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Lexus ES 350



  • First let me preface my comments by saying I'm a big fan of Lexus and am sold on their quality. Having said that however, let me add that I looked at the new ES today and was not impressed with the styling. The interior of the Premium model I was looking at seemed nothing short of stark. Not what I'd expect from a $40k car. The side view was equally unimpressive. It loked like a bathtub! I'm sure performance wise it fills the bill but the styling has left me a little put off.
  • Well styling is rather subjective. I actually liked the previous ES's interior but didn't like the exterior. The ES350 looks nice both inside and out, again IMO :D
  • tds1tds1 Posts: 74
    I hear what you are saying - it's tough to get everything. I don't think the ES350 exterior is the best styled car, but on the other hand, I am not really impressed with the current 3 BMW exterior. Their interior is about as stark as it gets! In addition the others in it's class (Acura RL/Infiniti G or M etc) aren't particularly exciting. I think MB or Audi wins on interior and exterior styling to me, but when you factor in reliability I can't buy either. I love the LS460 styling (seems overall more balanced), but since I could get 2 ES350s for 1 LS460, I can compromise a bit on styling!
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    Not defensive at all. As you stated the problem has been reported in the past. It's unfortunate for those who had/have it. However, in some cases the problem was reported by some people who don't even own a Toyota product. If the problem was as widespread (for several years) as some would have you believe, Lexus and Toyota would not be setting sales records (sales of Audi vehicles quickly took a beating over night with their acceleration problems in the early 1980's). Problems with Toyota (Lexus) may exist now (I'm sure there are some). However, I have not read of very many people who actually have a transmission problem with the new Lexus (other than the searching thing). Most independent car reviews agree. The percentage is very low.

    Is Toyota suffering from groing pains? You bet. What I have observed to date is that some have had an actual problem (hopefully the problem has been resolved), others have a perceived problem and for the most part the majority are concerned about a problem that may or may not occur (heck, many don't even own a Lexus or any Toyota ).

    The bottom line is... this is just one site to obtain information. We have no way of verifying if the information posted is accurate, good or bad (sorry for being so cynical). In addition to this and other sites I like to obtain first hand comments from people on the street who actually own the vehicle.

    I agree that a potential buyer would want to make sure a problem (if it exists) is corrected before moving forward (I'm sure the new Toyota slogan "moving forward" was a slip).

    I hope this answers your question. "why so defensive?" It wasn't meant to be. Good Luck.
  • I would have to agree with you on the Mercedes styling, but only on the CLS, it is NICE! But the CLS is a four passenger vehicle, so it is not an option for me and it costs WAY more than my ES. I am not excited by either the Audi or the BMW, just my personal preference. On the other hand, the new ES in my opinion is the nicest looking ES yet, a more aggressive looking tire option is the only exterior change I would make. As far as the interior goes, my 1992 SC 300 uses nicer looking materials, you listening Lexus?
  • petl -- Very well said! I've had my vehicle for just over a month ...I read about "so called" problems on this forum and wonder what are they talking about. My ES350 was manufactured 06/06 and so far my only complaint is about the audio system which does not sound like premium sound to me (but then again I am comparing it against a fairly expensive home audio system). As far as transmission problems, gas pedal hesitation etc I wonder how many ES350 owners have actually experienced such problems. We should probably take a poll, but then again to get a fair count we'd have to be able to verify that respondents actually own the vehicle.
  • I tried to order the Body Side Molding for our car but was told that Crystal White was not one of the ES350 colors. I repeatedly told the parts department person that Crystal White was the color of our car. Later I would find out that mid-year Lexus has now decided to rename Crystal White to STARFIRE PEARL.

    No wonder the parts department guy was confused... so was I.

    I wonder if Starfire Pearl really is the same color as Crystal White?
  • My previous ES330 had a feature that automatically locked the doors, after about 30 seconds, if you forgot to lock the doors when you got out of the car. My ES350 does not lock the doors if you exit the vehicle and forget to lock the car manually. However, if you are outside the vehicle and you unlock the vehicle and don't open the doors, it will automatically lock them after a period of time.

