By 2001, Lexus was already known for its high-quality, very dependable vehicles. The ES range appeared on the market in 1988 as a rebadged Toyota Camry Vista and rushed through generations building three of them in just 13 years. The fourth generation of the ES received features from the company's flagship, the LS, and rfined technologies such as the drive-by-wire electronic throttle.e
Thanks to its fluid lines and raked front fascia and windshield, the 2002 ES obtained a Cx 0.28, increasing the car's fuel efficiency. Its swept-back headlights and slanted grille created a dynamic image for the luxurious four-door sedan. On its sides, the chromed door handles and trim around the window line amplified the premium image.
Inside, Lexus installed a carefully crafted interior with California walnut trim on the steering wheel, dashboard, center stack, and doors. It was finished to one of the greatest attention in its segment and adorned with chromed accents. As an option, the carmaker added a Mark Levinson premium auto, dual-zone climate control, and heated seats. There was plenty of room for all passengers, and the bench could comfortably host three people in the back.
Under the hood, Toyota installed a 3.0-liter engine paired with a five-speed automatic gearbox. It used the same drivetrain from the Camry, hence the front-wheel-drive system. Starting with 2006, the car received a 3.3-liter version as well.
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CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.
Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.
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2002 Lexus ES300 Road Test
Redefining the definition of rolling isolationLexus ES300 Full Overview
A smooth ride, supreme quiet, and tastefully executed, if conservative, exterior design. That's what the Lexus ES 300 has traditionally been about. Around in its current configuration since '97, it was due for a redesign, though it remained a strong seller. Lexus' challenge, then, was to increase the car's lux quotient and crank up its style factor, while not straying too far from the formula that made it so popular in the entry-level luxury market to begin with.
Well, the '02 ES 300 is still about setting comfort and quietness standards. In fact, based on our road and test-track evaluation, this updated version has moved them even higher. And the bold exterior packs visual pop that clearly says Lexus is now willing to take some design risks it's carefully avoided in the past.
The ES 300's fresh exterior is pretty daring for a car aimed at what's supposed to be a traditional luxury-car buyer. The super-size headlamps, not unlike those on its distant cousin, the Toyota Celica, particularly gave us pause: They give the car's face a certain edge, for sure, but some consider the treatment a bit overdone. The rest of the shape is flowing and reasonably well proportioned. Overall, the car's look is a nice mix of the squarer, more upright lines from the Toyota Avalon, mixed with the GS 300/400 side glass and the slightly odd, sporty noses of the MR2, and even the Prius hybrid. Staid it absolutely is not.
This more dramatic-looking ES has a longer wheelbase (107.5 versus 105.1 in.) and is taller than the previous car. The roofline goes from 54.9 in. high to 57.3; the result is greater interior space with 96.4 cu ft of volume versus the 89.0 in the competitive Mercedes C-Class sedan.
The only engine available is a 3.0L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing that pours out a silken 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. It's much the same as the previous ES powerplant, but with two important changes. First, the engine has a new drive-by-wire throttle that lets its management system serve up both noticeably sharper response and lower emissions-a combo nobody will gripe about. Second, this excellent, all-aluminum powerplant is now teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission. Lexus says the new tranny shifts more smoothly; however, we noticed that shifts in our test-drive prototypes had an occasional uncharacteristic edge. On the upside, the five-speed's closer gearing provides new scoot that the old four-speed couldn't. And there's definitely less up- and downshifting on rolling terrain.
At the track, the ES is no rocket, but it's not supposed to be either. Its performance is about dead center of the midsize sedan pack. But with a 0-60 time of 8.15 sec, you'd still be able to easily get out ahead of most of the sport/utility-driving commuters at a stoplight. Even with the hardware updates, the car's horsepower and torque numbers don't change. But maybe they should: Both the '02 Infiniti I35 and Acura TL Type S will be packing 260 horses. Still, the ES delivers wholly adequate, ultra-smooth performance that's appropriate to its mission as a luxo cruiser, not a racer.
The ES' unibody is close to flawless when it comes to the structural solidity and quietness that contribute largely to its, or any car's, comfort level. Rubber-isolated subframes in the front and rear convincingly separate the cabin from the powertrain and suspension vibrations. And that makes for creamy driving behavior that truly rivals that of top prestige sedans. This car is a lesson to all who say you can't get first-rate rolling quiet with MacPherson struts in both front and back. With a flick of the switch, the optional Adaptive Variable Suspension actually offers an even higher level of sensory deprivation by varying the shock damping rates based on surface conditions, vehicle speed, driver steering and brake inputs, and body movement. Our tester turned in a VSC-monitored slalom speed of 60.6 mph, which is plenty good given this sedan's heavy ride-comfort bias and nondefeatable stability system.
Another nice driving surprise is the excellent boost rate and precision of the power rack-and-pinion steering. Generally, steering systems suffer serious compromises in pleasant-riding sedans. But not here. The brake pedal is also nicely linear in response and calls on larger front discs this year with dual-piston calipers. The standard four-wheel discs yielded a stop in 123 ft from 60 mph. That compares with the 131 posted by a Buick Lesabre, 128 by a Cadillac Catera, and 114 by a Mercedes C320.
The ES 300's interior styling is perfectly gorgeous, and its execution nearly flawless. The California walnut trim on the wheel, dash, console, and doors looks miles deep and is smooth as glass. Accenting it, and the rich leather upholstery, are tasteful bright points of chrome on the dash and door handles. An optional power rear sunshade helps keep things cool. Other goodies include optional navigation and Mark Levinson premium audio, dual-zone climate control, and two-level heated seats. We do, however, have some minor quibbles with the needless complexity of the electronic controls and screen shared by the HVAC, navigation, and sound. The trunk is adequately sized, nicely finished, and packs a full-size spare on an alloy rim.
The '02 ES 300 is a slick piece. Its velvety mechanical refinement and ride are unmatched in the $30,000-plus price range. It offers the luxury accoutrements and feature levels buyers have come to appreciate and expect in the mid-level lux category. Although the target customers may need some time to get used to the avant garde front-end created in the company's Japanese design studios, the new ES 300 is definitely an entry-lux knockout.
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The Lexus ES (Japanese: レクサス・ES, Rekusasu ES) is a series of mid-size executive cars sold by Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota since 1989. Seven generations of the sedan have been introduced to date, each offering V6 engines and the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. The first five generations of the ES were built on the Toyota Camry platform, with the sixth and seventh generations more closely related to the Avalon. Manual transmissions were offered until 1993, a lower-displacement inline-four engine became an option in Asian markets in 2010, and a gasoline-electric hybrid version was introduced in 2012. The ES was Lexus' only front-wheel drive vehicle until 1998, when the related RX was introduced, and the sedan occupied the entry-level luxury car segment of the Lexus lineup in North America and other regions until the debut of the IS in 1999. The ES name stands for "Executive Sedan". However, some Lexus importers use the backronymic name, "Elegant Sedan".
