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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    Thanks for the info, texas83. I was very close to buy a '03 ES. It's such a nice and quiet car, but the potential transmission problem really bugs me. Guess I will be waiting for '04. Hope the bigger engine and revised transmission will fix the problem.

    BTW, some other ES owners have the same issue... ews
  • cb1943cb1943 Posts: 9
    I suggested that for less money the TL had more perks (heated seats,steering wheel radio control)but, of course, the Lexus has many wonderful features the Acura TL or Accord do not. I love my '98 Lexus and want to buy a new one but surely I can express my opinion that I'm not that fond of the new body style and add my wish for more color choices on the Es300/330. I would like a medium or dark gray. Along with the problems some have had with the 02/03 transmission, it makes me reconsider buying another ES at this time. Thank you Texas83, I appreciate the info on the transmission problems as well. Not all have the time to revisit earlier post on this problem and will benefit from your experience.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    My pleasure. I'm glad I can help others from my experience. I like everything else about the car. It's just the transmission is no good in many cars and it's a lot of money for a car which may have a bad tranny. This has been a good outlet. I didn't know this was such global problem until after I bought the car and found this website. With pressure hopefully Lexus will take action. However, given their present attitude I'm skeptical about '02 and 03's.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Similar to the ES 300, the TL also has tranny problems. In addition, the I35 (Maxima) has transmission hesitation (when shifting from 1st to 2nd), although this problem probably isn't quite as bad. I don't know why the new crop of entry level luxury cars from Japan seem to be more problematic than before. Does anyone?
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    The expensive new cars nowadays have the fancy "adaptive transmissions". Are they suppose be better? I don't know. Somehow I don't see that many people had problems in the old days with high-end cars using the traditional inertia transmission.

    Maybe the car buyers are getting pickier. Or, people's driving skills are so bad that the fancy computerized transmissions don't even know how to adapt (just kidding) =)
  • Received a letter today from Lexus offering a free software enhancement for the "engine control module" which "changes the shifting smoothness". It refers to Tech Service bulletin TC004-03. I haven't had a complaint, so I assume this is a general enhancement offer, despite no use of RECALL. I have a 2003 ES300. By the way I use regular gas and it runs fine, but have averaged only a bit over 22 MPG with 2600 miles. Anyone else getting mileage this low? Haven't driven much highway, but will be going to Florida in December. Love the car, and am leasing for 36 months @$391 month including everything except excise which is billed separately.
  • kennynmdkennynmd Posts: 424
    but I hsven't recieved a letter as of yet.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I have an '03 ES with about 2700 miles. I have been averaging between 22-23mpg with city driving.
    Averaged about 27mpg while at freeway speed during a recent 500mi trip. However, I have been using premium gas.
    Interested to know if the notice about software enhancement came from Lexus headquarters or from your dealer???
  • I got the same letter today. It looks like the highly anticipated "firmware update" for correcting the transmission hesitation problem. I already made an appointment with a local dealer to have it updated this weekend. Would be interested in knowing if anyone has done it by now, and what's the result (better or worse).
  • First, if the mileage is the same it seems like premium is a waste of money, as performance is still great with regular-and my dealership assured me that regular gas does no harm. Secondly, the letter on the transmission fix was from Lexus, and not the dealer. I have an appointment for next week, yet there was no real problem that I could discern with the way the transmission shifted. Will let you know.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Even though I've never had a problem, I also received the letter from Lexus yesterday. For those who haven't seen it, here's what it says:

    Dear Lexus Customer:

    Lexus is dedicated to the "Passionate Pursuit of Perfection."

    As part of our constant efforts to provide you with the best in customer satisfaction and vehicle quality, Lexus would like to inform you of a product enhancement that is currently available for your ES 300 vehicle.

    This enhancement involves reprogramming the software for the engine control module (ECM) of the transmission, which changes the shifting smoothness of the transmission. Vehicle performance remains substantially the same.

