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Lexus ES 300/ES 330

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  • Well, I've sat on the sidelines of this string for the past few months while passively pondering my next vehicle. Turning the big 4-0 this spring and feeling the need to blow some cash and upgrade the wheels. This will (likely) be my first adventure into lexusville. Currently driving a 2k Max, and aside from the ho-hum styling, has been an excellent ride for the dough with only one issue to date (rotor warpage).
    Now having perused all of the brochures and DVD on the new ES(the DVD doesn't cut it, and the brochure is a bit long on "lifestyle" and short on substance), I took my inaugural test drive at my local chicagoland dealer..... Here's my thoughts, and ultimately why I will not be purchasing:

    > Very quiet and smooth
    > Gauges are outstanding-very high-end
    > Superior fit and finish
    > Cup-holders fragile and ill-placed
    > No room for junk-cell phone, etc- big minus IMO
    >>> But here's the show stopper- Seats are way too small and adjustments are no help.

    I have owned many, many cars over the years and I have learned my lesson on seat comfort. Once I sit in a car the very first time, it's yes or no immediately. The length is too short (I'm 6'2") and I couldn't even see the seat on either side of my butt. I am surprised that this issue has not come up on this string..... I walked across the showroom and sat in the GS300 and what a world of difference. Seats are perfect. Now I just have to re-think the money equation. I would be interested if any one else shares my opinion on the ES, which is otherwise a great car.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    Thanks for your input on the ES300. I test drove one a few months ago and did not notice a seat problem but I am 5'10" and 180 lbs. You seem to be quite an expert on cars. Please try out the Acura TL and the Infiniti I35 and give us your opinion of those two. I would be interested in your opinion. Have you tried any American cars like the Olds Aurora, Buick Regal, etc? I am also looking and listening for new car information for a purchase later this year or next. The problem I have with the Lexus is that they want MSRP and the cars on the lot are 35k plus and that just is too much for that car when you can get so many other models for less-Acura TL,Infiniti I35, Olds Aurora, etc. I do want a reliable car but one that gets reasonably good gas mileage and I hear that complaint frequently concerning the ES300. I realize that the Toyota Camry is not in the same class as the ES300 but maybe that is a better solution. Let me know what you think.
  • I was very close to purchasing a 2k I30 instead of my Max GLE. I really liked the upscale interior and gauges, but it came down to attitude (which is exactly the same situation with the new ES). It just goes against my soul to pay any dealer MSRP. To not budge off of that is a complete insult, IMO. I'm hearing it all over again.... "sell every one before it hits the lot", "hottest thing since sliced bread", "sorry, no deals"----- spare me the speal----

    As for the other choices out there, the new I35 is a very nice freshening of the 2k I30, and yes, the seats are excellent. Only problem is the model's state of the union......it's looking like another complete re-do perhaps as soon as '03, or definitely by '04. That along with the intro of the G35 and underselling Q45, it just seems that infiniti hasn't cracked the code on dialing in the I35 as it stands today. Plus, say goodbye to any resale value. It garners no more than my Max. Still a very nice ride if you don't care about the market longevity.
    A friend of mine owns a TL, and it's....okay... just doesn't get me that excited.

    Again, I'm really disappointed on the ES seat issue, and I have to fight talking myself out of the purchase, but I know I'll be kicking myself on the first long drive. This actually might end up in my favor, as the dealer seems very interested in making a deal for the GS300. The only concern there is an impending redesign for late '03 as a '04 model. But I think the car has some timeless class to the current design.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    I agree that if the seat isn't comfortable the moment you sit in it, and doesn't get much better after you fiddle with the adjustments, don't get that car!
    I find the seat comfortable, and Lexus claims the front seat has an active suspension system. But everybody's different.

    Personally, I would wait until the new GS comes out before purchasing it. Seeing the kind of luxury upgrades given to the '02 ES, I can only expect the same for the next GS. And buying the first year of the a new generation allows for your car to stay current for the next 5 years. The untrained eye won't be able to tell your '04 GS apart from an '08 GS, but would easily be able to tell apart the "old" '03 GS vs. the '04 GS.
    On the other hand, the nice thing about Lexus designs is they don't ever look or feel "outdated" (except for the ES250). Even the '90 LS400 looks modern 12 years later. And the benefit of buying at the tail end of the current generation is that you can get a very good price (I could've gotten the GS for below invoice).
    But for the GS, I would still wait because I feel Lexus will make significant upgrades to the interior. And you never know how the exterior will look until they introduce it.
  • My first time to this forum - I have never owned a Lexus. I am looking for some feedback from someone who has a new ES300 and has previously owned an LS400. I had for quite some time been planning on buying a Certified 1999 or 2000 LS400. Last week my wife and I test drove the new ES300 and a 2000 LS400. My wife really liked the ES300 - I did too - but I am still very slightly leaning toward the LS400.