Introduced in 1989, the first generation ES 250 was one of two vehicles in Lexus' debut lineup, the other being the flagship LS 400. The second generation ES 300 debuted in 1991, followed by the third generation ES 300 in 1996, and the fourth generation ES 300/330 in 2001. The first- through fourth generation sedans shared body styling elements with Japan-market Toyota sedans, and a domestic market equivalent, the Toyota Windom (Japanese: トヨタ・ウィンダム, Toyota Windamu), was sold until the launch of the fifth generation ES in 2006. The word "Windom" is a combination of "win" and the suffix "dom" expresses a state of perpetual victory. The fifth generation ES, featuring Lexus' own L-finesse body styling, debuted in early 2006 as a 2007 model. The sixth generation ES debuted in the first half of 2012 as a 2013 model, and features increased cabin dimensions due to a longer wheelbase which is shared with the full-size XX40 series Avalon.
Lexus has positioned the ES in the comfort luxury segment, with an emphasis on interior amenities, quietness, and ride quality, in contrast with more firm-riding sport sedans. Buyers seeking more performance-focused models are targeted by the Lexus IS and rival makes, with such models offering a sportier drive with differently tuned suspensions. In Europe, Japan and other markets where it was not available until the seventh generation model, the GS sport sedans occupy the mid-size category in the Lexus lineup until it was cancelled August 2020. In the United States, the ES has been the best-selling Lexus sedan for over fifteen years.
First generation (V20; 1989)
The first generation ES (VZV21) debuted in January 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as part of the launch of the Lexus division. In order to avoid introducing the nameplate with only one model, the LS 400, Lexus quickly developed the ES to debut alongside their flagship sedan. The smaller representative of the initial two-sedan Lexus lineup was designated the ES 250, and powered by the Camry's 2.5 L, 116 kW (156 hp) V6, which was aimed directly at the Acura Legend. The ES 250 was based on the Camry Prominent/Vista (V20). Design patents were filed on 17 November 1987, at the Japan Patent Office under the patent number 0666961-006 and registered on 8 August 1989.
On the exterior, the ES 250 shared the same general body style and overall dimensions as its Toyota counterparts, but had a more prominent grille, bigger tail lights, chrome trim, frameless windows, and distinct wheel design similar to its LS brethren. Inside the cabin, the ES 250 featured a six-speaker Pioneer sound system, genuine wood trim, one-touch power windows, and leather seats. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission was offered. The Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT) featured "normal" and "power" modes.
Safety features included a driver's SRS airbag and anti-lock brakes. In typical specification, the ES 250 further included 15-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, power moonroof, and CD player. Leather upholstery was common equipment, despite being listed as an option, while some ES 250s were also produced with cloth interiors.
In September 1989, the ES 250 and the flagship LS 400 went on sale in the United States. The ES 250 was marketed as the "luxury sedan of sports sedans," and carried a U.S. market suggested base price of approximately $22,000. During the first month of release, the ES 250 logged 1,216 units in sales. However, these numbers were eclipsed by the larger LS sedan, which unlike the ES was built on a unique and all-new platform. The original LS had been envisioned as a standalone model, but Lexus dealerships had asked for an additional vehicle to accompany its launch. Due to its similarities to the Camry, some viewed the ES 250 as a placeholder product of badge engineering and the vehicle ultimately did not sell as well as its larger counterpart. Initial perception of the ES led some to believe all the development time and research spent creating the larger LS showed that they overlooked one of the reasons the LS was developed, which was the 1986 Acura Legend, so it seems that the appearance of the LS was shrunk to fit the ES so as to compete with the Legend.
Production totaled 19,534 units in 1990 and 17,942 units in 1991, most for the automatic transmission model. Production commenced in June 1989 at Tsutsumi, with the first 1990 ES 250 rolling off the production line on 30 August 1989. Production ended on 5 July 1991. Because of its relatively brief production run, the ES 250 is a rare model on US roads today.
Second generation (XV10; 1991)
In 1987, with creation of the Lexus brand, an entry level front-wheel Lexus model was ordered for development alongside the LS 400 and other offerings. In late 1988, a final design was chosen and design patents filed utilizing a clay 1:1 design model on February 3, 1989. In September 1991, for the 1992 model year, Lexus announced the second generation ES almost one year after the introduction of the second generation Acura Legend, but before Infiniti finally decided to add a similarly classed sedan, the J30. The second generation ES shared its design with the new generation Toyota Windom (XV10), which was officially announced in Japan on 30 September 1991, introduced at the October 1991 Tokyo Motor Show, and exclusive to Toyota Japan dealership sales channel called Toyota Corolla Store as the top level luxury sedan. The Windom itself shared elements with the latest generation of the Japan-market V30 series Camry.
Completely redesigned and now sharing design features with the XV10 series Toyota Windom and styling cues with the LS 400, the model was renamed the ES 300 to reflect the half-liter increase in engine displacement to 3.0-liters. The second generation ES was significantly larger and more curvaceous than its predecessor, gaining 127 millimetres (5 in) in length and 76 millimetres (3 in) of width. On the front fascia, the ES gained projector headlamps in a curved housing and a three-slat grille with the Lexus emblem moved above on the hood. The side profile featured an invisible B-pillar and frameless-window doors. The rear deck lid featured an integrated spoiler effect similar to the flagship LS 400, improving the ES model's aerodynamics, now rated Cd=0.32.
Inside the cabin, the second generation ES featured California walnut trim on the center console, leather seats, an eight-speaker premium sound system, and keyless entry. The added wheelbase length and overall width made for increased legroom and shoulder space than the previous model. Compared to its Camry relative, the ES 300 featured separate styling, a different suspension setup with front and rear independent MacPherson strut, and added weight amounting to 90 kg (200 lb). Much of this is due to increased dimensions, asphalt insulation in the body panels and additional on-board equipment. As with its predecessor, anti-lock brakes were standard.
The ES 300 sported a 138 kW (185 hp) 3.0-liter 3VZ-FE V6 engine and had an advertised 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) time of 7.9 seconds. In Japan, where the ES was badged as the Toyota Windom, a 2.5-liter 4VZ-FE version producing 128 kW (172 hp) was made available in October 1993. Lexus offered a standard five-speed E53 manual transmission and optional four-speed A540/1E automatic.
Production assembly of the ES 300 commenced on 9 September 1991, and the sedan went on sale later that year in the U.S. as a 1992 model. The sedan was not released in Europe, where similar Toyota models were offered. The second generation ES was a major sales success, becoming Lexus' best-selling vehicle overall. In its first full year of sales, the ES logged 39,652 units, and throughout the following years of its production run, sales reached near or above that figure. Although the initial US base price was $26,550, this increased to over $30,000 in later years. By 1994, in part because of the rising yen and high demand, the manufacturer's suggested retail price had increased to $31,200, 19.3 percent more than the original 1992 figure. In 1993, a passenger airbag was added as standard equipment.
