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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    My mom is going to be ordering a company car within the next few months and if she gets the Avalon I am telling her to get the navigation system that will be in it for 2003. I wasn't sure if there was a subscription fee or what. However, my dad will argue against the NAV because (no offense to anyone, because I disagree with my dad) he thinks no person can be stupid enough to need help getting around wherever they live. I beg to differ because it has so many other functions than just telling you how to get somewhere. What else does the Lexus navigation do? And does anyone know if the Lexus navigation systems are used on Toyota products like the Camry and Land Cruiser? Thanks.
  • parnolaparnola Posts: 140
    coolguyky7 - all of the Toyota/Lexus vehicles use the Nav system provided by Denso.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    The transmission problem feels kind of like a timing issue, ie it feels like it misses. However, it is mostly controllable. This is not a car you want to "peel out" in. Short, apply-release sequences on the accelerator cause a sharp, jerky response.

    I was going to insist that my dealer let me test drive another ES300 to compare to mine, but so many on this board have "squawked"the problem that I feel fairly certain that ANY ES300 will do the same thing. I feel confident that you could repeat the problem in a test drive to see what it is like.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I took a trip to LA last week and my Nav system made things so much more efficient. One of the most useful features is the Local Point of Interest List. If you select restaurants, it will provide a list of all the restaurants in the vicinity. Ditto for gas stations.
    I predict that Nav systems will be in all cars one day, and will replace the need for maps. It warns you ahead of time which lane you need to be in, which I found very useful in LA. No more missing exits or stressing out at the last minute. If you take a wrong turn, the Nav system automatically adjusts the route.

    The downside - it does not work in a detailed manner in non metropolitan areas, so you might want to check the documentation to see if it will be useful to you.

    I purchased the Nav in order to get the other goodies that come packaged in the deal. The Mark Levinson stereo is wonderful and I like the AVS, etc.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    My dealer informed me that the residual value on a leased vehicle with the Nav package will be a lower percentage than that of a vehicle with a premium package. This means they expect the price of the Nav option to go down.

    I plan to keep my car for a long time, so I wanted a navigation system.

    By the way, the auto reviews in consumer reports do not mention that you have manual control of the audio on buttons outside of the computer control. I don't find the audio control awkward at all; just a little tricky to learn.
  • jmezzjmezz Posts: 36
    could anyone offer info on lease prices for this car 36-39 months 15k miles

  • tiger8tiger8 Posts: 120
    Thanks for the transmission tip. I'll check for transmission gliches when I test drive it.

    Do you have skid and traction control, and, if so, did you have to buy virtually every other option to get it?
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    When I puchased my vehicle, through Sam's Club, Lexus was (and still is) selling two trim packages:

    One called Premium, which seems to be well documented on various web sites, and Had I selected this option it would have cost me about $34,500 (Sam's Club price is a no-haggle price). This package has leather interior, regular sound system and other options that you can look up on the web sites. This option does not have a CD changer, Nav, Mark Levinson sound upgrade, AVS, or Power Sun Shade. I am not sure whether it has heated seats, VSC or HID. I am fairly certain it has the wood/leather steering wheel and other basic interior options like the more loaded trim package.

    The other package, which cost me $37,775, includes everything except chrome wheels. When you visit the web sites, you have to build this option. It has single CD player like the premium, but with a 6 CD changer in the console. I have HID, Nav, Mark Levinson upgrade, sun shade, heated seats AVS, in console CD changer. My MSRP was $39,963. I paid $2500 over invoice because the car is in demand. When going through Sam's Club, they send you to a fleet manager (as opposed to a regular salesman) and they just quote you an amount over invoice.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Do try and take everything all personal items out of the car when judging how noisy it is. Mine is so quiet, I think the seat belts jiggling, the noise made by vibration of where the seat belts are attached to the wall, and the vibration made by the seats (especially the empty passenger seat, bother me more than they would in a car where you can hear real noise.
    Whenever I have something like a purse on the seat or items in the console, the noise from these items is louder than that coming from the road or from the chassis of the vehicle.

