2004 Lexus ES 300 3.0 V6 from Singapore

Summary:

Whisper quiet and reliable motoring

Faults:

Leak from the aircon condenser.

Started with a strange oily smell when you get in the car, this was later traced to a small leak in the aircon condenser in the bowels of the dashboard. An original Denso part was installed for around SGD$500 (non dealer).

Relay or control for climate control.

Ticking noises could be heard occasionally from under the dash just to the left of the steering wheel. This sound has been with us since we got the car a year ago. Problem was traced to an A/C vent control thingy, and replaced for about SGD$150 or so (non dealer).

CV joints worn (not fixed yet).

CV joints have been worn for about a year now. Clucking sound occurs on heavy acceleration while the steering is turned. When driving sedately there is no sound. My feeling is that the CV joints are about to die, and am just waiting for the noise to get worse.

Engine mounts worn (not fixed yet).

Engine mounts have also been worn since we acquired the car. Still no vibration coming into the cabin, but you can feel a little freeplay from the engine when you accelerate. Again, nothing bothering the Lexus experience yet.

MYSTERIES.

This Lexus seems to have a strange gearbox. It occasionally hunts and sometimes takes a second longer to engage sometimes, causing a rough jerk. It's improved since we got the car. Perhaps the computer has now learned our shift patterns better.

General Comments:

The Lexus is an excellent luxury barge. It's great for a silent comfortable cruise.

POWER: The 3.0 V6 is very willing and provides some fun to the spirited driver. Though it can be thirsty when pushed.

SAFETY: In terms of active safety, the traction control works as promised. I'm actually surprised the car handles so well in the wet with Traction Control Assistance as the tyres on it are dying (Bridgestone Turanza).

COMFORT: It offers a huge silent cabin and huge boot space; it's really amazing how big this car is. What is a let down is that the seats in front are not that generous. It has taken a lot of adjustment to get it just right, and it still does not feel perfect. I seem to be happier sitting in the seat of my W124 Mercedes. The car rides like a large American car. Lofty, a little clumsy and pokey in the power dept.

VALUE: Based on its depreciation per year (at the time of my purchase as a used car), the car offers very good value for money. Much cheaper than the GS300 series cars.

RUNNING COSTS: The car has not cost us very much money to run. There have been some small issues listed above, but it's 5 years old now and I would expect to pay a little to keep the car in tip top shape.

WISHLIST: I wish my model had memory seats, audio controls on the steering and RWD.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2010

2004 Lexus ES 330 from North America

Summary:

Will possibly switch to a lower end car like a Honda

Faults:

Low quality tires; I came to know Firestone while fixing a flat tire.

Lexus roadside assistance is substandard.

Dealer servicing is expensive but unreliable.

General Comments:

The car drives great.

The interior space could have been better (compared to lower end cars).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th March, 2008

18th Feb 2009, 13:09

Hmm, so what failed? Firestone tires? They don't sound OEM.

11th Feb 2011, 06:56

You must be kidding right? Go read reviews on Volvo, VW, or BMW. The ES gets higher reviews than any other car with fewer repair bills, which is why I'm going to buy one... regardless of the factory tire quality. Buying used, you can go get a Camry for the same money and have ZERO luxury, all the road noise, and certainly no extra cabin space. Perhaps an Accord would be better space for you LOL.

As for roadside assistance, my is250 had a flat, and when I called, they sent AAA in 45 minutes.

22nd Jun 2012, 21:49

It already IS a lower-end car. It's a Toyota Camry with standard leather and a Lexus badge. 99% of the features found on the ES can be ordered on the Camry, so I don't see why anyone would buy this car.

2nd Feb 2013, 20:55

Wow, drive both and you'll take back your opinion. The Camry with leather is a hard, rough, loud, uncomfortable car lacking any style.

The ES330 is one of the most brilliantly designed, smaller medium size, luxury car driving experiences in the world. Drive this, an i30, an Acura of the same size, a Lincoln, a BMW, a Saab, and an Audi. You'll find this to be one of the quietest, smoothest cars around.

4th Feb 2013, 14:18

Having driven the Camry, Accord, Altima and Ford Fusion, there is simply no comparison. For the same money or less, the Fusion is light years ahead of any car in its class. It is smooth, solid and as quiet as cars costing twice as much. The Accord is horribly noisy, and the Camry is built by a company that has shown total disregard for the safety of its buyers.