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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had been invited to a Lexus Owners Forum (essentially a focus group), and I attended this past Monday. I sat in a large ballroom along with about 10 other owners (most had owned several Lexuses over the years), as well as about 30-40 people from Lexus and Toyota (most were from Japan and a few from Torrance). Some of the Japanese people were high up, including the head of customer satisfaction, the heads of some of the new cars being developed and people in charge of some of the plants. Basically we talked about many of the things we DON'T like about Lexus and their cars, so that Lexus can learn and make improvements in the future. Afterward, we had a buffet lunch with all of the Lexus/Toyota execs. I talked to the guy in charge of the factory where the new ES will be built, and here's what he told me:

    1. The car goes into production in July.
    2. It will remain the ES 300 (no ES 310 or ES 320), and horsepower will go up just a little from the current model.
    3. Due to many complaints about wind noise, all door glass will have frames (no more frameless windows).
    4. The exterior door handles will be the pull-out type.
    5. The interior will have significantly upgraded materials, look and feel vs. today's car.
    6. Overall the new car will be slightly larger.

    One other interesting side note on the IS 300 (not the ES 300): Lexus admits they made a mistake in the quality and materials used in the interior and said when the car is redone in a few years the interior will be brought up to Lexus "standards."

    For attending we were given a beautiful Japanese vase and $250 in American Express gift checks.
  • afinegoldafinegold Posts: 57
    You may be right about the photos being from a 2000 model, but I just went to the Lexus website and it does show the wood-and-leather steering wheel as an option ("Wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel (requires a value package) - $300". So it's possible that these are 2001 pics from a model that came that way (without a value package), especially if it were an early or even pre-production unit. I do agree with you about the wood and leather wheel--I have it on my 2000 Platinum and I not only think it looks classy, I love the smooth and almost sensuous way it feels on my hands.

    Thanks for giving us the scoop on your focus group meeting and the advice from the ES300 factory manager on the 2002 models. Most of his points have been rumored for some time--the surprise may be his assertion that the horsepower increase will be very modest, apparently less than 5 HP (if it were 5 or more, you'd think they'd then call it the 310 or whatever.) We'll see in July or, hopefully, earlier, how reliable his words were.
  • Thanks for the great report about the focus group you attended. Not to beat a dead horse but all those features you mentioned on the new ES seem to be on the Japanese Mark II. Any possibility the Mark II and ES300 will be one and the same? I sure hope so, the Mark II is drop dead gorgeous in my humble opinion.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I'm sorry to disappoint anybody, but the Lexus execs at the focus group reiterated that the Mark II is NOT the new ES 300. In fact, they said the Mark II is rather conservative from a styling standpoint compared to what the new ES 300 will look like.

    The Mark II was sold here as the Cressida prior to being dropped from the U.S. market when Lexus came along. The ES 300, of course, is sold in Japan as the Windom.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    before the 01 model came out I had tried to order one with leather steering wheel (i hated the wood steering wheel back then) and the salesperson said that it is not possible to order it that way. I kinda doubt that they make any 01 ES without the value package. Well, I guess you can order it a certain way but it takes forever to get one.
  • domettgdomettg Posts: 55

    In response to your comment in post # 603, the model designation, e.g., ES300 is based on the engine displacement, not the horsepower so even if the horsepower was increased to 250, it would still be called the ES300 as long as the displacement remained 3.0 liter. For example, the Acura 3.2TL has 225HP and the 3.2TL-S will have 260HP. Same displacement, different horsepower.

    General Comment:

    As I stated before, I will be very disappointed if Lexus doesn't increase displacement to at least a 3.2 liter and bump the horsepower significantly. Many people have been asking for more power so why isn't Lexus listening? A new engine that is significantly different from the Camry V6 will help distance the ES from the Camry even more. Just having VVT-i doesn't cut it IMHO. Toyota has great engine technology. They need to really showcase it in the Lexus models and stop being so conservative. Acura is already exploiting that weakness with the 3.2TL-S. It sounds like this focus group should have been held about 2 years ago.

