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Lexus ES 350



  • Area Lexus USA offices (i.e. Atlanta for the Southeast) has their own particular allotment of cars, just like each dealer. This may be due to current manufacturing, what's on inbound ships to the various ports or a decision by Lexus.

    When I wanted an ES350, from my local dealer, Lexus USA in Atlanta said I was limited to cars available to the Southeast. I chose a Tungsten Pearl which was on an inbound ship, which incidentallly, had all-season, Michelin MXZ4, all weather tires (nice).

    If you look at "Build Your own Lexus", on the site, today, for the Southeast, you'll see that a UL edition is not even available but, if you put in a 90210 zip code, it is available.
  • If you don't live in an area with significant amounts of snow, do yourself a huge favor and go with summer tires. They are infinitely better than the all season things they put on most of the cars. Ther Michelin MXV's they put on the cars are mediocre at best.
  • Has anyone bought through, and is from the Seattle area? Where did you pick up the car? Did everything go smoothly, and was the final cost (before taxes) $1K over invoice plus the transportation cost?
  • It would be nice if we could pick and choose what tires we want on a new vehicle. Unless you special order vehicles, don't Premium ES350s come with summer tires and UL vehicles come with all season tires? The all season tires supplied on a UL were never designed to be driven in heavy snow. They are a compromise between handling, wet/dry traction and treadwear.

    The best thing to do is buy the tires that make you happy, replace your factory tires with them and put the factory tires back on when you get ready to sell or trade the vehicle.

    But, given the choice we have for factory tires, which tire would you choose: an OEM summer tire on a Premium package, with a "200" Treadware rating or a Michelin MXV4 Plus with "400 Treadware, A Traction and A Temperature" (Michelins best-selling and most popular grand touring all season tire) on a UL?
  • Thanks for the detailed explanation. So far I haven't notice any syndrome described above. I have already put about 300 miles on it over the weekend. This es is really a joy to drive.

    One thing I did notice is that the engine idling noise when it first starts from cold temperature in the morning is a bit louder than my 2003 es300. It then become more quiet during the day though. On the other hand, when cruising at 70 mph on highway.. it is more quiet than my 2003 ES300.

    BTW, has anyone purchased paint coating environment protection? My dealer suggested putting down a layer of Teflon coating over the paint to prevent the salt (very common in NE region during winter) from penetrating into the paint and make the clean-up easier. For $260 (original price $460), is it worthy or useful?
  • I am considering purchasing an ES 350 UL by the end of the year. I have a 1997 lexus ES 300 that I have owned for ten years this month. The vehicle has performed incredibly and has been a wonderful pleasure to own and drive. I have 150K on the vehicle and have had no signficant problems. The vehicle still drives tight clean and has relatively no road noise. I test drove the new 07 ES 350 UL this weekend I was disappointed. I thought that the vehicle drove like a Camry with a bit of extra power when pressing on the accelator. The vehicle did not seem to handle as tightly as mine and the ride did not feel like a 'Lexus' ride. I like the new styling and the interior is nice but appears to be 'cheaply' engineered compared to mine. I have a lot of friends who purchased ES 300's from 97 to 01 and are passing on buying this year's model because of the ride and general feel of the car. The salesman told me that the 97 to 01 models were viewed by the buying public as the most attractive ones engineered. I am going to drive another one next weekend...I am hoping that is was just a singular experience because I was really looking forward to purchasing this car. I would love to hear feedback from anyone who has bought or looked at buying the new one and who previously owned a ES300 97 to 2001 model. Does anyone feel the same way? My 97 just seems to float on the road, very little road noise, and an absolute pleasurable driving experience. I did not feel the same way about the new one. Thanks in advance for any information.
  • If given the choice I'd only reluctantly go for an "all season" only because I live in NYC and we get a fair amount of snow. Ideally, I'd opt for the "200 rated" treadwear summer tires in a heartbeat if it weren't for the snow factor.
    And as for what A/S I'd opt for, it sure wouldn't be the mediocre Michelin MXV's, that's for sure.

    Chect this out and tell me what you think about the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S. And guess what? They're substantially cheaper too!
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    I had a '98 ES-300 that I really liked and replaced it with an ES-350 in May. You're right, the 350 does not ride or handle as well as the 300. I'm going round and round with the dealer and Lexus re a transmission problem. If Lexus can work out the bugs, there is a lot of value in the 350 compared to comparable BMWs and M-Bs.
  • Wow, I'm in love with your wheels!!! I recently bought the Ultra Luxury Package in Blue Onyx Pearl/Cashmere interior--very similar to yours, and I initially loved the upgraded wheels that came with the UL package...But I'm really loving how yours look! Did you get the wheels from Lexus?
  • The Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S is a very good choice for an all season tire. The only catch is that it does not come in a size 215/55R17 for the ES350.

    I think all of us are going to find that the optimum tire in most all the categories is not going to be available to us, given the wheel and tire size that Lexus has chosen for this vehicle. I don't understand the reason behind the decision, but given that it is a luxury vehicle and not so much a sports sedan, they would have stayed with a 16-inch wheel and tire.