Minor updates were introduced in 1994 for the 1995 model year (August 1994 production), including: a revised grille insert (now with a three-slot grille, replacing the previous four-slot version), new headlights and fog lights, outside air temp readout, and CFC-free air conditioning. In North America, the 1994 update introduced the new all-aluminum 1MZ-FE engine with 140 kW (188 hp). This change in engine resulted in a change in model code for the car (now known as the MCV10 series). Other markets retained the 3VZ-FE engine (and thus retained the VCV10 model code).
In September 1995 for the 1996 model year, Lexus offered an ES 300 "Coach Edition", featuring select Coach leather trim in the interior and a set of Coach luggage. Despite being its final year of sales, the 1996 ES 300 logged a 21 percent increase in sales over the previous year in the US, and 40,735 units were produced that year.
1995 Lexus ES 300 interior
Third generation (XV20; 1996)
From 1992 to 1996, chief engineer Kosaku oversaw development of the XV20 Lexus variant alongside the XV20 series Camry programme under project code 416T. In mid-1993, an exterior design concept by Hiroshi Okamoto was approved and later frozen for production in January 1994, later being patented on 9 November 1994 at the Japanese patent office, under patent No. 0796802. The third generation ES (designated MCV20) premiered in September 1996 for the 1997 model year, featuring a design that was an evolution of the VCV10. The new cars featured a 30 percent stiffer body with a more rakish profile and sharper lines, reflector headlights (as opposed to projector headlights), and a more upscale-feeling interior. Introduced at a gala event on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills hosted by actress Sharon Stone, the ES 300 featured one powertrain option, a 3.0-liter V6 capable of 150 kW (200 hp) and 290 N⋅m (214 lb⋅ft) of torque and a four-speed automatic – although a 147 kW (197 hp), 2.5-liter 2MZ-FE V6 was also offered in the equivalent Japanese-market Windom. The ES 300 could go from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) in 7.7 seconds. The third generation ES was also slightly longer (overall length increased by 61.0-millimetre (2.4 in)) but weighed less than the previous model, and its drag coefficient was Cd=0.29, improved over its predecessor. For the first time, an Adaptive Variable Suspension, capable of adjusting individual wheels' dampers according to road conditions (within 0.0025 seconds), was offered.
Production commenced in August 1996 at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota, Aichi, supplemented in May 1997 with Toyota Motor Kyushu's Miyata plant at Miyawaka, Fukuoka.
Inside the cabin, the ES 300 featured a new electroluminescent Lexus Optitron instrument panel, walnut trim, and leather seats. Other luxury standard features included heated outside mirrors and an automatic climate control system. A power moonroof, Nakamichi premium sound system with in-glove-box mounted CD changer, and heated seats were options.
The U.S. base price of the 1997 ES 300 was $30,395. The third generation ES expanded upon the success of the previous generation model, reaching a record-setting 58,430 units in sales in its first year, and recording sales in the 35,000–50,000 range throughout its production run.
In 1997 for the 1998 model year, the ES received a few updates, mainly consisting of a revised supplemental restraint system (next generation), standard front row side-torso airbags, and force limiting seat belt pre-tensioners that were designed to tighten the front seat passengers into their seats upon impact. Transponder chips were now also used in the keys as to provide added protection from theft. The power rating grew to 157 kW (210 hp) in 1998 (1999 model year) due to the new 1MZ-FE engine with variable valve timing (VVT-i).
The Lexus IS was introduced to European markets in 1999 and became the luxury marque's entry-level model; by this time the ES was no longer sold in most European markets. Recent versions of the ES were sold in North America, Asia, and Australia.
There was a widespread engine oil gelling issue which could block oil from parts of the engine. After a US class action lawsuit, Toyota notified US owners that engines would be overhauled or replaced for free if damaged by the buildup of gelled oil.
The ES 300 received a mild facelift in 1999 for the 2000 model year that consisted of new, clear tail lights and turn signals, a revised front end with a new grill, headlights, and lower bumper with clear fog lights and larger alloy wheels. Inside, the interior received an electrochromatic mirror, more wood trim and slight revisions to the audio system. Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlights with auto-leveling were now optional. From 1998 through 2001 (1999 to 2001 model years), a limited "Coach Edition" was offered, and in 1999 for 2000, a "Platinum Edition" package was offered, including power moonroof, unique interior trim, and custom alloy wheels.
Fourth generation (XV30; 2001)
As development on the XV30 series Camry began in 1997, development of the MCV30 commenced under chief engineer Kosaku Yamada, with styling being done through 1998 under design chief Makoto Oshima. In December 1998, a concept design by Kengo Matsumoto was approved and frozen for production in June 1999. Design patents were filed on 8 March 2000 at the Japan Patent Office and registered under patent No. 1098805. The larger, fourth generation ES (designated MCV30) debuted in July 2001 for the 2002 model year, one year after the Lexus IS became Lexus' entry-level car. The presence of the IS in the Lexus lineup enabled the company to give the new ES 300 a more upscale image and luxury feel by excising the sporting pretensions of the previous ES models. The more aerodynamic shape had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.28. In Japan, the MCV30 Windom received a 2-star LEV rating.
Production occurred between July 2001 and September 2004 at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota, Aichi, supplemented until December 2002 with Toyota Motor Kyushu's Miyata plant. The Toyota-badged Windom version was launched in Japan in August 2001. In January 2003, production started at the Higashi Fuji plant at Susono, Shizuoka, lasting until the XV30 ended production in February 2006.
The cabin was fitted with California Walnut wood trim on the front dashboard, center console, and doors as well as exterior puddle lamps, floor-well lighting, chrome door handles, an electric rear sunblind, and rear-view mirrors that would automatically tilt downward in reverse gear. Available options, including a power rear sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a DVD-based navigation system, and a Mark Levinson premium stereo system, were similar to features on the flagship LS 430 sedan.
Other features included a drive-by-wire electronic throttle, a five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist as well as electronic stability and traction control systems. The fourth generation ES was built in Kyūshū and Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
ES sales sold 71,450 units its first year, making it the best-selling luxury car in the United States. Throughout its production run, the fourth generation ES was Lexus' best-selling sedan, and outsold only in the Lexus model range by the RX luxury utility vehicle.
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results in 2003 rated the ES 300 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, and Side Driver categories, and four stars in the Side Rear Passenger and Rollover categories.
The catalogue photos of the Japanese-spec XV30 series Windom were shot on location in New York City, United States. The original owner's manual included a photo of the automobile with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the background. However, the Twin Towers were destroyed in the September 11 attacks, which occurred less than a month after the model's JDM launch. Within a month of the attacks, Toyota issued a revised owner's manual, this time with the Twin Towers digitally erased.
During 2003, for the 2004 model year, the American market received a revised 3.3-liter engine producing 168 kilowatts (225 hp) (later revised to 163 kilowatts (218 hp), because of changes in SAE power testing procedures), and the car was renamed the ES 330 (codename MCV31, however, the 3.0 L engine MCV30 model was still available). Lexus released the limited ES 330 "SportDesign" special edition in 2004. The model featured the Adaptive Variable Suspension, 17-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, Mark Levinson audio, interior upgrades, and special dark exterior colors.
