The Lexus ES 300 built an impressive reputation during its 12-year production run as being the most elegant car available for the least amount of money. Not a bad eulogy for the hallmark of the Lexus family from 1992-2003. Rarely was a bad word written about this automobile; more often than not, descriptions included the words elegance, dependability, luxurious, roomy, and extremely reliable. But really, would you expect anything less from the Toyota engineers who believe in craftsmanship and commitment to excellence?
This car was built for the drivers who believe they deserve $90,000 worth of car but can only afford a $35,000 automobile. Inspired by the Toyota Camry, the ES 300 provided more power with its 3.0-liter V6 with 210 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. Featuring a 5-speed automatic transmission, fine suspension tuning and optional adaptive shock absorbers, the ES300 continually provided a smooth, quiet ride with enough amenities to make even the most jaded driver happy.
A typical review noted that the Lexus ES 300 “was a refined and elegant car well-suited for those who wanted a focused luxury sedan rather than a sport sedan.” Truer words were never written. This front-wheel driven sedan was built for cruising the open road. This is not to say it didn’t handle mountain curves well because in truth it did, but to really appreciate this Japanese import one had to hit the open highway, listen to the sounds of silence, and experience a completely smooth ride from start to finish.
One would be hard-pressed to find a used es300 without leather upholstery although that feature was listed as optional. Standard equipment included a moonroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and seven-speaker CD/cassette audio system, to name just a few. Add to that a great braking system, front-seat side airbags and full-length curtain airbags, and Toyota dependability and it is easy to understand why this vehicle was a favorite for years.
Imagine if you will spending a hard day at work, walking out to your ES 300, firing up the engine and having all stress relieved as you drive home.
The only negative ever written about the Lexus was regarding its transmission. If driven aggressively the transmission had a tendency towards bumpy upshifts and delayed downshifts. Toss that rather gentle reprimand out and you find yourself driving a luxurious vehicle for a reasonable price.
Replacement parts are plentiful and easy to find because of the twelve year run this car had, and the Toyota promise of quality makes the Lexus ES 300 a dependable car to own for years to come. It is easy to understand why the ES 300 anchored the Lexus line for some many years.