January 4, 2013
The 1996 Lexus ES 300 is an extremely reliable car. What's most reliable is that it is always down in the garage waiting to be driven. I was supposed to take a vacation road trip to Death Valley in one of our new cars but I was bumped, and wound up in the ES. No problem. We're old friends.
My two sons and I headed out and drove north through driving snow to the little town of Lone Pine, Calif., some 230 miles away. The next morning I came out to find the ES covered in a layer of ice crystals. I fired it up, turned on the defroster and rear window heater and went back inside for a second cup of coffee. When we left for Death Valley, all the glass was clear and the interior was toasty, but our hopes for good fuel economy were destroyed.
December 06, 2012
Recently our 1996 Lexus ES 300 joined a convoy of long-term cars that, together, shuttled a small army of journalists to a local track day. Prior to one particular exercise the instructor infromed us, "There's no need for helmets on this one. Go ahead and set them down someplace."
I'm not one to point fingers, so when a nameless cohort walked over to our innocent ES 300 parked nearby and plopped his helmet on the trunk, we laughed. Then we followed suit. But I promise, it was done out of love and appreciation for its elegantly sweeping, but more importantly, flat trunk lid.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 151,970 miles
August 10, 2012
That's an awesome liftover height you got there; about the same as a heavy duty 4x4 pickup, maybe worse.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 147,425 miles
June 29, 2012
Don't act all surprised, you knew it was coming.
A) This is me we're talking about here.
B) This well-worn Lexus is the most perfect car in the fleet for transporting bicycles.
Obviously not because the rear seats fold down (they don't), but rather because it's the crappiest car in the fleet, so I can't see anyone getting all bunched up if me or Jacquot just happen to get the interior slightly dirty with our mountain bikes. Of course, the goal remains, as always, to NOT get the interior dirty. Hence the big blanket.
On another note, here's our latest poll question: What are the chances Josh Jacquot will ever drive the '96 ES 300?
2) Highly unlikely
3) Not a chance in hell
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 145,970 miles.
June 08, 2012
I'm fully prepared to deal with any medical emergencies that might arise on my cross country trip, I'll quickly go to the trunk and use first aid kit which has been resting there, undisturbed since the car was purchased some time in 1995 (note vintage bandages).
Just under the first-aid kit you'll notice an equally ancient CD changer. Before leaving, I got three hefty books on tape to take me across country and back. Stephen King's novel 11/22/63 has 30 discs! I loaded up the cartridge. When I pressed play all I got was an error message. At first I thought it was going to be an awfully long trip. But then I remembered something. When I first started working at Edmunds I used a similar cartridge and the discs had to go in upside down. At the next rest area I flipped all of my discs and -- success! Now have a gripping tale to help me pass the time as I drive.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 140,866 miles