Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    There is only one ES300 owner on this board whose vehicle seems to have noise problems AND transmission problems. I am very sympathetic with him, and I suspect he is frustrated that other ES300 0wners are not experiencing the same problems.

    I considered purchasing a Camry, but the XLE was just too sluggish for me. I considered the SE, but due to its sport suspension, it was too rough for every day use.

    I traded in a 1996 Camry LE with 56,000 miles for my Lexus, and I'd say my expectations for a Lexus are much higher and I am significantly more likely to notice and complain about a small noise in the ES300. But the ES300 definitely surpasses the Camry in luxury, and power. I do have a problem with the transmission, but the Lexus is still superior overall to the Camry, even taking the transmission into account, in my opinion. And I test drove Camrys many times before I made my decision.

    What I did not do is to test an Avalon. They say the ES300 is a Camry clone, but it is more accurate to say that the ES300 has similarities with Camry, with Avalon (engine) and with higher end Lexuses (leather, ML, interior). In fact, the ES300 has just as many similarities with the GS3XX as it does with the Camry, but ES300 detractors somehow never mention those!!!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Can you really feel the difference through the seat of the pants between the XLE V6 Camry (which weighs slightly less and apparently has a more responsive transmission than the ES) and the ES 300 (which has an 18 hp and 11 lb ft power/torque advantage over the Camry)?
    I have never driven both back to back, but I imagine it would take a very discerning bootie to really feel the difference.
    Just curious.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    So far 2300 miles on my 02 es300 and transmission has not improved. Also, a rattle on the passenger door is annoying the heck out of me. Dealer tried to fix it but to no avail.

    My mother was going to get an es300 this fall but I will convince her otherwise.

    Two reasons I bought the es over the camry:
    1. reported quietness
    2. reported superior build quality

    After owning one for 2 months, I can say that my es300 does not hold true these reasons I stated. Now I know it's all hype. A Camry would have been the wiser choice for me.

    Here's a suggestion for someone shopping for an 02 es300: Ask a lexus dealer if they can rent you an 02 (mine has an 02 loaner) for a few days and pretend that it's your car. If you still want it after returning it, then buy it. Otherwise, you may just be buying into the hype. This could potentially save you tons of headaches, not to mention moola.
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    In fact, the ES300 has just as many similarities with the GS3XX as it does with the Camry, but ES300 detractors somehow never mention those!!!

    You do realise that the ES300/Toyota Camry share a platform ? Also that the Toyota Avalon is built on the previous generation Toyota Camry platform.

    Basically what that means is that most of the underlying mechanical components of the Toyota Camry and ES300 are IDENTICAL. None of those components would you be able to touch or feel.

    The GS300 on the other hand is completely different and is a Rear-wheel-Drive car. Absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Camry or the ES300, mechanically. The ES300 might share some cosmetic stuff like the leather/radio and such with the GS300 but nothing else. The engine, inspite of it being a 3.0L engine, is also completely different between the GS300 and the ES300, since the GS300 has an Inline-6-cylinder engine (NOT a V6), while the ES300/Camry have a V6 engine. Incidentally, the Camry V6 and the ES300 V6 share the same engine block, just that the ES300 has variable valve timing heads that bump the power/torque up a little over that in the Camry.

  • sliangsliang Posts: 50
    I can certainly feel your disappointment with your new ES because I also experienced the problems, but I would still think you made the right decision to purchase the ES instead the Camry because the ES is a better car than the Camry.
    No one can be sure what kind of problems will have with any new car. If you were getting a Camry, it does not mean you won't have any problems at all.
    We all as the new ES owners expect the quietness level too high from the ES, the ES is much more quiet than many other luxury cars, and this is why any noise will be noticed. My ES had noises from the plastic cover of the climate control system and the rear passanger door, but I decided not to ask the dealer to fix them because I am afraid that they will screw up something else. Now I cannot hear the noises that often any more maybe because every parts have been settled down. I am not sure whether it will work with your door rattle, but won't hurt just to try it.
    If you read the old post #2526, 2537, 2538, and 2539, it might give you some idea of what can be tried to improve the transmission. Lexus has to work on the issue and come out with a permanent fix to satisfy all the new ES owners who is having the transmission shifting problem, otherwise they will lose lots of potential buyers.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    I am not sure I can agree with you about the ES being better than the Camry. It sure has a nicer interior than the Camry but that's pretty much it.

