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Here Are Five Older Lexus Models You’ve Probably Forgotten

Even though Lexus hasn’t yet celebrated its 30th year in existence, it’s still had a few vehicles that even most seasoned car enthusiasts won’t remember. Later today, I’ll be showing you a Lexus that’s truly unforgettable — but these five Lexus models likely won’t ever be considered classics, as most people have completely forgotten about them.

1990-1991 Lexus ES 250

Although everyone remembers the original Lexus LS 400 luxury sedan, few remember that it debuted alongside a different luxury sedan for the 1990 model year. That model was a lux-ified Toyota Camry called the ES 250, and it existed for just two model years until Lexus redesigned the ES in 1992 and it became the ES 300. The ES 250 came standard with a 156-horsepower 2.5-liter V6, and it offered 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions — and you’re unlikely to see any examples on the road anymore. Find a Lexus ES for sale

2010-2012 Lexus HS 250h

In the early 2010s, Lexus joined the hybrid car craze with two models — the CT 200h hatchback and the HS 250h sedan. Although the CT 200h was relatively popular, the HS 250h never found a market, and Lexus cancelled it after just three model years. The primary culprit for the HS 250h’s slow sales was likely Toyota’s own Prius, as the HS 250h returned just 35 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway — far off the Prius’s pace of nearly 50 mpg, despite the Lexus’s higher price. Find a Lexus HS for sale

2008-2012 Lexus LS 600hL

The fourth-generation Lexus LS luxury sedan launched for the 2007 model year, and 2008 saw the addition of an unusual variant: the LS 600hL. While European rivals offered V12 models like the Mercedes-Benz S600 and BMW 760Li, Lexus instead decided to offer a hybrid V8 in its top-level LS. The result was an impressive 389 horsepower and EPA-rated fuel economy of 20 mpg city/22 mpg hwy — not a bad combination. Unfortunately, the LS 600hL didn’t find many buyers, as it was highly expensive, especially considering its debut during the economic recession. Find a Lexus LS for sale

1996-1997 Lexus LX 450

Although most people think Lexus’s original SUV was the RX 300 crossover in 1999, that honor actually goes to the LX 450 in 1996. Lexus’s little-known LX 450 was a dressed-up version of a Toyota Land Cruiser, much as the LX 570 still is today — but back then, it included only minor changes compared to the Land Cruiser: The two vehicles shared an identical interior and exterior, with updates coming only to the Lexus’s color palette and, of course, its badging. When the Land Cruiser was redesigned in 1998, the Lexus version became more distinct — but the original, largely forgotten LX 450 was nearly identical to the Land Cruiser for two oft-forgotten model years. Find a Lexus LX for sale

1992-1997 Lexus SC 300 manual

The SC 300 was Lexus’s third model, following the LS luxury sedan and the smaller ES sedan. The SC debuted for the 1992 model year, and it launched with a 4.0-liter V8 (“SC 400”) as standard equipment — though a 6-cylinder SC 300 model debuted later in the 1992 model year. The interesting thing about the SC 300 was that you could get it with a manual transmission, making it a rear-wheel-drive, manual coupe … with a Lexus badge. Maybe more interesting is the fact that the SC 300 shared its 6-cylinder engine with the Toyota Supra, which makes it surprisingly popular with tuners and car enthusiasts today — assuming they can find one in the first place. Find a Lexus SC for sale

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  1. One really has to read everything you’ve ever written to understand that you know more than you let on. This is the problem with publishing where comments are allowed. Everything you overlooked in writing (though not necessarily in knowing [Doug clearly knows more than he says]) gets picked to pieces. Little things and thinks left out on one article are included in a different one on similar subject material. I think, Doug, you seem like a casual observer with a groovy job, but you actually possess a great deal more automotive acumen than you let on. 

  2. Doug, the LS600h actually had 438 hp. The motors always work together with the engine to produce that much hp when flooring it, regardless of the battery charge. You’re right that the engine alone produced 389 hp though. 

    Also the LS600h isn’t what I’d call “forgotten”. Many heads of state adopted it as an official state car – the Japanese government, Icelandic government, Chilean government, Hong Kong government, etc all used it. It likely also inspired the Germans to hybridize their flagships – now we’ve got a plug-in 7-series and S-class!

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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