2003 ES 300 New Car Test Drive
Once a wallflower, the Lexus ES 300 is now a bold-looking luxury sedan. Redesigned for 2002, the ES 300 looks smooth and sleek, yet larger and more substantial.
In fact it is considerably larger than the pre-2002 model, standing 2.4 inches taller and stretching 2.0 inches longer in wheelbase. Those added inches have given the ES 300 another four cubic feet of interior space; so that the Lexus is now 10-percent larger inside than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Trunk volume for the ES 300 was increased 12 percent over the 2001 model. At the same time, new sound-absorbing and vibration-isolating technologies have brought exceptional quiet and smoothness.
Lexus has justly earned a reputation for exceptional quality control and the ES 300 delivers a compelling combination of quality, comfort, refinement, and value. Behind the fit and finish is a great deal of careful design and detail work. Advanced composites and resin-steel sandwiches contribute to the quality you see and feel, from the tight 'thunk' when you close the doors, trunk and hood; to the precision movement of the turn signal stalk.
For 2003, Lexus has added the option of power-adjustable pedals to the ES 300's long list of luxuries. Otherwise, the ES 300 is unchanged from last year.
The Lexus ES 300 four-door sedan is offered in just one trim level, but its base price ($31,625) buys many of the same advanced luxury and safety features found in higher-priced Lexus sedans.
Standard equipment includes multiple air bags; Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD); dual-zone climate control with air filtration; a seven-speaker, 86-watt audio system with single CD and cassette; water-repellant front door glass; and lamps that illuminate the doorsill and the ground when the doors are opened.
Options can add another eight grand to get your ES 300 fully loaded. Vehicle Skid Control adds $650. Adaptive Variable Suspension adds $620. For $1560, you can replace the standard Arista fabric upholstery with the same Regency leather found in the LS 430, while adding a memory function for the driver's seat. The combination of leather and memory are included when you choose either the $3010 Mark Levinson sound system (featuring a 240-watt output and a six-CD changer), or the $3960 DVD satellite navigation. A $4860 package combines leather, memory, navigation, and premium sound. A power rear sunshade ($210); high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps with automatic leveling and rain-sensing wipers ($640); heated seats ($440); and chrome wheels ($1700) round out the option list.