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Newebie Needs Advice/help On Purchase Of Es300


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I am new to this bulletin board and hope, based on your responses, that I will be a participating member.

I am looking to buy my wife a car to replace her totalled 1998 Infiniti I30. While she loved the infiniti, she would like a different car and we were impressed after we test drove an ES300. We are looking to buy a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) ES300 and need your advice. Whatever car we buy will be in our family for 5-6 years so leasing is not a consideration.

Based on the 2004 ES330 price at the local dealer at $30.9K + taxes, I am looking to buy a pre-owned car from anywhere between $25K-$30K out the door. Since we keep our cars for a long time, I will likely get the additional 2 year warranty for a total of 5 years. I was quoted $1,450 from the dealer. Does this price sound right?

Is there a model difference between the 2002 and 2003? Which do you recommend?

What should I expect to pay for a CPO 2003 w/ approx 10K miles?

What should I expect to pay for a CPO 2002 w/ approx 20K miles?

I was guessing that $23-24K for a 2002 and $26-27K for a 2003? Are these good guesses?

How will I be treated if I don't buy it from my local dealer?

Since I don't want to pay for the first year or two of deprecation hit, I was leaning towards the 2002 but don't know much about the models.

Any input would be appreciated.



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Do a search on these forums about the 2002+ ES, that should answer most of your questions. I'm sure some folks who own a 2002+ ES will weigh in on specifics. Might want to pick steviej's brain for some knowledge on this subject. All I know is there is a transmission issue on the 02 & 03 (not sure about an 04) models but there is a specific thread on that subject in this forum. Welcome to the club & good luck! B)


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Go with already givven advice. Lots of info on this forum. Since you live in Tampa do not forget to give the Clearwater Lexus dealership a look-see. Lexus of Clearwater. I purchased my 2004 ES 330 from them and found them to be reasonable, at least worth checking them out. Welcome, this is a great forum. Mike

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My advice is: don't do it.

A brand new one that you can get the way you want is $30 K. A used one is $25-30 K. Plus, you'll pay a higher interest rate on the used one, so the difference is even less (unless you're paying cash). Why in the world would you settle for a used car? Given that you want to drive the car for a long time, the argument for a used car becomes even weaker. The slight price premium for the new car is spread out over many years - AND you don't have a car which has already sacrificed a good chunk of mileage.

There's another thread going that indicates that even buying a CPO is no protection. You can still have problems.

My personal feeling is that used cars aren't worth it unless you're saving a MINIMUM of 30%. And even then, it had better be in excellent condition with reasonably low mileage.

Look at it this way. The standard argument is that a new car loses so much of its value when it leaves the lot. Lexus slaps a CPO label on it so that they can get some of that value back. But the minute you drive it off the lot and try to resell it, it's no longer CPO - so you've lost just as much as if you had bought a new car.

Do yourself a favor and get the new one- at least until Lexus starts pricing CPO vehicles more reasonably.

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2002 for $23 to $24k?

If you can find one, I'd go with it.

I got my 2001 w/22k miles for $24k CPO.

BTW, I'm the one with all the issues with the CPO program.

And as mentioned by another poster, yes CPO doesn't protect you completely.

That said, since it's been running for 22k miles, the assumption is that it's not a lemon...but who knows.

It depends on what type of options you want in there as well. I can only speak strictly from a 2001 point of view, but I wanted leather, wood steering wheel, heated seats, etc...My ES came with Chrome wheels also.

So when you tally up all those things, plus navigation, I'm sure a new 2004 will run you a lot more than $30k.

So you either have to take a look at the barebones version or the "nicely equipted" ones and decide on whether you can afford one or not.

When I bought my CPO, Lexus had special financing for people with excellent credit...I think a FICO score of 700+.

4years @1.9%

5years @3.9%

If you can get finance rates like that, then it doesn't matter whether you get CPO or new...but if you can afford it, new is always a nice thing!!!

Good luck!!!

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I got my brand new 2004 last month for $31,000 out the door. I'm sure you can do better than that with the 2005's coming in. My dealer, (JM Lexus in So. FL), has a 2005 in the showroom already with hundreds of 04's in the back lot. The 2005 wood is lighter than my 2004 cherry wood. The transmissions are smoother in 2004 than previous years also.

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I think jrag is onto something.

Realistically you're not going to see 02 and 03 ES at those prices, ESPECIALLY not CPO cars. My guess is you may even see 03s with that mileage at $30-32k depending on their equipment. I'm not a fan of used cars either for a lot of the same reasons, unless you're buying one 4 or so years old over the long term you're really not going to save any money (have to factor in extra maint. costs, the cost of your extra warranty, gonna need tires and brakes sooner) the savings getting an 03 ES for 30k vs an 04 for maybe 32k is extremely negligable or nonexistsant. Now is the best time to buy a new 04 you could hope for, and you can get the color combinations and options you want. Dealers will be giving them away.

There are very few changes between 02-03 some minor issues were looked at etc. The 04 has more power, the front seats were SLIGHTLY reworked and it has the new generation nav system (If you want nav).

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There isn't much difference in pricing from 02-04's that is correct. First on the 02 model that transmision problem is easily fixed by a computer update{its free} Most dealers will offer there service loaners / dealer cars for sale in the next few months as the 05's come in to replace them. There are good deals usually available on these. Downside is making sure they were maintained. Hard to service when they are constantly on the road. My best advice is check the out of the way dealer, not the guy on the main strip w/ 100's of choices. The smaller cpo guys tend to just keep the best of the best. No matter what year you buy it is still a great car. Lexus is offering 3.9% on the CPO's starting this month I believe. Good Luck

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Mine was a privately owned vehicle.

There were bunch of off-lease ones at various places that I was interested in as well.

I don't know how people who lease their vehicle treat them...maybe they are like "well I know they'll take it back in 3 years so I'm going to ride the heck out of it"?

Probably like that with loaners and rentals.


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First on the 02 model that transmision problem is easily fixed by a computer update{its free}

That free TSB is nonreversible and did absolutely nothing to fix the hesitation problem that has been so widely talked about!!!!!

The only thing the TSB did was remove the joggle that happens when cruising at 40mph and the tranny can't decide to stay in 4th or chug it out in 5th.


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