Lexus’ ES line, which was released in 1989, is a collection of luxury sedans under the mid-size category. The ES 300 is a simple but very powerful member of the ES family. It was only produced from the second generation up to the fourth generation of Lexus ES. But because of its comfortable cabin, high-quality performance, luxurious over-all design, and affordable price, the ES 300 was able to sustain the Lexus brand’s long-standing success.
The ES 250 sequel: ES 300 (1991-1996)
The first ES 300 model is the renamed version of the first generation ES 250. Like the rest of the six generations of Lexus ES, the original ES 300 unit was built on the Toyota Camry platform. It is also equipped with a front-wheel drive system and a V6 engine. The first batch of ES 300 was highly inspired by the Toyota Windom in terms of appearance. This refurbished version is considerably larger than ES 250 with a 5-inch increase in length and 3-inch increase in width. Its aerodynamic profile was improved by the integrated spoiler feature on the rear deck lid. Projector headlights, frameless window doors, keyless entry feature, and an eight-speaker sound system were also added.
The year 1994 brought a redesigned grille, new headlight assembly, and CFC-free air-conditioning system to the ES 300. The North American models adapted the all-aluminum 1MZ-FE engine during the same year. The ES 300 Coach Edition joined the ES family in 1995, and it came with a set of Coach luggage and an interior with Coach leather trim.
The upscale years: ES 300 (1996-2001)
The third generation of Lexus ES opened with the 1996 ES 300, which featured a longer but more lightweight body than its predecessor. The projector headlights were ditched and replaced with reflector headlamps, and the interior became more luxurious. It received the electro-luminescent Lexus Optitron panel and high-class leather seats. The suspension system received significant upgrades through the Adaptive Variable Suspension, which can adjust the wheel dampers in less than a second.
The 1998 ES 300 model had minor updates, which mainly focused on safety. Torso airbags were added in the front-row seats as well as the force limiting seatbelt pretensioners. The anti-theft feature was also reinforced through the transponder chips. The ES 300 welcomed the millennium with an improved fascia. Its interior received a new electro-chromatic mirror and an upgraded audio system. While the tail light assembly and the fog lights became clear for this year’s model, Xenon HID headlamps were offered as an option. A Platinum version was also released during the Lexus ES line’s third generation.
The last few years: ES 300 (2002-2003)
The last stretch of the ES 300’s existence was within the fourth generation of Lexus ES. The latest model released in 2001 for the 2002 model year was more spacious than the previous models. It also had a California Walnut trim, which covered the dash board as well as doors and the center console. Some of the features include electronic stability system, traction control system, drive-by-wire electronic throttle, and a five-speed automatic transmission.
Although the ES 300 label was discontinued in 2003, it retired with a bang after it was awarded with five stars in the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, and Side Driver categories of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The ES 300 was also named as Lexus’ best-selling sedan and the best-selling luxury car in the United States during the period. The new ES 330 replaced the Lexus ES 300 in 2003.