    The transmission is kind of an irritant, but I traded in a Camry LE and the ES300 was so superior to that, that the transmission did not bother me at all at first. I guess life is rough when expectations are high.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Go to the "Lexus LS" board for a detailed discussion on the woes associated with getting upgrades to the Nav DVD. Apparently, the LS has had a Nav system in it for longer than the ES, and there is a larger experience base there than on this board.The discussion occurs during the last two weeks of April; from about the 13th to the 26th.

    Apparently, some folks have a 2002 version of the DVD. I have a 2001 version, even though I've only had my car for a month.

    Owners on the "Lexus LS" page complain that dealers promised free upgrades for a period of time, only to have the dealers back out.Upgrades cost anywhere from $300 - $500, which everyone pretty much agrees is outrageous. One of the posts referred to subscribing to LLink, but I don't know what that is.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    The vibrating noise comes from the passenger door I think. It happens even on smooth roads. I don't think it's the seatbelt because even when seat is occupied and seatbelt fastened, noise is still there. It's also not things from the console. I'll have it checked out on my 1000 mile service.

    As far as tranny, I guess I just miss my 99 honda accord ex v6 coupe - in my opinion has a smoother transmission and stronger acceleration. I always believed Toyota built better transmissions than Honda but Lexus proved me wrong.

    I guess I expected much more from a 36K vehicle. After all, shouldn't a 36K vehicle be better at EVERYTHING compared to a 25K vehicle in a lower class? Apparently not.

    Well, such is life - can't win 'em all, nothing's perfect. Life goes on. Lessons have been learned. There are far more important things than worrying about the car I am driving. I should just be thankful I HAVE a car. And it's a Lexus to boot. I'm done whining.
  • tiger8tiger8 Posts: 120
    Toyota's transmissions are, in general, first rate. There is obviously a glitch on the new ES300. Consumer Reports says that the 4-speed transmission on the Camry is better and smoother than the 5-speed on the ES300, and that likewise the transmission on the previous ES300 is better than the current one. Strange. Maybe they will modify it some time during this model year (or next).

    I'm going to check with local dealer and see whether I can order an ES300 with a different array of options than the two you mentioned. I don't want the Levinson, NAV, or the wood steering wheel, but do want xenons and skid control.

    Thanks for your help.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Check out the following excerpt from Message 30, Sept 13, 2000 on "The Lexus LS" board. The description of the way the LS transmission worked sounds similar to that of the 2002 ES300. I can't say the problems were/are the same, but the symptomes sound similar.

    "....It was obviously not a simple defect, but a basic design problem. I’ve been driving the car for 18 months and 30,000 miles, all along hoping I would get used to this quirk, but that hasn’t happened. An avid reader of Car & Driver and Road & Track, I read each issue hoping to find a reference to this problem, anywhere, with regard to any vehicle. There was never any mention of it in regard to LS 400s, but there were two references to it, about other vehicles.

    The problem? What the technical people refer to as “throttle tip-in.” I noticed almost from the beginning that it is impossible to drive my
    LS400 both quickly and smoothly. I had to choose one or the other. Quick means quick, not fast. When you push the accelerator pedal the car lunges. Only by pushing very gently can you avoid the lunge, and the few seconds, or even tenths of a second lost inthat way deprives the vehicle of quickness.

    Example: You get a brief chance to jump into an adjacent lane while moving in slow, jammed freeway traffic. You hit the pedal
    hurriedly to take advantage of the brief opportunity before the car behind closes the gap. The LS400 lunges forward awkwardly into the lane, and then you have to hit the brake with a jolt to avoid hitting the car in front. Instead of a smooth zip zip operation, it’s a
    lunge-jolt maneuver. You look and feel clumsy.

