The redesigned-for-2002 ES300 is an easygoing, quiet, comfortable cruiser. With a nicely-furnished, accommodating cabin, it offers a well-rounded package, with very few flaws. As a result, it scored very high in its class.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags standard. Head protection air bags standard from 2002. Rear side air bags available from 2007. ESC available, standard from 2007.
Road Test

The redesigned-for-2002 ES300 is an easygoing, quiet, comfortable cruiser. With a nicely-furnished, accommodating cabin, it offers a well-rounded package, with very few flaws. As a result, it scored very high in its class.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3-liter V6 (210 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Lexus ES owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"I guess the alignment keeps getting misaligned due to the shocks struts issue"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Power steering leaks

"not sure that I picked the right subject. The bill says that the starter assemply had to be replaced."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"Power steering failed causing return to neutral after turning a corner very difficult. Had to turn vehicle steering wheel hard to straighten vehicle. Had pump replaced and no problems since."

Mark C., ON (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"Strut makes noise when you go over a bump. I am told that they need replaced which is to be expected at this age of car and miles"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"Struts are expensive."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"I never noticed a problem; the dealer found the problem when I brought the vehicle in for routine maintenance."

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"The shocks and struts have gone bad a few years ago and I am sensible driver"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"The back of the car seemed to bounce up and down on the freeway and my mechanic fixed the problem"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"I've been told that I will have to fix the rack and pinion at a cost of approximately 6-8 thousand dollars."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Minor leakage. Will require replacement of rack assembly soon."

Duane H., AZ (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Wheel bearings

"R/F Got noisy. Replaced both as a fix and preventative maintenance"

Steven M., NJ (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine mounts

"4 engine mounts replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Oil leaks

"Valve cover gasket failed at 126,000 miles."

Anonymous, OR (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"Was told the oil leaks are from the valve covers/sump pan. Also recently told power steering hose leaking."

Hank M., FL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Oil leaking from valve cover, and dripping on exhaust."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Very slow seepage."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"engine valve covers and/or head gaskets and or pan gasket leaking oil with and estimate of $600-$700 to fix"

Hank M., FL (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"my engine is slowly leaking oil but the cost to fix is over $5000 because they need to remove the engine to fix it...or something like that!"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"Sorry, not in last year"

Patricia T., CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"Valve cover gaskets and possibly pan gasket leaking oil. Expensive repair job."

Hank M., FL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

"I had to replace a headlight and an expensive headlight controller."

James L., CA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"My low beam driver's side (left) head light went out and it cost me over $1,000 to get it replaced! This is poor design. Because of poor design-for-maintenance replacing the spark plugs cost several hundred dollars!"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"High voltage lighting transformer went out. Had to replace it at a cost of $370. Spent $200 on two new bulbs before finding out about the transformer problem"

Frank A., CA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Low beam would not function. Toyota dealer charged $900 for a new headlight"

Emmett M., TN (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Warning lights

"tracking and esc"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Wiper motor or washer

"motor is noisy and needs to be replaced"

James G., CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"the alternator stopped producing sufficient power to charge the battery."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"Alternator was not charging"

Karl V., CO (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"Alternator bearing started to make whining noises. I decided to have it replaced before it turned into a major problem."

Ross J., IL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Coil

"do not remember"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Starter

"I had to have it towed to Speedy Lube. They changed the starter in about 30 minutes and I was on my way."

Anonymous, SC (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"Car would not start. Needed to be towed to local mechanic where the starter was determined to be defective. But replacing one starter in 16 years isn’t a bad thing."

Ross J., IL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Problem with the EVAP system due to rust"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"The emission control device is defective and is supposed to be replaced at a cost of over $1,200. Currently I am driving w/o having it repaired"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"Minor leaks that turn on warning light"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Fuel cap

"Gas tank developed a serious leak causing fuel to drain. Had it replaced but dealer forgot to replace some parts causing further stalling. Replaced fuel cap, etc and problem was rectified."

Mark C., ON (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Fuel injection system

"The C2 cylinder required a tune-up because it was misfiring which caused the engine to rock."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"CD changer is jammed and will not accept or eject disks"

Hank M., FL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"ACD jammed in the multi disc player. And I haven't been able to un jam it"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"Player froze while loaded with 6 CDs inserted. Unable to load, unload, or play CDs"

Randall D., AZ (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"CD's are stuck inside and will no longer play"

Catherine L., IL (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

"CD player stopped playing CDs"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Ac relay failed which had to be replaced."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"failed alternator"

Richard A., VA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Traction control

"warning lights came on"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Normal routine brake wear

"My 2003 Lexus ES 300 has been the best car I have EVER owned! The routine brake wear that I experienced was merely expected as I have driven this car extensively over the past 16 years. Lexus is by far one of the best makes on the road today!"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

"just routine maintenance"

Lawrence C., NY (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Premature brake wear

"required to replace brake pads at 45000 miles and again at 77000 miles. I am not an aggressive driver."

Richard A., VA (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"A radiator hose split. engind overheated"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Thermostat

"Thermostat was stuck in the open position giving an engine warning light. Original thermostat"

G W., NE (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Under certain driving conditions, downshift from 4th gear results in a hard slam into gear. Was told it's a shaft speed sensor inside the transmission."

Hank M., FL (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Transmission leaks

"My 2003 Lexus ES has 46,000 miles I purchased in 2007.I purchased extended warranty. In 2012 brought in for service was told it had transmission leak which was covered by my extended warranty.no other problems until 3 to 4 years ago, again transmission leak and oil leaks. Year later started having Air conditioner problems."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"paint old and fading"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)
Rust

"Rust has appeared on the driver's side A column and in the passenger side on the edges of both doors by the B column."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Refrigerant leaks

"Just added freon"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Lexus ES 3.0-L V6)

"Hose popped off"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"The bushing in the rear suspension have worn out and squeak every time it moves. The cost to replace them is high."

Robert N., TX (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)
Wind noise

"Over the years the car has lost the quietness it had when it was new. Wind and freeway noise are very prevalent."

Robert N., TX (2003 Lexus ES 300.0 3.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Windows

"pass rear window does not work"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Lexus ES 300 3.0-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Change Vehicle