Lexus ES First generation (V20)
|1989 to 1991|
|Also called||Toyota Camry Prominent (V20)
Toyota Vista (V20)
|Production||June 1989 – 5 July 1991|
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Tsutsumi plant)|
|Body and chassis|
|Engine||2.5 L 2VZ-FE V6|
4-speed A540E automatic
|Wheelbase||2,601 mm (102.4 in)|
|Length||4,651 mm (183.1 in)|
|Width||1,699 mm (66.9 in)|
|Height||1,349 mm (53.1 in)|
The first Lexus ES (VZV21) debuted in January 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as part of the launch of the Lexus division. In order to avoid introducing the nameplate with only one model, the LS 400, Lexus debuted the ES alongside their flagship sedan. The smaller representative of the initial two-sedan Lexus lineup was designated the ES 250, and powered by the Camry's 2.5 L, 116 kW (156 hp) V6, which was aimed directly at the Acura Legend.The ES 250 was based on the Toyota Camry Prominent/Vista (V20), and was exclusive to Toyota Japanese dealership network called Toyota Vista Store.
On the exterior, the ES 250 shared the same general body style and overall dimensions as its Toyota counterparts, but had a more prominent grille, bigger tail lights, chrome trim, frameless windows, and distinct wheel design similar to its LS brethren. Inside the cabin, the ES 250 featured a six-speaker Pioneer sound system, genuine wood trim, one-touch power windows, and leather seats. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission was offered. The Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT) featured "normal" and "power" modes.
Safety features included a driver's SRS airbag and anti-lock brakes. In typical specification, the ES 250 further included 15-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, power moonroof, and CD player. Leather upholstery was common equipment, despite being listed as an option, while some ES 250s were also produced with cloth interiors.
In September 1989, the ES 250 and the flagship LS 400 went on sale in the United States. The ES 250 was marketed as the "luxury sedan of sports sedans," and carried a U.S. market suggested base price of approximately $22,000. During the first month of release, the ES 250 logged 1,216 units in sales. However, these numbers were eclipsed by the larger LS sedan, which unlike the ES was built on a unique and all-new platform. The original LS had been envisioned as a standalone model, but Lexus dealerships had asked for an additional vehicle to accompany its launch. Due to its similarities to the Camry, some viewed the ES 250 as a placeholder product of badge engineering and the vehicle ultimately did not sell as well as its larger counterpart. Initial perception of the ES led some to believe all the development time and research spent creating the larger LS showed that they overlooked one of the reasons the LS was developed, which was the 1986 Acura Legend, so it seems that the appearance of the LS was shrunk to fit the ES so as to compete with the Legend.
Production totaled 19,534 units in 1990 and 17,942 units in 1991, most for the automatic transmission model. Production commenced in June 1989 at Tsutsumi, with the first 1990 ES 250 rolling off the production line on August 30, 1989. Production ended on July 5, 1991. Because of its relatively brief production run, the ES 250 is a rare model on US roads today.
|Drivetrain specifications by generation|
|Engine||2.5 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.3 L V6||3.5 L V6 (ES 350)||2.4 L I4 (ES 240)||3.5 L V6|
|Gears||4 (AT) or 5 (MT)||4 (AT) or 5 (MT)||4||5||5||6||5||6|
|Power||116 kW (156 hp)||138 kW (185 hp)||150 kW (200 hp)||160 kW (210 hp)||163 kW (219 hp)||203 kW (272 hp)||123 kW (165 hp)||200 kW (268 hp) @6200 rpm|
|Torque||220 N·m (160 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||264 N·m (195 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||290 N·m (210 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||300 N·m (220 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||330 N·m (240 lb·ft) @3600 rpm||346 N·m (255 lb·ft) @4700 rpm||224 N·m (165 lb·ft) @4000 rpm||336 N·m (248 lb·ft)@4700 rpm|