    I thought the 2000 LS400 had a somewhat smoother ride and was a bit quieter than the 2002 ES300. The price of a new loaded ES300 and the Certified LS400 is about the same.

    How about some feedback from some of you out here that have a feel for both. How do you think the resale value of the two would stack up against each other after 2 years? If I go for the ES300 I would probably look at trading for a Certified LS430 in 2-3 years.
  • If I go for the ES300 I would probably look at trading for a Certified LS430 in 2-3 years.


    In which case, I would go for a certified 2000 ES300, save a bunch of money (when compared to a new 2002 ES300), and then trade-up to the LS430 in 2-3 years. Or maybe lease a new ES300, since it is only for a short period, and then buy the LS430, once the lease is up.

    Later...AH
  • Hi Folks:

    Does anyone know whether or not you can get a factory rear wing spoiler for the ES300?

    Many thanks.
  • bexleybexley Posts: 10
    I spent my Saturday afternoon cruising around town to different luxury car dealers trying to locate a new vehicle for my wife. She currently has a 98 Camry LE V6 which she is very happy with, but she's ready to step up to something alittle nicer. We're looking Japanese because of previous luck, and also high levels of quality for affordable prices (European is just too expensive). We narrowed are choices down to the Acura TL, Lexus ES300, Infiniti I35, and Mazda Millenia. I've included my ranking and impressions (see if you agree).

    4. Mazda Millenia: I think that the Millenia is a good car, and to the uninformed, it does impress. It has the right luxury features, decent power, good handling, good fuel economy. The car doesn't feel particularly luxurious, feels on par with the Camry my wife currently drives, but we both liked the style of it. The price is also the cheapest. The dealer was willing to sell me at $27000 for a fully loaded Millenia S. Seems like a good deal, then I did alittle research since my visit to the dealer and learned that the car is an 8 year old design, that is being phased out of production. Bottomline: Millenia is retiring, and just can't compete with the others, a better option for someone considering a Camry or Accord alternative.

    3. Infinit I35. My wife and I both liked the luxury features of the Infiniti, it had alot of things the others do not (heated steering wheel, 17-in wheels, spoiler). The car also had the biggest engine (which makes me worry about fuel economy), and is probably the fastest. Styling was also attractive. Pricing was decent (dealer would go around $33k loaded). Overall, the car gave a good impression, until we went next door to the Nissan dealer and saw the exact same car called the Maxima. Infiniti did not do enough to differentiate this car from the Maxima. Bottom-line: The I30 leaves a good first impression, but after awhile feels like a Maxima with a different grill and a few added luxury touches.

    2. Acura TL. Probably the sportiest of the bunch, luxury seemed like it was kinda added to this sporty sedan. The quality seemed excellent and all the controls and switches had a comfortable familiar feel to them. The styling was attractive, but forgettable. The engine performance was very smooth and powerful. Pricing was decent ($30k loaded, however the dealer would not bargain). Again, as with the Infiniti...I get the impression that I'm driving a Honda product, the vehicle just didn't have the luxury feel that I would be paying for. Bottom-line: The top of the line Honda Accord.

    1. Lexus ES300. Probably, the most attractive of the cars and the only one that did not feel like a nicer version of a midlevel sedan. The car just had a consistent luxury feel to it in the way it drove in the test drive, and the high quality of materials and leather. The car was not very sporty, but as a luxury car, I don't think it is supposed to be. The car also had all of the right luxury touches of the others combined into one car. I also thought that it is probably the largest and roomiest of all. Pricing is where things get alittle stickier, for all the good, you have to pay the price ($35k loaded dlr willing to budge alittle off the sticker). Bottom-line: Feels a class higher than the others, but at a price almost as high.

    This week my wife has to do some major deciding, is the added luxury of the Lexus worth the price, or can she live with a more mid-level feeling sedan with luxury features tacked on such as the Acura. Stay tuned....
  • lexus1lexus1 Posts: 14
    Sprinkled through the last month or so have been a number of questions and comments about the new 5 speed auto. I picked up my ES Friday night -starlight Pearl, Premium package, HID, WU, heated seats and sunshade--so will give a first opinion. On Saturday I took a drive of about 100 miles to try everything out. At first, I noticed the problems some have reported--the slushy shifts between 1-2 and 2-3. However, within about 5 minutes and stopping for 5 lights, I noticed that I did not notice the shift any more. So, for me, it was a case of the tranny learning how I leave from a stop. Now it gets interesting. The next place I had to stop, I had to goose it across 3 lanes of traffic and the tranny got a bit confused...not wanting to hold first or second long enough since it now knew that I was not a lead-foot. This is where I wish for the old PWR setting that used to be in Camrys.

