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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • I was looking around at some car reviews and found this. Sorry if this review has already been posted here before. It appears as if the transmission problem is real. Hope you all can get a fix.

    Jerky gears, suspension spoil posh new Lexus


    "A five-speed automatic transmission, upgraded from the 2001's four-speed, was supposed to slip among gears invisibly. Instead, the shifts were too obvious and sometimes marred by brief stutters before the gearbox found its legs and engaged confidently. Lexus once set the standard for automatics that shifted both smoothly and crisply. If the ES test car was representative, that's past tense.

    An optional, adjustable suspension was supposed to let the driver dial up comfy or sporty or in-between behavior using a four-position knob on the console. The normal setting seemed pleasant, but allowed too much body lean when the car was driven enthusiastically. There's one setting softer than normal, and it seemed a waste unless occupants were used to riding in numb and soggy machines. The sportiest setting, two notches stiffer than normal, gave snappy handling, all right. But the car jiggled and shuddered constantly; hardly a luxury feel. One notch down muted the jiggliness, retained most of the sporty response, but sacrificed the smooth ride. No setting was an ideal choice."

    A friend looking at an ES300 who has been in an SC300 for a while noticed the transmission problem with her test drive. She decided against the car because of this and a lack of brisk acceleration. Good luck in getting the transmission to work better, maybe someone could mail Lexus some of the professional statements about the transmission. (Guess what my friend is getting, Neuroguy :-)) Seriously though, I hope Lexus can get a fix because it is a nice car.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    However, I disagree with what the reviewer said about AVS and I don't know what the complaint about difficult user interface to Nav system is. My only complaint on the Nav is in having to hit the politically correct "I Agree" every time you want to see the audio or Nav displays between automobile starts. If it weren't for that, the audio would provide no difficulty at all, in my opinion. It is comforting to know that if users become too annoyed by having to select "I Agree" to enter the audio/Nav, Lexus would merely have to issue a simple software upgrade to rectify the situation.

    I suppose that on the first test drive, it is not obvious that virtually all controls are available manually, as redundant options to using the Nav display. And I think it is just fine that the CD changer is in the console. My boyfriend's 1994 SC300 CD changer was in the trunk, and the ES300 implementation in the console provides a significant improvement.

    As for the transmission, I am glad that reviewers are complaining publically. My fingers are crossed for a fix.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    Called back customer service and was told:

    1. Several complaints (she calls them "comments") regarding the transmission has been logged.

    2. Techs in japan are working on the issue.

    The second is probably BS because she initially said she was not aware of a fix but 3 minutes later she recanted.

    My feeling is no fix is in the works. This may be more than just a firmware update and Lexus cannot afford (or does not want to pay) to recall a few thousand cars.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Last week, I picked up my 2002 ES 300 after leaving it at the dealer all day for an oil change.

    Since I had just applied Zaino to my car, I asked that they not wash it. My request was on the "order" form. But when I picked up my car that evening it had been washed.

    I called the service manager to tell him about the miscommunication the next day and he was very apologetic, saying everyone was partially to blame. This included the service woman who wrote me up because she should have checked to make sure the car was not washed. He said he would follow up on what happened to make sure there was no miscommunication in the future.

    The conversation was very pleasant, and I never asked for anything. So, imagine my surprise when the service manager said my 7500 mile service would be free.
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168
    I got tired of the 'I Agree' every time I started my car so I somehow set the display to 'off' and when I start the car the Nav screen only displays the LEXUS logo for a few seconds then goes blank. If I want to use an audio function I press that (AM, FM, DISC, DISC-DISC (changer) etc) button for that feature. I found that when I press the 'Audio' button to adjust a setting, I can press 'Audio' again and the screen will go blank immediately and not 'time out' in 5-10 seconds.

    I rarely use the Nav and didn't want to be annoyed with that when I only use the audio portion of the system.

