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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    Because it's seriously underpowered. Only 140 hp and slow as a dog. The upcoming G35 will surely be a competitor, though. But I'll bet you'll find some way to say it isn't. Maybe because it'll be RWD, so it's not fair to compare to the Lex.

    And I'd say most A4 shoppers are looking at $30k+ cars. The BMW 325xi and the A4 were the final 2 to make the cut for me when I was looking. MSRP on my A4 was $29,600, just a shade under $30k. The Bimmer would have been about $32-33k.

    Hunter, why does the 1.8T not compete? Is it because it has too much of a price advantage over the ES? It is just about the same acceleration-wise (auto to auto, the ES is probably a couple of tenths faster). They are both entry level lux sedans.
  • mathtypemathtype Posts: 33
    FYI: The August 8 issue of AutoWeek magazine has a nice photo of the 2002 ES on the cover and a three-page article about it that doesn't say much but includes some more photos. Here are a few quotes from this article:

    "The 2002 ES is quieter, smoother, more elegant and refined than the current model, and it successfully erases most of the palpable links it had to its plebian platrom-mate, the Toyota Camry."

    "This simple stylishness [the exterior] continues inside, with a thin swath of polished California walnut wood trim... The rest of the interior's surfaces are dressed in either leather -- the same quality leather used in Lexus' flagship LS 430 -- tastefully placed chrome bits or soft-touch plastic in two tones ..."

    "... it disappoints a bit in the power department ... driving up hills we found ourselves wanting for more power ..."

    One comment of my own: Seeing photos, even lots of them, of a new car doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. It may give quite a different impression in person (look at, for example, the Lexus SC 430), and sometimes one's opinion of a car's looks changes over time. I hope this is the case with the new ES.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    The $38K loaded quote came from posts on, to which most posters thought that was a great bargain.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Mike -

    I'm a bit surprised that you see the A4 1.8T & the ES 300 as competitors. When my wife & I were shopping for a car for her in late 98/early 99, we looked at the Infiniti I30 (rejected because my wife couldn't get comfortable behind the wheel) & the Acura TL (put off by trim flaws in early production cars). At that time, Audi was substantially rebating leftover '98 A6's, so we visited our local Audi store & drove one. Liked it but didn't buy one because my wife didn't like the colors of any of the rebate-eligible cars in stock. We didn't bother looking at the A4 because we both perceived it as qualitatively different from any of the other cars under consideration. The A4 emphasized sports while the others emphasized luxury, & luxury is what my wife wanted. She wound up with the ES 300 & she still loves it.

    When I was shopping for myself 2 years later, I checked out the 3-series BMW, the A4 & the IS 300. Didn't bother looking at any of the FWD Japanese luxury nameplates. Drove the A4 (a Quattro 1.8T 5-speed) & loved it. Drove a 5-speed BMW, loved it a bit more & bought it. (Didn't bother driving the IS because it was auto only at the time. I'd certainly drive it today, though, if I was still in the market.) Although the ES shares price points with these cars, it's not an enthusiast's car & is thus not a true competitor. My wife loves her ES & wants to be buried in it, but I'd much rather have an A4 (particularly a 5-speed Quattro 1.8T) for myself. I just don't see the 2 as real competitors.
  • Are you in love with Infiniti and Audi just because you own them?

    I will surely say the A4 competes against the IS300 not the ES300, and I can surely say the G35 will compete against the IS300, not the ES300. It really is quite simple to come to that conclusion. Sure, before the IS300 came out, I'm sure alot of A4 shoppers looked at the ES300, and some probably still do, but the A4 is not a direct competitor to the ES300, especially not the A4 1.8T. Again that is because of price, size, power, handling, drivetrain availability.

    Yes, your A4 cost $29K, and how much would a base ES300 and a loaded 2002 ES300 cost? $33K base and about $39K loaded. It's obvious those 2 cars are not in the same ballpark, in any logical person's mind.

