2002 E430 vs. 2003 Lexus ES300


I am considering a new used car purchase. I am considering a 2002 E430 AWD with 62k miles vs. a 2003 Lexus ES300 with only 16k. Obviously the Lexus has much less mileage. I currently have an ES300 that is great. The Benz I am considering is REALLY clean and is $4,000 less than the Lexus. Question is, which to get???


Personally, I’d avoid the AWD, but I get the feeling you really want that Mercedes.


If i were in your place, i would go with Lexus. And here are the reasons why:

  1. Newer
  2. Less mileage.
  3. Better gas mileage.
  4. Reliable. (as compare to Benz, german cars have a bad reputation for their electrical problem)
  5. Cheaper to maintain. (as compare to Benz, in AWD and 4WD it is recommended to replace all 4 tires at once, but not in 2WD)
  6. You get more for the money.
  7. Because its a Toyota. :slight_smile:

I know some people will disagree with me, and i respect that. But overall i think that German cars are expensive to maintain as compare to japanese and also not every independent mechanic can or has capability to work on those cars. But thats just me. :slight_smile:


What is it about the AWD that is a concern? I am sure the mileage will suffer because of that…however, are there other reasons? You are correct that I am leaning toward the Benz…however, it is for superficial reasons.

Let me follow up with these questions:

  1. If I go with the Benz, am I being outright foolish?
  2. I have always heard that Mercedes were like Lexus’s in that you can drive the wheels off both…is this correct?


Depends if you want a benz or a toyota, apples and oranges.


I would go for the Lexus. A Mercedes AWD is one of the most expensive cars to keep on the road over the long haul; uses more gas, much less reliable, atronomically high repair and maintenance bills, etc. If you must have an AWD, go for something made by Toyota or Honda. My friend down the street bought his wife an Acura AWD, which has a top rating. It is luxurious, will be reliable and long lived.


I think everyone would agree the toyota is cheaper to maintain than the benz. If you really was to save money, buy a civic.

Personally, I would only buy the 4-matic if I needed AWD, otherwise you are paying for something you don’t need. The 430 engine is solid, I wouldn’t expect significant issues for at least 200K (then you want to start thinking about things like timing chains). Parts/labor can be expensive, and you don’t want your local general mechanic touching it.


The AWD concerns for me are cost to maintain and operate, and I firmly believe about 90% of the people who have AWD don’t really need it. It’s just more complexity for no real gain in my opinion. If you don’t mind the cost to maintain a Mercedes, and that’s what you want and can afford, then you should get a Mercedes. Craig58 will downplay the Lexus as a disposable car, etc., etc. You know what a Lexus is about as you already own one. I will about guarantee the Mercedes will cost more to maintain over time, but how much more it’s hard to say.


I have no problem with lexus/toyota, they are what they are. Personally, they just don’t interest me very much, and I prefer to buy brands with better long term parts support. I also do not like the road feel (or lack of) in any asian car I’ve ever driven (most of them seem to feel more like my kids video games than cars). If you are just looking for something to drive for a couple of 100K miles with no hassle, buy the toyota.


Which do you like best, and if it is the Benz, are the extra ya-yas worth the cost? We can’t answer that for you.


The Lexus ES300 is a overglorified/cushy Toyota Camry that is a good attempt at being a almost luxury car. The E430 is a luxury car. Why not a larger Lexus (real luxury) car?


The latest generation of the Mercedes 4matic is very reliable.
It will cost just as much to take the Lexus to the shop as the Benz. In fact, the Lexus parts may well be higher. The difference is the Lexus probably won’t need to go to the shop quite as much.
Although that generation of E class has shown to be pretty reliable themselves.

Either car should make you quite happy if they’re well sorted out.