Lexus ES

VCV10R (Mk1) ES 300

Lexus logo1 Jun 1992

THE second Lexus sold in Australia wasn’t really up to the marque’s reputation for “the relentless pursuit of perfection”, as it was a rebodied front-wheel drive Camry Mk3 sold elsewhere as a Toyota.

Some cynics suggested that the ES was nothing more than Lexus leveraging its newfound brand kudos for less-wealthy Americans to spend more than they need to on a tizzied-up Camry.

Powered by a 138kW/246Nm 3.0-litre quad-cam V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox, the ES was aimed at the sort of buyers who might have bought a Toyota Cressida.

Though swift, smooth and quiet, the soft suspension settings and overly light powered steering proved to be the ES 300’s undoing against the similarly priced yet dynamically far-more accomplished European rivals. And it was very tight in the back.

And the pillarless four-door hardtop body, though sharing no Camry commonality, was still unmistakably old-school Toyota prestige.

But the quality was high, the ride comfortable and the features list long (including dual airbags from ’93, anti-lock brakes, climate control air-conditioning, alarm, cruise control, leather trim and powered front seats), so the ES etched a small niche for itself.

Lexus models