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Lexus is still riding high over the success of the refined RX 300, which was introduced last year along with the new LX 470 full-size sport-utility vehicle. But Lexus is not resting completely on its laurels this year.
Side view of 2001 Lexus RX 300 4dr SUV 4WD GreenEnlarge Photo
The most significant changes in the Lexus lineup are to the ES 300 sedan, which gets a new engine and other features found previously only on more expensive Lexus models. The engine is the 210-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 with variable-valve timing that was introduced last year in the RX 300. The variable-valve timing makes the new engine extremely flexible, which means a stronger response — particularly at low engine speeds — than with the old V-6. The new engine is not available on any Toyotas, which could help further distinguish the ES 300 from its less prestigious sibling, the Toyota Camry. The new engine replaces a 200-hp 3.0-liter V-6.
In addition, the ES 300 will now be available with Vehicle Skid Control, which uses sensors and a computer to try to automatically correct a skid.