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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    I think the interior of the new ES300 looks almost exactly like the interior of the current Acura 3.2TL (non Type-s). The dash design (with the navigation) along with the slotted 5-speed gear shifter and the rear AC vents for the rear passengers, has absolutely no difference in looks from the Acura 3.2TL.

    Check out the below link:

  • jamrock4jamrock4 Posts: 53
    Speaking from my own personal experience the IS300, ES300, and GS300 appeal to different segments of the market. The gen X crowd loves the IS300. ES300 appeals primarily to a more mature crowd who are willing to spend a little extra for luxury. GS300 buyers tend to be more upscale consumers who are looking to separate themselves from the crowd and tend to look more at the Mercedes E class and the BMW 5 series. IMHO I doubt that a more powerful ES would put a dent in GS300 sales.

    The only Lexus that appears to have stolen sales form the ES300 is th RX300. In the future the Acura TL-S and Infiniti I35 may take away sales from the ES300 because they have established a new standard for peformance in the luxury market 260 horsepower.

    Lexus has made the false assumption that people are either interested in a sport sedan devoid of luxury (IS300) or a luxury sedan with the emphasis on a cushy ride and little else. Most of the people I know want luxury, performance, and handling.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    "Lexus has made the false assumption that people are either interested in a sport sedan devoid of luxury (IS300) or a luxury sedan with the emphasis on a cushy ride and little else. Most of the people I know want luxury, performance, and handling. "

    The GS300 is available for them.

    The biggest problem for the 2002 ES300 is not that 210HP is inadequate, but the fact that the styling has suddenly gone from one of the best styled to one of the worse in this class.
  • I find most of the ES300 to be nice looking.

    The front end is definately distinctive and it links the 2002 to the 2001 ES300. Looks similar yet different. The side profile is totally different from the old ES300, that is mostly due to the fact that the car has risen almost 3" in height and the framed doors replacing the frameless doors of the previous ES300.

    The only part that I don't like is the rear end. What happened? The rear end seems like someone other than who styled the front and sides styled it. The lights overall aren't bad, but the Benz knock-off licence plate surround looks out of place. And the tailights seem a bit small. And that chrome trim around the tailights has got to go.

    The interior is smashing! Very nice! The dash looks very upscale and elegant. hunter001, the interior looks nothing like the 3.2TLs. Gated shifter? that's a benz trademark and the LS400 has had it since 1995, and the GS300/400/430 has had it since 1998. you see similarities in the rear A/C vents? What else shape are A/C vents supposed to be other than retangular?

    The TL's interior looks like *Ramada* compared to the ES300s interior, which I could best describe as *ritz carlton*.
  • I'm also befuddled by the 210bhp. But I'm figuring 2002 will see a new engine or a power jump. I don't think I35 will hurt ES300 sales. The ES300 has a much better and built up reputation and most of the target audience of the ES300 are the conservative set.
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131
    Lexus has made the false assumption that people are either interested in a sport sedan devoid of luxury (IS300) or a luxury sedan with the emphasis on a cushy ride and little else. Most of the people I know want luxury, performance, and handling. "


    The biggest problem for the 2002 ES300 is not that 210HP is inadequate, but the fact that the styling has suddenly gone from one of the best styled to one of the worse in this class.

    Agree on styling.

    I think most people -- in this class of car -- want a car that performs well (or at least close to competition), has a luxury feel, and has classy styling, with a decent value.

    From what i can tell, none of the entrants do well in all categories (acura is weak in luxury and styling but good in all else -- bmw is weak in value and space and lexus is now weak in performance and perhaps styling).

    personally, my wife has the TL and it meets all of the "specs" except two -- don't really care for the sheet metal (looks) and it's not particularly FUN to drive...
  • spfotey - you are right on with those comments.

    I guess we were all spoiled ten years ago with the styling on the Acura Legend, Lexus ES300, Lexus LS400, Nissan Maxima, Toyota Camry, and others. I think most of those cars, even today, are more exciting than the 2000+ models.

    It seems likely every new generation from Japan gets more and more boring!

    I planned to buy the 2002 ES300, but don't know that I want to look at that car every day. I just picked up the Motor Trend and, unfortunately, that is what the car looks like. I keep hoping this is a dream and I wake up with a car that looks like one of the design drawings. On a positive note, the interior looks great.

    Automakers - please...please...pretty please bring style back to the luxury car marketplace. I'll pay $40K, but not for a car that looks like the original Ford Taurus.