    I'm not sure if any of the above was set in 'display' or 'info' but it can be done.

    KREATIV: Yes, I to have the Mark Levinson audio system but I would assume that is only the speakers and amp, not the actual changer as the standard 6-disk changer system would be the same as that for ML. I will investigate obtaining an extra cartridge as you suggested.

    Smooth sailing every mile!

    M. J. McCloskey
  • whothemanwhotheman Posts: 169
    The new 3.3L engine will be in the ES, IS, RX, GS, and Camry by the end of next year.
  • neuroguyneuroguy Posts: 34
    Holy cripes! Don't tell me your friend is getting an Jaguar X-Type! I hope you pointed them to the '03 model that hopefully has all those darn bugs worked out. Or at least a very late '02 build.... And I hope they have a good dealership. I might still be in that Jag if my dealership here in Charlotte, NC - Scott Jaguar - was better. (However, in their recent TV ads they're proclaiming the "New" Scott Jaguar. Don't know if it's due to a change in management, or their remodeled building...) If it's the AWD they liked, I'd try and steer 'em to an Audi A4 Quattro.

    As for the ES300's tranny problem, I asked about it at my dealer's service dept. here - Hendrick Lexus (who have been nothing but *great*!) - and the last they told me it's a "known issue" and that Lexus is working on a software upgrade due sometime in September. Fortunately, I have not experienced it with my car.
  • Yes, both she and myself actually have excellent Jaguar dealers where we live. As with most luxury car dealer networks, there are some really good ones, and then there are "those other icky ones". Anyway, she wants a white X-TYPE, and she'll probably get an '03 since the option packages are re-organized and individual options are easier to get without packages. Actually, AWD (as well as FWD and RWD) means nothing to her, she just likes how the car looks, feels, and drives, etc. And Audis have worse problems than Jaguars (but I know you'll find that hard to believe). As for any bugs, mine hasn't had any, and none produced after about the first few months of '02 have had any.

    Like the ES300's transmission, journalists also took notice of Jaguars problems - and now their fixes:

    "Jaguar's sterling quality reputation, the result of a decade of hard work, took hits late last year when the all-new X-Type compact sedan drew complaints about vibrating propulsion shafts, rocking seats and temperamental trunk latches -- all of them now fixed."

    It's too bad you had to suffer through all of those problems way back when they had them though. Oh well, you got another great car in the end. I hope you don't get any of the known problems with your ES300 now - that would just be dreadful. Take care, and I'll tell my friend that my other friend on the internet wishes her good luck with her car when she gets it!


    If there is anything a reviewer will always complain about, it is that they are too lazy to figure out how to properly use the navigation system and then they'll denounce the system as "too hard to use". They've said it about almost every nav system reviewed. Heck, even Jaguar's voice controls are too hard for them most of the time: "What, so you just speak to the car and it does it for you!? But then my jaw will get too tired, and my brain will get tired thinking of what to say. That's way too difficult to use!"

    He probably also didn't spend a terribly long amount of time with the ES to really test out the AVS, but he still had enough time to discover that the transmission doesn't seem to work quite right. Someone really should gather up all of the professional as well as owner comments about the lagging transmission and get Lexus' attention about it. Jaguar got all the bugs out of every X-TYPE within a matter of months (especially as the media had gotten involved a bit as you can see above), Lexus should be able to fix the ES300's transmission in no time. They might just need a little pushing in their Passionate Pursuit of Perfection. Good luck to you with your tranny, and I hope the review helps out if someone decides to do something.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Lemme know when you fix the transmission, and then I'll buy one (unless I'm tempted while waiting by the 240hp V-6 '03 Honda Accord EX, at several thousand dollars less, sacrificing a bit of internal luxury but otherwise comparable).
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Re: ML CD Changer