    The BMW 3-series competes to a greater degree with the ES300 because it is closer in price, a base 325i costs about $28K and a loaded one will run close to $40K. That is in the ES300s ballpark. But still I would bet on it, that not too many 325i or 330i shoppers go looking at the ES300 anymore. instead they would go looking at the IS300.

    The G20 does have only 140bhp, and the A4 1.8T had 148bhp and now has 170bhp. Still far off the ES300s level.

    Please understand the concept of Lexus luring 2 totally different types of buyers, on the whole, into their showrooms in the same price range. The IS300 for sports sedan shoppers, the ES300 for luxury sedan buyers.

    The IS300 would compete with the 3-series, A4, C-class, upcmoning G35.

    The ES300 competes more with the C-class, I30, 3.2TL.

    Here's an idea: did you compare your A4 to the ES300 when shopping? Also, do a survey on the ES300 or A4 1.8T boards and see what the percentage is of A4 shoppers/buyers who actually looked at and bought ES300s and A4 1.8ts.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    you read my mind. sweet post. minor note: most recently, the G20 had 145hp, next year's I model will be the I35 and not I30, and the former A4 1.8T had 150hp (assuming no extra emissions controls).
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    Is how they compete. They all cost $28k-35k. Granted, the direct competitors to the ES are the TL and I30, but most people shop based on cost. That would then include the IS300, the A4 and the 325i as well.

    And yet the Audi is faster with a manual tranny and 40 less hp. So is the BMW with 26 less horses. The Germans seem to be able to get more out of each hp than the Japanese. The ES and I30 both have more hp than the A4 and 325i, yet the Lex and Infiniti are slower. It's not how much hp you have, it's how you get it to the pavement.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    Considering the new ES300 is not going to be available until October, it is unusual that the official pictures and reviews are out before those of the new Camry which, I thought, hits the street in September.

    It might be marketing hype to say "The ES300 is not based on the Camry. It was designed before the Camry ... blah bladiblah."
    (Eyes roll worldwide.)
  • bielenbielen Posts: 1
    Check out for all the details on the new ES 300. Interesting info about the nav system.

    So does anyone think there is a big enough difference to warrant a trade-in?

  • bielen, thanks for posting the InsideLexis link. On that site, a flash-plug shows the head-lights on a bright red 2002 ES300 (click on the lamp). That may be the right color for this car. It looks much better than the early photos with the silver-blue color.
  • jji7363jji7363 Posts: 33
    We've been looking at new cars and have narrowed the search down to the 2002 A6 and the ES300. The comparisons between the ES300 and the A4 are a bit perplexing, but the A6 and the ES300 seem very similar - feature for feature. We'll wait until both are available this fall then take a drive in each and decide. Dealers' willingness to discount (or lack thereof) may tip the scales in Audi's favor.

    The main flaw of the current ES is the lack of headroom. Any word of whether Lexus has fixed that problem? I haven't seen inside dimension figures.
  • mrrogersmrrogers Posts: 391 has several nice pictures of the 2002 ES300.
  • jji,

    Gotta sit in it to see headroom. But the car has grown in height by about 3", if I remember right. That should translate to more headroom.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    As I have told several of you, extended comparisons belong on the Comparisons - Sedans vs. Sedans board. And as I have mentioned to two of you in a separate discussion, extended arguments do not belong in Town Hall, period. Either just agree to disagree, ignore each other or take it off-line, please.

    Thank you.

    Sedans Message Board
  • gambhirgambhir Posts: 64
    I own a 200o paltinu edition with 15K miles--I installed my own alpine 7 inch DVD nav --being platinum it had all the wood goodies though not as much as the new one--I am not compelled to say hey this is a steal at 38K--two things--(a) i would wait for a coach or platinum edition-you really get a great value (b) I would wait for teh hp to go up--I have sneaky suspicion it will go up as earlya s next yr --maybe an ES330 with 225/235 hp--did someone compare the Lexus numbers on the site on 0-60? The 2001 sprints at 7.8 but 2002 is at 8.1 official estimates--HMMMMM
    Remember earlier also ES300 went up from 19o hp to 210--- I think it will be a better value at 34-35K loaded with 230+ hp and a platinum/coach exclusivety
    My personal advice is no need to rush--waiting will get a better bargain
  • After looking at the new 2002 ES300, I've come to one conclusion: not my cup of tea.

