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Lexus ES 300/ES 330

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Comments

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You're right on with the Camry SE being the only model with the 3.3L. Perhaps that other poster was referring to the midyear 03 change that FINALLY brought VVTi to the 3.0L, bumping hp to 210 and tq to 220, as in the 00-03 ES300.

    ~alpha
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    It's a little difficult to compare '03 and '04 prices from the Lexus website, but it appears that the '04 is some $1,400 cheaper than its predecessor, with the same equipment, if, as it appears, leather is now standard.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Yes, because leather is now standard an ES 330 is about $1,400 less expensive than an ES 300 was.

    However, this is in keeping with Lexus tradition of doing something to add value. Many times, as models get into their 3rd and 4th years, Lexus will bundle optional equipment into the price and has the window sticker reflect some type of "savings package" (although that's not the case with the 2004 ES). The 2002 and 2003 RX 300s had this, along with a $2,000 savings.
  • JPhamJPham Posts: 148
    It has just been announced.
  • hk2lahk2la Posts: 53
    I know there's a separate discussion for this, but this room is more active. For those of you in So. Cal., what are you paying for this service if you're taking your car to the dealer? Thanks.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Long time no see. Silver '02 from Santa Monica Lexus, right? Longo is $225 for the 15K service. You can always call around yourself and ask the various Lexus service centers in your area.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Thanks. Wasn't sure previously whether they were permanent, and didn't want the stickers to come off by themselves after a few years - as by then, the area underneath would likely be a different color shade than the rest of the sun-struck visor. ;)
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Thus, I took a great loss, but got rid of my ES300 at just 550 miles, knowing I could not live with such a lousily engineered drivetrain.

    BTW, I moved up to an LS430, that the dealer later damaged because of careless placements of the jack (the fuel tank was crushed). I now have an ultralux LS430, and I will tell you that Lexus quality is more myth than substance, at least in my experience with three Lexus cars.

    I probably will not buy a Lexus again. Caveat Emptor.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 26
    Mine will be here either today or Tuesday. I got the Premium package, alabaster, gray interior.

    Larger, more powerful engine.
    20/29 fuel economy (vs. 21/29 in the ES300)
    Improved automatic transmission
    Leather interior is now standard
    Because leather is standard, the price of the Premium package drops. Also, the price of the top end Levinson/Navigation package drops to $3100. If I were buying with my own money, I'd have splurged, but it put it over what my company allows, so I have to do without navigation.

    Bottom line is that my ES330 is about $800 less than it would have cost me to buy the same equipment in the ES300.

    My price was $1400 off list ($31950 vs $33350). I started with Carbargains.com (cost me $195) to get $1,000 off, then told the dealer I'd buy an Infiniti G35 if he couldn't do better, so he took another $400 off.

    I drove at least a dozen cars in this class and there's absolutely no comparison. The ES300 (which is what I actually drove) is the quietest, most luxurious car under $35,000 in the world. I can't imagine that the ES330 would be any different.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    I just got off the phone with Scott Fujikawa at Lexus Customer Satisfaction. He said the ES 330 has the exact same transmission with this latest upgrade. Lexus will not represent that the upgrade will fix the problem but hopes it makes it better. Lexus will not send a letter stating this should fix the problem. Lexus won't send a letter stating that the language of the recent letter is not a release of responsibility. It sounds like there will still be some very unhappy customers with this product.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    I just got off the phone with Scott Fujikawa at Lexus Customer Satisfaction. He said the ES 330 has the exact same transmission with this latest upgrade. Lexus will not represent that the upgrade will fix the problem but hopes it makes it better. Lexus will not send a letter stating this should fix the problem. Lexus won't send a letter stating that the language of the recent letter is not a release of responsibility. It sounds like there will still be some very unhappy customers with this product.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "He said the ES 330 has the exact same transmission with this latest upgrade."

    Same transmission as what? The ES300? Did he make a distinction between same transmission with same shift logic vs. same transmission with different shift logic, which appears to be the case as per the 04 Press Release. Perhaps its just me, but I'm not really clear on what you are saying.

    Also, am I correct to believe that the 04 Solara V6 and 04 ES330 share the same gearbox? If they do, Car and Driver, in their one page "Short Take" (Oct 04) on the new Solara, used an entire paragraph to laud the transmission, for what thats worth.
    ~alpha
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Could we forget about the transmission for a minute and discuss something really important to potential buyers: the cup holders. The front cup holders seem small and shallow, "flimsy" is the word CR used to describe them.

    Owners: are they adequate? Will they hold, say, a 16-oz water bottle? A big gulp? A small gulp? Has anyone experienced any spills while cornering at 60mph or so?

    Thanks.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    I understood him to say the difference between the existing ES 300 and the ES 330 is the recent upgrade.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Well.... I got the letter I've been hearing everyone else received. It's extremely stealthfully written and is actually quite nauseating. Boy are they worried about a lawsuit. I wish I could find an attorney. My suspicions were fully accurate.

