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Lexus ES 300/ES 330 Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • I recently purchased a 2005 ES330. I chose the 16" wheels because a smooth and quiet ride are more important to me then the slightly improved handling the 17" tires offer. My dealer is getting the 17" tires exclusively. However, he has offered to exchange the wheels to the 16" wheels. I thought changing the wheels to a different size causes problems, i.e. headlight aim, road clearance, speedometer calibration etc. etc. I guess the aspect ratio of the 16" tires (60) compensates for the lower profile 17" tires (55). Can anyone advise me on this?
  • maylhmaylh Posts: 9
    The difference between the two models is appr. 5000-6000. Feature wise the RX330 with Premium Pkg and preferred accessory package (mandatory) has a lot more:

    +elec brake assistance
    +traction control
    +stability control
    +automatic telescope steering column
    +power trunk lift
    +tire inflation/pressure monitor
    +second row seat can be folded
    +second row seat reclining can be adjusted
    +second row seat can be split 40/20/40
    +privicy glass
    +rain sensing wiper
    +tow capability
    +wheel lock
    +roof rack
    +18" alloy wheels including the spare
    +sliding center console
    -gas 19/25 vs. 20/26

    Also check J.D. Power initial quality survey. Sad to see it is not very good.

    And don't forget resale value. RX330 will be much higher.
  • Thank you for the assistance. I thought that was the case but I needed reassurance. Thanks again.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    First of all, I'm a lousy shopper unless it is TV's, stereos or cars...then I shop HARD!
    Considered the Acura TL (drop dead georgeous car); the Maxima SE and the ES.
    It's my wifes daily driver so let her make decision. I drive on trips only.
    Most content is clearly the Maxima (power tilt/telescopic/heated wheel tied to the memory system). Good handling; a bit funky in styling, especially the instrument panel but we both liked it. Can buy '05 for invoice less 1k rebate (32k car for 28k). Downside, not to quiet and depreciation pretty huge.
    I loved the TL for handling/styling. Had one for an afternoon for wife to drive. She felt it was a little firm suspension-wise (like the Maxima). She also complained that the cupholders were a "pain". Too deep. She had a can of pop in there and had to use her finger in the hole of the can to get it out. She could not get at the second cupholder unless she raised the armrest. I tried it and that is true. In returning the car she was the passenger and was annoyed at the passenger seat---only 4 way. Front/back and seat back tilts and she felt it sat too low (she is 5'7"). Could not get comfortable. Sticker 33.5k (no nav), sell at 31.5k.
    Then she drove the ES---end of story!!! Ultra quiet and SMOOTH ride. I prefer a little more road feel/handling but was also impressed with the car overall.
    Shopping began. Went to local dealer and noted virtually all that come without nav have heated/ventilated seats, 6 disc in dash, sunshade, VSC/TC, all seaon tires, power pedals,wood/leather wheel/shift know and the preferred acc. package. Sticker 35,394. Shopped Chicago suburban dealers and one 125 miles away plus the local. Jerked around pretty good by the local and ended up at a suburban dealer who eventually went $500 over invoice of 31,676 for total of 32,176 + doc fee of 53.52 plus tax. Salesman showed me their invoice which confirmed above. Edmunds indicates invoice of about 31,200. Either they are wrong or the dealer lied to me. However all 5 dealers I spoke to advised their invoice was 31,676 and they were dealing off that number. One at 1,800 over; one at 1,500 over, several at 1k over, one at 675 over. Then contacted a dealer who sold me a '92 SC400 when they first hit (finest car I have ownerd). Same salesman still there. He quoted 1k over; told him I had 675 over. He had color combo we wanted and asked if 500 over would do it. YUP!!! Went in following day, wrote check, they swapped plates while salesman was going over the toys in the car and we were gone in less than an hour.
    Wifey even let me drive it today...impressive for quiet/quality.
    However Lexus is still missing the boat in not doing electric tile/telescopic for the steering wheel. Hell, My '92 SC400 had it. That's my sole complaint.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Congrats on your ES purchase. We have one too and it sure is the most quiet and smooth car ride you can buy for the money. It's one refined luxury sedan. My wife and I have been sharing the ES but she'll soon take the 'full ownership'. So I am shopping for another sedan, and guess what, it'd be the TL. Can you tell me is that $31,5K for TL you mentioned a price you'd pay had you gotten the TL instead? Or you think you could get it much lower if your wife liked it instead, and you do your 'due diligence'?