    I am just frustrated that the extra money I put down on an ES was not well spent. Wasted. I am not getting the value for what I paid. My decision to get the ES was entirely based on it's reputation as a rattle-free, library-quiet car. I drove a Corolla with excellent transmission a few years ago and I felt that if a Corolla has a smooth tranny, most certainly a Lexus will have a GREAT one! Boy was I wrong on that one!

    I really hope Lexus will take heed of all the complaints and have a fix for it.

    You are wise in not complaining to the dealer about the door rattle. They tried to fix mine and even though it minimized the noise, a tiny bit of insulation is sticking out from the side.
  • jmezzjmezz Posts: 36
    could es300 be leased for 500/month,15k miles/yr, zero cap cost, 39 months, any help would be appreciated thanks
  • jacoboroszjacoborosz Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 97' ES300. I have noticed some noise from underneath the car when hitting sharp bumps or potholes. The suspension or something related doesn't seem to be tight. It is high pitched with the windows down and my head out the window listening to it. It is low pitched with the windows up. The car rides fine and the bumps dont seem to really register through the suspension, however, this clanging noise drives me nuts. This is my 3rd lexus. My first one did this 93 ES300 and it 100k miles on it. It did the exact same thing. The 97 has 83k miles on it. PLEASE HELP ME. ANY IDEAS? I have gotten it checked out and they cannot isolate anything.

  • lewisdflewisdf Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 Lexus ES300 with a 6-way power drivers seat that I cannot adjust to get enough pitch (front bottom seat up, back bottom seat down) to properly support under my knees. Was this seat made by Araco Corporation of Japan and do they have a web site with infomation about doing this? Is there some way to modify the seat or it's support to provide the necessary added pitch?
  • laterldflaterldf Posts: 37
    Any suggestions on where to get rubber mats that are made for or close to the size required for the ES 300? Or advice on wiring a radar detector directly into the power source for the mirror or rain sensors? Will the radio and/or nav-gps antennae built into the windows interfer with the radar reception, or the rear sunscreen? Thanks in advance later, ldf
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Until I got tired of all the false alarms, I wired detectors directly into the visor vanity mirror light on my '90 T-Bird, and the overhead map lights on my '95 Olds 88. Then I got my new Millenia, and gave my last detector to my son to drive him crazy instead of me. :-)
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    As far as I am concerned, Zaino provides products to help care for every aspect of the 02 ES300, except the wood.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on what to use on the wood for cleaning purposes to help avoid damage to the finish and fine scracth marks?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    The Town Hall is about to take on a new look in an effort to make content more easily searchable and accessible.

    Have you seen the Letter from the Town Hall Manager on the Town Hall Welcome page? If not, you might want to follow that link to have a look.

    And hang on to your seats. Change is never easy - for any of us - but resolving the Search problems we've had will be worth the pain.

    Sedans Host
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Went to the local Lexus dealer today and talked to the head tech about the '02 ES transmission while I was there.

    He said he didn't like the feel of the new transmission, that Lexus hasn't gotten the shift points quite right which isn't unexpected given it's the first year of the 5 speed transmission, that he expects Lexus to issue a software update, and that since it's all software it's easy for '02 ES owners to get their cars updated.

    So for those who don't like the feel of the transmission, inquire about the update every time you go in for service.
    I believe he said to check back with him next week.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Thanks for the info. I hope what you say here comes to fruition.
    If so, I will have a car I have no complaints about, hopefully for years to come.

