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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I would imagine the 2004 ES will have the new-design steering wheel from the RX and therefore have the audio controls. Or maybe the steering wheel will stay the same and the audio controls will be added "behind" the trip computer controls as is done on the SC 430 (which has the same steering wheel as the ES 300).

    One interesting observation while checking the Japanese Toyota/Lexus site. Their RX (Harrier) has controls on both sides of the steering wheel. In the US there are only controls on the left side (the right side is blank). Does anybody know why the Japanese version has the extra buttons?
  • gekko2gekko2 Posts: 87
    alpha - yup - you're right. it's 20 more hp but not 20% more. i misunderstood my sales guy. this matches the rx330 which should use the same exact engine. now the question is, do i get a:

    1. 2002 3.0 cpo loaner/leftover for 29k.
    2. 2003 3.0 new leftover for 33k.
    3. 2004 3.3 new for 35k.
    4. 2004 3.3 new with NAV for 37k.

    i'm paying lump sum cash so 8k diff is significant as opposed to spreaading payments out or leasing. i'm leaing toward option 1. should i expect/demand a better deal? purchase date willbe q1 2004.

    i want silver exterior. shoould i get black or greyy interior? wa looks better? whhich iis more durable?

    i also aam considering the new 04 GS330 or SC430.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    I watch lotsa boards and various discussions. One of my favorites is the "Real-world Trade-in Value" guys on the Smart Shopper board. They are used car experts on the front line, cut no slack, and make no value judgements. I read the following regarding a used Lexus ES300:
     ".........the New ES300's are weak and kinda cold, might see $27/$28 at the auction with 10k miles.. but take the old body style, an 01 with 20kish miles and it will do $22/$23ish .. the car business is a funny, it's kinda like water ~ it seeks it's own level - in a hurry .!"
        IMHO Lexus dropped the ball with the new ES300. While it's still a fine car, it's not as good as the old one. It's a little too heavy for the engine. They are trying so hard to make an ULEV they've got tranmission problems. Toyota has decided all their cars are going to have a high belt-line and a mono-chrome paint job which make them look over-weight. They are over-styled. Shame on Toyota for loosing their direction....great cars with conservative design. Think I'll keep my '01 for a while.
  • raddboy41raddboy41 Posts: 249
    THAT was a very insightfull analysis! And I couldn't agree more! You broke it down beautifully.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I couldn't disagree with you more. I feel the current ES 300 is far superior than the old model in every conceivable way. And I must not be the only one, because the current ES has far outsold the old ES, even when that car was brand new back in 1997.

    Nobody I know, including myself, has transmission problems. There are a few people on this board that have mentioned a hesitation, but that does not warrant calling it a problem. Acura, with its failed that's a problem.

    And as for the styling (always subjective), I love it. I wouldn't change a thing. The two-tone look of past Lexus and Mercedes models is definitely out of style.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the buying public is grabbing up these cars much more than they did the old one (depite being launched during a terrible receession). I guess the old saying is each his own. Enjoy your 2001!
  • daytona01daytona01 Posts: 46
    dardson1: if a dealer call you (b/c used 01 model are so hot in demand)... and if you brought your 01 to the dealer and they would give you a brand new 03...

    Probably you will say you want to keep (prefer) your 01... Majority people...(I think) will do the same.... b/c they will think... the dearler is drunk.... :-)

    Previous model ES.. yeap.. was beatiful.. but it (already) had showed... sign of age...

    Park your car next to the new ES... or test drive the new one... then you will see...
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168
    Greetings all:

    I have a 2K2 ES300 w/the power rear sunshade. I only drive the car on the weekend and the shade is kept in the 'up' position most of the time. I noticed when driving that the shade will 'bounce' slightly while underway. This has only started to occur as it would remain stationary with the little wheels on the backside pressing against the glass.

    Have any ES300 owners w/the power rear sunshade noticed any movement in their shades or does it remain fixed/stationary in the 'up position while in motion.

    This has been the only issue in just over a year of ownership. The car is still flawless in appearance and operation and the Mark Levinson Audio system is truly outstanding!

    M.J. McCloskey
    2K2 ES300 Alabaster Metallic
    everything but AVS
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    Edmunds road test comment on the transmission:

    "Owners of the redesigned ES 300 have complained long and loud about the transmission. During our testing, we found when driving normally the five-speed automatic shifted imperceptibly. But when exercising the car or driving aggressively, the slushbox responded with harsh upshifts and soggy, delayed downshifts, behaving as though it were utterly confused about what the driver wanted it to do."

