The Lexus ES was the company's entry-level from 1989 to 2000 in North America.
The first Lexus ES ever made was the ES 250. Almost 18,000 units were produced through until July 5, 1991.
The ES 250 was replaced by a new ES 300 in 1992. It has been a success since its introduction. It competed with the Infiniti J30, the Mazda Millenia and 929, and the BMW 3-series. There was one trim level and only one body style, a 4-door sedan.
The ES 300 had often been regarded as an gussied-up Camry, but there were differences beyond the obvious, it has always handled better than a Camry, even the Camry SE with performance-oriented suspension. It also had a more controlled ride with less vibration and harshness than any Camry, and the Camry's ride was considered quite good. The ES 300's advantage came from the tuning of specific bushings, additional sound deadening, and gas-pressurized shock absorbers.
Not many changes were made for 1993.
For the 1994 model year, the ES 300 got an all-new aluminum V6 shared with the Toyota Camry, which was revised for '95 with lower emissions.
Significant changes occurred for 1995. The front fascia and foglights had been revised, the round projector beams were changed to rectangular quartz-halogens, and a new grille incorporated. Minor suspension changes were made to damp suspension noise and vibration even more. Steering stability was increased through use of new bushings. Taillight lenses were revised.
Standard were electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning, power steering and power 4-wheel discs with ABS, power windows and seat, tinted glass and a comprehensive sound system. A power moonroof, leather upholstery, sound system upgrades and special paints were among the few options.
Two new colors were added in 1996 for the ES 300.
Redesigned and nicknamed the XV20, the ES 300 was upgraded to contain 200 horsepower.
As of December 27, 1993:
- $31,200 (1994 Lexus ES 300)
As of September 2, 1994:
- $31,500 (1995 Lexus ES 300)
As of July 28, 1995:
- $31,800 (1995 Lexus ES 300)
As of September 1, 1995:
- $32,400 (1996 Lexus ES 300)