    Glad to hear interior materials are being improved because the clicking and creaking noises that my center console woods panels are making are really getting on my nerves.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Just so everyone knows, the group I was at was not focused only on the ES 300. It also included owners of the GS 300/400/430 and RX 300. Owners of the other models were in another group.

    As a matter of fact, one item that was brought up by the Lexus officials was the possibility of an all-wheel drive GS.
  • hhjrhhjr Posts: 5
    Can someone help me in deciding on a 1992 ES 300? Possibly liev or lenscap. Check the previous message sent by myself on #599. Your help is greatly appreciated. I would like to join the ranks of the satisfied Lexus owners!
  • ved3ved3 Posts: 43
    I agree with domettg that it would be disappointing if Lexus doesn't increase the ES's
    power output. Many customers have said that if
    there's anything the ES needs, it's more power.
    Lexus #1 status with customer satisfaction resulted from constantly defining people's taste
    and desires in luxury cars. and then relentlessly
    pursuing to deliver exactly what they want. so
    if what Lenscap said is true that ES will not
    have substantial power increase, it is surprising to me. and so now we also know that the MarkII
    will not be the ES either. hmm so we don't
    know. As for the IS300, sounds like Lexus did
    listen as a lot of people didn't like the interior. I don't think it looks luxurious enough.
    I think the exterior styling is excellent though.
    teens love it and think it's cool.

    Thanks Lenscap for sharing your experience with

    the best way to know if it's the car you want is
    to test drive it. check everything inside/outside.
    ES is very reliable but if it's that old, you should check everything. any rust, leak, scratch,
    unpleasant sound, jerky shifting can all be used to negotiate the price down a little if you can.
    but it seems reasonable for an ES. hope you can
    find the ES that you can buy so you can be a proud
    owner like many of us here. we work hard for our
    money. why not own one of the best out there.

    thanks for sharing the article. it sounded like
    that guy was falling in love with his test car
    and didn't want to return it.
    he mentioned the ES Camry comarison as a negative
    side to the ES. I think the constant comparison
    between these two cars has helped the Camry
    become the 1# selling car in America 4 years in
    a row. also in early 90s. it may subconsciously
    say to people that the Camry is an entry level
    Lexus, high quality but afordable. I've driven
    both cars and I don't think they're similar.
    they may start out the same but took two separate
    paths, ultimately transformed into two different
    cars, separated by class and refinement in almost
    everything. The initial ES250 and Camry was
    similar or basically the same. but not the current
    model. it's nonsense to suggest a similarity.
  • kelnshekelnshe Posts: 7
    I just took my 1998 ES300 into the dealer for an oil change (I bring my own oil and filter - Mobil 1) at 35,000 miles. My tires don't really look particularly worn, but I was told that the tires may have about 10000 miles left, and my front brake pads have about 15% life left. I would never buy tires from the dealer ($500 with no warranty), but they quoted me a price of $160 for changing the pads. That seemed excessively high IMHO. Is it 1) possible to change them myself, and 2) would I be better off going to a place that specializes in brake repair? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • $160 does not sound bad at all. If they replaced the pads and resurface your rotors, I say go for it. You can bring to a local Firestone, Midas as well but I doubt they will be much cheaper. Brakes are one of the easiest things to do so any place should be able to do them for you. You could always do it yourself if you know how. You would however need to bring the rotors somewhere to get them resurfaced. Steve J.
  • sage5891sage5891 Posts: 9
    Have a '98 ES300 w/70,000 miles. Just had a NY state inspection at an independent garage and was told that a front wheel bearing needs replacing at a cost of $200.00. A full 4 wheel alignment will also be necessary after the repair.
    I purchased this vehicle in March '99 w/ 6,000 miles from a local dealer w/ a certified 3 yr./100,000 warranty. Anyone know if this warranty will cover the repair.
  • ecafecaf Posts: 44
    Just want to address the confusion in previous posts about Lexus model names for markets where the Lexus Division does not exist (i.e. Japanese domestic market). Lenscap is correct; the ES300 is NOT the Mark. Here are the Lexus models and their corresponding JDM names:

    Lexus ES300 = Toyota Windom
    Lexus IS300 and IS200 = Toyota Altezza
    Lexus GS300 and GS430 = Toyota Aristo
    Lexus LS430 = Toyota Celsior
    Lexus SC400 and SC300 = Toyota Soarer
    Lexus RX300 = Toyota Harriet
    Lexus LX470 = Toyota Land Cruiser Cygnus

    Hope this helps.