        That is a mouthful and a bit extreme in my opinion; but it's a subject that comes up in almost every review I read. Had an '02 for 48hrs while they diagnoised and fixed a cold start problem in my '01 (can you beat that?). Found it more luxo and roomy inside, and even more quiet than the old version. Also notice the slowish downshift. Certainly wouldn't call it a "slushbox" and didn't find the transmission confused........just slow to kick into a lower gear. The whole package feels less like a mighty quiet and awfully smooth sport sedan and more like a sporty alternative to a big American luxomobile. Not necessarily a bad thing......
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Sporty isn't a word I'd use with the new ES. With the IS released and covering the sports segment, Lexus could finally focus on creating an ES with luxury in mind (a "baby LS" as they like to call the new ES). Before the IS, Lexus' entry model had to touch upon both sport and luxury - and ultimately fell short in both regards.

    As for styling, styling trends change often. Tastes are subjective. Success of a style, and of a model overall, are found in the sales numbers. The new ES has surpassed annual sales of all previous ES.

    The switch to a 5 speed transmission in general is a definite plus for the ES. Lexus just needs to work towards making the transmission acceptable to all owners. The snippet in Edmunds' reviews was what I believe to be based on discussion in this board concerning the transmission, which means it was based on the strong opinions of a few dissatisfied owners. While dissatisfied owners are more likely than satisfied owners to find an online community to express their opinion, I'm sure there are many who are dissatisfied and don't come here to voice their opinion. So how representative the ES community here is to the experiences of all ES owners is something I wouldn't be able to determine.

    But regardless of what the actual ratio of satisfied/dissatisfied owners are, it only helps that those who are dissatisfied with the tranny speak up and give it attention. Otherwise, Lexus isn't going to do a darn thing about it. After all, it's more about the pursuit of perfect sales than the pursuit of perfection. And it takes bad press (like that in the Edmunds article) rather than just individual owner complaints to put them into action.

    As for the tranny issue being a "subject that comes up in almost every review I read," I've ready many reviews and have only seen it in 2 (Edmunds being one of them). dardson1 - what are these other reviews you've read?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Also note that Toyota/Lexus has allegedly upgraded the software on the 5AT since the ES300s introduction in 2002. (I believe the upgrade came early in this calendar year).

    Additionally, the 04ES should be receiving the 3.3L 225hp @5600 RPM/ 240lb. ft. @3600 RPM engine used in the 04 RX/ 04 Sienna/ 04 Solara V6/ 04 Camry SE V6... and I have not heard any complaints about this engine/transmission set up.

    just my 02
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Not only is transmission a slush box.... I would call it a death trap. I'm looking into legal proceedings. It's hard though... I'm not familiar with anyone who has been injured as a result of the tranny failure. Lawyers want a really easy case. I know I've tried to change lanes in heavy traffic and nearly was rear ended a couple times. Also, I coasted through a couple of red lights when the transmssion failed. Lexus fully acknowledges that 8 percent of owners have problems with the transmission. I wouldn't be surprised if 25% are unhappy as most people don't take action on things. Until they get the tranny fixed, I would urge people to stay away from this car. It's sad because I love so much about the car, but the tranny is dangerous. Keep the complaints coming. I can assure you Lexus won't fix it if we're silent.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    PLEASE !! Texas 83, how does the transmission prevent you from "coasting" through a red light? I thought that a car comes to a stop by applying the brakes, assuming one isn't "gunning it". I too have been nearly rear-ended in heavy traffic while changing lanes, but can't blame my car for traffic congestion or the eratic driving of others.
    When I was in the market for a new car, I read the posts on this web-page. I decided to "take the chance" and buy one of these "death trap" ES 300s and have been very happy with my decision.
    (No problem to date). It seems the vast majority of ES owners have experience similar to mine.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Toy driver, I'm glad you bought one that isn't as bad as some. The breaks work fine on this car as well as everything else, except the tranny. The problem is, periodically, when you need sudden acceleration to change lanes, to cut across traffic, to make it through a changing light, etc...., when I need power there is a hesitation and then the RPM's fly up and THE CAR DOES NOT GO, except for the momentum already moving the car. Another words there is a loss of power and a dangerous moment is created. The irony is the softer you drive the car, the more likely it is to fail when you need power. Driving it softly before my lemon law hearing is how I got it to fail twice for the judge. Unfortunately, I asked for another car because I like the general aspects of the car, and couldn't believe in my heart that Lexus was really consistently producing a piece of junk like this. Please refer to previous posts, I'm not the only one stating this. On top of the dangerous aspects, the clunking, slip-surge and shuddering has been embarrassing. If you live in a small town or never need to accelerate for any reason, this is just the car for you.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    CR calls the new transmission "less responsive" than the old 4sp. (Their reliability rating has dropped a notch for the transmission.) Consumers Guide said the transmission is "slow to downshift". Add Edmund's pounding (extreme as I suggested) + the number of transmission complaints on this site, it's easy to believe the new ES300 has a problem.
       Minor stuff?......maybe. Non-issue for the way most Lexus owners drive?.....probably. Better than the old version?.....not yet. A disappointment for a vehicle that has been known as absolutely "bullet-proof"?.....I think so.
        I love Lexus. Never had a better car or dealer experience. Never had a car more than 2 years and I'm considering keeping my '01 beyond the 3yr lease. That is an endorsement. My white over toupe leather '01 drives like the day I got it. Amazing! Just want Lexus to address the issue to I can feel good about a new one.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    They're at least officially acknowleding the issue now and say they'll have a fix out by end of year. Apparently, it's getting the new ES to meet ULEV in the first place that's the reason for the lazy transmission. And they've been working to get the transmission to a point that it's acceptable to the disgruntled while still meeting ULEV. According to a review I read (Motortrend?), the 5-speed transmission is the same box as the previous 4-speed transmission with just an added gear. It does sound like a chip replacement is what the fix will consist of.

