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1998 Lexus ES 300

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ES 300
Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

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1998 Base 4dr Sedan
most popular
Price:   -  From $30,790


Who's number one? Calling one car the best in any particular category is a tricky proposition, because there's always the random variable of individual tastes to consider. In the entry luxury segment, for example, we're inclined to prefer the BMW 328i, simply because we find it the most gratifying to drive. There are plenty of other tempting choices too--the Acura TL, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, INFINITI I30, the new Cadillac Catera and the all-too-frequently overlooked Mazda Millenia. But for all-around excellence in this competitive realm, the new Lexus ES 300 strikes us as a pacesetter. Maybe even the pacesetter. Yes, this is a re-design, rather than an all-new car. But it's improved in every respect--a little more character to its styling, stiffer chassis, reduced curb weight, better handling, more power, improved aerodynamic efficiency and more room inside. And, more remarkable, Lexus has trimmed a tidy $2500 from the base price, thank you very much. That's a can't-miss recipe for success, and it also raises a question: how'd they do that? The universal emphasis on cost engineering adds an intriguing new dimension to our job: trying to figure out where the manufacturer did the whittling. That's always tough sleuthing, because you can bet they're not going tell you, and in this case it's difficult indeed. About the only things that are readily apparent are the ES 300's new reflector headlamps, which are substantially cheaper than the previous projector beam setup, and a simple pushbutton reset for the trip odometer instead of the electric reset used on the '96 model. But these cost cuts don't detract at all from the finished product. The new headlamps actually enhance the new front end appearance, in our opinion, and also do a better job of lighting in the immediate vicinity of the car. And the new LS 400-style electroluminiscent instruments, among the best and most attractive in the entire industry, certainly offset any sense of the ordinary that might go with a plain old mechanical reset for the trip counter.

Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Available
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.0L V-6 / 200 HP / 214 ft.lbs.
4-spd auto w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
19 / 27 / 23 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.0L V-6 / 200 HP / 214 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
19 / 27 / 23 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Strut
Spare Tire And Wheel
Full-size Steel
Fuel Tank
18.5 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Premium Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
13.0 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
92 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
190.2 "
Exterior Width
70.5 "
Exterior Height
54.8 "
Front Headroom
38.0 "
Rear Headroom
36.2 "
Front Legroom
43.5 "
Rear Legroom
34.4 "
Front Shoulder Room
55.6 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.1 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,318 Lbs.
Wheel Base
105 "
Turning Radius
18.3 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
15.0 " Silver Aluminum
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated
Grille Moldings
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Premium Cloth / Leather
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
(6-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
(6-way Power)
Front Armrests
(6-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Center With Pass-thru
Rear Seats
Radio & Infotainment
Brand Am/fm Stereo, Seek-scan
7 Brand
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
One Touch Open Window
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Major Components Months
72 Months / 70,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
48 Months / Unlimited Miles
Corrosion Perforation
72 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
96 Months / 80,780 Miles

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