In 2004 for the 2005 model year, the ES received a facelift with new front and rear fascias, clear taillights, projector headlights, and a redesigned grille. Inside, features included standard audio and display steering wheel-mounted controls, power adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, Bird's Eye Maple trim and optional integrated satellite radio. Lexus also offered an exclusive ES 330 "Black Diamond Edition" in 2005, featuring black wood trim, iridescent Black Diamond paint, and a set of Tumi luggage.
Fifth generation (XV40; 2006)
Lexus unveiled the fifth generation ES in February 2006 at the Chicago Auto Show for the 2007 model year. The line initially consisted of the ES 350 sedan, which as per previous models, featured front-wheel-drive and a V6 engine—now displacing 3.5 liters. The line was refreshed in 2009, during which more features were added, and a four-cylinder variant, the ES 240, was introduced for Asian markets. The fifth generation ES remained Lexus' top-selling sedan model in the North American and Asian markets, anchoring the marque's entry-level model lineup. Like previous generations, the fifth generation ES was geared towards the comfort luxury segment, favoring a soft ride over sporty performance. It continued the previous generation's direction of moving the ES more upscale in its design and features; Lexus touted the ES 350 as faster, more powerful, more aerodynamic, and more quiet than the original LS 400 flagship. Like its predecessors, the fifth generation ES continued to be made in Japan, at the Kyushu plant in Fukuoka, Japan. Despite being built in the country, the XV40 is left-hand drive only and was not sold in the Japanese market, as well as the other regions with right-hand drive, although the country allows both RHD and LHD vehicles on their roads.
The fifth generation ES (GSV40) debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006 as the ES 350, featuring a six-speed automatic transmission with a front-wheel drive 272 hp (203 kW) aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FEV6 engine with intake and exhaust variable valve timing. The exterior design featured an all-new body in the style of Lexus' new design philosophy, L-finesse. The new design was sleeker than its predecessor, with a streamlined cabin and character lines across the hood, fenders, and rear pillars. The Lexus emblem returned to the grille for the first time since the first generation, and was placed at the center of a five-bar horizontal grille. For the debut 2007 models, Lexus introduced a number of unique colors exclusive to the ES 350, including Aquamarine Pearl, Royal Ruby Metallic, Moon Shell Mica, and Amber Pearl. The drag coefficient was Cd 0.28. Compared to the preceding fourth generation ES 300/330, the fifth generation ES 350 was 51 millimetres (2 in) longer and 10 millimetres (0.4 in) wider overall, but with shorter overhangs.
The ES 350 interior featured walnut wood accents, leather seats, dual zone climate control with air filter, an MP3 player auxiliary input, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and eight standard airbags. A keyless entry and ignition system, Lexus SmartAccess, which does not require the electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket, was standard. Available new features included a 300-watt, 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, power seat cushion extender, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear sunshade, DVD navigation system, and Lexus Park Assist, a sonar-based warning system with backup camera. For the first time, the ES offered an "Ultra Luxury Package," which featured many of the aforementioned options along with a three-panel panoramic glass moonroof. The ES also featured a secondary start system, that runs on battery, so that the driver does not have to use the engine for accessory functions. The secondary system allowed the driver use the radio, GPS, Bluetooth, and air conditioning/heating. The instrument panel used Optitron gauges and LED lighting.
Lexus estimated that the ES 350's engine-transmission combination allowed acceleration to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds, but tests netted the ES 350 as being one of the fastest front-wheel drive luxury sedans then available. 0–60 mph was acquired in as little as 6.2 seconds by auto magazines, and the car showed a strong point of high-end power as it cleared the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds while traveling at almost 100 mph (160 km/h). Fuel economy was estimated at 21 mpg‑US (11.2 L/100 km; 25.2 mpg‑imp) in the city and 30 mpg‑US (7.8 L/100 km; 36.0 mpg‑imp) on the highway. Some commentators have complained that so much power to the front wheels has produced uncomfortable torque steer in both the new ES and Camry.
The ES 350 arrived at U.S. dealerships in late April 2006 as a 2007 model. The 2007 base price in the U.S. was $33,470. That year, the ES 350 was launched in North America, the Middle East, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea and Taiwan. At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Lexus debuted a Pebble Beach Edition ES 350, produced in partnership with the Pebble Beach Company. The Pebble Beach ES 350 came in either Truffle Mica, Pearl Silver, or Obsidian Black exterior colors, with exterior and interior badging, along with the choice of either travel or golf products by the Callaway Golf Company or Viking Range cookware.
Safety features on the ES 350 included dual front airbags, knee airbags, side-torso and curtain airbags, along with traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). A pre-collision system (PCS), which incorporates a grille-mounted sensor and retracts seatbelts and triggers full braking power, was optional, and came with the distance-aware Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system. The front passenger airbag used a twin-chamber design for reduced occupant discomfort upon deployment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test results in 2007 rated the ES 350 the maximum five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, and Side Driver categories, and four stars in the Side Rear Passenger and Rollover categories.
See also: 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls
Toyota recalled and replaced 55,000 optional all-weather rubber floor mats from the Camry and ES 350 in September 2007, citing the risk of unsecured mats jamming the accelerator pedal. In August 2009, the NHTSA probed the ES 350 following 40 acceleration control complaints, eight crashes and 12 injuries, with floor mats implicated in most cases. An accident involving a loaner ES 350 killed four persons near San Diego on 28 August. The NHTSA and San Diego County Sheriff's Department found that the car was wrongly fitted with an unsecured SUV rubber floor mat; the mat had jammed the accelerator, which an earlier driver had complained about. On 29 September, a Toyota safety notice advised floor mat removal, shift to Neutral (N) gear in an emergency, with a 3-second push buttonignition press for engine shutoff. On 29 November, the 2007–2010 MY floor mat recall was revised to add shorter accelerator pedals, thinner replacement mats, and a brake override feature which ignores accelerator input when the brake pedal is depressed.
In 2009, the 2010 model year ES underwent a mid-cycle facelift. A slightly revised grille resembled that of the new HS 250h, and the lower bumper and taillights were changed. Other exterior changes included chrome-trimmed side moulding, turn signal indicators on the side mirrors, and new split 5-spoke alloy wheels. Memory seating, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags were now standard. The steering wheel controls now had hard touch buttons as opposed to the previous soft ones. The navigation system shared with the then current RX now included upgraded VoiceBox speech recognition, Bluetooth phone book downloading, and Lexus Insider, XM Weather, Sports, and Stocks reports, and switched from DVD based maps to an internal hard drive. Bluetooth streaming audio and a USB port that included iPod integration was now built into the stereo.
