What's New for 1996
Two new colors are available.
Based on the hugely successful Toyota Camry, the ES 300 is the 'entry-level' Lexus. Priced at about the same level as larger, more plush premium American sedans, the smaller ES 300 is more nimble, solid and refined, and is as reliable rain in Seattle.
The only options available on this car are leather trim, a sunroof, heated front seats and a CD player. Everything else is standard. A 3.0-liter twin-cam V6 powers the front wheels, providing swift acceleration. Four-wheel antilock brakes haul the ES down from 60 mph in short order, and your choice of Goodyear, Dunlop or Firestone V-rated tires keep the ES 300 glued to the road.
The cabin is well insulated from the buzz of the outside world, and a premium Nakamichi sound system does a fair impression of the Boston Pops performing at the Hollywood Bowl. The optional leather seats are well bolstered and provide an excellent seating position. Ergonomics, in the Lexus tradition, are unbeatable.
For 1995, the ES has undergone a slight revision of the front and rear fascias, and chrome wheels are optional. The ES 300 is a remarkable car, but we have a difficult time justifying buying one. The Toyota Camry XLE V6, outfitted with leather and all the trimmings, is powered by the same drivetrain and rides on many of the same underpinnings for thousands less. If a Lexus badge really means that much to you, the ES 300 is a great car, but we'll opt for the less prestigious Camry and use the savings to go white water rafting or something.