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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    comes in a myriad of variaties...

    The soft fluffy stuff anyone can drive on...

    When it snows here in the Seattle area My first move is to install snowchains on the rear of my AWD RX300.

    The only good, for sure, answer to 2WD on snow is snowchains.

    And if you expect to get around out there with all the other idiots then AWD and snowchains is your best bet.

    I've lived, and driven, in NH, MT, OR, and WA and the only for sure answer is snowchains.

    Get used to it!
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289

    Maybe it's the tires then!

    Your 92 and 2004 LS's would have similar sized contact patches with the road and the 2004 LS should be a bit heavier, therefore it should do better in the snow.

  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    I was told by my dealer that 8 state midwest market gets all season tires on 2004. I sure hope that's true, because my 2001 came with summer tires. They are indeed dangerous in any amount of snow. I replaced with Michelin Pilots and while traction wasn't great, I could get around.

    I suprised a car bought in Iowa came with summer tires.
  • acco20acco20 Posts: 208
    My question was....did you have the trac OFF. You answered, "yes I had the traction on". My point is,the way to get going, in snow, in the Lexus 400, and newer models, is to turn the trac OFF so that the drive wheel will not be slowed if it starts to spin a little. There are better explanations of this, Wess.........maybe you can help?
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136

    Check out VW Phaeton first instead of Audi A8.

    It'll change your perception on Phaeton.


    NOTE: Right click and save (10mb video)
  • deklunddeklund Posts: 2
    After much deliberation and researching I have decided on the LS 400. My quandary is which year to buy, 96-99 are well within my price range. I haven't found any information on which year was best or worse. I live in Michigan and need the traction control of course, but can you think of anything else I should be searching for? I appreciate your help in advance, Diane
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi Diane,
      I would definitely go for the 1999. The 1996 is an incremental improvement from the original LS400. The post 1998 models incorporate a 290 HP V-8 as well as a five speed automatic transmission. My experience with the '98 was quite good. I felt it was better looking and it performed much better than the 1995-97 model. The 1998 was the first year of production, so I'd be more inclined to go for the 1999. I had some issues with instrument cluster in my 98 that the dealer attributed to first year defects in production. It was nothing major, but the dash lights used to blink for no apparent reason.

     The options on those cars are fairly standard. Traction control is called VSC (Vehicle Skid Control), but the car really does require snow tires for winter driving. (Bridgestone Blizzacks are highly recommended) I've had 3 LS cars, and I haven't found the traction control particulary helpful. You have the option of getting Xeon Headlamps with a few other accesories, notably the Wood Steering Wheel. Other options include the Nakaminchi Stereo and on some rare models a Navigation System.

    Hope this helps,
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    If you are buying an LS400 buy the 98-2000 if you can. They are all great - so you can't go wrong - but the 1998-2000 were upgraded cars with more powerful engines. As well the Nakamichi stereos were excellent in case you find an LS with the Nak included.
  • I'm planning to purchase either 2000'400 or 2001'430. I've driven in both and must say that 430 is much better, more quiet and refined than 400. But the cost would be about $10K more! My wife actually likes the 400 exterior more. Anyone has any advise for me here???
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    You have to understand the pricing dynamics that occurred in 2000 and 2001. The MSRP barely changed between the LS400 and LS430 but the LS430 was red hot in 2001 and for the first 5 months of the model year the car sold at, and in some cases above sticker. On the other hand the LS400 in 2000 was heavily discounted because people were holding out for the LS430. So price will be different because of that as well as because the model year is newer. Next the LS430 has really held its value well - better than the old LS400's did over comparable periods.

    Are the two cars similarly equipped? Many of the 2000 and earlier LS400's lacked navigation systems whereas most of the 2001's came with them, even though it was optional.

