1989 Lexus ES 250 Overview
The 1989 ES 250 was the introductory offering from Toyota's new luxury car division. Along with the flagship LS 400, the entry-level 250 embodied years of thorough consumer research and cultural observation. The ES was built off the Toyota Camry platform, but it was a closer relative to the Japanese market Toyota Vista. Because the ES bared so many similarities to the Camry, some dismissed this first Lexus offering a simple re-badging.
However, most owners agreed that such a claim was not entirely accurate. First, the ES featured a standard V-6 that was optional on the Camry. As all Lexus model names indicate, the 250 housed a 2.5 liter V-6 which made 156 horsepower. The ES's engine required premium fuel because its computer was calibrated to run smoother with a higher grade. At just 3100 pounds, this ES was far lighter than most of the Lexus models that followed. Therefore, the modest V-6 seemed to provide an adequate amount of power. The ES progressed from 0 to 60 in 9.2 seconds, which was just a bit faster than the Camry. The ES was relatively fuel efficient, despite its high octane needs, with observed economy at 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.
Many owners and test drivers did concede that many steps could be made to further distance the ES from its Toyota counterpart. The standard equipment list was rather short for a luxury car. Leather seating was an optional addition to standard power windows and door locks, cruise control, and air conditioning. The result is that many ESs look fairly stripped. Still, the ES was not a Camry. The Lexus suspension provided the stiffer and more responsive ride of a sports sedan, and its handling was more nimble.
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