    The car reminds me of a Dodge Stratus as styled by Toyota. :-/ And the fact they didn't really improve the output of the engine means the car will not compare well against the Acura TL.

    Now, if Toyota/Lexus had bumped up the engine displacement to 3.2 liters and likely got 235-240 bhp, -then- we're talking about a car worth having. :-)
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Waiting for a car just gets you nothing. The only thing I would wait for is a redesign, which just happened.

    What if you hold out hoping for more hp and then it doesn't happen? Then you've waited for nothing. Or maybe a discount will come around, but it's offset by a price increase.

    And the Coach/Platinum editions, if they even have one, will only come out after several years once interest in the car declines as it gets further into its model cycle. By that time you might as well wait for the next generation.

    I say if you like the car now buy it.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    If you try to buy a new model within the first weeks, you pay more because of the novelty of the new model and the fact that production is not up to speed and supplies will therefore be low.
    If you wait for the initial rush to pass and factories to start pumping the cars out at full tilt, then there will be more choice and better price.
    You also get to see results of government and insurance crash testing before commiting to the purchase and are more likely to avoid the hassles of any recalls that may happen.
    If you wait a whole year, you get the benefits of any fixes and improvements to problems that turn up the first year. You also get to read hundreds of posts about problems owners discover that are not apparent on a 10 minute test drive and may not be fixed until the next year, if ever.
  • kjookjoo Posts: 27
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I'd forgive the exterior look if the engine made more HP.

    Also someone mentioned before that the exterior looked like a Peugeot 607. I think so too. Check out the Peugeot:

  • There is a resemblance to the 607. At least the front. I don't like it either.
  • The design of the '02 ES300 has grown on me. If you've already seen spyshots of the '02 Camry, I think the ES300 design severs any discussion about it looking like the Camry. The Camry is edgy and rotund, the ES300 is sleek and refined.

    I get a kick reading postings about the ES300 not having enough power than a TL or I30. If that's the case, QUIT YOUR WHINING and go buy an Acura or Infinity! You'll get a cheap and gaudy interior with less than stellar customer service with both. I had and got rid of the current I30 and it screamed "cheap" everytime I looked at the circular analog clock in the middle of the dashboard. I also couldn't tell it apart from a Maxima.
  • hmm, maybe you should not be so quick and hasty on your opinion (pro or con) of the ES300 and reserve your judgement on it until you actually see it in person and drive it. Maybe if you spent some more time doing research on a car before you made any rash decisions you wouldn't have bought your I30 in the first place.
  • ved3ved3 Posts: 43
    How's everybody doing?

    first off, thanks Edmunds for being one of the
    first to present the roadtest of the new ES.
    you guys are good!! can't find it in any
    competitor's site accept

    I think the all new ES is a serious stylish
    statement by Lexus inside and out. Sure it
    may not be as revolutionary and groundbreaking
    as a MB, BMW, Audi, Bentley, Jaguars but it
    should compete well against other Japanese
    brands. right? As far as it being bland, Lexus
    cars have never been bland. perhaps only bland
    to those who wouldn't buy it anyway, regardless.
    and don't try to convince me that you're a lexus
    owner who thinks it's bland. how would I know?
    The corolla, camry, tercel, takoma and most
    other nonluxury, basic transportation cars of other brands are "bland". but luxury is a different league. Lexus showed some guts in
    this new ES design considering the fact that
    most ES buyers tend to be conservative whereas
    most other luxury makes, although may redesign
    their cars every few years, are very conservative
    in staying close to the previous designs. I give
    lexus at least this much credit.