    I have read the coding options at the rear of the manual and can find nothing about this feature. It does talk about the doors automatically locking if you unlock the car and don't open the doors, as I previously mentioned. Does anyone have knowledge of how this works, before I have to get a service tech/manager to explain why it won't lock automatically?
  • bwolfbwolf Posts: 18
    Here are some pics of my new Ruby Red ES with 10 Spoke Chrome rims.
  • I had my wheels changed to E17 Sport. These pictures were taken today, sun was not shining so the color looks more like black than blue onyx. Pictures can be found at
  • logologo Posts: 1
    I have observed since last 2 days that my "Check VSC" light comes on for couple of seconds when I start the car first time in a day. For any subsequent starts, no such indication. Should I be worried about it?

    Since I got the car(31st Aug), I have been seeing that every once in a while, it does not understand which gear to shift into. For e.g. I turned into a parking lot with a down slope and I expect the car would down-shift instead it did an up-shift or missed gears (not really sure but tachometer crossed 3000 RPM without any speed increase). Any advise?
  • Holy cow!!!

    Those sport wheels totally transform this car into a real looker. It's like Ruth Buzzi turned into Pamela Anderson!


    If Lexus was smart those would be the stock wheels that came with the car.

    I can't believe what a difference those wheels make!

    Gorgeous, just gorgeous.
  • Hello everyone, I posted a few more photos of the 350.
  • tds1tds1 Posts: 74
    I agree - those sport wheels look great. Were you allowed to keep the original wheels? Was thinking on using them for snow tires. Also what did you pay?
  • Dealer wanted over $3,000 for those wheels. It wasn't that big of a priority to me so I purchased the Premium Plus package which of course comes with just standard wheels. About a week later I saw the E17 sport wheels listed on e-bay, brand new in sealed Genuine Lexus(Toyota) boxes for $799.99. So I got them and paid $100.00 to get them installed. So yes I still standard rims, but will eventually put them on e-bay.
  • Your dealer must be crazy or trying to rip you off for these wheels. According to here,

    the invoice for the e-sport wheel is only $878. My UL Smoky Granite ES350 (initally reserved a UL ruby red one but changed mind after seeing it in person) is arriving this week. I will check with my dealer to see what is the price difference between the granite polished alloy wheels in UL package and the e-sport wheels.
  • Thanks for info. I did think that I was getting ripped off getting those, which is why I settled for standard wheels at time of purchase. I am sure that the standard wheels are much cheaper than the Polished granite so the upgrade price from standard to polished granite must be more than the $1250 list price. Is that how it works anyway?
    I think you would love the Smoky Granite -- it's really eye-catching. I was so undecided between that and the blue onxy pearl I got. I loved them both.
  • What? Changed your mind AFTER seeing the Ruby Red? I am just curious - what didn't you like about the color? I have gotten so many comments on what a gorgeous, rich and different color it is. People say they've never seen a "red" like it. I know, of course, that opinions on colors are very subjective. BTW I did also love the smokey granite but didn't want gray or black interior.
  • Blue onyx is a very lovely color too. You car looks really great with the new e-sport wheels. Blue was on my top 3 list (Red, SGM, Blue Onyx). However, my dealer does not have it in the lot and without seeing it... It would certainly make my decision harder if I have seen it in person.
  • Ruby Red is indeed very gorgeous and rich, especially under afternoon sunshine or yellowish light. I really like the last picture of ruby red in wireguy1's album. In fact I was sold after seeing that picture and was fortunate enough to be able to get hold of a UL/Ruby/Cashmere package from a dealer in NJ. However, the sky was a bit groomy when I saw it in person. Maybe that has created a gap from my expectation. On the other hand, I found the black glassroof seems to mix better with the smokey granite body and the light grey interior is more in harmony with the black dashboard than cashmere(although i wish es350 could have more wood trim on the front passenger dashboard, just like my 2003 es300). Again, these are all personal perferences.
  • bwolfbwolf Posts: 18
    I upgraded to the 10 spoke Chrome and that was only $1,000 so the polished granite (10 spoke non chrome) should be less.
  • The dreaded "VSC" light problem usually occurs only after the car has been driven at higher speeds and the transmission fluids are warm. However, when I took my old ES350 into the shop, the technician cleared the codes, and drove around the parking lot and the light came back on and stayed on. It could have been that the transmision was still warm when the light came back on.