    I still think ES the most refined car among the three you considered, but TL the 'hottest' looking. Even my wife, who loves the ES fit and finish and of course, the ride and comfort, is excited about the TL look the most. There're some feature pros and cons between TL and ES, for about the same money, but TL does win one thing big. It's audio is much better than the base one (non-ML) on ES, if that matters at all.

    BTW, your ES might have a few more options added than Edmunds' and so the price difference.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    PERFECT!!! I agree, the TL styling is incredible.
    Wife loved it also but it had its drawbacks as far as she was concerned, especially the passenger seats lack of adjustments. She even suggested I sell my toy and get the TL as my driver. However, my toy is a Vette Z06 and even at my advanced age, I love that rocket.
    The 31.5k buy is probably about as good as I could get. Sticker 33.5 and dealer invoice about 30.5 as I recall. Apparently Acura has no "holdback" so there appears to be no perks for the dealer to sell at invoice knowing he will get a 3% kicker from Acura. If we had gone with the TL I certainly would have tossed out 31k to a number of dealers and taken the best shot.
    Yes, the stereo in the TL is awesome. Had the "demo disc" in it all day...WOW!!!
    Performance and handling also go to the TL but my wife could care less about this and much prefers the quiet/smoothness of the ES.
    Funny thing, she had to ride in the Vette for 70 miles to pick up the ES. Noisy cabin, firm ride (she calls it harsh) and then gets into the ES to drive back. When we get home she says, "I don't think I'll ever ride in the Vette again."
    Anyway, I think your choice of the TL is perfect!
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    I still recall the first time I drove an ES to look at a TL, the salesperson's first line was "Give the ES to your wife and get yourself a TL." Guys should drive a TL not an ES... blah blah...

    I am just wondering if I'd driven a Z06 in what'd he have said? LOL.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    Ya know, I agree with your salesman. The ES is a WONDERFUL car but frankly, not much fun if one considers performance/handling. I strongly suspect that when my wife drives the ES the tach never hits 3,000 RPM whereas when I drive it I still probably would not hit 5k on the tach...the car just does not seem intended for performance driving. When I drive the Vette I pop red line on occasion. Maybe it's the testerone level, or just a "guy thing". Who knows! Now the TL would definately tempt me to bounce it off the rev limiter once in a while.
    Who knows, once I grow up I may well consider such an attractive sedan. In the meantime, I'll just be stupid---LOL.
  • About a week ago, I purchased a 2005 ES at Pohanka Lexus in Chantilly, Va. I had made initial contact with an internet manager at this dealership through Cars Direct.
    Specifications: Dark Blue Exterior with Tan Interior.
    HID package available here in Nova:
    17" all season tires with Alloy wheels
    Heated/Ventilated Seats
    HID/Rain-sensing wipers
    Wood and Leather Steering Wheel and Shift Knob
    6 Disc In Dash Cd Player
    Preferred Accessory Package.
    Purchase Price after minimal negotiation was $32338 +$249 "processing fee". Total $32587 = 91.3% MSRP. They do charge $55 "dealer's business license tax", which is a bit dubious but not worth it to me to haggle over. Temp tags were $5 (I do my own title work).
    The personnel at Pohanka were very easy to deal with, and I would highly recommend this dealership. I expect I could have done slightly better due to some bargaining/differences in processing fees between competing dealerships, but in the end I went with the deal that was closest to my home.
    Currently, dealer quotes from Maryland dealers are ~$33,700. Northern Va dealership quotes are ~33,000, though the value-added in MD may be that they still do the valet service, whereas the Va dealerships have eliminated this service.
    A plus in purchasing this car is that the sales tax (which I will pay when I title the car) will be deductible on 2004 federal tax.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    How is it that the sales tax is deductible on the federal return?
  • The latest tax bill signed into law about 4 weeks ago contains a provision that allows one to deduct either state and local income taxes or general sales tax (up to an amount thus far unpublished) for 2004 and 2005 only. I am in a situation where I don't pay state and local income taxes, thus the deduction. I plan to get a new Odyssey for my wife in 2005 as well in order to capture the deduction for both years. has a link that summarizes this.
    Those of you who are in states/situations that do not require you to pay state income tax who are waiting until Jan to purchase may want to consider buying before the end of the year.
  • 05 ES330 with:
    NL- nav sys/Mark Levinson audio
    WU-wood/leathersteering wheel & shift knob
    FJ-17" summer tires/all0y wheels
    HH-heated/vented seats
    HL-HID headlamps
    HN-pwer rear sunshade
    XV-Power Adj accel & brakes w/mem
    Z1-trunk mat, cargo net,wheel locks
    tinted windows
    - 2,500
    $36,009 plus TTL, fees
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    What geographical region does this quote come from?