    On the exterior, I would prefer a closer look to
    the previous generation ES. because that one
    really help personify the ES. Can't mistake it
    when parked next to other cars. Its elegance and
    a sense of luxury really stands out. does it look
    like a Peugot? perhaps a little but you can also
    say the Peugot looks like a Celica. you really
    have to see the whole picture to apreciate it.

    On the interior, now this is where lexus really
    excel. The ES truly moved upscale despite a price
    I suspect will remain competitive. It looks even
    better than most luxury cars costing thousands $$
    more. And it appears that lexus has raised the
    luxury standard "again" on smoothness and refinement. but we shall see.

    Overall, the competitions including MB, BMW 3
    series automatic sedan, Automatic A6, TL, I30
    don't have much to compete against the new ES.
    think about it. consider everything. look at the
    big picture.

    so the popular way to make oneself feel better
    and appear more in control is to try to downgrade
    a serious contender and that's the ES.


    most of these people who think it looks bland or
    uqly wouldn't buy the ES regardless. The purpose
    of the whining may be to discourage those who
    are considering buying it. They're not the target
    audience. it shouldn't have any problem addressing
    the target buyers needs. especially after lexus
    makes some improvements like a chrome grille

    but seriously, it's great to see so many posts
    even from the competitors enthusiasts. everyone
    should be able to share their opinions and I just
    shared mine. that's democracy. everyone's presence here merely popularize the ES forum and
    ultimately the ES.

    Thanks again Edmunds.

    Take care everybody!
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    Bland is an opinion. It is bland if a a buyer perceives it as bland. It does not require unanimous agreement.
    I think the rear looks slightly bland, but the front is beyond "bland." It is actually a a negative aspect to the car.
    A TL has bland styling that is kind of boring and too similar to an Accord, but it is not offensive or ugly like many view the looks of the the 2002 ES300's front end.
    The interior looks nice in the photos and, of course, being the newest design, it should be the smoothest and quietest in the class when it comes out. The aging design of the current 2001 ES300 has been bypassed in smoothness and driving feel by less expensive cars like the TL for the last few years.
    It would truly be shocking if the new 2002 ES300 would not be the smoothest and quietest since it will be the latest design and also the most expensive of the Japanese near-luxury cars when equipped normally.
    It is kind of ridiculous that leather seats and moonroof are still not standard equipment in a car like this. They make these features optional so that the base MSRP looks more competive against competing cars even though they know that 99% of the cars will be ordered with leather seats and moonroof at the very least.
  • Currently, I have a 1999 300M with about 50k. I will be looking to replace the car in the spring and the new ES 300 will be on by shopping list. I think the new design is looks fresh and elegant, in my opinion, much better than the old version. My objective for a car is an interstate cruiser because I log alot of highway miles annually. I want comfort, quiet and reasonable handling. My 300M is a good car, but lots of rattles and very noisy. More of a sports sedan versus a luxury sedan. Based on the limited reviews I have read on the ES, this car tilts toward the luxury side of the scale, which is perfect for me. Regarding the 210 horsepower engine, if it does 0 - 60 in around 8 seconds, that is more than enough power for 100% of my driving needs. The difference between 8.0 and 7.8 (the tested time for my 300 M)is negligible and I think the 300M is very powerful. If your main objective in a sedan is acceleration, than go buy a BMW or TL. You will sacrifice luxury for a bit more performance. Your call. I prefer the luxury of the Lexus.
  • Good article in Motor Trend. There only real negative was the power *dificiency*.

    It looks good in Motor Trend though.
  • rogert3rogert3 Posts: 2
    Those who've been whinning about how ugly, bland, and hyundai-like, an so on... I think it just looks the most expensive of any japanese near-luxury models out there, and I don't see how this redesign is any bland/boring than the current model!! I've often heard that japanese cars are boring to look at or to drive and have no personality. Nevertheless, the 2002 ES300 is a REALLY FINE LOOKING automobile, in my opinion. No cars are perfect no matter at what price range, so buy what you can afford and feel comfortable with.
This discussion has been closed.