    Example: You’re driving in heavy but steadily moving traffic on the freeway when you notice that there’s a jerk in an adjacent lane who is thinking about jumping in front of you, even though you have left less than a minimum safe distance between you and the car in front. If he succeeds in doing this, you will be forced to apply the brake. (I consider being forced to apply my brake to accomodate a lane changer as being “cut off,” because I devoutly believe that one should only make a lane change when he/she can do sowithout affecting the forward progress of the car you are pulling in front of). So you hit the accelerator to close the gap even further in an attempt to deter the jerk. The LS 400 lunges forward and then you have to brake because you got too close, to quickly to the car in front. If the attempt to gain speed quickly results in a throttle downshift, then there is a hesitation, a roar, and a lunge, which is even worse.

    Let me note in fairness to the LS 400 that in the vacinity of 50-60 mph and faster there is usually enough torque in 5th or 4th gear so
    that the car will gain speed smoothly and quickly without having to experience the lunging, which usually occurs at lower speeds.

    Now I know that this lunging doesn’t have to be. I previously owned an ES300 which was both smooth and quick. The maneuvers I described above could be accomplished with that car with ease. The ES300 lacked high-end poop, but that’s another story."
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    I've had my car about six weeks. On the plus side, it rides smoother than any car I've ever had, has an outstanding stereo system and the decor is exceptional. It also gets pretty good gas mileage.

    On the downside my sunroof rattles and the dealership doesn't know how to fix it. They think they will have to replace the whole thing. A Lexus engineer will be in sometime next month to look at it. The ground noise is annoying. I've seen some really stupid posts on this board about their cars being so quiet that they are noisy. Sorry, that's the biggest oxymoron I've ever heard. The quietness is above average at best, but definitely not exceptional like noted in Consumer Reports. I drove a loaner for a bit and found it to be the same. My test drive was on very smooth concrete, so I wouldn't have noticed. Also, there seems to be a rattle in my right passenger door, but I can't seem to identify it. The wood trim scratches easily and Lexus has no way to remove the scratches. A carwash brushed the vacuum hose across my console wood and scratched it. Lexus said sorry. That'll be $900 to replace it. I'm taking it up with the carwash.

    The transmission is a piece of crap. About one in five times, when I need accelleration, I can give it the gas and nothing happens for a couple of seconds. The RPM's jump to nearly redline and then the car begins to accelerate as the RPM's fall. That's just the opposite of how it should happen. Nearly caused me to get rear ended when I tried to change from a lane that wasn't moving to a lane that was. Also, it downshifts at times. When I accelerate for a bit and release the foot feed after a couple of seconds the car suddenly slows as the transmission downshifts. I can watch the RPM's jump as it does this.

    To say the least, I'm very frustrated. The dealership told me that Lexus recognizes the problem with the transmission but they don't know how to fix it. At least that's what they say. Lexus is monitoring the problem, and with enough complaints, will hopefully do something about it. Not all cars have this problem and the loaner they gave me shifted fine.

    Please loudly complain to your dealership about the transmission. I think it's actually a dangerous issue. The more we complain, hopefully, Lexus will take some action.
  • tiger8tiger8 Posts: 120
    You're right. Despite offering a slew of individual options, Lexus now is building the ES300 in only two packages. If you want xenons, instead of paying just about $500 for them, basically you're going to have to buy virtually every other option, whether you want them or not. Thus, I don't want NAV, Levinson, wood steering wheel, etc., but if I want xenons, that's what I have to get. In other words, xenons are going to cost me $3,000-$4,000, packaged with other options. No way. And with the transmission problems, I'm reconsidering. Consumer Reports said that the loaded V6 Camry actually ranked higher than the ES300, has a better transmission, handled better, etc. And next year they'll probably have xenons as a stand alone option (for $500-$600).
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Do you not want the Nav/ ML or do you just not want to pay for it? Both are great.

    I disagree that the Camry handles better. I tested the Camry VLE and SE several times before I opted for the ES300, and even considering the transmission issue, I prefer the ES300. My boyfriend, who is very picky, drove my car for a whole weekend, and even though we both noticed the transmission problem, it did not bother us. Both of us, however, are "smooth" drivers. If you like to "dart" around, don't get the ES300.