    Bottom line - I'd take the 2001 LS430 without hesitation (it was a major re-design and easily a superior car to the LS400) and I'd feel a lot better about it if I knew it had a few optional goodies that the LS400 lacked. But you'll get a great car either way. The LS400 was a more timeless and classic style on the exterior but the LS430 interior is the best in class.
  • There is apparently another factory fix for this problem. I had the first fix last year, but with the warm weather coming back, I noticed the screech/groan and moan again. I got the second fix Friday. Next time my car is in the hot weather, I'll see if it moans again.
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    I went last night to look around and saw a 2004 LS430 in dark blue with a light gray interior... boy did that car look nice. I finally got an up-close look of the minor exterior tweeks and I feel they make a nice improvement. The revised front headlights and grill look much sleeker and sporty.

    I like the Fort Lauderdale show because even though it is small and has no major "intros" associated with it, it gives one the opportunity to calmly stroll and experience each car first-hand. After sitting in every lux car imaginable I feel the LS430 is still MY personal standard for the lushest interior in the world -- even when compared to more expensive sedans I sat in. Also, I don't know how Lexus does it, but my 6'4" 200++ lb body fits in that car with room to spare.

    Lexus knows how to handle a car show -- the LS was fully operational with even the a/c working.. all of the buttons, switches, and displays were ALIVE.. most other car makers had dead cars so that you could not even make seat adjustments when you sat in the vehicle!

    To all you LS owners, I think you have made a very wise purchase... and unless competitors come up with something special this year I just might be joining you owners come January.. it is dawning on me more and more each day that the LS IS the COMPLTETE package -- luxury, performance, reliability, and value. It has been a bit frustrating trying to find another car that comes close.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I'll answer your question over here.

    Leases will vary from region to region (wbwynn who's in NC and I found that out in 2001 when we were price shopping and comparing at the same time) even with the same financing bank. The residuals are probably tied to the real upfront payment by other adjustments in the lease. If you buy the car cheaper upfront you're likely to sell it cheaper after 3-4 years - hence a likelyhood for a lower residual. The deal you got on discount off msrp is probably not doable in NJ at this point in a model year (or if it is - it will be 1 in 100 who gets it and it will probably be due to extenuating circumstances of some kind) where the dealerships are more spread out and competition is minor at best. I don't want to drive 70 miles round trip when I have a guy 10 miles away and he's opening a satellite dealership 5 miles away. California and southern Fla seem to have dealerships in closer proximity so the deals are better there.

    As for leases - there are always 4 factors that drive the payment. The depreciation factor, the rental payment, the money factor and the residual. You can tug on anyone of them to adjust the overall payment. I look for consistency with prior leases to see what games are being played. In the deal I just took the taxes in the lease were driving me crazy until I remembered there was still a luxury tax in place in 2001. I also look for factors of MSRP to see what the real deal is but you need to strip out the sales tax portion. So maybe a better universal way of checking a lease deal is your total lease payment (adjusted to remove sales tax) plus any downpayment on the car (driveaway cost less security, first month payment, bank and MV fees) plus your residual. Add those up and see what is relationship to MSRP. In my case its about 109%. Bottom line is that driving a hard bargain on a lease is not the same as driving a hard bargain on an outright purchase. It helps but if it reduces the residual by a similar amount you are simply going to pay more for the depreciation in the lease than the guy who didn't bargain hard. The real lease payment is tied to the depreciation. A gross capital cost of say 65k and a residual of 35k is hardly different than a gross cost of 63k and a $33k residual.