    The Houston area seems to command a higher price than the Southern California (and most other) areas, including that of Dallas.

    Last year at this time, folks were paying 88-90% MSRP at the most for their new 2004 vehicles.

    During the July-Sept time frame, folks seemed to be paying about 90-93% MSRP for the new 2005, with Houston area dealers charging in the 93% range.

    Your quote is 93.5% MSRP, but including your fees, your price is even higher.

    If I were you, unless I lived in Houston, I'd try and get 90-91% MSRP including EVERYTHING except license and tax.

    That amounts to about $35,043 for 91%. Your quote seems high even for the Houston area.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Perhaps the rise in gas prices result in those who would have purchased SUVs deciding instead to buy ES330s instead.

    All I know is that beginning with the 2005, the deals folks have been getting are not quite as good as they were for the 2003-2004 time period.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Would AMT eat that deduction away, like it does to state tax deduction?
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Maybe Lexus includes more options in a typical non-Nav ES now in addition to some minor std. feature changes? 2004 ES seemed to get the best prices indeed (among 02-05), although on a recent drive of a 04 ES330 loaner car I've found the hesitation (from flooring) more obvious than my 03 ES300.
  • Since it looks like the general sales tax deduction is an alternative to the state income tax deduction, my guess is that it would be eaten away by AMT...just like most everything else. Again, rules on this deduction should be forthcoming from IRS.
  • wco81wco81 Posts: 579
    My mother wanted a 2005 GS300 (even though I told her 2006 with new body and engine would be coming in April). I shopped some prices and Putnam Lexus said we had to come to get the Costco price which is the best price available.

    The guy converted her to the 2005 ES, which has some niceties like twin memory seats and ventilated/heated seats.

    So the Costco price was about $1200 over the claimed invoice for the model without the NAV (incidentally, most of them had a bunch of options which you have to add in at Edmunds to get true idea of the price). NAV and ML seemed to be the only options you could add along with the sport/comfort transmission thing. So a model without NAV was about $2600 below MSRP and the model with NAV was about $2700 below invoice.

    He then invited us to give us a price over invoice that we'd be willing to pay. Then he showed us on Carsdirect that the "best" price was about $700 below what he was offering and asked if we would buy for that price. That put it just under $32000 for a model without NAV. Of course, he wouldn't give us anything written to take with us so I'm recalling all these numbers from memory.

    My parents wanted to hold off, check another dealer and check the colors better (we went at dusk).

    I noticed that a lot of the discussion in this thread revolves around percentage of MSRP. So what is a good rule of thumb for the percentage of MSRP we should shoot for in the Bay Area? Will that change if we add NAV? Does the total MSRP include all the fees? I don't want to see some fees slipped in at the end.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    AMT is just ridiculous because it is not adjusted annually like exemption. So, you are right that AMT will nullify whatever state deductions exist. For the past 5 years, my otherwise allowable state tax deductions have been swallowed by AMT, which represents thousands of dollars of additional taxes. I heard Bush is trying to do something about this, but I doubt much will get done because of the looming national deficit.