    It's doubtful that the ML CD Changer uses the same Pioneer CD Changer found in the standard "premium audio system" (for cars that have NAV w/o the ML upgrade). The ML system should have a higher quality CD reader (better DAC, higher S/N ratio, etc.) to match the higher quality amp/speakers. It doesn't mean they don't use the same cartridge though, or share cartridges with other CD changers! I haven't seen the CD changers in the two different system (I have the in-dash pioneer), so I'm not speaking from any hands-on experience.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Some hope for those complaining about the '02 trans:

    "I just received information from the dealership that a software upgrade will be out in October. The upgrade is said to correct the hesitation problem. The shift pattern will also be affected."
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Check out the appearance options available for the '02 ES (Toyota Windom) in Japan:

    Too bad we don't have such options here in the US.

  • gekko2gekko2 Posts: 87
    Why is there no LEXUS brand in Japan?
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for the transmission update. If you can reveal it, what dealership told you that? Do you have an '02 ES300?
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    gekko2 - No Lexus brand in Japan because the Toyota brand is strong enough to not need a separate luxury nameplate. Same goes for Honda...there is no Acura brand in Japan.

    bartalk2 - I have an '02 ES, and can try to find out which dealer he was talking about. (quote = not my own words)
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    from my fellow ES300 board regulars. Today, a co-worker plowed into my car while it was parked in the parking lot at work.

    It appears as though the front bumper will have to be replaced and the left front panel above the wheel. The most damage occurred to the bumper, with the left panel dented and scraped where it joined with the bumper. No damage to the wheel or headlight.

    My spirits will be lifted if someone would say that it is possible for a seamless repair to occur. I suspect that the entire bumper/panel will be replaced, but will the paint match well enough to conceal the difference between the new parts and the rest of the car? My car is 5 months old and subject to lots of UV rays. I have about 5 coats of Zaino on it.

    I am soooo depressed. :-(
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    sorry to hear about the accident. Jealousy must have overcome your co-worker. =)

    With 5 coats of zaino on a 5 month old car, you won't be able to tell of any fading of the paint due to UV rays.

    Since the car is so new, you should get factory-new part replacements. And be glad the only parts affected are easily replaceable plastic parts. People change perfectly good bumpers out all the time for sportier looking ones. If I can get the body kit I mentioned above, that's what I'd be doing too.

    Oh yes, and if you had the holes drilled in your front bumper for the license plate bracket and don't like it, here's your chance to tell them to leave it off and not drill the holes in your new bumper. Not that I advocate not having a front license plate in CA...
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Sorry to hear about your accident. From your postings here, it's obvious you really love the car. Take heart. Body shops can work wonders, and you probably will never be able to tell that the car had been hit and that parts had been replaced. Be sure there's no structural damage. I don't imagine in a parking lot the perp could have been going very fast.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Bummer.....but the good new is a high quality body and paint shop can make it go away and you will never know. There is a shop here in San Diego my wife and I have been using for years (Amatos). The MB dealer in our area does not do body work, and recommended them. When we checked them out, we saw lots of high end cars and beautiful restoration jobs in their shop. Checking further, we found that there was a 6 week wait to get in and they required the car for a minimum of 1 week, even for the smallest job. Why? They were about the only shop in town that did NOT mask things off before painting. They dissasembled the trim. Even the windows so the repaint was seamless. They also allowed 24 hours dry time and a wet sanding between every coat of paint, and they applyed several coats of paint. Their work was and still is flawless.

    My advice would be to find a shop like this in your area. Over the years I used a few others before finding Amatos. It was a crap shoot to whether the paint would be a seamless match and blend. And when push comes to shove, and we have told "the perps" insurance co that we insist on using Amato's they have always (eventually) conceeded to our demands.
  • sterlssterls Posts: 3
    is 36K plus T&T a goodprice for a loaded ES, everything except the adjustable suspension in the NY/Nj area, or shoul dI be looking for somewhere cheaper. Feedbackwould be appreciated, don't want to losethis deal if it is really that good! Thanx!
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