    First of all Lexus (Corporate) positively and clearly states there is aboslutely no problem with the transmission. I spoke with two Manufacturers Reps for Lexus in Atlanta. Of course this begs the question..... if there is no problem... why in the world did they send this to eveyone who owns an '02 and '03 ES 300. This is absolutely ludicrous.

    Despite the fact that there positively is NO PROBLEM. They boths said this enchancement DEFINITELY POSITIVELY will fix the problem ("which doesn't exist"). The very term "ENHANCEMENT" merely implies an improvement and not an absolute correction. Questioning this meaning I spoke with Sterling McCall Lexus in Houston and asked if this is the final fix we have all been waiting for. They WOULD NOT PROMISE this will correct the problem, but "may" make it better. I called both Reps. and left a message asking them to send me a letter stating this was the final guaranteed fix. I'll bet some pretty good odds I never see that letter.

    You will note that they completely disclaim any benefit to the enhancement noting that "performance remains substantially the same". If it's not going to do much for the car, why should I waste more time at the dealership. I don't want it to remain the same, I want my car to go when I push the gas pedal.

    Isn't it nice that they won't charge us anything for the "enchancement" that will positively fix the problem which doesn't exist. These are really good people at Lexus.

    The last thing is very disturbing. "Please note that due to the nature of software reprogramming, once your software has been updated, it will not be possible to return the software to the previous version." What the heck does that mean? It sounds to me like a disclaimer and release. Another words.... if you have this done they are no longer responsible for the workmanship of the vehicle. .... very disturbing.

    I'm so glad they are interested in my continued satisfaction with the vehicle.

    Feel free to discuss this further with Atlanta's Reps. They have thoroughly rehearsed their corporate talking points. It's almost funny as they stutter a bit trying to remember the exact words that Legal has told them to say. rtorreca, aceking2000, capt386, kymmy123, kreativ, jimxo, ruggedland, rdlxmpls, atoews, vcheng, concord1, nogermancar and anyone else who has used words like "near accident", "worry", "danger", "collision", "crap","lemon","BIG problem", "shuddering", "slipping", "surging", etc.... feel free to give them a call and let them tell you it's all in your imagination. "But they positively fixed the problem (that doesn't exist) with the enhancement (that they won't guarantee)and be warned that there's no turning back once you've had the enhancement performed."

    This is all pretty scary.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I have to agree with bartalk2 about wanting to read about something besides the transmission concerns of a very vocal few.

    QUESTION TO THE MONITOR OF THIS WEBSITE - Why don't you direct the discussion about transmission to that specific website so this one can be used for more general discussions?
    For months the predominate postings on this one have been from a few chronic complainers about unhappiness with their transmission.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 26
    Here's what the Lexus press release says:

    "You can find a Lexus has also revised the standard five-speed automatic transmission for the 2004 ES 330, matching it to the performance of the larger engine. Wider gear ratios take advantage of the increased torque while enabling the ES 330 to achieve virtually the same EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings as the previous model (20 MPG city/29 MPG highway vs. 21/29 for the 2003 ES 300).

    New grade logic enables the five-speed transmission to provide improved performance in hills, delaying upshifts to sustain power on inclines and holding a lower gear for increased engine braking on descents. Shifting smoothness has been improved in all conditions."

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought the 2003 'fix' involved programming. They claim wider gear ratios for the 2004. You can't do that with programming changes, can you? Seems to me that if the gear ratios are changed, there have been major changes in the tranny.
  • gekko2gekko2 Posts: 87
    I agree with bartalk - In and of itself, a good reason to stay away from this car are the faulty CUPHOLDERS! Believe it or not, The CUPHOLDERS are defective and if you put a HOT COFFEE without a lid there, they will splash it all over you when you suddenly accelerate to change lanes, to cut across traffic, to make it through a changing light, take corners at 80 mph, or slam on the brakes etc...you will have HOT COFFEE splash all over you causing a driver distraction and a possible FATAL, DEADLY accident!!!!! In other words, a dangerous moment is created! It's flat dangerous! It's amplified when you know you paid top dollar for the vehicle. Lexus isn't backing their products like they used to. I can tell the dealership I go to is really disgusted that Lexus won't fix this, leaving them to deal with so many complaints w/o an answer.

    Lexus won't fix this very dangerous problem obviously because it costs too much. They will try these superficial adjustments hoping to stall the complaints.

    Please contact the National Transportation Safety Administration and file your complaints. Bad press is the best action against Lexus right now. If you try and resell your car, be prepared for the massive drop in value.