    Here is a good alternative to the tire you have chosen, that is available for the ES350: Survey

    This is an Avon tire made by Cooper Tire and Rubber, best known for Avon racing tires. The specs are not as good but close and our size is available. You can pick an optional tire height, but you are altering the specifications of the vehicle from what Lexus delivered to you.

    It would be nice to pick and choose which tires come on the vehicles, but I don't believe we have that option. From what I've seen, Premium packages come with summer tires and ULs come with all season. The all season tires are a bit of a compromise, the handling is not as good and probably the ride comfort is not the same as a summer tire and the snow traction is definitely not equal to a winter tire but the treadlife of the Michelin MXV4 Plus will probably exceed any summer tire. For those drivers that travel in between climates, it should prove to be a good compromise. Lexus probably has a range of tires that are put on the ULs, but the Michelin MXV4 Plus is usually not considered to be an "OEM" tire.

    If you don't plan to keep your vehicle but a few years and you have all season tires, exchange them with whatever tire from Tirerack makes you happy and store the original tires until you get ready to sell or trade the ES350 and then remount the original tires.

    Incidentally, if you have a Discount Tire store in your area, they will match any price offered on
  • Thanks for the reply. I believe there is a lot of value in the 350 compared to the BMW and MB as well but they definetely missed the mark in general ride and feel of the car. I have a personal relationship with the Lexus salesperson and he told me that they have had many people test drive the new ES and not move forward with the purchase of the vehicle...most of these buyers were owners of ES 97 to 01 models. He also told me that the general consensus among the sales managers and salespeople was that the new vehicle missed as well but that sales would be strong since it is a 'lexus'. There were high expectations on this vehicle since the 02 to 06 models were considered bland. I would buy this vehicle immediately if it had a ride and feel that was even remotely similar to the 97 to 01 version...I am surprised that the engineers did not concentrate on delivering it.
  • jtmavjtmav Posts: 18
    From what I can tell Lexus seems to be dividing the line by luxury/sport. I own an SC 430 and my wife just ordered an ES 350. Seems like the sport side is being handled by the IS/GS while luxury side by LS/ES. Not to say they all aren't luxurious but I think you know what I mean. The IS is trying to take on the 3 series, while the GS the 5 series. I suppose the LS/ES is taking on Mercedes. I found the ES to be quite a nice car for the price point. Power is good and while the handling isn't exactly sport sedan like I don't think they were trying to get that buyer. I beg ignorance to the previous version of the car since I never drove one, but the 350 seems to be quite improved in many ways over the previous generations, and I really like the styling of the car as well as the ride. Of course it's all personal choice. Just my $.02

  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    Excellent post. As proof to what you have stated, the new ES no longer offers the choice of selecting the kind of ride desired (sport or normal) with the turn of a dial. My son owns a 1999. He's trying to convince me into buying the new ES. Nice car (new and old).
  • I found my ES350 a bit noisy with clicking sounds compared to 2003 ES300 during the engine start in the morning. It does quiet down after a couple minutes. This noise only happens when it starts first time in the morning, not during the day or while it is moving. I wonder if any of you have similar experience. Probably most people may have previously owned another lexus. I would like to hear your experience with ES350 cold start in the morning.
  • I bought my ES350 thru during the last month. For Lexus, I think they said they sourced from 3 different areas - one in California, one in Florida and I think one in northeast. I wanted the one sourced in Florida (JM Lexus in Margate FL) that was premium package and was for the price listed on Fleetrates specials for $33,975 (think the MSRP was about $36.2k). They did not charge a documentation fee, as many dealers do. Only other charge I had to add on was to pay for transport to Illinois and for state taxes when I registered car. Car was delivered basically to my doorstep. Pretty happy with transaction as only ones available here were about $1000 more MSRP and dealer said max amount off would only be $500 off MSRP with no negotiation.
  • The ES350 engine is noisy.

    That's the long and the short of it. And it's noisy in a not very pleasant or sonorous way. It's clickity/clackety noisy. Not like a deep throated grwl or whine which generally bespeaks a highly tuned or powerful engine. Compared to my '02 ES 300 this thing sounds like a truck. It has gobs and gobs of power though and the gas mileage is simply astounding for an engine of this power so it's really a mixed bag.