    I do NOT like the ride of the Camry V6 XLE at all, and the SE, although it handles better than the XLE, is too rough for me to enjoy on a day-to-day basis. Had I not opted for the Lexus, I would probably have bought the Camry V6 SE.

    Another note on the Camry - my boyfriend, who owns a 1994 Camry V6 XLE, pointed out that although they made the new Camry bigger, they did not increase the power on the engine to match.

    I did not test an LE, but I understand they did upgrade the 4 cylinder engine, and it is quite peppy.
  • clarkramclarkram Posts: 7
    I agree with tiger8 on this. I am a smooth driver and havent been bothered by the transmission. Just my .02, but if you are really concerned about "closing the gap" to stop some jerk from squeezing in front of you, then you should rethink your priorities. If you stop the guy what did you save? maybe 1/10th of a second?
  • Sorry to hear your problems. My car has about 3400 miles on it, and so far I haven't noticed any significant problem with the transmission. Yes it's a little sluggish on occasion, but the response has been good in general (I drive moderately aggressively). I also didn't experience the noise in the passenger door as others have posted.

    I did notice another problem in my car though. When I accelerate from a full stop, I sometimes hear a short clicking noise from the back of the car. This happens only when there's a full tank of gas. When I asked the service rep to check it out, he said it's probably due to gas lushing in the tank, which I find a bit odd. Another gripe I posted earlier about his car is the brake pedal making noice every time you step off it. Well I'm almost used to it now, and it's not getting on my nerve that much.

    My experience with this car has been mostly positive. I like the new exterior design a lot more now than before. The head light looks quite good, especially against a lighter color (mine is millenium silver). The best thing is there are still relatively few new ES300 on the road, compared to the like of BMW or Acura, which are everywhere you look.
  • yonyon Posts: 7
    At the risk of a tagent...

    The reason to close the gap is not to save time or "stay ahead" of the other guy. It's to discourage the dangerous behavior he's engaged in. Pointless weaving in and out of steady traffic is dangerous---every lane change raises the possibility of an accident. What if the guy in front of me hits the brakes just as the jerk cuts in?

    So from my perspective, either I close the gap and tailgate (not exactly safe, but...) or I let the guy cut me off, which now means now I'm tailgating anyway *and* have had a dangerous maneuver performed directly in front of me. I'd rather pick the "one evil" rather than the "two evil" alternative.

    Just IMHO...
  • kjc13kjc13 Posts: 1
    I have 2001 ES300 and am very happy with the vehicle except for an itch that is being scratched so frequently it is turning into a major rash. The cupholders in the front seat are not deep enough to maintain their hold on a 20oz plastic bottle or a reuseable plastic coffee cup while making a turn. If I make a left turn, the cup or bottle is launched into the passenger seat. Since the car is also my office on many occasions, this minor annoyance has created major problems.

    The dealer examined the cupholders and said there were no problems. Is anyone else experiencing this problem or has developed a solution?
  • ramzakramzak Posts: 9
    I am waiting delivery of a new ES300. I was reading about the problem with hesitation in downshifting. I was wondering if one can use the tipronic capability and simply shift down manually? Sounds like I have a similar problem with my 1996 Avalon, but I can't shift as easily, only use the ECT mode.
  • 1955dave1955dave Posts: 1
    Hello to all...I'm new to the forum and have spent hours reading most all the past and archived posts and I've learned a lot about the 1998 ES 300 I've just purchased from a Nissan dealer with 39K on the clock. It was a lease vehicle sold at auction and the 4 year factory warranty was just up at the end of February. It's been serviced regularly at Lexus dealers and is in great overall condition. Since taking possession of the car I've discovered that neither one of the heated seats works. I've checked all the obvious stuff like the fuses and the wiring to the bottom of the seat (which I've verified has 12 VDC controlled by the console switches). Has anyone here heard of any problems with the heating elements in the seats? It seems unusual that they would both fail with so little use - the passenger seat looks like no one ever sat in it and the driver's shows very minimal wear. I've noticed that there are a couple of TSBs regarding seat heater replacement when I've searched for 1998 ES 300 TSBs (BO0056-00 and B0005-00). I don't know what the bulletins describe. I've talked to my local Lexus dealer hoping that because the car has low mileage and is just recently out of warranty they might consider investigating and repairing the cause without charging me the full repair charge (I'd be willing to split the charge) and they have told me to buy an extended warranty. Does it ever do any good to contact Lexus directly with a problem such as this or do they stand firm on the warranty coverage?
  • bh10bh10 Posts: 1
    I personally don't leave too much space in front of me becuase it frustrates people behind me, however, tailgator I'm not. In my opinion, if people who are going much slower or not keeping up with the traffic post higher threat on the road because it means that they're not paying attention to the road or just doing bunch of other things at once, cell phone for example.