    If you just got the car, I doubt you have a bad transmission, but, open the driver's door and see when the vehicle was manufactured. If it was around the March/April timeframe I might be inclined to worry.

    But, as I've said before, it's your car, you paid good money for it and don't let anyone on this board tell you not to worry about ANYTHING that bugs you or concerns you about your vehicle. Take it to a dealership, tell them exactly what the car is doing and ask them to check it out; it's that simple. The service managers are not going to laugh at you, second guess you or tell you that you don't need service. A technician will test your car and read the diagnostic codes and see if there is a problem. If the technician thinks there might be something wrong and they can't figure out the problem, they open a ticket with the engineers at Lexus USA who help diagnose the problem.

    If you're not satisfied with their answer and the car continues to give you a problem, call Customer Service at Lexus USA. They listen! They want you satisfied with the vehicle and will do whatever it takes to correct a problem, if one exists. The person that takes your call becomes your point of contact. That person relays your concern to the regional Lexus USA office, who in turn contacts the dealership. You'll probably get a call from the service manager, asking you to bring the car back in for service. Your point of contact will folllow up with you to make sure you're satisfied with your experience.
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    The transmission on my 2007 ES-350 hangs and slips at slow speeds. The problem is particularly noticeable in the morning, after the car has been sitting overnight, at about 30-35 mph when it seems like it is shifting from 3rd to 4th gear. Two days ago I wrote a “lemon law” letter to Lexis and told them that on two occasions the dealer had determined that the transmission was not defective and had failed to undertake any repairs. Just received a call from the dealer advising me that a new part (think he said it is some kind of pump) was coming in and that it should take care of my problem. We'll see. This is the same dealer that told that there was no problem. I would be interested in hearing from anyone else with similar transmission problems with their ES-350.
  • I seem to have the same problem without any VSC light. It happens when the car is cold and as it shifts from 3rd to 4th the engine races before the 4th gear engages. It is momentary but annoying. The dealer has had the car once but the car was warm and could not duplicate. I would be interested in the "fix number" Lexus associates with the new pump. By the way my car was built in early April.
    Lexus Guy 3
  • This supplements my message of a few hours ago. I just returned from dealer and had an excellent service manager. We researched the 3-4 gear shift and found a Service Bulletin fix. Lexus calls it a 3rd-4th Gear Shift Flare. The fix is covered in TC004-06.

    By the way try to use the voice command on the Climate Control. If it is screwed up Lexus has a fix "Voice Commands for Climate Control are Inoperative" EL008-06

    Car goes in a week for fixes .Lexus Guy 3
  • At the risk of repeating myself "ad nauseum", IF YOUR DEALER CAN NOT FIX YOUR TRANSMISSION, ask the service manager if the dealer has an open ticket with Lexus USA, asking for help. If the answer is NO, insist that they open a ticket for diagnostic help and CALL LEXUS USA. If the answer is yes, ask what the Lexus engineers are telling the service tech and then call Lexus USA Customer Service and tell them you are not satisfied with the level of service you are receiving. This forces the engineers to become more involved and the dealership to answer to the regional Lexus USA.
    Do not accept a part for your transmission or a replacement transmission without speaking to Lexus USA. Call them and raise holy hell that you have a new transmission and it is not working correctly and that should not hace tp accept a "part" to fix your transmission. It is a brand new vehicle and should not require "parts" and that you are well aware of the problems with the ES350 transmissions. The only exception for parts being the fix for the voice comand system if you have an earlier production vehicle.

