Major Issues with the 2007 ES 350 Sound System
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection...indeed.
I wanted to write to espress my extreme disappointment in my Lexus driving experience. I have always heard and read about all the great things Lexus has to offer in their vehicles, so when it was time for me to lease a new vehicle, Lexus was one of my top choices. And when I went into the showroom to look at the models, I was pleasantly surprised to find the new 2007 ES 350 model. I test drove the car, negotiated a price and made the deal. I was very excited to drive out from the dealership with my beautiful, new Lexus.
I should have known to be more careful when I test drove the car. When I did, I noticed the sound system sounded quite bad. There was a lot of rattling and vibrating on any song that had any sort of "lows." I thought it might be just that one vehicle that had the problem so I checked the vehicle I was to take home to find that it seemed to have the same problem. But I was so caught up with the idea of my new Lexus that I didn't pay enough attention at the time I drove the car home.
I brought the car back the next day to the service department and explained the issue. The service advisor agreed that therewas something wrong with the sound. I left my new car there for a week. Anybody who has bought or leased a new car knows you want to be driving that car, not leaving it at the service department one day after you took it home.
Anyway, I got a call from the service advisor telling me there was nothing they could do. I was shocked. I spoke with the manager, and we went together to listen to yet another ES 350 on the lot. He agreed with me (as anyone should who even bothers to listen to the sound system on this vehicle) that there was much vibration and distortion. He told me that Lexus would not allow them to change anything because they did not agree that there was a problem with the system.
At this point I began to get angry. How can Lexus, a company known for luxury and quality, be so proud (or better yet so arrogant) that they will not admit that there is a problem or attempt to fix this issue? I have had cars from VW, Honda, Ford, Infiniti, Acura and now from Lexus, and this is truly and without exageration the worst sound system I have ever heard on any vehicle I have ever owned or leased. It is entirely unacceptable that Lexus would release a product like this with all kinds of amenities (including a port for your MP3 player), and it is entirely unenjoyable. Did anyone bother to test this portion of the car and the effect it might have on anyone who turned the radio on?
The manager at the dealership suggested that Lexus doesn't expect their customers to listen to any bass-heavy music. I was surprised by that comment, and then I had to laugh. I listen to all different types of music, and I get great enjoyment out of it. Now every time I turn the radio on to listen to a CD or a song on my iPod it becomes an irritating experience. I even tried to listen to Sade (jazz) and found the same problem. Try this test. Listen to Sade's "By Your Side" on volume level 35 and bass level 0, and you will find the same irritating distortion and vibration. That's with "0" base.
I will assume by now you have a good idea of my feelings regarding my Lexus experience. Entirely disappointing. The vehicle has its good points including the beautiful new styling and decent power, but once I turn on that radio all of that is eclipsed by the intolerable low quality sound system it ships with. I'm not looking for some hooked up competition sound system. I'm looking for something that I can listen to while driving without the hairs on the back of my neck standing up (that is a negative). I'm looking for the supposed and expected Lexus quality. I am not getting that right now, and it certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth only 395 miles into my Lexus experience.
PS: I do want to say that the dealership employees were very polite in dealing with me and this issue. They were not very helpful (and I can't say how much of this can be attributed to what they are allowed to do), but they were polite.