In 2010, the revised ES line gained a brake override feature which ignored accelerator input when the brake pedal was depressed, which was installed on new builds from January 2010. Debuting first in the Chinese auto market, the 2010 ES lineup added a second model, the ES 240 (ACV40), which was produced to comply with the country's new emission laws for luxury cars, making it the first gasoline four-cylinder Lexus since the 2005 IS. The ES 240 received a 2.4L 2AZ-FEinline-four engine producing 123 kW (165 hp) and 224 N⋅m (165 ft⋅lbf) of torque at 4000 rpm.
Several awards won by the fifth generation ES include 2009 Best Upscale Car for the Money from U.S News & World Report,AutoPacific 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Best Mid-size Luxury Car, and Best New Luxury Car (under $50k) Award in 2007 at the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, selected by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. The ES 350 has also been named Consumer Guide 2008 Best Buy in the Premium Midsize Class,ConsumerSearch Best "budget" luxury sedan of 2008,Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best New Car for 2007, and Best in Class for 2008,Intellichoice Best Car Value Over $23,000 for 2007, and Polk Automotive Loyalty award for 2008.
Sixth generation (XV60; 2012)
The sixth generation ES was revealed on 4 April 2012 at the New York International Auto Show. For its sixth generation, the model was introduced in ES 350 and hybridES 300h versions. The ES 350 came with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid ES 300h models came with an eCVT. Despite the fact that the redesigned ES and the XV50 series Camry still share the same platform, the two vehicles are somewhat less mechanically related, as the ES is now more closely related to the XX40 series Avalon which also uses a 2,800 mm (111 in) wheelbase. The interior added the Lexus Remote Touch interface. Several safety features were introduced for the 2013 model year such as Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Pre-Collision System (PCS). All models had a backup camera and 10 airbags.
The ES 250 made its world debut at the April 2012 Auto China in Beijing. This car is equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. ES 250, ES 300h, and ES 350 models are being offered in China. Production started on 6 July 2012 at Toyota Mptor Kyushu's Miyata plant.
This generation is export-only, not sold in Japan where it is manufactured, but has been offered in right-hand drive since late 2013, being sold in Australia, Brunei, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
The facelifted ES was unveiled at the April 2015 Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. Production of the updated ES 350 began at the Kentucky plant on 19 October 2015 for the 2016 model year—the first Lexus vehicle manufactured in the US.
The ES is also manufactured by Toyota Motor Kyushu for markets outside North America. This plant also supplies the hybrid ES to all global markets, as the Kentucky plant builds the ES 350 only and does not build the ES 300h.
Seventh generation (XZ10; 2018)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2018)
|Seventh generation (XZ10)|
2019 Lexus ES 350 (GSZ10, US)
|Production||August 2018 – present|
|Designer||Yasuo Kajino (chief: 2013-2016)|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Toyota Avalon (XX50)|
|Electric motor||88 kW (118 hp; 120 PS) 3NMsynchronous (ES 300h)|
|Wheelbase||2,870 mm (113.0 in)|
|Length||4,960 mm (195.3 in)|
|Width||1,865 mm (73.4 in)|
|Height||1,445 mm (56.9 in)|
|Curb weight||1,655 kg (3,649 lb) (ES 350)|
The seventh generation ES was unveiled at the April 2018 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. It is built on the same GA-K platform as the XX50 series Avalon. The F Sport variant also made its debut in this generation. All models come equipped with Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.
The facelift model was unveiled in April 2021. It's the first year that offered in AWD, the 50/50 maximum torque distribution provided equal torque between the front and rear wheels. The ES didn't get as much updates on the exterior – the grill has a similar spindle with horizontal slats instead of a mesh design. On the sides of the car, smaller side scoops were used than the previous model. The day time running lights got updated, featuring V-shaped LEDs. The interior also got updated. The infotainment system got a touch-screen, and it also had the touch pad from the center console. The standard 8-inch was moved up an extra 4.3 inches for easier accessibility. A 12.3-inch unit was offered in 2021. There were also rear view cameras added instead mirrors for better visibility, and they were installed at the bottom of the A-pillar. 
The seventh generation ES is the first to be sold in Europe, replacing the GS. It went on sale from September 2018 in Russia and other Eastern markets and from December 2018 in Western and Central Europe.
2019 Lexus ES 300h F Sport (AXZH10)
2019 Lexus ES 300h F Sport (interior)
The ES was scheduled to be available in Japanese dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2018, making the debut of ES in the Japanese domestic market since the discontinuation of the XV30-based Windom as well as the introduction of Lexus brand to Japan 13 years prior.
Initial deliveries of ES 300h started on 24 October 2018 in Japan, where it replaced the smaller HS 250h and served as a front-wheel-drive counterpart of GS.
The Hong Kong model was unveiled on 15 September 2018. Models included the ES250 Executive/Premium and the ES300h Executive/Premium. Lexus Safety System+ became standard in 2019.
The Thailand model was unveiled on 17 August 2018. Models included the ES 300h Luxury/Grand Luxury/Premium.
Lexus began local assembly of the ES 300h in India, at its new assembly line at Toyota India's plant in January 2020. Lexus is said to have invested $100 million in this new assembly line.
2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD (AXZA15, US)
2019 Lexus ES 350 (GSZ10, US)
In the US, the ES lineup went on sale in September 2018.
The US market ES was redesigned with an F Sport Trim that was never available on the ES line. This was done to attract a younger audience into purchasing or leasing an ES. The 2019 model year line-up includes three trim levels – the base 3.5-liters trim, the Hybrid trim and the F Sport 3.5-liters trim. All ES models comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 that includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Road Sign Assist (RSA). The ES also features Apple CarPlay as an option as well. Other options include the Mark Levinson surround sound by Harman Kardon and navigation with Amazon Alexa support.
Originally, only the ES 350 and ES 300h were offered. In 2020, for the 2021 model year, the ES 250 was added that also introduced AWD. A Black Line Special Edition package was also added for the F Sport. For the hybrid, the nickel-metal hydride battery was replaced by a more compact lithium-ion battery. The 119 mm (4.7 in) reduction in the height of the pack freed up trunk space, and the lower weight improved the front-to-rear weight distribution, which benefited handling.
