Capsule Review: 1990 Lexus ES250

Posted on 04. Jun, 2010 by in Auto News

As a Lexus nameplate is now old enough to consume alcohol in all 50 states. Make no mistake, though the Lexus brand become the brand is not it perhaps originally intended. Toyota and Nissan started each with a (mostly) clean-sheet large V8 sedan and a warmed home-market showroom filler. Nissan was the lineup for a short wheelbase version of the all-new "President" badged Q45 and a long-in-the-tooth Leopard coupe, yclept M30. Toyota presented its "F1" as a global flagship Lexus LS400. To meet the new LS from lonely to keep in the showrooms, a quick nose job on a JDM faux-hardtop midsizer was done, and the ES250 was born.

Perhaps the Japanese thought they could win the "D-class" struggle against BMW and Mercedes-Benz as easily as they would build the British motorcycle industry or humiliated the American attempts to destroy small cars. It did not work out quite like that. The Q45 badge moved to the bleak Nissan Cima before it faded completely. The M30 was a sales disaster, to put it mildly. While the current LS460 has. Roughly the same annual volume in the United States such as the Mercedes-Benz S550, it does so with a base price of nearly $ 23,000 is lower than the Benz

It was the most humble of the original four features of the Lexus and Infiniti, the conquering go, would be, if not the world, then. Least on the continent of North America Today, Lexus is one of the top-volume luxury brands on the market. His killers Camry-derived Duo "> ES 350 and RX350 perennially occupy the top of its segment sales charts, generating more than 100,000 sales per year. Lexus is one of the best-known success stories in the industry, but it began with a straight badge-engineering job of an almost obsolete car.

For many years, equated Japanese home-market buyers "the hardtop" look with prestige and luxury. As a result, almost every major Japanese sedan sold in the eighties and nineties, either a frameless window car (as is the case with the first generation Infiniti M45, sold in Japan as the Nissan Cedric) or was in a more expensive, frameless window variant (like the Honda Accord and Toyota Corona Inspire exive). Toyota Camry in the case was "upgraded" to the Toyota Vista, as seen above. The advantages of using the Vista as the second Lexus were obvious. It could not be easier, in order to comply with U.S. regulations, and it would be immediately familiar to Toyota owners looking to trade up.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but my family has. Some history with Lexus ES250 property ownership in general and in particular In the winter of 1989, my father had his Jaguar XJ6 towed from his garage stall at the dealership for the fourth time in about as many months. I suggested that he try a Lexus as a temporary change in pace. I meant Buy that it should have a LS400, but on his trip to the dealer, he decided that

a) both the Lexus vehicles were ugly piece of shit;

b) in which case the cheaper would suffice.

And so the old man bought a two-tone blue ES250. He had never so much as sat in a Camry, but I had, and I was shocked to see the lack of differentiation between the two. The steering wheel was different, the radio stack was different, and there were better seats in the car. That was it. Other than that, we were looking at a $ 23,500 version of a $ 17,000 Camry V6.

The engine was surprisingly restrained rev as it was and is a 2.5L V6. It was gutless in all speed ranges, I got a little confused impression that it was about as fast as my 302-powered Mercury Marquis coupe. On the highway it had. Less mechanical noise than a Camry, but a good bit more wind noise The steering is loaded with syrup and the brake pedal fell halfway to the ground before making any effective retardation. On the positive side, the stereo was very good and the interior was clearly screwed with love.

After a few years the ES Papas was "Florida car". The cracked leather seats, the dash faded to a whiter shade of blue, and the electronics began to finish. In 1994 with 122,000 mostly highway miles on it, cracked the block and Dad effectively gave away the car. I used to joke that he managed to transfer the reliability of a Toyota Jags and Bimmers.

The LS400 sold the ES250 through quite a lot in the two years they were sold together. Toyota has the note, which was significantly improved Windom Vista and put an "L" badge on the Windom was the ES300. Customers loved the result and the ES has been placed on the road to complete domination. Over the next three generations, the ES / Windom, to distance itself from the Camry, but the template was set: Each of Acura Lincoln ended up copying and selling Lexus chrome nose family sedans as entry-level luxury cars. In the case of the Lincoln Zephyr / MKZ, it was a double dose of irony, as the Lincoln Versailles was an unsuccessful riff on the Ford Granada 15 years before the introduction ES250.

Speaking of irony, it is worth nothing that in 2006, Toyota took the final step and broke the Windom nameplate, replacing it … Lexus ES. It was the most successful example of badge engineering, as the half-million-selling '76 Cutlass, and perhaps the only one where the rebadge turned and swallowed the original nameplate. The Little Camry That was not the big Lexus was finally there.