Lexus ES300 (1997)
This is, of course, a wonderful car. Nearly perfect in almost every way,until you stop to consider that it's based on the V6 Toyota Camry.
When you realize that the price difference is close to about $6,000 or so,compared with a comparably equipped Camry, it hardly seems worth it. Or,perhaps the Camry just looks even better by comparison.
The major advantage of the ES 300 over the Camry is that in the ES 300 youreally know you're in a luxury car. It's got all the softness, all theaccessories and all the accoutrements a wide-butted American driver couldask for.
The major flaw we found with the ES 300 is that Lexus is trying to make itmore sporty. Why? I don't know. But I'm sure the Lexus marketingdepartment has the answers. The worst of the "sporty" features is the noiseof the engine during acceleration. Even if we give Lexus credit andstipulate that this noise was "engineered in," we still found it annoying.I mean, why try to give a perfectly nice little luxury car the pretensionsof a sports car? If I wanted to spend $30,000 and still hear the engineroar, I'd get a BMW 328i!
But, we're splitting hairs here. It's a wonderful car, and if you don'tmind paying a few thousand bucks more for a really cushy Camry that saysLexus on it, this is a car we can wholeheartedly endorse.
View cars.com model report on this vehicle.