    Take that back. There seems to be some road noise, but I may be one of those owners who texas83 thinks is nuts because my view is that the car is so quiet, it is noisy. :-)

    From which dealer did you buy your car and where do you have it serviced? I bought mine from Lexus of Cerritos. I suspect I will be going to Bakersfield to have my car serviced, since the Bakersfield dealer is closest to me.
  • ngr7000ngr7000 Posts: 2
    there is an ES 300 1997 used car at $8500. it's been around (3 o 4 owners) and no accident records (which I doubt, it had to be fixed without insurance covering).

    The car has 116000 miles.

    did this car from this year came out good? I read an article saying that these cars are good up to 200.000 miles. is it true?

    Thank you

  • jaymarcjaymarc Posts: 15
    Own a 99 ES300 and put 50,000 miles a year on it, and have used Michelin tires on the car that are "V" rated for speed. Has anyone used any other speed rated tires on theirs, or other brands beside Michelin, since these tires $150 each + for each? Know there are some Yokohamas out there that are "V" rated for half but not sure if they are worth it.
  • perplsmurfperplsmurf Posts: 10
    Bought a '02 ES300 about 2 months ago, runniong great with almost 3k muiles on it, though I must agree with you on the shortcomings of the transimission programming. It seems strange to me that a car designed with such small details, such as the super soft leather on the inside door handles and console, the subtle chrome trim on the dash, would suffer from something so major as treansmission glitches.
    Ive experienced clumsy downshifts as i reapply pressure on the gas after lifting off just two seconds earlier. This used to be the norm for the old 4 speeds of the 90's, but even my '01 Acura MDX holds the gear long enough to maintain a smooth transition. Also, the tranny is supposed to automatically downshift or upshift, as the slope of the road increases or decreases. Again, the MDX is far more intuitive, as the tranny makes the proper shift before its even realized. I think Lexus needs to adress this disappointment asap, as this car is the bread and butter of this luxury automaker.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A major daily newspaper is looking for people who bought used luxury cars with the idea of moving upscale at discounted prices only to find out that the cost of parts and service was greater than expected. Were you surprised or shocked by the cost of routine maintenance and common repairs like mufflers, brakes, shocks and struts, transmissions, headlight replacement, etc.?

    If so, please send an e-mail containing your contact information and vehicle description to no later than Wednesday, June 12.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • sliangsliang Posts: 50
    In the Acura 3.5RL section, message #505 has a comparison between MXV4 vs. AVS db vs. Dunlop (sorry I don't remember the model#).
    The Yokohoma AVS db seems to be a good alternative for the MXV4. You can also check for tires information.
  • Recently had my mind made up to buy a late model used Lexus ES 300, however a buddy of mine warned me not to buy it unless the maintenance records indicated that the oil had been changed every 3000 miles religiously. He said that many Toyota and Lexus vehicles have had oil gel problems. I have found limited information on the web. Anyone know what the real deal is on this issue? Much thanks.
  • ngr7000ngr7000 Posts: 2
    Hello Clelanddwrax. I've also seen a Lexus 1992 in northern NJ (I hope we are not looking at the same car) I also have doubts of buying this car. it's 10 years old now and I don't know if it's worth to spend about 8000 on it. many people tell me not to buy that kind of car because they are expensive and they are difficult to fix. but then again... how many lexus ES300 are for sell? you find Fords and chevrolets and oldsmobils everywhere but lexus, mitsubishis nissans and others. (I have not heard anything about the oil.) all I know is that this car was checked and passed all inspections all the years. (CARFAX report does not show one accident but who knows)

