For July 30, 2020, our used car find is this 56k mile 1990 Lexus ES 250, which is listed on craigslist by a private seller in the Atlanta area for $5000.
Here’s what makes this car special.
Introduced in 1989 (as a 1990 model), the first generation ES was not much more than a gussied up Toyota Camry — something of an afterthought, really, compared to its bigger brother, the legendary LS 400, which stole the show when Lexus first entered the marketplace.
But the Camry on which it’s based is a handsome car, with robust mechanicals, and the added Lexus styling cues, to our eyes, enhance it. With its low beltline, massive greenhouse, and period-correct two tone paint — even the gold badging — it manages to look both vintage and modern at the same time.
The same story carries through to the tidy interior, which looks sharp with upgraded grey cloth seats and wood trim. This example even has the original car phone in place, a charming Radwood era relic.
The ES fortunately came only with the Camry’s V6, rather than the four cylinder. Even so, with 156 hp, it may feel slightly underpowered compared to a modern car. At its debut, Motorweek did a comparo with the Infiniti M30, where the ES managed 0-60 mph in a rather leisurely 10.2 seconds.
The first gen ES was only made for two model years before the XV10 based ES 300 debuted, making it a somewhat rare find, especially with barely more than 50k miles, and this example looks to be one of the nicer ones left.
With the exception of some slight warping of the dash surface (visible if you zoom into the photos), it seems to have held up quite well through the years, and the seller reports the car’s mechanicals are all in good working order, including the AC.
The asking price of $5000 seems about right for one in this condition, assuming there are no hidden issues. For someone who wants a distinctive 1990s cruiser, there aren’t many options out there for less.
- 1990 Lexus ES 250
- 56k miles
- 2.5 liter V6 engine (156 hp)
- 4-speed automatic transmission
- black exterior (with grey cladding) on grey cloth
- for sale by owner for $5000
- Tucker, Georgia
- link to craigslist listing HERE
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