    Lastly - I checked fleetrates and they were offering custom luxes at $4100 off but it would cost a grand to ship it here which made my deal nearly equal to that and a lot more convenient.

    gteach26 - as far as I'm concerned its the best sedan on the planet under $100k and its probably better than some over $100k. Lexus hits the luxury mark about as perfectly as you can hit it.
  • hage57hage57 Posts: 24
    Thank you for your reply. Is it fair to say that because I got a good deal on the outright purchase, that, in this case I am only giving it back in the low residual & if this is the case, am I better off buying it outright or leasing from another source? I did forget to mention that this is a single pay lease (that may effect the low money cost). I live in the midwest, and I am 120 miles from the nearest dealer, there are only two that I would deal with, both about the same distance.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    Let me say that the lease deals and outright purchases are relative to where you live - so comparing it to a deal in California, Florida or the east coast is really not important. You want to match or beat the deals others in your neck of the woods are getting. Check Edmunds TMV for your zip code to see how you did there. Chances are that a three year old LS430 will sell cheaper in the same location where it sold cheaper when new. So my higher residual is indicative that the car will resell higher here than by you.

    As for lease vs. buy - I'll give you the quick back of the envelope way I do it - usually to ensure I'm getting a fair lease deal. There are better ways - with present value calculators but this will be accurate enough. Lets say your ultra is $71k MSRP and you're getting it for $66k. I'll assume a 6% sales tax so total upfront cost is $69,960. After three years, assuming you could have gotten 4% on your money than the real out of pocket buy cost is $78,695 ($69,960 + $8,735 that you lost in interest as compounded annually). Now let's go to a 36 month lease deal. Lets say it's $1,075 per month and a 50% residual with a $600 lease acquisition fee. So your out pocket is $675 ($600 compounded annually at 4% for 3 years) + $38,700 for the lease + $2,416 in lost interest on your lease payments (take half of the $38,700 or $19,350 and calculate interest at 4% compounded annually) + $35,500 as a buyout + $2,130 (6% tax on buyout). So from a lease perspective - in this example - your lease and buy at lease end is a total cost of $675 + $38,700 + $2,416 + $35,500 + $2,130 or $79,421 vs $78,695. In this example a pretty close call. Substitute your figures and see how it works.

    By the way - residuals are always tied to MSRP not your purchase price. So is your 50% figure on the MSRP or on your price after the $5k discount? If it's the latter than it is even lower than 50%.
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    One of my local S. Fla dealers currently has 91 -- yes 91 2004 LS430's in stock -- all colors, most options available RIGHT NOW. Also, you are right, there are 5 dealerships within 100 miles of each other down here -- 7 if you venture out a little bit further west to the Naples/Ft. Myers (still only a couple hours drive though). I LOVE IT!!!!!!

    Downside-- some days it seems that EVERYBODY is driving a lexus down here.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    When I was on Long Boat Key I started to wonder if Lexus, MB and Jaguar were the only companies permitted to sell luxury cars over there. I also remember a big Lexus dealership on - is it Samson road - as you head west toward Coral Springs from I95. I used to be there once a month in the late 90's. That whole area was loaded with Lexus cars.

    91 LS430's huh? No such luck here. They are just about all pre-sold through late April here and Ray Catena is a big volume dealer. They have to locate my car but have no doubt they will given their size. It was the same in 2001.
  • Has anyone in this forum installed a mud/splash guard on his/her LS430? Are there any available? My Lexus dealer does not offer it. Is there any aftermarket ones out there?
  • hage57hage57 Posts: 24
    Thank you for the fine analysis, it was very helpful,---and the 50% residual is on the MSRP.
  • ftherafthera Posts: 3
    My 03 LS430 with the factory 17" all seasons was not a good experience the first winter. This year I purchased a take off set of 16" Lexus rims on ebay and added a set of Nokian WR's. I went down one tire size to 215-65R-16. These have the same overall diameter as my 17" so no problems with things like speedometer error etc.

    They are a HUGE improvement over the factory All Seasons. It now goes as good in the snow as any FWD I have owned and handles great (the pucker factor is GONE). The WR's are also VERY GOOD on dry and wet pavement. In fact they seem to offer a better overall driving experience than the Factory tires. I do notice a slight increase in tire noise, but not enough to bother me.

    I do believe that a large part of the traction improvement has to do with going down in size to the narrower 16" tire. The 17" are just to wide a profile for good snow traction.

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