There are many ways to describe the Lexus ES330, though it would probably be accurate to say that such a by-the-book interpretation of affordable luxury has been offered historically by few cars.
In Lexus’ glossary of terms and definitions, the near-luxury experience implies such notions as impressive fuel economy, capable performance and supreme comfort. That was the philosophy behind making the Lexus ES330 a front-wheel-drive, softly suspended sedan with a smooth V6 engine and an automatic transmission tuned to shift for efficiency and not seat-gripping acceleration. On the inside, the leather seats cushioned to the standards of a sectional sofa provided plenty of room for four adults to bask to their heart’s content. Similarly, a serene highway ride existed for all as a result of painstaking use of noise-dampening insulation. Here’s what you need to know about this car.
Luxurious Engine Aspirations
The Lexus ES330 actually saw light of day during a mid-model-cycle refresh for the fourth generation ES sedan and was sold between 2004 and 2006. After the last full redesign in 2002, both the ’02 and ’03 models wore the ES300 badge and drew their power from a 3.0-litre V6 that generated 210 horsepower. When the badge was changed to ES330, the car also saw the introduction of a new 3.3-litre V6 with 225 horsepower with more low-range and mid-range torque. In adherence with new SAE certification standards, the same engine was actually re-rated at 218 horsepower for the 2006 model.
During the ES300 to ES330 transition, the company also increased the equipment levels. For the first time, must-have items such as a moonroof and leather upholstery became standard fare. Larger side curtain airbags were also fitted on the safety side of things. In terms of other standard equipment on the car, buyers received a convincing faux walnut trim sprinkled throughout the cabin, a seven-speaker CD-cassette audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats and 16-inch alloy wheels. Available upgrades, on the other hand, included everything from a stability control system, xenon HID headlights and real wood/leather steering wheel to heated front seats, a navigation system and a higher-wattage Mark Levinson sound system.
Luxury Handling as a Standard Feature
The ES330 was actually based on the Toyota Camry, which meant that the driving characteristics were identical. A particular difference, on the other hand, was that the ES330 had an even quieter and plusher ride. Both cars had a similar mid-7-second range when it came to zero to 100 kilometres per hour acceleration, and there was an option to order an adaptive suspension for buyers who were looking to get firmer handling from their cars around corners. This suspension varied the shock absorber damping according to driver input, vehicle speed and general road conditions.
Feel Free to Choose Any of the Used ES330s
This is because the substantive differences between the three model years of the Lexus ES330 were minimal. For example, there were some cosmetic upgrades for the ’05 model year that saw buyers being able to opt for bird’s eye maple wood-grain trim instead of the previously mentioned walnut. Another example was that the ES was also fitted with new lighting elements in addition to having its front and rear fascias revisited. If you’re keen on your ES330 having voice activation technology for the factory-installed navigation system, do your best to focus on ’05 and ’06 models. But, you won’t make a mistake whichever ES330 you opt for as it remains a remarkable luxury car even today.