Sales and production
|Sales by calendar year|
|Production by calendar year|
|Drivetrain specifications by generation|
|First||1989–1991||ES 250||2.5 L V6||4-speed AT or 5-speed MT||116 kW (156 hp) @ 5600 rpm||220 N⋅m (160 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Second||1991–1996||ES 300||3.0 L V6||4-speed AT or 5-speed MT||138 kW (185 hp) @ 5600 rpm||264 N⋅m (195 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Third||1996–2001||ES 300||3.0 L V6||4-speed AT||150 kW (200 hp) @ 5600 rpm||290 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|Fourth||2001–2003||ES 300||3.0 L V6||5-speed AT||160 kW (210 hp) @ 5600 rpm||300 N⋅m (220 lb⋅ft) @ 4400 rpm|
|2003–2006||ES 330||3.3 L V6||5-speed AT||168 kW (225 hp) @ 5600 rpm||330 N⋅m (240 lb⋅ft) @ 3600 rpm|
|Fifth||2006–2012||ES 350||3.5 L V6||6-speed AT||203 kW (272 hp) @ 6200 rpm||346 N⋅m (255 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2010–2012||ES 240||2.4 L I4||5-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6000 rpm||224 N⋅m (165 lb⋅ft) @ 4000 rpm|
|Sixth||2012–2018||ES 250||2.5 L I4||6-speed AT||135 kW (181 hp) @ 6000 rpm||245 N⋅m (181 lb⋅ft) @ 4100 rpm|
|2012–2018||ES 300h||2.5 L I4 (hybrid)||eCVT||149 kW (200 hp) @ 5700 rpm||279 N⋅m (206 lb⋅ft) @ 4500 rpm|
|2012–2018||ES 350||3.5 L V6||6-speed AT||203 kW (272 hp) @ 6200 rpm||345 N⋅m (254 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2015–2018||ES 200||2.0 L I4||6-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6500 rpm||199 N⋅m (147 lb⋅ft) @ 4600 rpm|
|Seventh||ES 200||2.0 L I4||CVT||129 kW (173 hp) @ 6600 rpm||206 N⋅m (152 lb⋅ft) @ 4,400–4,900 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 250/ES 260||2.5 L I4||8-speed AT||152 kW (204 hp) @ 6600 rpm||247 N⋅m (182 lb⋅ft) @ 5000 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 300h||2.5 L I4 (hybrid)||eCVT||160 kW (210 hp) @ 5700 rpm||300 N⋅m (220 lb⋅ft) @ 3600 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 350||3.5 L V6||8-speed AT||225 kW (302 hp) @ 6600 rpm||362 N⋅m (267 lb⋅ft) @ 4700 rpm|
|2018–present||ES 200||2.0 L I4||6-speed AT||123 kW (165 hp) @ 6500 rpm||199 N⋅m (147 lb⋅ft) @ 4600 rpm|
- U.S. News & World Report named the 2009 ES 350 the Best Upscale Car for the Money.
- Consumer Reports named the ES 350 the highest ranked upscale/large car in reliability in its 2006 annual car survey.
- The Canadian Car of the Year Awards (selected by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) gave the ES 350 its Best New Luxury Car (under $50k) Award in 2007.
- J.D. Power and Associates named the ES 300 the best entry luxury car in Initial Quality in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006.
- Intellichoice gave the ES 330 the Best Overall Value Award in the Near Luxury Segment in 2004, 2005, and 2007.
- Kelley Blue Book gave the ES its Best to Hold Value Award in 1998 and 2001.
- J.D. Power named the ES as one of the Top Ten in Initial Quality in 1991, 1993, and 1994.
- The ES series was named most appealing entry luxury car by J.D. Power and Associates in 1997, 2001 and 2007.
- Kiplinger's Personal Finance report named the ES Best in Class for the over $30,000 segment in 1993, and the ES was a Top Pick in 2007.
- Automobile Magazine named the ES one of its Top Ten All-Stars in 1992.
- ^"1st Lexus ES sedan". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- ^"Site Map". Lexus Australia. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014.
- ^ ab"Vehicle Lineage Chart – Data: Origin of a car's name". Japan: Toyota. 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- ^"New Car Test Drive – 2007 Lexus ES 350". Nctd.com. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- ^"2012 Lexus ES 350". Autoblog. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- ^"The Consumer Guide to Premium Midsize Cars". Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- ^"LEXUS、GSに特別仕様車"Eternal Touring"を設定" [Special model "Eternal Touring" set for Lexus GS] (Press release) (in Japanese). Toyota Global Newsroom. 23 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- ^"Best-Selling Luxury Cars for 2006". Forbes. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^ abcDawson, Chester. Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit, pp. 144, 172, 201. 2004: Jon Wiley & Sons, NJ.
- ^Walton, Chris (30 August 2009). "2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS vs. 2009 Lexus ES 350 Comparison Test and Video on Inside Line". Edmunds.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009.
- ^ abcdefghi"Tsutsumi Plant". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- ^ ab"Japan patent 0666961-006, S". 24 August 1992. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- ^ abcd"1990 Lexus ES 250 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^"1988 Toyota Vista – photographs". Cars-directory.net. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^ ab"Lexus ES 250 Review". Edmunds. 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- ^ abc"Lexus ES Chronology". Tuninglinx.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Patent 0796802-002, S". Japan. 6 February 1995. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- ^ abcd"1992 Lexus ES 300 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^ abLong, Brian (2001). Lexus: The Challenge to Create the Finest Automobile. Cardiff: Veloce Publishing. pp. 52–54. ISBN .
- ^Truett, Richard (16 January 1992). "Many new models in luxury imports – The Baltimore Sun". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Consumer Guide – Lexus ES". Consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com. 4 October 2006. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- ^"Prices Rise at Saturn And Toyota". The New York Times. 15 February 1992. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- ^Bennet, James (30 August 1994). "Luxury Car Fight Turns Uncivilized". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
- ^"2nd Windom Hardtop". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- ^"岡本浩志" [Okamoto Hiroshi] (in Japanese). Chiba University. 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- ^ abcd"Used 1997 Lexus ES300 Exterior Specs". Motor Trend Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^Johnson, Richard (2 May 1994). "Toyota stresses 4-year cycle : 31 new models in next 3 years". Autonews. US. Retrieved 28 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
- ^ abcdDawson 2004, p. 163
- ^"1997 Lexus ES 300 Prices and Specs". New Car Test Drive. 15 March 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- ^ abcdef"Affiliates (Toyota wholly-owned subsidiaries)-Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- ^"1999 LEXUS ES Specifications"(PDF). Lexus. Archived from the original(PDF) on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- ^Welsh, Jonathon (30 January 2007). "Toyota Agrees to Sludge Pact". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- ^Jedlicka, San (17 September 2000). "Budget Luxe: Lexus ES 300 High Style, Low Price". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
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- ^"3rd Windom Sedan". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- ^ abcd"2002 Lexus ES 300 – Features & Specs". Edmunds. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- ^Vasilash, Gary. "Engaging The ES300". Auto Field Guide. Gardner Business Media. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- ^"2002 Lexus ES 300". Wheels.ca. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
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Lexus es 2002
2002 Lexus ES 300
$31,505 - $31,505MSRP / Window Sticker Price
|MPG||21 City / 29 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||210 @ 5800 rpm|
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Test Drive: 2002 Lexus ES 300
by Grant Yoxon
“Counter to expectations about luxury cars, the Lexus ES 300 is neither boring nor old fashioned. Re-designed for 2002, the ES 300 has a crisper, more contemporary look. From its radically raked integrated headlights to its high roof line flowing, fastback-like, to the high rear-end, the new ES 300 cuts a distinctive profile. This is not understated elegance.”
Reliable, safe and exceedingly comfortable
Perhaps it is a sign of my advancing years. I’m pretty sure its not a mid-life crisis. I’m well beyond that. I’ve got a 5.0 litre Mustang in the garage to prove it.