    r u buying it? how much? and where?
  • bondguy1bondguy1 Posts: 228
    Hey Lenscap...I agree that there could be a lemon in any manufacturer's lineup. But when I mentioned the pickup in the new ES300 as lacking for a 220 HP engine (I think that is what the new ES300 has), maybe it has to do with the new 5 speed auto transmission so many people are complaigning about. It seems to have a rough shift especially on the downshift. I agree also that Audi's of the past have a terrible record for reliability but the A6 has been a Motor Trend top 10 two years in a row. And as far as the inconvenience of having to take the car in the shop when it breaks down, they do provide a loaner for service that will be in the shop more than one day. I never owned a Lexus although my parents both drive 2001 LS430's and I love to drive their cars. All I was trying to say, and you can take good and bad from both cars, was that before I got the new A6 with the CVT engine (which you can't feel shift...AT's that smooth up or down shifting)I would have laughed at you if you told me to lease an Audi. Now, some Lexus dealers here in Miami area are advertising all scheduled maintenance free included with every Lexus leased or purchased (trying to keep up with the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi). Even those other German carmakers will cover the scheduled maintenance as far as oil changes, rotating tires, etc. But, only Audi covers brakes, brake pads, wipers, and all other wear and tear items (except tires). I also read that Lexus is considering a "fix" for the electronics for the new transmission which is in a way kind of admitting that there is a problem. Maybe it's like everyone used to say, "don't get a car the first year they introduce something new until they work out the bugs". Not trying to fight you on it. Enjoy your Lexus. Just stating that it's funny that when people compare new cars, the Lexus ES300 is always compared right away to the Acura TL and Infinity and BMW...I think you'll see in the near future that Audi will be coming on strong and will change their reputation with the introduction of some of their newer models (especially when they redo the A6 in 04').
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Some quick comments:

    1. The A6 being a Motor Trend top 10 two years in a row means nothing from an ownership standpoint. They do not base their selections on how well the car holds up down the road, dealer service, resale, etc. These things matter to me because I buy (not lease) and keep a car between 5-8 years. If you lease these items don't mean as much. That being said, they obviously like the car new.

    2. Some of the Audi dealers by me do not provide loaners at all. Others will rent you a car from Enterprise. My co-worker had been getting Cavaliers and Focuses.

    3. As for getting a car its first year, that does not concern me at all with Lexus, or most Japanese cars for that matter. I had a first-year Honda Prelude in 1988 (actually got it the first month they were on sale) and never had a problem in nine years. My mom drives a first-year GS 300, and other family memebers have had first-year Lexuses as well with no trouble. Compare this to the problems seen with the first-year Mercedes C-Class or BMW 7 (which has already been recalled).

    Anyway, just wanted to get back to you. The CVT transmission sounds neat. It may be on all cars in the coming years. Enjoy your Audi.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Toyota did have some oil gelling problems with engines made between 1997-2002. The problems have been in less than 1% of engines made however.

    If looking at a used car just have a mechanic check the engine. They can tell right away if there is a problem or not. So don't worry if the owner has the records (although they should).
  • bondguy1bondguy1 Posts: 228
    Just a note...I sold Honda's for a year...model year 98'. That was the year of the 4 wheel steering and yellow preludes.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    You bring back great memories. I waited all summer while I was home from college in 1987 for the all-new 1988 Prelude to come out. I had a deposit down for the first black Si automatic to come in (couldn't afford the 4-wheel steering but thought it was very cool).

    The car finally arrived in August about three days before I headed back to school. When I got to school, some girl had gotten the same car in black. Her friends used to leave notes on my windshield thinking it was her car. I did have the car for nine years and put on 98,000 miles.

    That car was fabulous. If I recall correctly, I think that car was the first in the U.S. to have shoulder belts for the outboard rear passengers.

    Sorry to everyone for getting off topic.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Considering all the good info you have provided in your posts on these pages, I think you have earned the priveledge to divert a little. :-)
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Thanks for the kind words.
  • I am thinking about getting a Lexus ES300 w/ Nav and ML package. I want to add Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) too. However, the dealers in my area kept telling me that this is a rare option and it can hardly be found anywhere now. Is this true? Is it worth installing this feature? Thanks.
This discussion has been closed.