    This product update is available through Lexus dealerships at no cost to you while your Lexus Powertrain Warranty is in effect. If you would like to have this update installed in your vehicle or if you want further information, please contact your local Lexus dealership and advise them that you are interested in having the modification completed per Technical Service Information Bulletin No. TC004-03. Please note that due to the nature of software reprogramming, once your software has been updated, it will not be possible to return the software to the previous version.

    If you want additional information after consulting your local Lexus dealership, please contact the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time.

    We have sent this notice in the interest of your continued satisfaction with our products and hope to see you at a Lexus dealership for your next sales or service visit.


    Lexus Division
    Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    I'll be anxious to hear what other's say about this so called fix. Frankly, I don't believe it. I noticed in June a Canadian was told about this new fix and he thought it had cured his problems only to report back later it hadn't. I would love to have it work.... believe me. The tranny is the only problem with this car, but it's a very very serious issue. My thoughts are this is a promise, stall, delay, then promise, stall, delay tactic. LEXUS...... please prove me wrong. At best I bet it only makes a very bad situation only a bad one.
  • kennynmdkennynmd Posts: 424
    fropm Lexus today. I am contemplating about getting the upgrade. I have an 03 but no problems.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    The '04 ES330 should be available in the next couple of weeks. If Lexus manages to fix the transmission, I may get one. What options do you recommend?

    1. MARK LEVINSON AUDIO. Is it worth the extra $900 over the standard sound system?

    2. ADAPTIVE VARIABLE SUSPENSION. A couple of people here like it, but reviews generally say forget it, too soft on comfort setting, too firm in sport setting. In between just like regular suspension, so why bother.

    3. WOOD STEERING WHEEL. Cosmetic item. Is the wood cold in the winter, clammy, sticky?

    4. H.I.D. HEADLIGHTS. Are they brighter? I need all the light I can get at night.

    5. POWER REAR SUNSHADE. Is it useful?

    Anti-skid system I'll definitely get. Anything else recommended?

  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    here are the my answers to your questions....

    1. ML? I would spend the $ on the navigation system instead. It's a personal preference.

    2. vairable suspension? depends on how long you want to keep the car. this will be VERY expensive to fix once the car is out of warranty.

    3. it won't be cold in the winter. the wood is laminated (or clear paint?). it looks good, no doubt.

    4. HID is definitely nice. the light output is excellent. get HID from the factory, cuz it's more expensive to install after market HIDs.

    5. I would get window tint and save $ on the power sunshade.

    6. ESP (stabilty control) is a must. If you ask me, I say this safety feature is as important as ABS. I would not buy a car without ESP.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for the tips. Hadn't thought about the repair costs of the adaptive suspension. Would definitely get the stability control. As for the nav, some have said it then incorporates the heat and a/c and possibly radio controls, which make for a more complex arrangement, no?
  • kennynmdkennynmd Posts: 424
    Are you getting this vehicle ordered? When I bought my 03, here were basically 2 packages. One with everything except for ML audio and Nav and the other with everything and ML and Nav
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    I'll probably have to order the vehicle if I want it equipped in my own way. I was told by a couple of dealers in Chicago that cars can in fact be ordered from Lexus with any level of equipment, and it would take approximately 3 months for delivery. A couple of other dealers have said that the ES300 comes with one of two packages and they can't be special ordered. To make a long story short, I don't believe them, but I guess I'll see when & if I try to special order one.

    I do want the Xenon lights, but I can't see ordering the entire nav. package just to get them. What's been your experience?
  • I got my Es300 without the NAV and Levinson, but with the HID and had no trouble finding one although the black garnet with black leather led to searching other dealers for the right combo. I found the Levinson to be nice, but pricey and the premium sound system upgrade already in the car to be very nice. The Levinson also had a subwoofer that took up space in the trunk and would be in the way for golf clubs or luggage. The NAV would have been nice but all that had it also had the Levinson package. All I really wanted was the HID and that wasn't a problem. The stability was a must, as were all the safety features. I am very happy without the NAV, Levinson and power sunshade.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    That's about how I would like mine equipped. But what part of the country are you in? I think different regions of the country might commonly have different equipment packages (although that's a guess).
  • kennynmdkennynmd Posts: 424
    I am in Maryland and I got the same as Glenns1939. Except my black garnet came with the tan interior. I got the HID's and everything else. Just no Nav and ML audio.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    ML. You can't ask someone if it's worth it. You have to listen to the stock and the ML and decide if it is worth it or not.