    I, like everyone else, want luxury, sport, and value. If someone finds something, let me know.
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    IMO, ES 300 is going to do well. Please remember, ES 300 buyers don't care about speed or fun. To them, luxury, road isolation, quiet, and relaxing are the main points. Plus Lexus stereo system is so good, that drivers are enjoying the music instead of the annoying traffic on the freeway.

    If you want sporty, buy BMW 3 series.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421 has just published its "First Drive" of the 2002 ES 300. Check it out by following the link in the Additional Resource box on the left sidebar of this page.

    Post your comments about the review here, or if you'd like, provide your feedback - for possible publication on the Edmunds site - by emailing

    So what do you think?

    Sedans Message Board
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    As I've said before, I curently own a 1995 ES 300 that I bought new, and plan to buy the 2002 model. It is exactly what I am looking for: beautiful, smooth and quiet with the absolute nicest interior in its class. Not to mention the finest dealer/customer service on the planet. Oh, did I mention the bulletproof reliability?

    There may be faster cars and sportier cars, but they are for someone else. For me, the new ES just about has it all.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I too feel that Toyota will be very successful with the new ES, as lenscap's posts will give testament too. It may not be the car for the enthuisasts that live on these boards, but it will hit its target buyers easily, and woo them over with the qualities that have made Lexus the success that it is today. Read the above Edmunds link, and you'll see that Lexus openly acknowledges this. To those of you who call the styling bland, please send me some of the drug that you are on. No, I'm not the biggest fan of the vehicle's style as I stated earlier today, but I feel it is a distinct design, and a bold departure.
    (Sidenote: Although a Toyota fan, I feel that in this category, the Acura TL-S represents the best VALUE, but not that it is necessarily the best car.
    Sidenote 2: If I was out of school and had the capital to invest on a great car like those that are offered in the "entry luxury" or "entry sports luxury" category, I'd pick the IS300 5sp...)
  • carlo7carlo7 Posts: 7

    I bought my ES300 new in Jan 00 and heard the same noise. I tried 2 new ES300's at the dealer while mine was having a complimentary oil change. Both had the same noise. Could not get an answer as to what it is. I tend to turn the key to ON and let all the electronics snap, crackle and pop for about 5 seconds before I start the car. The noise starts as soon as I slide the key in the lock and continues until I start the car. Only happens on the first start every day. I just turned 17k mi and the car runs fine so I'm letting sleeping dogs lie.

    I also hear a small snap or something the first time I turn the wheel going out of the drive on the first ride of the day. No other time. Sounds like something in the front suspension, but again no problems so I'm leaving it alone. So far I like the car but am looking for a 2000 LS for more comfortable seats. Can't seem to tilt the bottom of this seat enough. Last car was a Diamante and the seat was much better.
  • It's growing on me. First look was....ahggg. Then went back...looked again. Not as bad. Front is Toyota like, rear is Mercedes like and side is Taurus like? I bought my '01 ES in March. I was afraid change would look more like rest of Lexus line. I'm glad I bought mine when I did. But '02 is growing on me.

  • AamirQAamirQ Posts: 7

    I don't own a Lexus and I don't plan on buying one anytime soon, but I wanted to throw in my $0.02 on the 2002 ES300's styling. First of all, I'll reserve final judgment until I see one in person, but, like many of you, I don't like the styling, based on the photos I've seen thus far.

    To me, it looks more like a Daewoo than a Lexus, perhaps like a Super Leganza, if one ever existed. (IMO the Leganza is pretty sharp for a sub-$20K family sedan, but I wouldn't want *my* $35K Lexus to look like one.) The grille looks unimaginative and generic. I can't stand it when Japanese and Korean auto manufacturers (or anyone else, for that matter, but they're the ones who offend the most in this regard) use the generic four- or five-strip horizontal bar grille. Come up with something more creative, for goodness sakes!!!

    The swept-back headlights are heavily used by Toyota's design studios these days, but they do not belong on this car. They look out of place and do not fit in with the design "theme". The greenhouse looks too small on a car this long and tall. The exterior looks too slab-sided, and that character ridge that runs just above the door handles just doesn't work; it enhances the extreme height of the sheetmetal relative to the short windows. The section above the rear wheels look particularly fat. This is not a lean and elegant design by any means.

    The car's wheels and tires look too small, which is something that the Avalon suffers from as well. The shade of light metallic blue and the multi-spoke alloy wheels makes the's test car look like a Prius on steroids.

    On the other hand, the interior looks positively smashing. The Acura TL is a total embarrassment by comparison. It definitely looks like a $40,000 car in there. Increased usage of burl walnut certainly helped here.

