April 14, 1990|By WARREN BROWN, The Washington Post
I waited seven months to drive Toyota`s two Lexus affluence cars. One of them, the 1990 Lexus LS 400, was account my patience. The other, the 1990 Lexus ES 250, was the moral agnate of a Toyota Camry in top hat and tails, a agent as black in all-embracing achievement as it was in alien appearance.
That does not beggarly the ES 250 is a bad car. Absolutely not. The ES 250 is a superb automobile. Unfortunately, it represents the abrogating aspects of the General Motorization of Toyota.
Better bargains than the ES 250 can be had in accustomed Toyota showrooms. Examples: The Toyota Camry LE auto offers as abundant affluence and active action as the ES 250 for about $5,000 less. The super-sumptuous, acutely well-crafted Toyota Cressida outclasses the ES 250 in around every chic of driveability and buyer achievement for about the aforementioned money as the Lexus car.
With the ES 250, Toyota has committed the sin that brought GM opprobrium. It has offered a bombastic product, one that competes with absolute Toyota cars after absolutely appropriate itself from those models.
However, the Lexus LS 400, the flagship Lexus, is chargeless of such duplicity. It rivals the best affluence cars from Europe, America and Japan; in abounding instances, it calmly surpasses them.
Too bad. Had Toyota alien the LS 400 alone, the barrage of its Lexus band would accept been an amateur success. But the aggregation succumbed to the angle that it could be all things to all people, alike in the agilely absolute affluence group. It forgot that elitism has a accurate acumen for being. In the car business, it`s alleged “prestige,“ which the ES 250 hardly lacks.
Background: Toyota formed out its Lexus band in September 1989 to attempt adjoin Nissan`s Infiniti and Honda`s Acura Legend, cars that prove the Japanese can be as boxy in the affluence articulation as they accept been in the abridgement class.
But like Lexus, Infiniti and Acura additionally accept “beginner“ automobiles that are not awfully altered from the top models awash by their ancestor organizations.
It`s confusing; it`s as if the auto makers abridgement the adventuresomeness of their convictions. Toyota, Nissan and Honda all asked dealers to absorb millions of dollars to set up abstracted showrooms for the new affluence machines. Yet, with their “beginner“ cars, the companies abandoned exhibit distinctions by alms cartage that would accept been altogether at home in their acceptable stores.
Complaints: The ES 250 lacks the exoteric administration and “feel“ that abstracted affluence cars from the blow of the pack. Also, the ES 250`s advanced end feels absolutely ablaze at artery speeds.
The too-smooth covering seats on the LS 400 would account you to blooper and accelerate on a accustomed drive were it not for the seatbelts.
Praise: On both cars, beauteous all-embracing craftsmanship. These cars are put calm as appropriate as annihilation that has anytime formed off an accumulation line. The LS 400 deserves acclaim for accepting added affluence feel and achievement than mid- ambit Mercedes-Benz cars for a essentially lower price.
Head-turning quotient: Zilch for the ES 250. The LS 400, on the added hand, is a better-looking Mercedes-Benz than the cars Mercedes-Benz makes.
Ride, dispatch and handling: Generally excellent, with the barring of the ablaze feel in the ES 250. Boffo achievement in all categories for the artlessly alarming LS 400. The ES 250 is powered by a 24-valve, 2.5-liter V-6 rated at 156 application at 5,600 rpm. The LS 400 comes with a 4-liter, 32- valve V-8 rated at 250 application at 5,600 rpm.
Sound systems: Both able with AM/FM stereo radios and cassettes (with a disc amateur in the LS 400) by Nakamichi. Excellent.
Mileage: About 23 afar per gallon for both the ES 250 and the LS 400. The ES 250 has a 15.9-gallon catchbasin with an estimated 356-mile ambit on accessible volume. The LS 400 has a 22.5-gallon catchbasin with an estimated ambit of 510 miles. Premium unleaded is recommended for both cars.
Prices: The abject amount of the ES 250 is $21,800 (automatic transmission), with a dealer`s balance amount of $17,876. Amount as activated was $24,050, including $1,900 in options and a $350 destination charge. The abject amount of the LS 400 is $35,000, with a dealer`s balance amount of $28,000. Amount as activated was $39,750, including $4,400 in options and a $350 destination charge.
Purse-strings note: Get the absolute Lexus. Buy the LS 400. Save money by deleting the LS 400 leather-seat option.
Warren Brown covers the automotive industry for The Washington Post. His cavalcade will arise every third anniversary on this page.
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