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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    When the ES300 came out, interviews with Lexus people said the sporty IS300 allowed them to produce the ES300--a pure boulevard cruiser with no sporty pretentions. I guess Lexus wants to keep the two types separate rather than combining them in one car. I agree with you that it would be nice to combine them, or at least offer alternate suspensions so you can tailor the car according to your own taste, but I guess that wasn't their plan.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I love the AVS feature. I first became familiar with it because my friend got it on his 1997 ES 300 (the first year it was offered as an option). They don't make many cars with this feature because most people don't care. But I do, and got AVS on my 2002. Note AVS on the 2002s is a little more advanced than that offered in the 1997-2001 cars since it adjusts each wheel independently instead of as a group.

    There is a switch on the center console that has four settings. 1=cushy, 2=standard ES 300 suspension, 3=a little sport, 4=sport. Switching between the different modes you can really feel a difference. I drive about 50% of the time in #4, and the car feels real tight. The other 50% of the time I'm in #3. Body roll in cornering is greatly reduced. It's hard to describe, but even driving straight the car feels more like a driver's car (if you can say that about an ES).

    While I would be happy with a non-AVS car, it would not be as firm, or handle as well, as I would like.

    We all know the ES 300 is not meant to ride or handle like a BMW. But this option really lets me change the personality of the car whenever I want. Plus it allows me to have the firmer feel I like.

    Hope this helps.
  • I only put 93 Octane in my ES.

    More specifically...."Texaco's" brand of 93 Octane.

    Here in GA we have gas stations called "Quick Trips". As alot of people know, GA is ranked the cheapest when it comes to gas prices. QT's are even lower than the National Brands and they are guaranteed, but my ES acts as if it is "stoned" on cheap gas. (Non-Brand Name....and anything less than 93 octane.)

    I personally can tell a severe difference in the performance and gas usage of the car. This is from a guy that will hit 100mph atleast once a day on GA's highway's.

    All in all, I think my ES is just a little "uppity". :wink::

  • For Lexus Owner info: talked to Lexus Customer Satisfaction Dept.3 days after accident asked for an inspection.Lexus promised will do within 2 weeks.Insurance co.officially declared car total loss 3 weeks later and moved car from the towing site.5 weeks after the call, lexus Rep, in atlanta called and said can't find the car for the inspection.Provided phone info of insurance Co.rep. in charge of this case, same time w/ pictures.Wrote 3 pages letter including 3 pics then certified mailed it on 7-18-2002 to Lexus according to "Lexus Owner Manual Lemon Law Info".End of July ,received calls from Lexus said no problem found on air bags (of course ).Do not say why does'nt work. Asked copy of report and new location of the car.Answer negative.Asked for a written response.Will update when answer letter come.
    If some one want see pics, please get to this site :
    Ps: This Lexus ES 300-1997 bought w/14000 miles on 1-12-2000 as preowned from Hennessy Lexus in Atlanta, GA,and serviced by same dealer.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for your experience with the variable suspension. If it really does change the character of the ride and handling, I might buy one after all (if they fix the transmission!).
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I don't know if you have test driven an ES300. Your comment above on the AVS leads me to believe you have.

    My view is that the vast majority of owners do not feel a transmission problem at all. I believe that if you are going to feel it, you can recreate it on a test drive. There will be no surprises with the transmission if you test a vehicle before you buy one.

    To me the problem is most pronounced and repeatable in the following driving scenario:
    1) Cruise at 40 mph.
    2) Draw back on the accelerator slightly for about 1 second.
    3) Then apply the acceleration as though you want to quickly pass someone.

    In all cars I have driven (4 so far), there is a noticable delay when trying to accelerate after pulling off the accelerator.

    I challenge all of those who say they don't feel the problem to try this test.

    I will periodically test drive new ES300s to see if I continue to get the same response in all the cars.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    In California, the AVS comes packaged with the Nav and ML. Navs can be found in Camrys and Avalons. The AVS and ML, along with the aesthetics of the interior, truly contribute to the specialness of the ES300 over the Toyota line.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    The transmission problem you mentioned above in your test sounds very much like what I've experienced in older model LS and GS, along with other owners. The difference is that I didn't reapply the gas as if I wanted to pass someone.

    Someone else described it as the feeling of the transmission hesitating between 2 gears...not quite knowing which one to select.

    Do you also get a shuddering sensation when you reapply the gas?
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Replacing AVS shocks on an older Lexus has proven to be a very expensive proposition. If you plan to keep your car for 6+ years, you probably don't want to go with the AVS option.
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168

    I posted a msg awhile back regarding the misalignment of the door trim as it blends into the dash panel. I have attached an image for visual reference.


    Have any of 2K2 ES300 owners noticed a similar situation? The right door trim has the same issue, but is more evident.

    M. J. McCloskey
  • I think I may have built this car up too much in my head before test driving. I took the demo out yesterday for about an hour on all kinds of roads. It had the NAV option (which I can't afford) that was very cool! I think I would love this at night when I'm in unfamiliar surrounding and it is hard to read street signs. However, several things were disappointing to me.

    First, I never could find a comfortable driving position. I was either straining for the steering wheel or was too close for leg comfort. The leather felt pretty stiff (does it soften with time?) Second, the visibility out the back window through the rear view mirror was very limited. I was surprised at this, but suspect it is related to the new body style since I didn't notice this on the 2001 model. The most disappointing of all was the quality of the ride. It was a rougher ride than I expected out of this car. I can honestly say it wasn't as quiet as I expected, either. Now, I'm coming out of a '95 Camry (lots of noise due to age of car) so it should have seemed like a dream come true. As I drove home in my old reliable Camry I noticed that the seats were more comfortable than the ES300! Has anyone else had similar reactions? I'll drive it one more time before my final decision and after I drive the Acura TL. But, I'm not feeling good about it right now.
  • I have a friend who purchased an 1994 ES300 with approx. 50,000 miles on it from a Lexus dealer. The dealer did the standard 128 point inspection on the car.