But just like the grey that has slowly infiltrated what little hair I have left, I have noticed that my taste in cars is changing.
I still love to take my muscle car for a quick blast, but I wouldn’t drive it to Charlotte, North Carolina, in a day, ‘just for the fun of it’ like I once did. Heck, I don’t even want to drive it to work. With its rock hard suspension, heavy performance clutch and one-size-fits-all seats, not to mention a total lack of air conditioning, the Mustang is not a great place to spend time.
I no longer care as much about how many ‘Gs’ I can generate in a straight line or around a corner, as I do about the width and softness of the seats. I’m less entertained by an engine’s roar or a tuned exhaust as I am by a high-end sound system or the blessed peace and quiet of a well-insulated cabin.
I owe this change of taste to cars like the Lexus ES 300, cars that aren’t shy about being labeled “luxury” sedans.
Until recently Lexus marketed the ES 300, it’s entry level luxury sedan as a “luxury sports sedan.”
Lexus parted company with this strategy when it introduced the rear-wheel-drive, performance oriented IS 300 last year.
The IS 300 gave Lexus the opportunity to re-focus the front-wheel-drive ES 300 on that much larger segment of the driving public who really don’t give a darn about the performance potential of their transportation – people who just want a guaranteed reliable, ultra-safe, exceedingly comfortable conveyance to get them from point A to B.
And if the vehicle also happens to make a statement about their financial achievement, well, that’s a bonus.
Counter to expectations about luxury cars, the Lexus ES 300 is neither boring nor old fashioned. Re-designed for 2002, the ES 300 has a crisper, more contemporary look. From its radically raked integrated headlights to its high roof line flowing, fastback-like, to the high rear-end, the new ES 300 cuts a distinctive profile. This is not understated elegance.
Although the ES 300 shares its basic architecture with the re-designed Toyota Camry, Lexus reinforces the luxury appeal of the 2002 ES 300 by promoting it as a junior LS 430, the flagship of the Lexus line-up and, to many minds, the pinnacle of automotive luxury. In fairness to Lexus, beyond its wheelbase and a variety of shared mechanical components, the ES 300 has little in common with the Camry. But comparing it to the rear-wheel-drive LS 430 is also a stretch.
However, it does derive some features from it’s well to do sibling. For example, the ES 300 shares the same leather as found in the ultra-luxury LS 430, and it is nice stuff too. My children (I’m not that old) called it “squishy”. The heated 8-way power adjustable drivers seat (6-way passenger seat) – with dual memory settings which not only re-align the seat to suit the driver, but the outside mirrors as well – are superbly comfortable. Like the seat surfaces, the door inserts and dash are also “squishy”. In fact there isn’t a hard surface to be found anywhere in the car except for the real California walnut wood trim which is as smooth as glass.
Speaking of glass, the ES 300’s window glass is extra thick to reduce outside noise penetration. And the front door glass is water-repellant, another feature borrowed from the LS 430.
Lexus made a number of other improvements to the ES 300 to reduce noise. Rather than piling on the insulation – and weight – Lexus used sound absorption technology to give the 2002 ES 300 an even quieter cabin than its predecessor. The new material absorbs noise rather than simply blocking it. As in the previous model, an active engine mount helps cancel out vibration generated by the engine. New engine mounts further reduce vibration at idle, and a two-stage muffler reduces exhaust “booming” at low speeds. A flat underbody, reshaped mirrors, and other exterior refinements contribute to a low 0.28 coefficient of drag and help reduce wind noise. The ES 300’s interior is a very quiet place indeed.
With one exception. Sound absorption technology couldn’t mask some irritating rattles emanating from the rear doors or seatbelts on our test car. How very un-Lexus. But that is what a warranty is for, and with Lexus, that’s a four year/80,000 km basic warranty and six year/110,000 km powertrain warranty.
A 50 mm longer wheelbase and 60 mm taller roofline contribute to greater interior space for both front and rear passengers. The ES 300 can easily accommodate three six-footers in the back seat. There is lots of room in the trunk as well and a lockable pass through, hidden by a fold down arm rest with cup holders, adds additional space for long items when needed.
The list of standard interior features on the $43,400 ES 300 is extensive, but one of the most significant is dual zone climate control – again derived from the LS 430 – that senses smog and other unwanted smells and switches to re-circulation mode while the air is cleaned and the outside air improves and then automatically switches back. An electrostatic dust collector helps keep pollen and dust particles at a minimum. Other standard features include high solar energy absorbing glass, power windows with auto up/down at all four windows, tilt steering, two stage console with cell phone storage, and vehicle information computer that displays outside temperature and vehicle performance information. Both the rear view mirror and outside mirrors are electrochromic automatic dimming. A compass is contained within the rearview mirror.
All controls are logically placed, easy to use and the luminescent gauges are attractive by day and night. The console mounted shifter is a gated style, yet another LS 430 style item.
Our test vehicle was equipped with a $4,400 Luxury package which adds power moonroof, high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, traction control, vehicle skid control, rear window sunshade, in-dash 6-cd changer, all good features to have, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, which I quickly learned to hate. Despite fiddling for a week, I could never get the wipers to operate the way I liked.
The optional vehicle skid control (VSC) system integrates electronic traction control (TRAC), electronic brake force distribution and the advanced brake assist feature. VSC helps control traction while cornering on slippery or dry road surfaces by using throttle intervention and/or applying individual wheel braking to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading. The brake assist feature comes into play in an emergency-braking situation. If the driver has not stepped hard enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS, the system supplements the braking power applied. Four wheel, four sensor anti-lock brakes are standard.
For an additional $2,700, buyers can opt for a premium package which includes wood steering wheel, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), and Mark Levinson Audio system. AVS allows the driver to firm up or soften the suspension for more spirited (or less spirited) driving. The Mark Levinson Audio system is standard equipment in the LS 430 and SC 430.
The 2002 ES 300 is powered by the same aluminum 3.0-litre double-overhead cam V6 engine as its predecessor. While some would argue that more power is always better, 210 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of peak torque is plenty for this front driver. A new five-speed electronically controlled transmission and new electronic (“drive by wire”) throttle control help give the 2002 ES 300 lower emissions, better fuel economy and marginally quicker acceleration over previous models.
Despite its refined demeanor, the ES 300 will accelerate to 96 km/h in 8.1 seconds, according to Lexus, which is plenty for most people.
Naturally, the ride is plush. The ES 300 insulates driver and passenger from the road rather than connects them to it. If you want to get in touch with the road, better to try the IS 300 or opt for the ES 300 premium package with AVS.
Despite a cushy ride and a general lack of road feel, the ES 300 is no land yacht. Steering is precise, though a bit dull, and cornering ability is far better than it feels.