    Variable suspension, not worth it unless, you like the soft or sport setting much more than the stock suspension.

    Wood steering wheel. That is a personal cosmetic preference. Why ask others? It's like asking what is the best color.

    HID. Not worth it unless you regularly drive in very dark country roads at night with no street lights. If you do, then the extra light might be useful. Most people get them just for looks because they look modern. Thieves love to steal them.

    Power sunshade is nice luxury to have since it doesn't block light at night unless you want it to. (unlike tinting the windows)
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    HID lights are something you'll also just have to try and see if it's worth it to you. But once you go HID, it's hard going back to regular halogens. They're just so much brighter, and I'm not one who cares about the color/appearance of the light.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I am a huge fan of the adaptive variable suspension. My friend had it on his 1997 ES 300 and still has the car. I'm not sure why people think the repair costs would be high - I'd like to see some proof. Plus, with an extended warranty it's covered. Also, that's like saying don't get navigation because if it breaks it's expensive. To me, that's not a reason not to get an option.

    I really, really wanted this on my 2002 ES 300. It is a great feature. There are two settings firmer than a standard ES 300 and you can really notice the difference, not only in the ride (less floaty) but also in the handling (the car does not lean nearly as much in turns). For $600 this feature is simply the best. I used to have a 1995 ES 300, and the 2002 has a far superior "feel" because of the AVS.

    I remember when Road & Track test drove the car when it first came out; in their review they said if you only get one option the AVS should be it. Granted 90% of ES 300 buyers will not care to have a sportier ride, but I was one of the few who did.

    Most people who say negative things about AVS probably 1.) Are not the target for this option or 2.) Have not driven the car with it and most likely don't know what they're even talking about. It really is like an ES 300 with a sport suspension and a standard suspension. It's the best of both worlds.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    It looks like the navigation option on 2004 Lexus models is still $2000 (at least on for the IS 300).

    However, this weekend I was with a friend looking at the 2004 Toyota Solara. It had the nav, the same unit as in the ES 300 (just slightly updated). Packaged with an upgraded JBL radio the nav was $1,350! That's a heck of a lot less for the same equipment and it really surprised me.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    You might want to compare the ES300 Nav with the Camry's. At least for 2002, they are identical.

    If anyone wants the new DVD, they might try and get it from Toyota instead of Lexus.

    Don't know why you are surprised. It is well known that just about everything on a Lexus is more expensive from a Lexus dealer.

    I lost one of my keys and it costs $150 to replace from the dealer in Bakersfield. Also, the dealer said it costs $40 just to reprogram your keys.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I think you misunderstood me. When I refer to the price of the nav, I'm talking about the unit itself as a factory option, not the updates.

    Navs in general have been the same price regardless of whether it is a luxury car or not. Since navs came out (I think Lexus first offered them in 1998), navs have been $2,000. And nav prices in general have been $2,000 for cars such as the new Accord, Acuras, Infinitis, Nissans, etc.

    So when the price of a nav all of a sudden drops on a Camry from $2,000 in 2003 to $1,350 in 2004 that's big news to me.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Anyone have any more to say abou the active variable suspension, virtues or vices? Appreciate comments from people who have it.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Isnt air suspension NOT the same as AVS?
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    alpha01 - AVS is air suspension. It utilizes air pressure to adjust the damping rate. You'll see it mentioned as "Adaptive Variable Air Suspension (AVS)" on various Lexus pages, such as this one:

    "I'm not sure why people think the repair costs would be high - I'd like to see some proof."

    Lenscap - Common sense perhaps. If you can offer me an adaptive air suspension strut at the same price as a coil spring, I'll take you up on it. They're known to develop air leaks over time, and be expensive to replace. I've seen Lexus air suspension struts with a list price of over $1000. Price will vary based on model year and front or rear strut(s).
This discussion has been closed.