    Why only 210 hp? That should be enough for most drivers, nevertheless, especially with a 0-60 time of 8.1 seconds. Drivers who want a quicker, more powerful car probably wouldn't go for a Lexus anyway. Still, the Acura TL and Infiniti I35 are well ahead in this regard. I'd expect to see an increase in displacement in a couple of years, maybe a 3.2 liter V6 that puts out 235 hp or so. (This is just a guess on my part.)

    To sum up, all of the above statements are my opinions, so if you really like the 2002 ES300, I am happy for you. I might like it once I get a chance to see the car in person as well. I remember when the current VW Jetta was released a couple of years ago; I hated the photos, but, after seeing it in person, I think it's the best-looking small sedan sold in the US. And the other Japanese sedans in this segment are nothing to write home about either, from a styling perspective.

    The 2002 ES300 will be a sales success, I'm sure. This car will still press all the right buttons for those who represent the target buyer group. I'd rather take a VW Passat W8 or an Acura TL Type-S instead, though.

    PS - Sorry for the length of this message.
  • domettgdomettg Posts: 55
    The comments from Lexus Group VP in the first drive review:

    "We don't have to develop a car that tries to be all
    things to all people," Lexus group Vice President Denny
    Clements stated, and we feel that there's a certain
    amount of honor in acknowledging a car's limitations.
    Many people simply don't give a fig about the
    performance potential of an automobile. A car is a
    conveyance, not a form of entertainment, and if they're
    lucky enough, their vehicle will also convey to onlookers
    the idea that they've achieved a certain level of success.
    For those consumers, the ES 300 will have tremendous
    appeal. "

    I think this is a cop out for not doing anything to the engine. I can't remember the last time that the next generation of a car, especially in this segment, didn't have at the very least, a token increase in horsepower. The current 3.0L engine in the Maxima has more HP than the ES so I find it hard to believe that Lexus couldn't find a few more ponys without much expense for marketing purposes even if they are planning on replacing the engine when the new GS3XX comes out.

    In a prior post, I commented on the sluggishness of the automatic in my '99 ES to downshift. The following quote is taken from the first drive review:

    "The V6 has been mated to a new transmission,
    upgraded from a four-speed to a closer-ratio five-gear
    unit. Upshifts are crisp enough, but downshifts are
    sludgy and come only after the car thinks about it for a
    while. Under most normal driving circumstances, it's
    perfectly acceptable, but trying to wring some spirit out
    of the ES 300 is more of an exercise in futility; it's as if
    some goblin had poured butterscotch sauce into the
    fluid reservoir."

    Believe me when I say that I have seen this complaint about most Lexus models in MANY car magazines over the years. How long is it going to take to address these issues?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Why not stop waiting for more power, better tranny, etc, and just purchase a different vehicle. TL-S perhaps? If enough of you do that, Toyota will be forced to get the message.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Based on my experience with my wife's car - a '99 Lexus ES - & my own - an '01 BMW 330i with sport package & 5-speed manual - I'd say that the Lexus has just the right amount of power for its personality. My BMW is a much faster car (0-60 in 6.1 seconds), but it also has the all the stuff - RWD, a very firm suspension & tighter, heavier (substantially less power assist) & more communicative steering - needed to apply that power safely & effectively to the pavement. If you bump up the power in the ES you must also tune the suspension & steering to accommodate the extra horses. Otherwise, you'll wind up with a fast, dangerous pig. (Remember, folks, we're dealing with FWD here.) But you can't do this to the ES without changing its personality. It's a boulevard cruiser - a damned good one, in fact - & it's got all the power a boulevard cruiser needs. My wife, who's typical of the ES drivers I know, loves it the way it is.
  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    The car to me looks like it's going to head and shoulders above the TL and the I35. First the interior - by far the best..

    exterior - looks the most expensive. how it's styled is up for debate but it looks the most expensive.

    transmission - Toyota makes the best transmissions in the business.

    engine - this is the one area that Toyota isn't tops in...but i'm sure it'll be very smooth and 210HP means that no one will have trouble merging in traffic... it's not a rocket by any means but with the new 5 speed'll be quicker than the last generation.

    suspension - Lexus went with the multi-link rear suspension...not a bad move!
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    When the BMW 5-series was redesigned it 1997, wasn't it changed from the 530i to the 528i? I know the engine was downgraded a little.

    Also, Lexus wanted the ES engine to attain a ULEV rating in all 50 states. I don't believe any competing car has that.
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    The Audi A4 1.8T engine is ULEV...

