1996 Lexus ES 300: Tape Player Review
February 5, 2013
As Phil noted in a previous post, the cassette player doesn't eject tapes. It takes a bit of timing to finally dislodge a tape, hitting the eject button, then quickly lifting the cassette with a narrow fingertip to clear the opening. Not a big deal, especially since I'm one of the few on staff that still uses period-correct mixtapes.
The player itself is pretty good, I must admit. I was assuming that it would have an auto-detect feature for metal tapes, just like our NSX had, and I was right. I popped in a TDK MA-XG and up came a "METAL" indicator on the LCD display. Sweet.
The sound quality is quite decent, considering the analog sources. Set to Dolby noise reduction "B," there was little in the way of hiss. The "C" setting was not preferred, as it seemed to add some weird distortion. One thing that bugged me, though, was that the player wouldn't skip to the next song. It seems as though that function isn't working because it just fast forwards to the end of the tape.
It was a lot of fun reliving my adolescence through mixtapes with the new girlfriend. As with the Grand National trip, she remembered the lyrics way better than I could. I won't hold the ES 300 in as high regard as our NSX or Grand National, despite this association. This tired old Lexus never managed to win me over, and I doubt it ever can.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 153,205 miles