Product Reviews

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The ES330 provides one of the most quiet and comfortable driving experiences in the class. We like its smooth powertrain, impressive fit and finish, and fairly roomy interior. The then-new 3.3-liter V6 engine slightly improved acceleration and fuel economy over its predecessor. The ES scored very well in both government and insurance-industry crash tests.

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
2001
NA
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
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
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2004
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2006
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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 ES330 provides one of the most quiet and comfortable driving experiences in the class. We like its smooth powertrain, impressive fit and finish, and fairly roomy interior. The then-new 3.3-liter V6 engine slightly improved acceleration and fuel economy over its predecessor. The ES scored very well in both government and insurance-industry crash tests.

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
  • 3.3-liter V6 (225 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 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

“Vehicle has been aligned 3 times and it still pulls left....unable to determine cause...replaced struts....bushings...motor mounts and tires”

Michael B., CA (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“Reasonable wear for mileage on car”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“Replaced all four struts, more expensive because electronically controlled from driver's console”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“At 131,307 miles both rear struts needed replacement. That they needed replacement wasn't the surprise. The replacement parts were expensive”

E P., NH (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“I have experienced this problem usually when going up hill. But not that much of a problem that I had to have it in for repair”

Nate B., PA (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“Slipping gears is probably a computer problem but Lexus will not admit it”

Martin T., NC (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)
Transmission computer

“Lexus will not admit the computer is bad”

Martin T., NC (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)
Transmission leaks

“No real problem. I took the car in for a routine checkup the mechanic discovered the leak. I had it repaired”

Maggie H., NJ (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-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)

“Hood color is gone”

Harold G., FL (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“fading, cracking, & peeling”

John H., OH (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)
Rust

“Rust developing on top of hood by windshield wipers and on side post between front and back side window doors”

Anonymous, WI (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-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)

“Original tubing had cracked and was leaking, causing a false Check Engine light”

Anonymous, NC (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“Got check engine light with the code for oxygen sensor. Able to reset. Don't know if the problem is real or not. Have not taken it to the shop to find out”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-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 interior valves for the heating/air condition system have started to make noise and the only way to prevent is to turn the heat indicator to HOT.....It is not the fan it is the valve motors”

Michael B., CA (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

“rattle from left front wheel well”

Frank S., NV (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-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

“Relay failure”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

“valve gasket had to be replaced multiple times with different brands before proper seal was achieved”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Heater system

“Heater was not working to produce heat. Upon Lexus maintenance they determined there was too much water in the coolant and could not determine why. Happily, All worked out well as they flushed the system several times and was able to restore system and produce heat”

Joanne M., NY (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-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

Sunroof

“Had an expensive to fix leak up in the roof behind the sun roof retraction system”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Lexus ES 330 3.3-L V6)

Exhaust

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

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.

Brakes

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

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

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.

Engine Cooling

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

Engine Major

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

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