    The car recently had some problems (after about 6,000 miles of use) and the dealership said it needed a new engine. Now, the car is under the mileage limit for the warranty, but over the years (6 years, 70,000 miles drivetrain warranty). The vehicle was not certified.

    Is there anyway to get any warranty relief from the dealer or from Lexus on this matter? Any suggestions? Is this something that the dealer should have noticed in their '128-point' inspection?

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The standard 128 point inspection occurs only with the "Certified" pre-owned sale. If the vehicle was not certified, then I see no reason to believe it went through the 128 point inspection.

    Had the car been eligible for the certification (but it is NOT, b/c it is a 1994-too old), a major engine problem should have been noticed(theoretically), and at that point, once that problem became known the dealer would have had to make a choice-
    1) repair/replace the engine and sell as a "Certified" car
    2) sell as is, if the fix is too costly.

    However, the dealer did not need to make this choice, as stated, because a 1994 model is too old to be considered for certification. Your friend got a bad sample- they always tell you to beware of especially low milage used cars.

    It sucks, but your friend is screwed.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for your comments. The ES300 interior is gorgeous and certainly sets it apart from the Camry line. I did test drive one, but it was before a lot of transmission complaints surfaced here, and I didn't focus on it. But I recall something about it bothered me; it didn't seem particularly smooth or responsive, but I dismissed it in my mind because Toyota is renowned for excellent and smooth-shifting transmissions (best in the business along with GM probably). I need to drive another one. The comment above, however, on expensive replacement of shocks on cars with adaptive suspension gives me pause, however.

    Reluctant as we are to admit it--given Lexus' sterling reliability reputation--based on what I've read here over the last months, my conclusion is: this car has lots of bugs. Hard to believe. A Lexus? The gold standard of the auto industry? How can it be? Say it isn't so. (Someone will.)
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    mmccloskey - looks exactly like mine. Same with the others I test drove. It would be nice if it blended right in.

    atoews - that's how my car drives plus the shuddering. Still drives me crazy to this day.

    I get a feeling that the 02 es300 will have the lowest resale value compared to the previous es's due to this problem.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Does anyone have an idea when the 2003 ES300 will be here and if there are any changes?
    mike: I see what you are talking about. If it was mine I probably would not have noticed it. It would not bother me.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    You knew this was coming :)

    I'm not quite sure I agree with your assessment that this car has "lots of bugs."

    Yes, it does seem that some people appear to have a slight hesitation in their transmission. That is the only problem I have read about in the 10 months this car has been out.

    My car has no transmission problem, so I can't comment on what others are experiencing. But if what they say is true, that does not mean the car has "lots of bugs." That would be one bug.

    Check out the BMW 7 Series boards and you'll see what "lots of bugs" really means. Further, check out the new Car & Driver - a guy writes in that not only does his 745i have lots of problems, BMW told him he should expect these things. After that you can read the Mercedes C-Class board and all the problems with that car. And if I had time, I'd tell you about the myriad of problems (both mechanical and dealer-related) two of my coworkers have endured with their new Audis.

    Having owned a 1995 ES 300 prior to my 2002, I can say this car is far superior to my old one (which was a great car too) in every way. If there were any type of problem I would be the first to admit it. But my car has stellar so far. Enough so that two of my friends have bought them also.

    Although some people are unhappy with their purchase, that probably happens with every car. I just haven't experienced or read enough evidence to think that Lexus' reputation is tarnished. And compared to BMW, Mercedes and Audi Lexus is still world's ahead in quality.

    Your opinion is certainly valued, but I repsectfully disagree.

    (Don't be too harsh on your reply!)
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    bartalk2, Any reasonable person would expect the shocks for AVS equipped cars to be more expensive. After all the AVS shocks do have more mechanical and some electrical parts that probably go with them. I wouldn't call that a bug.

    SO far, it seems like the tranny issue is the only big issue. And therefore that is one bug.
  • joeh80joeh80 Posts: 2
    Do you really think you are getting a fair all around opinion about the ES300? Naturally you are going to here about all the complaints and nitpickers in this forum. The majority of the owners and I happen to be one of them are ecstatic about the 02 ES300. I have tried to figure out what all the transmission talk is about but mine shifts perfectly. Overall it is the best car I have ever owned. I have 1000 miles and 2 months with the car and my wife and I love it.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Lenscap, I agree with your opinion. Judging by this board, there is only one bug - the transmission.

    In fact the complaints on this board indicate what a good car it really is. I'd give the ES300 board the award for citing the nitpickingest complaints of any other car!!

    1) Someone on this board said the leather was stiff. WHAT!!!! Geez, Louise. If the leather were any softer, people would be complaining about how squishy it is. And it certainly would not hold together at the stitching line.

    2) There has been about one half a page dedicated to 1/4" misalignment on the dash design. Really. If we dedicate space on our board complaint for a 1/4" misalignment, then that in itself indicates that the car is close to perfect.

    3) Noise? Goodness, the noise level has been MEASURED, for goodness sake, and PROVEN lower than other vehicles.

    I think my car is close to perfection. I don't even have a "power" problem. In fact, I am more concerned that during the course of my ownership the gas situation in this country will cause me to wish I had a Corolla or something like that.

    I am one happy camper with my vehicle.
This discussion has been closed.