Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get average or better mpg, have average or better reliability, good crash-test ratings, and our experts' recommendations.
By Rick Popely
November 22, 1999
Vehicle Overview Several minor styling and equipment revisions mark the ES300 for 2000, but there probably won't be major news until the 2002 model year, when this near-luxury sedan is scheduled for a redesign.
The ES300 is going through a midlife crisis. Formerly the best-selling Lexus model, it has lost that honor to the RX300 sport utility vehicle. To make matters worse, the ES300 has been passed in sales by the rival BMW 3 Series and Acura 3.2TL. It has been Lexus' entry-level model for several years but will give up that role next spring when the IS300, a smaller, less-expensive sedan with rear-wheel drive, joins the team in 2001.
The front-wheel-drive ES300 is built from the same basic design as the Toyota Camry, and the two share some mechanical components. However, nearly all their body panels and interior components are different.
Exterior Styling critics will notice the ES300's grille has two horizontal bars instead of three this year and more chrome. The front bumper has a more chiseled look, and the taillamps are redesigned and have clear lenses. High-intensity discharge headlamps are a new option.
The ES300 has the same 105-inch wheelbase as the Camry and is about 2 inches longer at 190 overall.
Interior More genuine wood trim adorns the dashboard this year, and the richly furnished interior has the look and feel of the LS400, Lexus' flagship sedan. There are seats for five in the ES300, which comes with standard cloth upholstery or optional leather (the same kind used on the LS400).
Adjustment of the power mirrors is now included in the driver's seat memory system, while buttons for the standard remote-entry system are now in the ignition key.
Under the Hood The 3.0-liter V-6 is the same one available in the Camry, but it produces 210 horsepower here because of different intake and exhaust systems. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard.
Vehicle Skid Control, which controls wheel slip to prevent skids, was added to the options list last year. This year it gains a brake-assist feature. When the system detects emergency braking, it applies full braking force faster than the driver can.
Performance The ES300 is an ideal first luxury sedan for many buyers moving up from a family car. It is smooth, quiet, luxurious and practically bulletproof in its reliability and durability. However, compared to Audis and BMWs, it lacks spirit and a sporting flair. The ES300 has all the right features and impeccable quality, but it doesn't stir emotions the way some rivals do.