    But yes, it is noisy.
  • Sorry to hear about your noisy engine, but I DON'T seem to have this problem at all. This engine is just as quiet as my 2003 ES was!! :)
  • I have a 92 SC300, which runs rougher now but when it was new the engine scarcely let you know it was running with the windows up. It was pretty amazing, the new ES is different but it DOES have power! Another observation I have made in comparing it to my other car is cheaper dashboard materials and the trunk lid is very light. This car does feel better going over bumps than earlier generation ES's I have driven. I am at 17 mpg city with less than 400 miles on the engine, I expect it to get closer to the 21 on the sticker though. But overall, my SC just feels heavier and more solid, but I think I'll keep the ES photos here
  • I recently purchased the ES350 (love it!!). I went to the dealer I bought my previous 2 Lexus' with and he gave me a good price. But as I was researching I called other dealers, many were telling me the sticker was it, it was a high demand car. I then called Ray Catagnus Lexus of Monmouth, NJ (Peter Walsh was the Sales Associate) and he really wanted and worked for my business. The dealership is huge and I think the larger ones have more of a margin they are willing to work with, I think I really did well with the pricing. Even though it was a two hour drive, it was worth every mile.
  • I originally was dealing with Ray Catana Lexus of Monmouth NJ but objected to some extra charges that they wanted to tack on. I got a much better deal at Prestige Lexus in Ramsey, NJ. (largest Lexus dealer on the East coast). Great people to deal with. By the way My ES350 is quiet as a church mouse. You people complaining about noise at startup better check your hearing aids. No noise here.
  • Can you please give us the detail of the price. How much below MSRP. Usually you can get 1500$ below MSRP in the north east, Did you get any thing better?
  • I see what great deals people are getting on the west coast - in some cases $4300 or $4400 off MSRP. Based on conversations with dealers in the Wash DC area, the going discount these days is $1800 - $2200 off MSRP - maybe a little better at the end of the month. Has anyone been doing any better in this area? And if so, how much better, and with which dealership? Thx.
  • Do the steering wheel audio control and display buttons light up at night? Thanks.
  • bwolfbwolf Posts: 18
    Yes, they do. What does not light up is the seat memory buttons and the universal transmitter buttons, which is very annoying because the garage door buttons are hard to see at night.
  • Thanks for replying. The lexus salesperson wasn't sure if they lit up.
  • I'm looking at both the ES and the M by Infiniti. Has anybody compared these two cars? If so I would be interested in hearing their analyses. Thanks.
  • The M and ES were my finalists.

    I was able to rent an Infiniti G from Hertz, but not an M. Loved it except for the "Vroom-vroom" every time you accelerate. Drove me nuts on local errands.

    The best way to compare is to set appointments so that you can drive them both one after the other over the same route. Your memory can really fool you. I found that my attitude toward the sales rep also affected my perception of the test drives.

    I drove the M and ES 350 back to back three times.

    The cars are very different. M is IMO a midlife crisis hotrod. ES is a luxury boat in a small package.

    M is taller and 10% heavier and therefore has lower mileage and shorter range.

    Fewer Infinitis are sold, so there are fewer dealers to compete for your sales and service business. In my area there are four Lexus dealers but only one actual Infiniti dealer (two stores under same ownership.)

    Infiniti M is more powerful but, like the G, very noisy. They even bragged about their noisy exhaust system in a two-page ad in Car & Driver. I don't think I would get used to the distracting giant horizontal dashboard.

    ES 350 is very quiet. Not as powerful feeling. I don't like the swoopy interior and the giant blind spots vs the ES330.

    Wound up with a 15-month-old 330. Very good except, as with all Toyotas and Lexuses with that engine, it is loud when idling. Wonderfully quiet and smooth on the freeway. Much less fatiguing to drive long distances than other cars I rented or tested.

    (For example, I rented a Lincoln Zephyr. Liked it a lot except that it is very noisy and fatiguing on freeway, has some cheesiness in the interior, and poor crashtest results. One Fusion/Milan/Zephyr broke the crash test dummy's ankle; the other had welds that came loose between body and chassis.)

    The 330 does hesitate sometimes, but it never hesitates if I stab the throttle. So I stab the throttle when I need to do a merge and otherwise drive gently and don't worry about it. I gather that this is a side effect of tuning the engine computer for mileage and low emissions.

    The ES is designed to make the car feel bigger than it is. This is done via the exterior looks; the interior layout, driver position, and detailing; and via the engine computer's programming. This is taking me a while to get used to.

    I am going to ask the dealer to see if they can reduce the idle RPMs or otherwise reduce idle noise, but I don't expect much result.
  • jiangjiang Posts: 12
    hakpoon says: "I found my ES350 a bit noisy with clicking sounds ... during the engine start in the morning."

    Yes, I had similar problem and noticed that the rpm=2000 for ~30sec before it comes down to ~1200rpm and the noise level comes down too accordingly. Once you know the pattern, it doesn't bother me too much any more, except I do wonder sometimes why Toyota engineers couldn't fix the problem at the design stage.
  • jiangjiang Posts: 12
    My ES350 steering wheel makes "clinking" sound when it turns to more than 70 degrees, eg., making a slow right turn from my driveway onto the street. The problem is more pronounced when the turn is slow, either to the left or right, especially when backing out of the drive way with turns. My hands on steering wheel could also feel the un-smoothness of the wheel as if there is a small loosen screw is in the way of the turning axis!

    Has anyone got similar problems?
  • I am in Illinois and I have not read any discounting over here. I was thinking of buying in California however fleetrates may be a better option. I will have to finance the car. Any advice will be appreciated.
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