  • rebelskrebelsk Posts: 65
    I talked to a dealer about the new car and he said that the front would have a much more pronounced grill and the back would in some ways resemble the GS series. He said the car would be available in the fall. Has anyone else heard other details about the car or seen a picture? thanks
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Thanks so much for the info on the familycar web site. I had never heard of that site. Do you consider the site to be reliable and honest about their other reviews? The pictures of the ES300 were spectacular. I will be saving them.
    I am anxious to see the new ES300 too but if I do not like it I will probably buy a new 2001. My major concern is the frameless windows. Was that a concern for you when you looked at the car? Do you find them at all noisy?
    Do you find the leather seats slippery as you drive? I have heard this complaint before. It would be nice to find a Lexus with cloth seats to compare to the leather. If you had to do it over would you buy the ES300 again? Thanks.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Thanks a lot for the information concerning the forum. We certainly appreciate you taking the time to advise us of the upcoming 2002 ES300.
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    The frameless windows on my '97 ES make NO noise and the leather seats are NOT slippery. I suppose one could wipe the seats with some sort of oily preservitive and make them so. I use Lexol, which cleans, protects, moisturizes and is not slippery.

    I would DEFINITELY buy another ES. I love it!!!
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    If you're trying to get some help from me, you'll be disappointed. If I could help you I would have responeded to your post already. I'm here to be helped by others. I know almost absolutely about cars.

    Anyway 132K miles on a '92 model seems to be normal. That everages out to about 14-15K/yr which falls in an average range. Like I drive only about 15K miles a year and I use my car everyday to go everywhere. It just depends on how far you live from work I think. I live about 10 miles from where I work. Do you live in a small town?

    But you could be right too that it could be a odom fraud becasue it does happen. If you can find out how far the owner lives from his work, that'll be great.
  • Having looked at the Infinity I30, the Acura TL, and the Volvo S60, I'm leaning towards the ES 300. I test drove a "Coach" edition over the weekend and thought it was a very smooth ride with a very comfortable interior. Having reviewed a number of the comments on this board, it looks to me as though the two major problems people are experiencing are the wind noise and engine whine.

    If anyone has a moment, could you advise as to any other difficulties experienced with the ES300? Also, even with the Lexus $2,000 off promotion, the first price the dealer offered me (in Kentucky) was over $35,000. Any thoughts on what price I could counter with and still be considered reasonable?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    I got mine in Maryland for 32,150 last October, which I think a decent price. But it is not a Coach Edition. Somebody post earlier that he got the same thing for 31,150. I don't really know what extra stuff a Coach has. Maybe *Turbotc* can help you out.
  • dcman2dcman2 Posts: 24
    Where did you learn about $2000 off promotion? Is it regional or Nationwide? Is it off MSRP or the final negotiated deal? Please share this info with us. I am also in the market in the DC area for a new lexus-not able to make up my mind between ES300 and GS300. I am not sure whether the extra premium for GS is worth it just for the style. Performancewise they ought to be the same IMHO. Does anyone think differently?
  • The Coach edition (at least the MY '99) has different wheels, perforated coach leather seats, perforated coach leather on doors near armrests, coach badging on center glove box, more wood trims than the standard ES, and Lexus sends you 2 coach leather bags. Very nice indeed. I am not fimiliar with the MY '01 Coach though.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    2 Coach Leather Bags? I would like that for sure. But I don't think I like the look of the leather with tiny little holes in them. More sporty cars have those.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    did you finally buy that car? I should have said "I know almost absolutely NOTHING about cars" in the lastt response. maybe I should proofread my post before posting it.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    so the tires on your 99 ES were good for only two years? How many miles have you got on your car?
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    When I first bought my '97 ES a year ago, the blower for the HVAC system didn't work. Lexus replaced the fan motor under warranty, but in the process, left me a couple of rattles in the dash when it is cold. After the car warms up, the rattles disappear.