  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Although the way to avoid the problem on Avalons and LS400s was with the ECT option, there IS no ECT option on the 2002 ES300. I have not tried downshifting, but it might work.
  • tiger8tiger8 Posts: 120
    What I object to is having to buy all sorts of other equipment just in order to get xenon headlamps. I think the only company that doesn't do this is Honda/Acura. No clever strategy of if you want this then you must order this option package, and if you want a steering wheel then it's part of this $18,000 luxury package, etc.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I think some people on this board have special ordered some options, but they typically take a long time to get.

    The Japenese are notorious for discouraging special orders.

    I see your point, but on the other hand, it seems that it would be costly to set up for special orders and maybe limiting to popular packages helps keep the cost of the popular options down.

    I know people who want cloth seats, and those are hard to come by, too.

    Good luck with your car purchasing experience. I hope you get something you like.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    Texas83 - I am experiencing the same noises and experiencing the same frustration. My expectation of this car was probably way too high.

    I went to the dealership this morning for the 1000 mile service and told them about the transmission problems as well as the noises. They fixed the noise coming from the moonroof but not the passenger side door. I will be going back tomorrow to ride with the technician to reproduce the problem.

    They also told me about a TSB regarding rattles underneath the chassis by the catalytic converters. If you are hearing any noises that seem to come from underneath the car, it is most likely caused by "loose clamps" as the tech put it.

    In regards to the transmission problem, the service manager explained that the hesitation is caused by "drive-by-wire" technology used in 02 es300s. He says this problem is more prevalent in GS models and the reason for this is when you push the gas pedal, the computer needs to "calculate how much power" to send to the engine. The delay is apparently coming from the calculation process. Hopefully they can reprogram it to shift sooner.

    Speaking of programming, is there a way to program the steering wheel buttons (mode and reset) to control the audio instead? Also, is it possible to fit the LS430 steering wheel on the es300? Audio controls really need to be on the steering wheel - especially on a 35K vehicle.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    No you cannot "reprogram" the trip computer buttons to work the radio. That's like asking to reprogram the outside mirror switch to work the AC. One has nothing to do with the other.

    And no, the LS 430 wheel cannot be put on an ES 300. It has buttons that have no function in the ES.

    I, too, wish the car had radio controls on the steering wheel, but that's just the way the car is (for now anyway).
  • tiger8tiger8 Posts: 120
    One Lexus dealer who seems to know what he's talking about told me that Lexus is only building two variations of the ES300, one with leather, the other loaded. Period. No special orders or individual options. Maybe because the demand is so great. Maybe later on, when demands declines, they will built other varieties. Anyway, thanks for your advice and encouragement. Enjoy your car. One thing about Lexus that is almost unequalled is the silence of the engine--tremendous noise insulation.
  • gdb55gdb55 Posts: 14
    Just got a quote from a dealer in the Northwest for an '02 ES300 with premium pkg, headlamp pkg, skid control, wood steering wheel, and heated seats. Sticker is $36,373. Invoice is $31,926. Their price would be $34,400 plus a $50 "document" fee. Good deal or not?
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