2006 Lexus ES 330 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Comprehensive array of luxury and convenience features, superb ride quality, silent cabin, advanced safety technology, excellent reputation for reliability.
  • Bland driving characteristics, many of the most desirable options are expensive, no split-folding rear seat.
Other years
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$2,844 - $6,204

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A supple ride and a gorgeous interior make the 2006 Lexus ES 330 an entry-level luxury sedan that you'll never want to upgrade from.

Vehicle overview

As one of the most affordable cars in the Lexus lineup, the ES 330 is meant to attract people looking for something a little bit more special than the usual Accord or Camry. It offers a luxurious cabin, a soothing ride and many features not found on more plebian cars. The history of the Lexus ES can be traced to Lexus' first year, 1990, when the ES 250 debuted. It was marketed as an "Executive Sedan," though we're pretty sure that executives saw it for what it was: a thinly veiled Camry with a price premium. Admittedly, the ES 250 was a stopgap plan for Lexus, and an improved ES 330 arrived in 1992. Though again based on a Camry platform, this Lexus car had much more distinctive styling, and remained popular for many years.

The Lexus ES 330 was last redesigned in 2002. The latest version is again similar to the Camry (also redone in 2002), though its appointments reflect the high levels of comfort, convenience and refinement that have become trademarks of Lexus luxury. Lexus says that it didn't develop the car to be all things to all people, and we feel that there's a certain amount of honor in acknowledging a car's limitations. Many people simply don't give a darn about the performance potential of an automobile. A car is a conveyance, not a form of entertainment, and if they're lucky enough, their vehicle will also convey to onlookers the idea that they've achieved a certain level of success. For those consumers, the 2006 Lexus ES 330 should have tremendous appeal.

2006 Lexus ES 330 models

The five-passenger, four-door Lexus ES 330 sedan is sold in just one trim level. Many luxury features are standard, including power front seats with memory, automatic dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof, HomeLink, a full set of auto-dimming mirrors, one-touch up-and-down windows on all doors, leather seating and burled walnut or golden bird's eye maple wood trim. Other optional items include a DVD-based navigation system with voice activation, a premium Mark Levinson audio system, satellite radio, a powered rear sunshade, heated and ventilated seats, HID headlights and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Power-adjustable pedals with a memory function are also available. An available 17-inch wheel and performance tire option dresses up the exterior appearance, while also providing a bit of an improvement in the handling department.

2006 Highlights

Other than new availability of satellite radio, there are no changes to the Lexus ES 330. Stated horsepower for the car's V6 engine is slightly lower than last year, however, due to Lexus' adoption of new SAE engine testing procedures.

Performance & mpg

The ES 330's 3.3-liter V6 engine is rated at 218 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It sends its power to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. An adaptive variable suspension system is optional, and helps the ES sedan balance a silky-smooth ride with respectable cornering ability.

Safety

The Lexus ES 330 has solid NHTSA crash test scores, earning five stars (the best possible) in every category except for rear-side impacts, which warranted four stars. It has also earned a "Good" rating from the IIHS for front-offset impact safety, its highest rating. The ES 330 comes with a full complement of airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers. Lexus offers standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), a stability control system that helps prevent dangerous spins and skids, is optional, and includes traction control and BrakeAssist.

Driving

Around town, the Lexus ES 330 floats plenty and absorbs road anomalies, providing a cushion-soft ride. When pushed harder, it offers little to get excited about -- the handling limits are quite modest, though we expect most owners won't be too concerned with that particular aspect. Although competing cars have more powerful engines, the Lexus car should prove sufficiently quick for buyers who are more interested in tranquility than maximum performance.

Interior

The cabin of the Lexus ES 330 is quite warm and inviting. In terms of the overall design and the materials used, you're not likely to find anything better in this class -- the leather is soft, the wood trim is rich and every surface the driver is likely to touch returns an impression of quality. Besides that, the backseat is roomy, the trunk is large, and there should be enough luxury features to keep you and your occupants content.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Lexus ES 330.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Black Diamond Edition
gafuldem,08/13/2012
4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
This car is a very nice car. It is very smooth, reliable, I am 6 foot 3 I have found enough room to drive the car. It is comfortable. It looks nice. It is good on gas. No vibration. Black Diamond Edition makes it even better. Stereo is nice. I care about keeping my money in my pocket. I like to keep extra extra money in the bank. :) Repairs aren't an issue because it seems that it will not break. Maintaining the car is affordable also if you take it to a great mechanic who treats your car well. Mercedes Bmw and every other expensive car on the road has to pay for expensive repairs and to also maintain it. People who drive those cars normally have their eyes fixed on mine. Get one. Save$
A Great Ride!!!
timo,04/02/2006
4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
We purchased 330 ES after 9 months of misery with a bad auto. We had looked at most luxury imports and felt the Lexus was the best for our needs, front wheel drive for bad weather, good fuel economy for size, comfortable back seat. We were not real crazy about the exterior lines at first but after a week we love it and its very fine paint job. First tank of gas we purchased got 29 mpg average on hwy. Not bad for 10% ethanol blend!I have to say the only regret I have is I didn't purchase one earlier!!
Best I have ever driven
stan,02/15/2010
4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Have owned this car since it was new and have over 60000 miles on it. It still handles and drives like a new car. Only problem encountered was a caution lite re: front seat came on and Lexus replaced the whole front seat. Not one other rattle, part problem or issue. Simply the best car we have ever owned.
Great luxury and value
muister,04/24/2006
4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
For the price of the car, you cannot find a more luxurious car. This is not a sporty car and please do not rate this car with that angle -- just as one should not compare apples and oranges. The interior is amazingly plush and beautiful; you cannot find it in the BMW 3 or 5 series, nor the E or C-class MB sedans. If you want sporty drive, take a look at the IS or the BMW. If you want ultra-luxury, try the LS or the MB S-class.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2006 Lexus ES 330

Used 2006 Lexus ES 330 Overview

The Used 2006 Lexus ES 330 is offered in the following submodels: ES 330 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Lexus ES 330?

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Which used 2006 Lexus ES 330s are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Lexus ES 330?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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