    As to the ES 330, I think I am more willing to give it another look even though I have been more interested in the TL. The ES suits more of my driving style, but TL's techno gadgets are way more cool, and I love its no-option pricing.
  • I'm about to buy a 2005 ES330. December sale makes this attractive but I have read that the 06 model will be different. Does it pay to wait? Better deal now but lower resale because of new model? Does anyone know what's up with the 06 330? Thanks
  • If you would rather wait, I think you might want to consider the 07 model when the car will be completely redesigned including an all new 3.5L engine that will pump out nearly 280 Hp. It will most likely be renamed the ES350. The new 05 Avalon is getting this powertrain and it will be out in March 2005.
  • wco81wco81 Posts: 579
    My folks got a black 2005 ES330, no NAV, for 34,000 out the door. Putnam Lexus in Redwood City, CA.

    The sticker was 35,289, which includes HID, heated seats, sunscreen. In other words, the base option package which all of these cars seem to have.

    By my calculations, that means the price before tax and license would be just around 90% of MSRP.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Isn't $34K OTD about $31K b4 tax and license, in Bay Area? That's better than 90% right?
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    The next redesign for the ES will be for the 2007 model year. If you guy by past history of the ES3XX, the 2006 model year will bring no changes for the ES3XX.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    I posted a short time ago about our newly purchased ES...that I was in love with the Acura TL but since this was my wife's daily driver I let her choose. To her, it was the ES hands down! My driver is a Vette Z06 so I was more interested in a sportier ride/handling, hence the TL.
    Just returned from a 1,300 mile holiday trip and gotta admit the ES was an absolute dream to drive.
    Comfort beyond measure and the "hushed" cabin was a total joy. Even the grooved concrete (which is noisier than hell) in Wisconsin was so quiet one could almost take a nap. Virtually ZERO wind noise at 75-80 mph.
    Gotta admit, she picked a real winner!
  • I made contact with the internet department of the Lexus dealership in Thousand Oaks, CA (near Los Angeles) through Cars direct. Their initial quote is $35,570 plus tax and license fees for a 2005 Lexus 330ES with the following options:

    Black onyx exterior (Mfr Code @E202)
    Black leather interior (Mfr Code @I21L)
    Nav system/ML audio pkg (Mfr Code NL)
    (PIO) Wheel locks (Mfr Code WL)
    VSC (Mfr Code VV)
    (PIO) Gold Package (Mfr Code GP)
    Xenon HID Headlights (Mfr Code HL)
    Wood Steering Wheel (Mfr Code WU)
    Burled Walnut Trim (Mfr Code #BW)
    (PIO) Carpet Trunk Mat (Mfr Code LM)
    Heated/Cooled Front seats (Mfr Code HH)
    All Season Tires/Chrome wheels (Mfr Code FK)
    Power Sunshade (Mfr Code HN)

    The internet sales guy stated the list price with the above options is $39,975 which makes his quoted price 91% of his list.

    Please provide your comments - is this a good deal?

    Thanks to all.
  • Oops - I goofed!!

    The selling price as quoted by the internet department at Lexus of Thousand Oaks is $35,570 plus tax and license fees and the list price should be $39,064. That make the offer 91% of list.

    This was the initial offer - I have not started negotiating yet. Seems to me that some have been getting between 87-90% of list, and we are at the end of the year.

    Please share your thoughts about this offer. Thanks.
  • billodbillod Posts: 31
    2005 ES 330 MSRP=$35709. 36 month lease, no money down, 15k miles per year. Monthly rate includung 6% Connecticut sales taxes & inception fees (bank acquasition fee of $600 + $299 dealer conveyance fee rolled into lease payment), is $457.77. Thus the lease price WITHOUT taxes and WITHOUT the inception fees rolled into the monthly payment is about $405 per month. Sounded good to me. Any thoughts or comments?? Thanks,
  • wc081 - your price appears to be well below 90%, actually looks to be about 88.5% for 34K flat in California with tax and license......that would be a great deal on a 2005! Congrats to your folks....
  • I'm looking for a 2005 ES330 in LI area and the lowest quote I got so far is exactly the same as yours $405/mo w/ the same lease terms. I haven't been able to get better than that, so we'll probably complete the transation later this wk. Let me know if you're able to do better and with which dealer.

    Can't wait to get the new car.
This discussion has been closed.