The new Lexus ES300 debuted in 2002. This provides a Lexus entry for those gunning for the status of a luxury vehicle but unable to afford the entry price. The 2003 Lexus ES300 remains relatively unchanged with a few adjustments. Gaps get smaller in the body for a quiet ride. Power adjustable pedals also provide an option.
The Lexus ES300 once served as the most popular vehicle in the Lexus line due to its feature list. It still makes a great buy, but watch out for the price when piling on the accessories. Also, the RX300 sport may make a better option if you want a Lexus with an exhilarating ride.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Lexus ES300
The Lexus ES300 got completely redesigned last year. Very few changes show up for 2003. The only major improvement concerns the addition of power-adjustable pedals.
The exterior of the 2003 Lexus ES300 does not provide the most exciting vehicle, but it includes a few nice features. The front of the vehicle has chiseled characteristics that give the front fascia a handsome look. The hood lines leading into the light cluster adds a nice touch, giving the top of the vehicle a sleek and contoured look. Body gaps in the vehicle get smaller than in previous years to prevent noise and wind leakage into the cabin and body.
The ES300 measures 191.1 inches overall and rides on a 107.1-inch wheelbase. Standard features on the exterior of the vehicle include 16-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, variable intermittent wipers, a rear defogger, a power glass sunroof, remote power locks, power mirrors, four one-touch power windows, and heated mirrors.
The interior of the ES300 really shines. The 2003 Lexus ES300 seats five passengers comfortably. The center console and all four doors come trimmed with California walnut, giving the vehicle a touch of class. Both of the front seats have power adjustments, a pretty nice feature for an entry-level luxury sedan. The rear trunk offers plenty of space for the weekend luggage, boasting 14.5 cubic feet of space.
Standard features on the Lexus ES300 include an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, height adjustment for the driver and passenger seats, cloth upholstery, a folding center armrest with storage, an overhead console with storage, remote trunk release, retained accessory power, front seatback storage, speed-proportional power steering, 12V front power outlets, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, steering-wheel-mounted cruise controls, interior air filtration, dual-zone climate controls, a trunk light, wood trim, leather trim on the shift knob, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear floor mats, a diversity antennae, seven speakers, an 86-watt stereo output, an AM/FM stereo with an in-dash CD player, and one subwoofer.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Lexus ES300 comes equipped with a three-liter, V-6 engine that produces 210 horsepower, and it pairs with a five-speed automatic transmission. The throttle system uses a drive-by-wire design borrowed from the Lexus LS430. The Lexus ES300 also adheres to low emission standards.
For all its luxury, the ES300 lacks performance. Handling and steering seems fairly underwhelming and numb. Even worse, the V-6 engine that most drivers would expect more from lags behind engines offered by other manufacturers. However, with that said, the V-6 makes very little noise, even when being pushed on the freeway. Occupants enjoy the ride no matter what, knowing they’re safe: the Lexus ES300 boasts more than enough safety features to keep you driving with a relaxed hand.
The ES300 comes equipped with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, a remote anti-theft alarm system, ventilated front disc brakes, solid rear disc brakes, rear-door child safety locks, daytime running lights, an engine immobilizer, front fog lights, auto delay headlamps, dusk-sensing headlamps, two front and three rear headrests, front seat belt pretensioners, electronic brake force distribution, and emergency interior trunk release.
The NHTSA gives the 2003 Lexus ES300 five out of five stars for driver and passenger safety, as well as front and rear side impacts. The IIHS awards the Lexus ES300 a score of ?good,? its best, for frontal-offset tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus ES300: 18/27 mpg city/highway
- Lots of luxury and convenience features
- Great ride quality
- Refined V-6 engine
- Great reliability record
You Won't Like
- Boring drive
- Less power than competitors
- Expensive optional features
- No split-folding rear seat
If You Like This Vehicle
- Acura TL
- Audi A4
- Lincoln LS