    I can't believe in my heart that Lexus is really consistently producing a piece of junk like this. I just can't believe I didn't notice this obvious, dangerous, quality defect the first 2 times I bought the car!!!
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Until the two of you have experienced what Texas has experienced with his car, please leave your sarcasm out of your posts. These forums were created to help each other and sometimes it does help to vent a little...cut Texas some slack here!
    Just my opinion. Edmunds is supposed to be a friendly, helpful site...let's keep it that way, shall we!!

    The Sandman :-)
  • I must admit that the complaints regarding the ES transmission make me wonder how in the world Lexus sells so many of these junkers. I don't get it. That topic must represent 50% of the posts here. I try to buy one and the dealers in the Midwest want close to MSRP, yet I see all of these people who hate their ES 300.

    The really funny part is reading of the "lousily engineered drivetrain" and then that very same post says "I PROBABLY will not buy a Lexus again." PROBABLY? If quality is more myth than substance and if the drivetrain is lousy, why would that person consider a Lexus again? What more would Lexus have to really screw up to keep that person from using the word DEFINITELY instead of probably? I don't get it.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Finally we have the answer. Don't you see the connection between the transmission and the cupholders?

    Having designed faulty cupholders, and not wanting to undergo the enormous expense of redesigning them, Lexus intentionally produced a faulty transmission, making it impossible to accelerate quickly, thus preventing hot coffee spills which could lead to fatal crashes and numerous lawsuits.

    There's a method to their madness. Thus, don't look for a transmission fix until Lexus redesigns their cupholders!
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I just read about the expected upgrade to the 2005 Lexus ES "400". It will have ADJUSTABLE CUPHOLDERS to accomodate the BIG GULP, hot chocolate, and dinner for two. When the suspension is set to "sport mode" the cupholders enlarge to securely grip the monster gulp for those who need refreshment in between beating red lights and cutting off left lane drivers. (Obviously the car will also be getting a completely new engine and transmission in order to accelerate - because we have all learned on this website that the car is incapable of accelerating without endangering the occupants). While in regular mode, the cupholders are similar to the current design and should hold a cup of coffee or hot chocolate - BUT NO GUARANTEE. While in "comfy mode" the flick of a button allows enough room to accomodate dinner place settings and wine glasses for two.
    All of these upgrades will be available in a new "ultimate package". The total price of the car is expected to come in a few hundred dollars below the 2004 model.
  • I read this board often, but rarely post. For quite some time I have read that there is a problem with the five speed transmission first offered in 2002. I own a 2001 which has the four speed that performs fine. On two different occasions over the last couple of years, I had the opportunity to drive a 2002 and a 2003 over a long weekend while my car was being serviced. This provided plenty of time to become familiar with the transmission and its performance. I carefully read previous posts for details on how to replicate the problem transmission behavior. To date I have resisted commenting on the whole transmission issue. And while I recognize that I will likely draw the wrath of those who disagree, the time has come for me to weigh in on this issue.On the 2002 and the 2003, both of which I drove for several days, I was able to replicate the hesitation others have described as the problem. However, I did not perceive it as poor performance or as a problem. Analyzing how a transmission (any transmission) is dedesignedo work, it makes perfect sense to me.I will try to communicate as clearly as possible what I mean. When cruising along at say 45-50 mph the car is in 5th gear overdrive. If you press the accelerator, in an effort to pass for example, in order to get the quick acceleration needed, the car must shift to 3rd gear (as 4th is still an overdrive gear) or maybe even 2nd gear. Even though these are very sophisticated cars, the process of shifting gears is still a mechanical one. It takes time and is not instantaneous. So while some believe the car is doing nothing, it is having to shift two or three gears.This is the delay many are referencing. Added to this, the rpms are rising as it shifts to the lower gear needed for quick acceleration. This is the revving some describe. If you drive a 2001 with the four speed transmission, you will notice that it does the same thing only it is barely noticeable since the four speed has fewer gears to switch through (so the very slight delay is difficult to perceive).For those who are almost rear-ended when changing lanes, I submit that you are driving too aggressively and would have close calls regardless of the car you drive or the transmission in the car.In closing, I have replicated the described problem multiple times. It is, in fact, not a problem. Now before you attack my credibility and label me a Lexus plant, let's be clear. I do not work for Lexus nor do I have a vested interest in the success or failure of the company or its cars. I really don't care one way or the other. I am simply a consumer like most of you. I just happen to think that the problem some are perceiving is not a problem, just a lack of understanding of how their transmission works. This probably explains why some report having experienced issues and most don't. Those that don't have a better understanding of how it works.
  • That cupholder thing... funny. Very funny.
  • lotusflalotusfla Posts: 18
    Now half the discussions on this board will deride the defective cupholders and the other half will flog the tranny issue...
    Will there be class action suits that we can cash in on?
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    Don't have comments on ES since I don't own one.

    in 1996 I seriously compared Maxima and Camry LE V6, and found Maxima downshifts in very short time to 1st gear, but Camry is noticeably shower as I could feel and hear it goes from gear to gear down to 1st. That was the only last-minute comparison that I decided to buy Max. Both were 4-speed auto.