    If you accept a part or new transmission, you are doing Lexus a big favor and screwing yourself. There are no transmissions to be had at this point! My old ES350 has been setting on the dealer lot for over two months, waiting on a new transmission.

    You do not have to accept the service department's answer to fix your vehicle. When you take your vehicle in for problems with the transmission, INSIST that they are to do no repairs before consulting you first and make them put it in writing on the service ticket. If they suggest a part replacement or new transmission, ask them if the Lexus Engineers made this decision or them and either way, CALL LEXUS USA Customer Service and tell them exactly what has transpired up to that point and that you are not satisfied with the decision to replace "parts" for a brand new vehicle.

    A good service manager, as mentioned earlier, will keep you abreast of technical bulletins and fixes associated with your vehicle, that Lexus has issued, and will advise you if the service tech called Lexus USA for help. Warranty service or even replacement of your vehicle does not cost the dealership a dime; Lexus USA reimburses the dealer for all costs. There is no excuse for them not asking Lexus USA for help in fixing a problem with your vehicle. BMW is even stricter when it come to fixing vehicles under warranty. The service tech cannot order parts unless he/she has approval from a BMW USA engineer.
  • Happily picked up my UL smokey granite today... What an enjoyable driving experience. Smooth transmission and quick response. Car was made in July. It has only 8 miles when it left the dealer's lot. I wonder if the transmission issue described above is common or related to certain manufacturing dates.
  • Congratulations on your new UL. That color looks great with the graphite-polished wheels.

    The dreaded "transmission problem" was associated with a batch of ES350s and Toyota Camrys with six-speed automatic transmissions (same as ES350) manufactured in March and April. Manufacturing was temporarily halted until the problem was fixed.

    The indicator that your transmission is "dead" is that after driving at higher speeds and higher RPMS for an extended period of time and usually after the vehicle has about 800 miles, the shifting between 1st and 2nd gear and 2nd and 3rd gear becomes erratic and the Vehicle Stability Control "VSC" illuminates and stays illuminated. It is still safe to drive the vehicle until you get it to the dealership. The light must be cleared by the service tech.

    Clearing the "codes" will not solve the problem. The light will illuminate again and stay on the next time it is driven. At that point, the tech should park the car and call Lexus USA for help. The engineers have a set of test parameters to determine if the transmission is faulty.

    If it turns out to be a bad transmission, it's cheaper for Lexus to replace the transmission than to tear it apart to fix the part that caused the problem. Last estimate, their were about 15,000 vehicles affected (including Camrys and ES350s). The other alternative (for ES350 owners) is to insist upon Lexus buying back the vehicle or giving you another one. Camry owners were not as fortunate.

    I fault Lexus for not having been more aggressive in finding the bad batch of transmissions but applaud them for appeasing customers that had bad transmissions. Unfortunately, when it comes to warranty repairs, the common philosophy is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

    That's where it pays to trust the dealership where you take your car for service and insist upon the same service manager. Pick one that's a brainiac when it comes to ES vehicles and that you have a rapport with. That type of person will tell you if there are any potential problems with your vehicle (if you ask them privately).

    Remember, besides the dealership, a toll-free call to Lexus USA Customer Service, politely telling the representative you need help resolving a problem, will get you personalized service and an answer to your problem.
  • Is it just me or does this car look better and better as you look at it? This one good looking machine. I would love to put on a set of 19 inch rims, will be investigating next week.
  • A relative of mine living in the Chicago Ill. area is interested in getting an ES350. He asked me how I liked it and my reply was very positive. We then spoke about the packages on in building your Lexus on line. He started talking about things on the packages that I never heard of being available when I use my Zip code. When using his Zip code (60604) I came up with XM music, body side moldings etc. avaiable on the packages.If you put in a Florida Zip code (32246) you will get summer tires (they don't last too long). I guess Lexus has different packages for different parts of the country.
This discussion has been closed.