    dardson1 - thanks for the review leads.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    What is your source that 8% of ES 300 owners have transmission problems? I'd be curious to know.

    This would be hard to quantify because what exactly is a "problem" transmission? One that hesitates? One that fails? One that isn't what somebody is used to? How was this 8% measured?
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I drive fairly aggressively (usually left lane) and have a 27 mile commute in heavy traffic at a mixture of highway speed and stop-and-go each day.
    (Though I make a point of not running red lights)
    The only time I even notice the transmission doing it's thing is rarely I will feel the down-shift when slowing through 40ish. With rapid accel, I usually feel nothing except strong response. Although it's not a sport sedan, it will easily reach 90 without a flinch. I did notice the car responds better (more accel) with premium gas. My neighbor with an '02 ES claims he knows nothing about any transmission issues. Another friend with an '02 ES loves his car - NO problems. I have driven two ES loaners (while my wife's RX was getting service) without any obvious problems. The Lexus service mgr. says he HAS heard of a few owners having issues but doesn't know of a fix for them yet. He suggests using Premium gas to get optimum performance.
    I'm not doubting your transmission problem but my experience has been different. It seems obvious to me that for the ES300 to win the JD Power award for initial quality, most owners probably have had an experience similar to mine.
  • kennynmdkennynmd Posts: 424
    I have an 03 which was bought in December. To this day, I have no complaints or tranny problems. Love the car!
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I'll also add that in 18 months with my 2002 I have had no transmission "problems." The car shifts nearly identical to my mother's 1999 GS 300. I know of two other people with a 2002 ES and neither of them have even heard of an issue.

    As was said, I'm not doubting somebody else's issue but I haven't experienced any problem.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    The source of the 8 percent came during the lemon law hearing. The Lexus Rep. gave that number and said they had no fix for the problem. The judge drove the car and the transmssion failed twice while he drove it. By that I mean he coasted then tapped the breaks a couple of times and then tried to accelerate, like you would if you were making a lane change in stop and go traffic. The RPM's flew up and the car hardly moved. He noted the more he tried to make it happen the less it did it. I was so lucky, because it only does it sporadically which was what the Lexus Rep was counting on. Lexus gave me a new car because they didn't want it on their record that they lost a case. The new car is worse than the old car in some respects and better in some as well. In simple stop and go traffic... 5-20mph... it slips and shakes the car much worse than my '02. Suffice it to say there is definitely a serious problem or their wouldn't be 18 months of discussion on this. Please... that's common sense. If you're shoping for this car, don't take a chance on it until they fix the tranny. If you do buy one, note that it devalues terribly.
  • weiss4weiss4 Posts: 3
    Have an '03 ES 300, and service advisor
    told me that the reason thay Lexus cars
    have such a smooth ride is due to their tires, not the car's suspension. In other words, he said I would have to chage my tires frequently to maintain factotry standards.
    Is he correct?? Are Lexus factory tires unusually "soft" and require changing like at 25,000 miles?? If so, what if I switch to a "stronger" tire? How much "harder" will the ride be? Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks,
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I have no doubt you are unhappy with your car. But two comments on your post:

    1. It is not accurate to say that because this has been discussed for 18 months on edmunds there is a problem. One, this board does not accurately represent ES 300 owners in a way that you can make a generalization like that. Two, I am sure this board garners a greater share of complaints since that's what most people do on edmunds.