    And when the 5 series was redone, it went from having 3 models (525i, 530i, 540i) to 2 models (528i and 540i - they dropped the 3.0 liter V8). The 528i was an upgrade from the 525i.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Thanks for the 5-series clarification.

    As for the A4, I don't consider a 4-cylinder turbo engine comparable to a V6. It's less powerful and nowhere near as smooth and quiet. What I meant was cars like the Acura TL. The engine in that car, for example, is only ULEV in California while the TL-S engine isn't at all.
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    The A4 is most certainly a competitor for the ES300. And it is faster than the ES300 (even with the 1.8T engine). No, it's not as quiet, but it's not supposed to be, either. The cars have somewhat different missions at going after the same customers. Audi wants the people who enjoy driving. Lexus wants the people who would rather ride in a car than drive it. But they're all looking at sedans in the same price range.

    You may not consider it to be competition, but the rest of the world does.
  • domettgdomettg Posts: 55

    Please excuse my ignorance, I guess I need to be educated on this topic: why is the ULEV rating so important? Is this something that is required to sell cars in certain states?


    I agree that Toyota has the best transmissions in the business, especially in terms of reliability and smoothness but is it asking too much for an automatic that downshifts into 2nd without so much hesitation? The 'drive by wire' system should make for even faster detection of throttle position changes thus translating into a faster command to the transmission to downshift. The only thing I can think of is there is some mechanical limitation that would compromise shift smoothness for faster downshifts.
    BTW, the interior may be the best effort yet by Lexus. IMHO, it is drop dead gorgeous!
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    Everyone has the right to expect that the new ES300 will have a nicer interior than most of the competing cars.
    Of course it should. It clearly OUTPRICES everything else. $38K loaded with navigation and no discounts?!
    Will it really have $8,000 worth of wood and higher grade plastic than a TL that is available discounted to $30K with navigation?
    There is no reason to compare an ES300 with a Type-S TL since even the base TL outpowers the the ES300 and has a smoother, quieter engine that better compares to the Lexus than the rumbling 260HP version with the hard sport suspension.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I doubt the the A4 1.8T auto could out accelerate the ES.
    I haven't seen a figure for the 1.8T auto, but at 8.15 sec to 60 (Motor Trend, Sept 2001) the ES 300 is quick enough, and I really dont see how 170hp in the A4 with the could beat that by anything more that like .2 seconds.

    s852-pricing hasnt been set yet. where are you quoting from? for now, like the Altima, its all speculation.
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    "The only thing I can think of is there is some mechanical limitation that would compromise shift smoothness for faster downshifts."

    You are correct. Manufacturers can smoothen out the shifts of the transmission, which would result in sloppier but imperceptible shifts which gives the illusion of "smoothness". The other option is to have crisper and faster shifts which could come across as "not so smooth" to the driver. Basically, the challenge for manufacturers is to find the golden balance. How much of "smoothness" should be sacrificed for better and faster shifts ?!!! Lexus correctly reads its customer base and goes for the imperceptible, smooth (but mechanically sluggish) way of shifting the automatic transmission, which is what its customers want. Nothing wrong with that.

    The Lexus IS300 is an exception to this rule but then the target audience is certainly different in case of the IS.

  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    Well, auto vs. auto, the ES probably is faster. But stick A4 vs. auto ES (which is a fair comparison because Lexus chooses to no offer a manual), the A4 is faster. About 7.5 to 60.
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    I think a better comparison would be with the 2.8L V6 in the Audi (the new A4 with CVT transmission which I drove in Munich 2 months back, would be coming with a 3.0L V6).

    Let us take the 1.8L 4-banger Audi engine out of this comparison.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    ok let's all start comparing apples and oranges... of course the stick is going to be quicker. i'll agree with you on that.
  • The A4 1.8T is most clearly not the ES300s competition. The A4s competition is the IS300, to a extent. Although, I doubt most A4 1.8t shoppers are even looking at $30K+ cars.

    Both cars are totally different.

    The ES300 is 191" long, the A4 is 176"
    The ES300 is strictly FWD, the A4 FWD or AWD.
    The ES300 auto. only, the A4 auto and manual.
    The A4 1.8T starts in the mid $20K range, the ES300 starts in the low $30K range.

    that's a different ballpark. Now, the A4 2.8/3.0 does compete with the ES300 as well as the IS300 because of it's price.

    If the A4 1.8T competes with the ES300 that means the G20 also competes with the ES300. Yeah, right!

    It is quite easy to surmise that Lexus is targeting 2 different kinds of customers within the same price range with the IS300 and ES300.
This discussion has been closed.