    The second problem I encountered was about two months ago, when we noticed oil spots on the garage floor. Turned out to be transmission fluid, leaking from what turned out to be a "pinched front seal" in the transmission. Lexus again fixed it under warranty, but it probably would have cost about $1200-1500 if the warranty hadn't covered it. They had to remove the transmission. BTW- It was the powertrain warranty that covered this repair, since I had 52K miles on it.

    Third problem was a burned out tail/brake light. Lexus again fixed for free, but new Lexus bulbs cost $12. YES, $12! OTOH, they seem real fancy, as they should.

    That has been all so far.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Liev and spollard1, I got my 2000 in August for 31,300 (VP+HID+mats+16" wheels, everything included but TTL). I have not shopped lately, but I would think that prices would be very competative with the new model on the horizon. If I was shopping right now, I would expect about the same price on a 2001 as I paid in August for my 2000. PS: If the coach eddition premium is anything like the "platinum" premium in 2,000, it added about $1K to the negotiated price.

    The promotion might be the regular old option package discount.
  • afinegoldafinegold Posts: 57
    To all:

    Here are some quotes from the website that I found when searching in Google for "Lexus Coach," concerning the new 2001 ES300 Coach Edition:

    "The luxury automaker and high-end retailer have teamed up again in an exclusive deal to produce a distinguished limited edition ES 300 featuring Coach leather-trimmed interior; Coach edition badging, and a Coach cabin bag. Other design and performance features include five-spoke carbon polished alloy wheels; wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel; birds-eye maple wood trim; power moonroof; 3.0 liter, 210-horsepower V6 engine; and in-dash, six-disc CD auto-changer. This special Coach edition will be available in Black Onyx with black or ivory interior, Diamond White Pearl and Oyster Pearl, both with an ivory interior.

    "There have been three previous Lexus Coach Editions in the USA - the '97 LS 400, and two ES 300 editions in `96 and `99 - not to mention three Coach Editions in Japan,'' reported Denny Clements, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager.

    "The 2001 Limited Lexus ES 300 Coach Edition is priced at $34,395 manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). The exclusive options in the limited edition represent nearly a $5,000 value for a cost of $3,000 MSRP.

    "The Coach Edition will be available through the 190 Lexus dealerships nationwide beginning January 25, 2001."

  • rob175rob175 Posts: 19
    Last August, I bought a new 2000 "Platinum" Edition ES300. From all of the descriptions that I read both last years Platinum and this years Coach are identical with only two exceptions. The "special leather" in my Platinum edition is grained but not perforated and instead of giving me coach brand bags with the car I was given a special 2 year promotion with an American Express Platinum credit card (not something I really care about or value).

    I did fall in love with the Birds Eye Maple wood trim and the Diamond White paint, which is only available on the special edition models. By the way, last August I paid $31,100 "OUT THE DOOR" with all taxes (Chicago suburbs) for a car that stickers for almost $37K before tax. So, I was as happy as one can be and still withdraw $30k from the bank on an object that only looses its value (such is life!)

    I also purchased an extended warranty, since I typically keep a car for about 7 years or so. I know that everyone has their opinions on this subject but it was something that I wanted to do. However, I did a lot of "shopping" for it using the interned. I contacted about 25 dealers in all parts of the country via e-mail requesting a quote for the Toyota Platinum 0 deductible/6yr/100M warranty. Responses came back almost immeadiatly and I was shocked to discover the range of prices I received. From highest to lowest there was a $750 difference!.......needless to say, I took the least expensive. The transaction was completed over the phone and the papers came from Toyota a couple of weeks later. My dealer wanted $1,500 at the time of the car purchase but I wound up paying only $750 for the policy. I'm happy and feel good that years 5 & 6 will be fully covered and that with 100,000 miles my total warranty will average more than 16,000 miles per year, which is closer to what I actually put on the car.
  • lievliev Posts: 93
    My friend has a 99 ES. It's not a Coach how come she has 5-spoke wheels on her? I think they look good but now I think I prefer the regular wheels because they're Lexus logos
This discussion has been closed.