Review: 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport

Lexus has a well-deserved reputation for providing premium vehicles that are reliable, comfortable and fuel-efficient. The ES is his best-selling car in America, and with good reason. It meets a wide range of needs and is a great car in almost every way.

Lexus recently discontinued its midsize rear-wheel drive GS sedan. The GS was a very sporty, drivable vehicle. We drifted the GS sideways on a racetrack and sped straight ahead at triple-digit speeds. The ES was never designed to do these things. However, it has other benefits that outperform what the GS offers in everyday driving.

We will review the ES AWD F Sport in the context of its name but also its true mission. As you’ll see, this is a car that’s well timed for today’s shrinking sedan market.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – what is it?
The Lexus ES AWD F Sport is a sedan with room for five adults. It bridges the gap between big mainstream cars like Toyota’s Camry and luxury cars like those from Genesis, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – what does it cost? What is its worth?
The ES line starts at around $44,000 and can go close to $60,000 in its top trim levels. We tested the 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport with the most underpowered base engine. The price, including shipping, processing, and handling, but excluding dealer mark-ups, was $53,210.

Lexus offers a six-year warranty and covers the first two service intervals that occur during the first year. This places Lexus in the middle in terms of coverage. Genesis, on the other hand, offers a ten-year warranty and covers maintenance for three years. Jaguar offers a five-year warranty and includes all maintenance for five years.

The ES has a long reputation for reliability. Consumer Reports has rated the ES for twenty years. Of these, fourteen were perfect 5/5 reliability ratings. The 2022 Lexus ES also received a Recommended rating from Consumer Reports.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – What makes it different? How is its fuel consumption?
Our ES 250 AWD F Sport was powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder (non-turbo) engine. It develops just 184 lb-ft of torque at a very high 4,000 rpm. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and, as the name suggests, has all-wheel drive.

The EPA estimates that regular fuel drivers will get about 28 MPG. In our testing on mostly highways in temperate weather, we saw an indicated average of 36mpg. Here’s an interesting fact; Over 15 years of ownership, the ES 300H Hybrid will save its owner approximately $13,000 in fuel costs compared to the ES 250 AWD F Sport. And the hybrid has more power.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – how does it drive?
The idea behind the F-Sport badge is that the ES handles more nimble than other ES trims. We found the handling and driving comfort to be consistently good. The ES doesn’t feel like a high-performance sport sedan, but it steers and turns more precisely than a mainstream sedan could be. Four-wheel drive makes sense in New England winters, and it doesn’t hurt when trying to put power to the ground in the wet.

The 2.5-litre petrol engine is what we’d call adequate. It’s not inspiring, satisfying, delightful, fun to play, or any of the many terms we use to describe an engine we love. It does the job it’s asked for, but it won’t wow you when you press it. This is a good motor for most buyers. The mileage justifies its existence. However, if we were commuting in traffic or driving around town, we would definitely go for the hybrid. We have ridden it many times and always say “just right”.

On the freeway, the ES is quiet and smooth-running. It’s easy to ride long distances without getting tired.

ES interior image courtesy of Lexus.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – interior, infotainment, equipment
Inside, the ES has comfortable heated and cooled seats that are the right size for Americans. The rear seating area is generous, big enough for two adults on a long drive, three if you stay close. The seats are upholstered in NuLuxe, a cruelty-free material that we feel is equal to or better than real leather in terms of look and feel.

The infotainment system is a B-. You need a cable to operate Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. There’s a trackpad for controlling the infotainment screen, but thankfully it’s also touch-sensitive. Yes, there is a volume control! The center screen is large and the head-up display provides the information you need while driving. We found the Mark Levinson Audio Package to offer excellent sound clarity.

We liked that there is a spare tire under the cargo floor. Nice to see that an automaker still understands why that’s important.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – Safety
The Lexus ES receives the highest possible safety rating in the industry, the IIHS Top Safety Pick + designation.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – What’s missing?
Our well-equipped test vehicle lacked nothing. This is very rare. Lexus gives you what you expect from a luxury vehicle, and somehow at a lower price than expected.

2022 Lexus ES AWD F Sport – Conclusion
The 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport is a very interesting car. Its name implies it’s sporty, and we’re not sure we can agree with that. However, it’s a fantastic sedan for those who prioritize value, reliability, comfort and ease of use. The ES is also the “right size”. It’s not too small like the IS and not too big like the LS. Inside, the front-wheel drive platform offers more usable space than a rear-wheel drive car. Lexus won’t steal your volume control or spare tire, either. The driving aids work and are never annoying. We give the Lexus ES two thumbs up.

ES 250 F Sport exterior image by John Goreham. ES interior image courtesy of Lexus.

John Goreham is a longtime member of the New England Motor Press Association and a former engineer. John’s interest in electric vehicles dates back to 1990 when he was part of an academic team designing the thermal control system for an electric vehicle battery. After graduating in mechanical engineering, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked in automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry and in biotechnology. In addition to Torque News, John’s work has appeared in print on dozens of American news outlets and provides reviews for many vehicle shopping websites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars Twitterand check out his references on Linkedin

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