    Other than the tranny, I had no issue with the car. I also did not hear the hiss in the Premium sound system that some had reported, so maybe they've fixed it (car manufactured in early January).

    The seats did feel a bit small after two hours but still comfortable. And the color(s) really turned heads. It's baby blue in direct sunlight, turning silver in shade and soft silver in clouds. Very cool. Put a fresh coat of MacGuires (SP?)on it since the car was fresh out of the plastic wrap and it really shines -- great finish, unlike some of the finishes I noticed on the TL-S when I was shopping.
  • bexley: I would agree with your comparisons. As an I30 owner (99) and a new ES300 (02) owner I think the ES has the looks to differentiate from the pack.
    One thing I will say about Infiniti, when I bought mine in 99 one reason was because the I30 had a 4 yr 60k warranty, this was not true of the Maxima, and my experience with Infiniti service has been great, certainly several cuts above a Nissan dealer.
    I hope that Lexus can match the level of service that I have gotten used to with Infiniti. Time will tell, only have 900 miles on the car and I love it.

    Clark
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Oh, I'm sure you'll be quite happy with Lexus service. After all, their service prices are a rip-off. I'm not sure how Lexus service prices compare to Infiniti dealers' though. But I'm getting a little tired of my local Lexus dealer sending me "discount" coupons for $50 oil changes (same price as without the stupid coupon).
  • kreativ: what part of the country are you in? $50 for an oil change is a rip. I'm in Atlanta, Infiniti generally will do this and wash the car for $29.
    Clark
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    I'm in southern California. Prices for an oil change at Lexus dealers range from $40-50, same for tire rotation.
  • Looking for opinions on the Vehicle Skid Control option. Is it worth the $650 MSRP? Does it really make a difference? Don't have any snow or ice to deal with where I live, just rain. My commute is roughly 100 miles round-trip each day. Generally seems like a good safety feature to have just in case, but does it really do much, and are there any downs sides? Checked to see if my insurance company would give me any type of a discount if I had it, and the answer was no. Kind of makes me wonder.

    I saw an earlier posting that said you don't really notice it until you need it, but the question is would you really ever need it much, or is it just an unnecessary and expensive option. I think it comes standard on the GS and SC, so you would think it is a worthwhile feature. I am ordering a 2002 ES300 with premium package and HID, but haven't decided on the VSC. Any help would be appreciated.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    I didn't know about this until I flipped through the owner's manual again, but the digital compass needs some calibrating to be accurate...basically setting the region you're in and driving around in a circle a couple times. Instructions are in the owner's manual.
  • I think your comparisons are right on. I just picked up my 02 Lexus the past Saturday (Silver Metallic with PP, HID, Heated Seats, VSC) for $34,500 plus DH ($299). Before that I spent about a month going thru all the cars in this segment (BWM 325/330, AUDI A4, Acura TL-S, etc). In the end I decided to pick Lexus for the overall package and luxury. My previous car is a 96 Honda Accord, and naturally I thought long and hard about moving up to the Acura, but in the end the lack of head room (I'm 6 feet tall) turned me away. The German cars are more fun to drive, but they are generally smaller in size, and reliability is still an issue. I want a car that's comfortable to drive and will last a long time, and you can hardly beat a Lexus in this regard.

    Good luck in your selection.
  • I personally think VSC is well worth the extra money. It includes both skid and traction control, and it'll definitely come in handy when you drive in snow or heavy rain. Local dealers told me cars equiped with this option sell much faster that those without, but then again I live in Denver.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    I live in SoCal, so I didn't even consider VSC. But if I lived in an area that snowed or rained frequently, I'd defintely get VSC. The VSC comes with TRAC and Brake Assist as well.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    Kevin, thanks for the back up. LOL!!! Anti, could of got the TL type S for the same price($100 over) but they didn't have one with NAV.

    It was all moot anyway after the Mrs. drove the 2002 ES.

    Will probably schedule the 5000 mile check up this week and get the recalls handled.
  • Thanks for your thoughts on the VSC option folks. Placing the order for the car tomorrow, and will probably add it on. I'll check this site in the AM in case anyone else out there offers more input. The TRAC definitely sounds like a plus, but I'm not too familiar with the Brake Assist. Anyone ever have that or the VSC actually kick in on their ES yet?
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