Lexus ES is a series of mid-sized luxury sedans developed and marketed by Lexus. Since its first appearance in 1989, it has now been in its fifth generation and is based on Toyota Camry platform throughout the four generations. It is offered with V6 engine, automatic transmission and front-wheel platform. Before the launch of the Lexus RX 300, the Lexus ES was the only vehicle by Lexus with front-wheel drive. In the US market, Lexus ES is one of the best-selling car brands. Until 2001 before the launch of Lexus IS sport luxury sedan, Lexus ES was considered as the entry-level luxury car in the North American Lexus lineup.
Throughout the first four generations, the Lexus ES featured many body styling components similar to the Japanese market Toyota sedans. A domestic market Toyota Windom, the Lexus ES counterpart was marketed until 2006 when the fifth generation model of Lexus ES was released.
First Generation V20 (1989-1991)
The first generation Lexus ES (VZV21) was revealed for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in 1989. The first generation model of Lexus designated as ES 250. The car came with 2.5-L V6 engine used in Camry, generating 156 hp (116 kW). The ES 250 shared its platform with the Toyota Camry Prominent/Vista (V20), Japanese sedans never introduced in the American market.
The exterior of the ES 250 received a prominent grille, bigger taillights, chrome trim, frameless windows and a wheel design same as LS kin. The interior of the car had a six-speaker Pioneer sound system, genuine wood trim, one-touch power windows, and leather seats. As of transmission, the car came with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. ‘Normal’ and ‘Power’ modes were offered in the Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission.
Second Generation XV10 (1991-1996)
The 1992 model year was revealed by Lexus in 1991 as the second generation Lexus ES (VCV10) followed by Acura Legend a year later. It received a complete redesign and shared a lot of features with the VCV10 series Toyota Windom and LS 400. It was designated as the Lexus ES 300 powered by a 3.0-L 3VZ-FE V6 engine capable of generating 185 hp (138 kW). The Japanese version with similar body styling came available in October 1993 with 2.5-L 2MZ-FE engine. Some of the features offered include asphalt insulation in the body panels, front and rear independent Macpherson strut, additional on-board equipment etc.
This considerably larger version came with ABS, 5-speed E53 manual or 4-speed A540/1E automatic transmission.
Third Generation XV20 (1996-2001)
In September 1996, the Lexus launched the third generation ES designated as MCV20 as the 1997 model year. The third generation ES came with only one powertrain option, i.e. a 3.0-L V6 engine generating 200 hp (150 kW), while the Japanese market Windom also offered with 2.5-L 2MZ-FE V6 engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The car also featured an Adaptive Variable Suspension. The car was a hint larger than its predecessors as it was 2.4 inch longer but with less weight.
Fourth Generation XV30 (2001-2006)
In 2001, the Lexus launched the fourth generation model (MCV30) of ES as the 2002 model year just one year after the Lexus IS designation as entry-level car. The new generation model was made a top end model with whole luxurious feel.
Some of the prominent interior features of fourth generation ES include California Walnut wood trim on the front dashboard, center console, and doors. Also, the exterior puddle lamps, floor-well lighting, chrome door handles, an electric rear sunblind, and rear-view mirrors that would automatically tilt downward in reverse gear. The optional features include a power rear sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a DVD-based navigation system, and a Mark Levinson premium stereo system.
Fifth Generation XV40 (2006-Present)
In February 2006, the Lexus introduced the fifth generation ES (GSV40) at the Chicago Auto Show. This model is based on Lexus’ L-finesse, all new design philosophy. As the Toyota Windom was ceased for the year 2007, the fifth generation model didn’t share its body style with any of the Japanese model. It featured an aluminum 3.5-L 2GR-FE V6 engine capable of generating 272 hp (203 kW) equipped with an intake and exhaust variable valve timing.