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Lexus ESThe Lexus ES series is a family of mid-size sedans produced by the Lexus division of Toyota from 1989 to the present and built in Tsutsumi, Japan. The series has always been built off of the Toyota Camry platform and features a V6 engine and automatic transmission. For long, it had been Lexus's entry-level car, competing with the Infiniti G20, I30 and Acura TL, until the arrival of the Lexus IS in 2001. The Camry and ES do generally not directly compete, as the ES offers a more upscale ride, more elegant styling, and more luxury features. The ES 250 was built from August 30, 1989 until July 5, 1991. The first ES 300 was built on September 9, 1991 as a 1992 model. From the second generation onwards, the ES was sold in Japan as the Toyota Windom. The fifth-generation ES 350 was unveiled in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model, and is a major redesign.
First generation (1989-1991)
The first ES (codename VZV21) debuted in 1989 as the ES 250 (the 250 denoting a 2.5 L engine) with the Camry's 156 hp V6. This car was not offered in Japan, but shared much with a Japanese-market Camry hardtop variant. The ES250 was a hastily conceived and reskinned Camry in order to avoid introducing the Lexus nameplate with one model, the LS400.
Second generation (1992-1996)
Completely redesigned for 1992 and now based on the VCV10-series Toyota Windom, the model was renamed the ES 300 to reflect the half-liter bump in engine displacement. This second generation was significantly larger and more curvacious (as was the Camry) and sported a 185 hp engine. The 1993 ES 300 was the last Lexus sedan to offer a 5-speed manual transmission until the IS300 was introduced.
Third generation (1997-2001)
The third generation (designated MCV20) appeared in 1997 with a 200 hp 3.0 L V6. It featured a design which was evolutionary from the VCV10, and featured a more rakish profile, sharper body lines, reflector instead of projector headlights, and a more luxurious interior. The new ES was also slightly longer but weighed slightly less than the previous generation. The power rating would grow to 210 hp in 1999, and the model would receive a slight facelift in 2000.
Fourth generation (2002-2006)
A year after the Lexus IS became Lexus's entry-level car, an upsized, fourth generation ES (designated MCV30) debuted in 2002, possessing, among other enhancements, a more luxurious interior and a drive-by-wire electronic throttle. Now that the sport end of the market was covered by the new Lexus IS, the ES became even more of a luxury car and dropped any sporting pretensions. In 2003, for the US and European markets, a new 3.3 L engine producing 225 hp (later revised to 218 hp) replaced the old 3.0 L unit and the car was renamed as the ES 330 (the ES 300 is available in the MCV30 body style in the Middle Eastern and Asian markets). In 2005, the ES received a facelift with new front and rear fascias, clear taillights, projector headlights, and a redesigned grille.
Fifth generation (2007)
The fifth generation ES debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 2006. It arrived at dealerships in late April, 2006 as a 2007 model.
The new ES, now called the ES 350, features the first use of a six-speed automatic transmission in a front wheel drive Toyota vehicle along with its sister car, the Toyota Camry V6. The engine is the 272 hp (203 kW) aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine with variable valve timing. Toyota estimates that this combination will accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km) in the city and 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) on the highway.
The vehicle features anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist as well as stability control and traction control. Other new features include a three-panel glass sunroof, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a parking-assist warning system. A keyless entry and ignition system which does not require the electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket is now standard.