In addition to dynamic safety features like electronic brake force distribution, advanced brake assist, vehicle skid control and traction control, the ES 300 contains numerous passive safety features. As with the LS 430, the supplemental restraint system includes new side curtain airbags, dual front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags. The side curtain airbags extend from the A pillar to the C pillar to help provide protection for both front and rear occupants in a side impact. New multi-stage front airbags deploy according to impact force. The driver’s front airbag is also provided with a seat position detector that engages an extra low deployment stage when a smaller-sized person is driving.
Ultra-safe, exceedingly comfortable and guaranteed reliable – the Lexus warranty is second to none – the ES 300 is no cure for a mid-life crisis. No, this is a car designed for people who are comfortable with themselves and their achievements.
If I could choose between the Lexus ES 300 and the hot rod in the garage, the Mustang might never see sunshine again.
Fortunately for the Mustang, I only had the Lexus for a week.
|2002 Lexus ES 300|
|Options on vehicle||Luxury package ($4,400) – power moonroof, high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, traction control, vehicle skid control, rear window sunshade, rain sensing wipers, in-dash 6-cd changer.|
|Price as tested||$47,800|
|Type||4-door 5-passenger luxury sports sedan|
|Layout||transverse front engine/front wheel drive|
|Engine||3.0 litre V6, DOHC, 24-valves, Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)|
|Horsepower||210 hp @ 5800 rpm|
|Torque||220 lb.ft. @ 4400 rpm|
|Fuel||Premium recommended for improved performance|
|Transmission||5-speed “Super Electronically Controlled” Transmission|
|Tires||P215/60 R16 Michelin on 9-spoke alloy rims|
|Curb weight||1560 kg (3439 lbs.)|
|Wheelbase||2720 mm (107.1 in.)|
|Length||Length:4855 mm (191.1 in.)|
|Width||1810 mm (71.3 in.)|
|Height||1455 mm (57.3 in.)|
|Trunk capacity||0.519 cu. m. (18.3 cu. ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 11.4 L/100 km (25 mpg)|
|Highway: 7.4 L/100 km (38 mpg)|
|Warranty||4 years/80,000 km|
|Powertrain warranty||6 years/110,000 km|
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"The IS300 lets us do this car." That's Denny Clements talking. He's group vice-president and general manager at Lexus, making him "the top dude." And with that single sentence he explains what the deal is with this new ES300. The IS300, for you amnesia sufferers, is Lexus's first shot at a Bimmer beater. It's a shoebox four-door with an in-line six up front and enough red-hot corpuscles to earn its way onto the short list of Sports Sedans You Gotta Try.
So, with the IS playing deep in the Sports Dept., Lexus is assigning the ES full time to the luxury beat. As BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Volvo try to cover both bases with their entry-level sedans, Lexus pours on the cream sauce here, with cues taken directly from the top-class LS430. You can choose the same interior leather, for example, and a similar wood-and-leather-rimmed steering wheel.
At $31,000, plus or minus a few bones, depending on your restraint with the options, splendor seekers will find a lot of Lexus for less. As before, this new ES300 is a Camry with frosting — derived from the new Camry, of course. It comes as a four-door front-driver only, powered by an evolutionary version of Toyota's 3.0-liter, 24-valve V-6. Also new and exclusive to Lexus is a five-speed automatic and even more intelligence in the engine's variable valve timing. All ES300s will meet California's ULEV emissions requirement.
The trend in four-doors is longer and taller. The ES is right in step, a sliver longer than the last car at 191.1 inches overall, and significantly taller — up 2.4 inches to 57.3. The wheelbase is significantly longer, too, by 2.0 inches to 107.1. The payoff shows inside, with more head room, more shoulder room, and a lot more hip room, over two inches more both front and back. Trunk space grows to 15 cubic feet from 13. By contrast, the same-price competitors from Europe look to be on starvation diets.
The Benz C-class is more than a foot shorter, and the BMW 3-series is two inches shorter than that. In fact, the ES300 is bigger on the outside and roomier inside than the next-rung-up E-class and 5-series models from those two makers, which cost far more (actually, it's bigger than the step-up GS in the Lexus line, too). For buyers seeking passenger-pampering accommodations for five, the ES has all the cards. Safety equipment includes two-stage frontal airbags, pretensioning belts and side-impact bags for front passengers, and inflatable curtains all along the side windows. A lower-energy third stage may be triggered on the driver's front bag when the seat is adjusted close to the wheel. Once on the road, we quickly confirmed what Clements meant when he said the IS let Lexus do this car. With the drivers already served, the ES can cater to the carriage class.
Acceleration is relaxed. Lexus says 0-to-60 mph quickens to 8.1 seconds from the previous 8.3, thanks to more advantageous gearing in the five-speed, and more area under the torque curve from both smarter valve timing and three-stage ram tuning of the intake runners. The engine's power and torque ratings are unchanged, however. Fuel economy notches up to 20 in the city, 29 on the highway (as opposed to 19 and 26 before), impressive for a car that also gained about 70 pounds.
The suspension emphasizes a plush ride. And it succeeds completely. Or you can choose an "adaptive" option that lets you mess things up. A four-position selector on the console lets you tell a computer to tell the shocks how absorbent they should be. We clicked to an absurdly flinty ride on a relatively smooth road, and to deep knee bends over an undulating section. The unoptioned car, on the other hand, always seemed to know best. The adaptive computer also has influence over the variable-effort steering, a very agreeable firming of response in one of the preproduction samples we drove. Still, the software was in the tinker stage, we were told. Let's just say we're hopeful, and change the subject to interiors. Lexus sets the standard here.
The formula, dating back to the first LS400, puts medium-dark frosting over a light cake, so to speak. Up where the sunlight strikes, the window sills and the dash top are trimmed in a low-gloss, glare-absorbing hue. Horizontal wood accents border the flood of brightness that reflects off the lighter hue below. Everything down there is color matched — door panels, seats, lower dash, console, and carpet. And the light reveals every tailoring touch. Talk about pucker control! Every tuck, roll, and wrinkle casts just the right shadow.
The eye finds so many treats. Elastic pockets in the backs of the front seats are common, but the ES hides its expanders behind a hard panel that's gently curved and covered to match seat leather. Instead of random wrinkles, rear passengers see taut sculpturing. They, and the front passengers, also see broad expanses of wood, said to be California walnut, oddly embalmed in a cranraspberry stain. Very distinctive. Daringly peculiar. "We're making our statement here," said Clements, not completely hiding his reservations. He's not losing any sleep, though. The ES sales target is 50,000 per year, up just 10,000 from the old model's pace. And all luxury, all the time is exactly what Lexus shoppers expect.
VEHICLE TYPE:front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED:$31,000
ENGINE TYPE:DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, Toyota engine-control system with port fuel injection
Displacement: 183 cu in, 2995cc
Power: 210 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 220 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic with lockup torque converter
Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Length: 191.1 in
Width: 71.3 in Height: 57.3 in
Curb weight: 3450 lb
PERFORMANCE (mfr's est):
Zero to 60 mph: 8.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.1 sec
Top speed (drag limited): 140 mph
EPA city driving: 20 mpg
EPA highway driving: 29 mpg
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