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Autotrader Find: First-Gen Lexus ES 250 with 123,000 Miles

You probably read the headline to this post with a fair amount of indifference. What’s so special about an old Lexus ES? But look closely at this listing. This is a super rare, first-generation Lexus ES 250 — a car that many people probably don’t even realize existed.

When Lexus launched back in mid-1989 for the 1990 model year, it did so with two vehicles. There was the full-size LS 400 — a Mercedes S-Class competitor built on a unique platform that has since achieved legendary status. And then there was the ES. As the “entry-level” Lexus, the original ES was based heavily on the Camry — although, in this case, it was the Japanese-market Camry Prominent. The Camry Prominent differed from the Camry sold in the U.S. because it had a window-frameless hardtop design, which was a popular design in Japan during the era. Under the hood was the same 156 horsepower 2.5-liter V6 found in the Camry, which came paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.

Apparently, Lexus had planned to launch with just the LS, but it cobbled together the original ES 250 at the request of dealers who wanted more than one vehicle to offer under the new banner. Targeted at the Acura Legend, which had launched in America for the 1986 model year, the hastily thrown-together ES wasn’t all that compelling, and it was outsold by the larger, more expensive LS. After just two model years, the Lexus ES 250 was replaced by the ES 300, which would go on to form the archetype for every midsize Lexus sedan that would follow.

So, while you probably see multiple Lexus ES models in any given day, its highly unlikely that any of them are this rare, first-generation model. This is the only one listed on Autotrader, and it comes with 123,000 miles on the odometer. It’s located in Albuquerque, NM with an asking price of $4,412. Find a Lexus ES for sale

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Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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