trunk space.
About the all-wheel drive system, we had mixed thoughts on the 203-horsepower four-cylinder engine. They ranged from “adequate” to “underpowered.” As we said before, we understand why they had to choose that engine instead of connecting the system to either the V6 on the ES 350 or the Hybrid driveline of the ES 300h.
However, the all-wheel drive system works to keep the Lexus going through some tough conditions. The system assists in send needed traction to the wheel(s) that are experiencing loss of traction without any driver engagement.
As for fuel economy, we averaged 28.1 MPG in this ES 250 AWD.
The F Sports adds a firmer suspension to the mix. It does so without penalizing the ES’s naturally smooth and luxurious ride. The sportier suspension also improved overall handling. There was nominal roll and lean exhibited through evasive maneuvers and some turns we made along the way.
The steering system is simply just fine with solid on-center feel and a good turning radius. The brakes were very good, and the pedal feel was solid. We experienced solid stops in normal, panic, and winter situations.
The 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD lineup starts with a base price of $40,800. Our ES 250 AWD F Sport tester came with a sticker price of $53,565.
By adding the all-wheel drive system, the Lexus ES adds another piece to its competitive set. It competes with the Acura TLX, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF, Infiniti Q50, Genesis G80, and Cadillac CT5.
If you want a luxurious all-wheel drive sedan, you have several choices. The system works in the Lexus ES, yet we would love to see it with a bit more performance to truly fulfill its customer’s wants and needs.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors