2002 Lexus ES 300

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2002 Lexus ES 300

Key specs

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1 trim

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2002 Lexus ES 300 review: Our expert's take


Lexus’ antidote to the serene driving experience of the front- wheel-drive, Camry-derived ES 300, is the rear-wheel-drive IS 300. For 2002, Lexus has introduced a special model, the Sportscross.

The Sportscross isn’t as large as a wagon, nor is it as small as a hatchback. Rather it falls somewhere between the two in size. While the car shares the sedan’s 105.1 inch wheelbase, it’s a half- inch longer. Overall size is about that of a Toyota Corolla. But the Sportscross possesses a sleeker shape and funkier demeanor. It’s more distinctive than the sedan.

The Sportscross also shares its powerful, refined 215-horsepower 3-liter V-6 hooked to a five-speed automatic transmission. It features electronically-operated manual shift controls similar to those on the larger Lexus GS sedans. Using steering-wheel mounted buttons, a driver can shift manually without doing any clutch work. The six-speed manual available on the IS300 sedan is not offered on the Sportscross.

It’s the combination of small size and powerful

drivetrain coupled with an expertly tuned suspension that makes the Sportscross such a blast to drive. The ride is quite firm, and the P225/45R17 tires that do so much for grip also communicate more information than is customary in a Lexus. Wet weather can cause the performance-oriented tires to lose their footing, but Vehicle Stability Control does a good job of keeping things safe.

The interior also is a carryover from the IS 300 sedan. The extremely supportive seats are covered in a velour-like fabric. The dash has a sporty feel, with a chronograph-style instrument cluster that is a triumph of form over function.

The rear cargo area can be expanded, thanks to split rear fold- down seats. A retractable cargo cover and a false floor add space for hiding valuables.

The car starts at $32,305. For those of you who equate size with prestige, this won’t seem like a bargain. But for those of you who like to drive, you might think otherwise.

If you want this engaging little Lexus, grab one fast. Lexus plans to import a mere 5,000 annually.

The rest of you will have to settle for a more sedate entry- level Lexus.

Lexus ES 300

Engine: 3-liter V-6

Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Tires: P215/60VR16

Wheelbase: 107.1 inches

Length: 191.1 inches

Width: 71.3 inches

Weight: 3,439 pounds

Cargo volume: 14.5 cubic ft.

Base price: $31,505

As tested: $39,935

EPA rating: 21 city, 29 highway

Test mileage: 23 mpg

Fuel type: Premium

Built in: Tsutsumi, Japan

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior design 4.7
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.8

Most recent consumer reviews


Best and most reliable car ever!!

Bought my 2002 Lexus ES300 from the original owner in April 2021 w 161k miles. They had it serviced at a local Lexus dealership in NJ from day one to 110k miles. They had the timing belt, water pump and valve cover gasket all done at 88k miles. All this info was taken from the lexus owners website using the VIN. A few months after i bought it, the rear struts starting leaking, i had all 4 replaced, also replaced the original Alternator and AC compressor (it started to squeal). This spring i had to change the original starter. All original parts lasted nearly 20 years ! which proves the durability of Lexus (Toyota) parts! Replacement parts except the struts were replaced with GENCO. T This car now has 172k miles and i change the synthetic oil myself every 5k miles. This will last me many years, i don't plan on selling it until the wheels fall off which is never!! It rides like new with new struts, everything still works. Quiet like an EV, super solid and tight. The engine and transmission are solid. At 3k miles after my oil change no oil is burnt off, still shows full on the dipstick. There is a 2002 ES300 on YouTube as of about 3 years ago with 596k miles (highway) w. original engine & tranny. Just a testiment to the build quality


The Best Car

This has been the most reliable car that I have owned. This car still drives and rides almost like new. Currently I have over 350,000 miles on it.


Best car I’ve ever owned.

I’ve had mine for 10 years and find it is the most reliable car I’ve ever owned. I only wish it got a little better mileage in city driving.

See all 52 consumer reviews


New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
72 months/unlimited distance
72 months/70,000 miles

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