    Whether it's a defective transmission or not is probably not well defined. Is there a spec saying when flooring the acceleration pedal the transmission will shift from overdrive (4th or 5th) to 1st within xyz second? Maybe there is an internal controlled spec that design engineers know. Yes there is some spec like 40 to 65 MPH time, but that does not necessary mean the car downshifts quick. It's a combination of downshift time and the acceleration. My 86 Sentra dhownshifted no problem but never fast enough to speed up.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Let me respond to your posted observations.

    1. I must admit that the complaints regarding the ES transmission make me wonder how in the world Lexus sells so many of these junkers. I don't get it.

    To call the ES300 a "junker" is an exaggeration. It is a well built car that targets the entry-luxury market very successfully. I considered it primarily because it is the only front wheel drive sedan that Lexus makes, since I live is western NY where the winters can be snowy.

    2. That topic must represent 50% of the posts here.

    I agree with this statement, but one cause of this may be the fact that this is perhaps the only major flaw in an otherwise good car.

    3. I try to buy one and the dealers in the Midwest want close to MSRP, yet I see all of these people who hate their ES 300.

    Whether dealers want MSRP or reduce the price is simple free market economics. And again "hate" is an exaggeration I think. For me personally, the drivetrain characterisitcs were irritating to the point that I could not tolerate owning the thing for very long. I also was fortunate enough to have enough money to simply trade up. That may not be an option for some, in which case the frustration would tend to build up.

    4. The really funny part is reading of the "lousily engineered drivetrain"

    What is funny about that? I base my comments from an astute knowledge of cars, and having owned and driven several ES300s Do you own one, or have you driven one for any extended period time? Read my previous posts, and you will see that I have tried to evaluate the issue fairly sensibly. Consider: a) The ES300 5 speed transmission creates a drivetrain shudder at about 40-45 mph under light load conditions as soon as the torque converter locks up. b) There is a marked delay in downshifting to the point that if you are in need of quick accelaration (such as to merge) and you floor the throttle, the car will buck mightily, bog down, wait at least a second or more, and then take off like it should have done in the first place. Now also consider that other comparable automatic transmissions, both by Lexus and other manufacturers, do not exhibit these characteristics to this very noticeable extent. This is what I mean by this particular drivetrain being lousily engineered. Could you please explain what is funny about this description?

    5. and then that very same post says "I PROBABLY will not buy a Lexus again." PROBABLY? If quality is more myth than substance and if the drivetrain is lousy, why would that person consider a Lexus again?

    I have stated that the current ES300 drivetrain is lousy. That does not mean that all Lexuses have poor transmissions. I have no complaints about the LS430 drivetrain. So I would consider a Lexus again when the time comes, only if I think I would like the car. I will not let one bad design preclude me from considering other models by the same manufacturer. Then again, I might go with another make. Or even consider the ES300 again, if the problem has indeed been fixed. Hence I used the word "probably". If you read my statements with better comprehension, I have said that "in my experience" I have found more mythical than real quality. I trust that you get my point of view now perhaps a little bit better.

    6. What more would Lexus have to really screw up to keep that person from using the word DEFINITELY instead of probably? I don't get it.

    Well, there are bigger things that could spoil my ownership experience further. I can think of several, but the odds are that will not happen. If something disastrous does happen, then I would use the word definitely.

    Overall, I was amused by your post, and would like to hear more of your opinion after you have had a chance to assimilate my diatribe.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    I'm not a Lexus owner, but today I test-drove the '04 ES330. I tried to replicate the transmission problems people have been having. Indeed, there is a momentary lag when downshifting and accelerating quickly from low speeds. The engine revs up and then catches and goes. Some people would probably not even notice the "problem." Others might find it a bit of a nuisance and a small ideosyncracy in an otherwise fine car. In no sense would I consider it a dangerous condition, unless you were in a life or death situation that depended on milliseconds.

    Oh, and by the way, the cupholders have not been improved, so what did you expect from the transmission?
  • Hey, good response. I probably had too many sarcasm pills early today.

    I think my frustration is that I keep reading all of these negative posts, but when I go to buy an ES 300 (now the 330), they want close to MSRP AND my first-born child. So I'm just thinking that a heck of a lot more people must really love these cars than the number of people who have serious problems.

    But I get your points and the tone of your response is DEFINITELY worth copying.

    I should state that "real, live people" that I ask about their ES 300s have never mentioned the transmission problems. That may be because they don't have any problems, or maybe we all just like to think that our car is a good one. But I just talked to a lady (probably a very mild driver) who said this was the best car she ever had.

    So I guess it really is an individual experience.
This discussion has been closed.