    2. I don't believe the ES has terrible resale value. My dealer says the value of used 2002s is very high because many people want the car but don't want to spend the money on a 2003. Also, check out A 2002 ES 300 holds its value just as well as a 2002 Acura TL-S at 70%. Compare this to an Infiniti I35 at 61%.

    I wish you well in your car dilemma. But I would not discourage anybody from buying this car (the high sales numbers for July certainly don't reflect any public concern). Best of luck to you.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    What your dealer told you about tires is not true. Many ES 300s come from the factory with Michelins, and those tires are known for a "thumping" noise yet still produce a very quiet ride on the ES 300. Also, on my last ES 300 (a 1995) I replaced the factory Dunlops (which only lasted about 30,000 miles) with BF Goodrich and did not notice any change in the ride quality. The BF Goodriches had a much longer life and provided better handling and traction in the snow.
  • sopecreeksopecreek Posts: 203
    My 2001 ES came with Bridgestone (V-rated) and lasted 25 K. Replaced them with Yokohama (H-rated) from The Bridgestones were somewhat quieter at low speed. The Yoko are 10 times better in wet traction, HALF the price, equally comfortable, handling about the same (who drives ES like a sports car anyway.) Yokos make sense for me.
  • richm4richm4 Posts: 169
    I agree with you about not purchasing this car until the tranny issue is fixed. I would have bought one this year if not for that problem.

    I noticed the non-responsive transmission on my test drive and surely didn't want to risk spending $35K on a car with such a huge problem.

    I also agree that there wouldn't be 18 months of constant bitching about it if there weren't really a problem to begin with.
  • weiss4weiss4 Posts: 3
    Lenscap & Soapcreek;
    Thank you both for your input.
    On replacement I will look at Yoko's and
    Goodrich's as strong candidates.
    Is it possible to get consistently good advise from a Lexus service advisor, or do you have to take what they say, pass it through a filter like this one and make a decision??
    Anyway, I appreciate your taking the time to reply. weiss4
  • gekko2gekko2 Posts: 87
    i like Michelin Pilot XGT H4 Tires P205/65R15 -
    $97.99 each. i had dunlops and yokohamas but these are my favorite. both the dunlops and the yokohamas went bald too quick.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    Just did a review of the posts on this website for the past 7 months. Five people have posted claims of unresponsive or "dangerous" situations with the transmission. However, I believe only 3 of those are ES owners!?! Most of the posts are hash and re-hash from the same people.
    There have been thousands of the '02-'03 ES sold so far. If this transmission "problem" is as common as has been claimed by some here, statistically speaking there should be many more complaints from true owners.
    Thankfully, MY '03 continues to "purr" along, and change gears "without a whine".
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    I don't really like the exterior looks of the current ES300. Maybe a restlyling of the front and rear ends with new head and tail lights would help. When will the styling be tweaked?
    The only car in this class I don't like in looks is the Lincoln LS. The LS is "boring and dated" looking, but the ES300 is beyond boring and into the "unattractive and unacceptable" category.
    The BMW 3 series, the new 2004 Acura TL, G35 sedan, Cadillac CTS, Audi A4/A6 and the MBZ C/E Class all have more attractive exterior styling than the current ES300.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Apparently, the ES300 is not the only vehicle that gives owners transmission woes.

    On the "Maintenance and Repair" board, the topic "Transmission Traumas" typically stands at the top of the list of topics. Since top positioning on the list indicates recent posts to the topic, one might conclude that there are many complaints against transmissions for all vehicles.

    I suspect that car owners want larger vehicles that are powerful, with high fuel efficiency, and with low emissions. A tough bill for a transmission designer to fill.

    We may be forced to live with flaky transmissions while the designers find a way meet the mutually exclusive requirements demanded by owners.
This discussion has been closed.