2022 Lexus ES Review

2022 Lexus ES - Refined cruiser with a sporty flavor


2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport

Price: $46,525

Pros—Refined. Roomy. Smooth ride. Nice handling. Brisk acceleration. Fairly sporty. AWD. Safety features.  

Cons—No fold-down rear seatbacks. Oversized grille detracts from from slick styling.   

Bottom Line—Sublime, competitively priced cruiser.

The 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport model is a sublime cruiser with a fair degree of sportiness. I say “sportiness” because this model in the ES 250 line is essentially a luxury sedan that coddles occupants with a quiet, creamy ride.

The ES is the top-selling sedan in the Lexus lineup and there are only minor styling changes for 2022, along with safety and performance enhancements. An 8-inch multimedia system is angled towards the driver for easier access, the infotainment system gets touch capability and there’s also a touch pad controller.

The competitively priced F Sport promises to attract younger buyers. It looks more distinctive than a standard ES with a unique front bumper and grille and has 19-inch split 5-spoke alloy wheels with a gloss black finish, front/rear performance dampers, sport suspension tuning, rear spoiler, aluminum interior trim, F Sport bolstered heated and ventilated front seats that hug you in curves, F Sport steering wheel and discreet “F Sport” front fender badging.

Some feel that the F Sport should be more powerful, but I found my test car’s sophisticated 2.5-liter four-cylinder does fine during city and highway driving with its 203 horsepower and and 184 pound/feet of torque. The official 0-60 m.p.h. time is 8.6 seconds, although the car felt faster. The engine is hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and top speed is 131 m.p.h.

A 3.5-liter ES V-6 with 302 horsepower and a high-mileage hybrid ES with 215 horsepower also are offered. But neither come with all-wheel drive.

With the twist of the F Sport’s dashboard control, a driver can select “Eco,” “Normal” or “Sport” driving modes. I found Normal mode to be best for regular driving. Sport tightens the steering and controls the engine and transmission for, as Lexus puts it, “more powerful acceleration” when more responsive driving is called for. Eco quiets things down a bit for better fuel economy but doesn’t cause acceleration to fall off all that much.

As it is, the F Sport gets an estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on highways. However, lots of stop and go city driving only got me 17 miles per gallon and I saw just 25 miles per gallon during 65-70  m.p.h. during 40 miles of freeway driving. I switched a lot between Eco, Normal and Sport modes to ascertain how things felt during the test, but mostly stayed in Normal mode.

Regarding gasoline grade, the owner’s manual recommends “87 (Research Octane Number 91) or higher” for the 15.9-gallon fuel tank.     

The F Sport has rather firm steering, especially in Sport mode, but it’s quick and accurate. Handling of the 3,780-pound F Sport is quite good with its special suspension, traction and stability controls and the standard all-wheel drive. Freeway on and off ramps could confidently be taken 15 miles per hour above the 25 m.p.h. posted speed with no body sway. The brake pedal initially had a mushy feel, but I got used to it and the pedal then was easily modulated. Electronic brake force distribution helps shorten stopping distances from the anti-lock brakes.

All doors have power windows and open widely to allow impressive room for four tall adults in the relaxing, quiet interior. A driver faces a large tachometer with a digital speedometer in its center. Switch to “Sport” mode and the tachometer face brightens a bit.

There’s a fair amount of cabin storage areas including (rather narrow) pockets in all doors and front seatback pockets.

Besides the touch screen, dashboard controls handle such things as the automatic climate control system and heated seats. There’s also Apple CarPlay integration and Android Auto capability.

My test F Sport had a an elegant dashboard clock, 10-speaker audio system, perforated NuLuxe interior trim, contrast stitching and piano black trim on the instrument panel, doors and upper console and a leather heated steering wheel with a power tilt/telescopic steering column. Anyone who has priced a busted outside power side mirror will appreciate the fold-in power side mirrors.

The power sunroof is small, compared to rival sunroofs, especially those with a panoramic feature. And it seems odd that there is a wireless charger in the console storage box, which has a cover that must be lifted to see how the charging is going.  

All four powered windows lower all the way, and rear seat room is impressive for a mid-size car. A large center fold-down armrest back there contains two cupholders.

The cargo area is large, but rear seatbacks don’t flip forward to provide more storage room. My test car’s up/down power hatch came in handy when my arms were full of groceries.

_Safety features include a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, low-light pedestrian detection, daytime bicyclist detection, left-turn intersection support, detection of intersection oncoming traffic, air bags, a backup monitor, frontal collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and detection of oncoming intersection traffic.

While the 2022 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport lacks the the outright athletic ability of rivals such as BMW, Mercedes or Audi, it’s designed to appeal to a more relaxed crowd while still providing a fair amount of sportiness.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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