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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    You had me worried about you again. You've got to check in once a week. I'm in car 2+ months longer than you and the experience keeps getting better - so no excuses - you've been forwarned. By the way I love the cars look now. But here's a gripe and I promise this one is better than the window fogging one. When you adjust your memory controls from one setting to another - say after your wife drove the car - and the mirrors have automatically folded in (from the previous time the engine was shutdown)they don't fold back out when you hit the memory setting for yourself and the mirror makes twisting sounds. I find myself reaching in turning the key on without starting up the car (so the mirrors unfold -- usually this is in my garage)
    and then hitting the new memory setting for myself. Maybe I missed the way around this in the book. You could simply keep the mirrors from folding in but I like having them do that particularly for those times when I park outside. Anyone find a way around this or can enlighten me on what I'm doing wrong?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    who pray tell suggested THAT?

    On the other hand I have encountered quite a few lexus owners who have learned from personal experience that the easiest way to keep the windshield and windows from fogging over is to lower the rear windows.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    wwest - I thought I picked it up somewhere in all those posts.

    flint350 - I missed that terrorist comment - thanks for noting it. It's hysterical and made me think of the Seinfeld episode with the neo-nazi's in the limousine. You know that it's desperation time when you have to go to those limits to discuss a car's handling. By the way in such a case I'd rather have the reliable car anyway. Second choice - a Ferrari but it would probably break down and the terrorist wouldn't want to get stuck with the repair bills. Did he happen to say what the terrorist was driving?? To you of course its all irrelevant - you would just fly a plane and skip right over the terrorists like in the ending of Casablanca -- "round up the usual suspects". Thanks for the laugh on that one!
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    "things that I don't understand BUG the hell out of me"

    The older I get, the less I realize I know and the more I accept my limitations. If everything I don't understand bugged me I'd be one cranky guy! I hope you're not totally serious about what you said.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You know that old saying "its amazing how really smart parents become after their kids reach 40"?

    Both our kids are rapidly approaching that point.

    No, I guess I need to correct myself slightly, many things do bug me, but at my age I don't let very many of them really BUG me. The other thing is.... I am amazed at how quickly one can locate answers on the internet!
  • stevesteinstevestein Posts: 263
    Here's my "bugs me" question on the LS.
    I have the ML option. I originally discovered that copies of audio CDs wouldn't play. After much discussion on this board (several messages in the 860's) we determined that the CD player will accept CDs copied onto gold colored CD-R media, but not blue. I've never had a problem with any home, auto or computer CD reader accepting one type of blank but not another. I know that two different frequency lasers are used to read original CDs and recorded CDs, but I'm not aware of any further distinction between CD-R's.
    Anyone have an answer?
  • Hi-

    We are considering purchase of a 1996 LS400 (65K miles) from my in-laws. How is reliablity on his car? Is there anything in particular to look out for? They are offering to sell it to us for $21K.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Many home audio CD players can't play blue CDs either. Computer CD-ROM drives though are generally more tolerant.
  • romanarcromanarc Posts: 2
    How are the new LS430's holding up so far? How is the reliability, quality, rattles, squeaks, etc.?

    I have a 1999 LS400 that I absolutely love. I'm not looking to get a 2001 LS430, but I may be looking to replace my 1999 LS400 with a 2002 or possibly 2003. After over 2 years of ownership, I have had absolutely no problems, it hasn't been back to the dealership once other than for routine maintanance.

    I had the chance to test drive a 2001 LS430 recently at my Lexus dealer. I was very impressed with it(except for the styling). I drove a LS430 equipped with 16" tires and it definately rides & handles better and the steering is much better also. Features I'm truly impressed with. Even though they didn't have one with the Ultra Luxury package that i could drive, I did get to sit in one that was sold, the Mark Levinson stereo is beyond awesome! And the Active Cruise seems like it would be nice to have.

    Only thing I didn't like was the exterior styling. I definately like the way the 7-series, the S-class and my current LS400's looks better. But the looks of the LS430 would not make me not buy one. The interior is overall more important, the Ls430 has the best interior compared to the S-class and 7-series. The current S-class probably has the worst interior of any car north of the $60,000 price plateau.
  • barry5barry5 Posts: 49
    I spoke with Lexus today and indeed they are building the Custom Luxury Model. It will have the Nav/Lev, Laser Cruise Control, Adaptive suspension, Laminated side window, Parking assist.
    Price is $8,820 over Base Price.
    Build time 4-6 Months.

    They are re designing the Voice Activated Phone and the LS430 is already prewired for its use.

    I visited the NY Car Show and the level of staff that Lexus had was informationally poor and they were coupled with very aloof dealer representatives. This was not a first class experience.. think Kia rather then Lexus. The only other cars that created a buzz was the new Infinity Q45 and the new Jaguar X. series.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi - I am PR Director for and often am approached by journalists looking to talk with consumers for various automotive stories. Currently, I'm helping a major newspaper find consumers who are experiencing "gadget backlash." Did you buy a vehicle filled with exciting techno-gadgets, and wish you didn't? Have you given up trying to play a CD, set the ambient temperature or use the navigation system because the controls are just too complicated? Did you drive off the lot in your new vehicle without getting a full explanation of all the toys, figuring "how hard could it be?" and are now realizing it's more confusing than you could have imagined? What experiences have you had with the Mercedes joystick and the Volvo radio, both of which feature a lot of functionality but seem less intuitive than traditional controls?
    This story will touch on the following trends:

    -the gadgets in high-end vehicles from the Lexus LS 430 and Volvo S80 to Porsches and beyond

    -drivers in their 40s-60s buying sports cars

    -driver distraction

    If you have anything to add, we'd love to hear from you. Please submit your experience to Talk to the Press and/or to, including your current vehicle, daytime phone number and city and state of residence. (Your identity will be protected at your request.)

    Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity to share your story!


    Jeannine Fallon

    Director of Public Relations
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    First, I think you can reasonably expect continued wonderful reliability. I am not aware of any reports of problems thru these boards at least and not in my own car either. (The phone was/is a design problem that is supposedly being worked on though). The only reliability issue I can remotely suggest is that the car is a 90% remake - that COULD lead to some new problems from the old version, but I seriously doubt it.
    As for styling and features: to each his own on styling (I like mine) and its priority in the purchase decision. The features are, without doubt or question, outstanding and represent a very good value when compared to similar products (such as MBenz S Class and Bimmer 7's). The decision you most likely face is Ultra vs. Custom versions. Ultra adds a bunch of back seat stuff that you might not want/need or appreciate (such as massaging seats, cooler box (a personal disappointment), memory and reclining seats and rear a/c and air purifier. Custom may take longer to get, but is about $4K cheaper. I got my Ultra bcz I was early on the wait list and didn't want to wait any longer. NOt bcz of the rear seat stuff. But, I love it all and have actually used the rear seat stuff now and then. Overall, (sorry for the length), I am ecstatic with my purchase (though I paid list price) and can only highly recommend the car. It would be difficult to make a mistake, unless the styling really bothers you. My two cents.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    barry5: Are you saying that when they get the phone situation fixed we will be able to retrofit the system into our cars?

    atomchaser: Can't comment on the price, but the car is spectacular and will be a joy to drive. Very few common problems, but you might ask if the LCD display has already been replaced (they bleed over time and run ~$500), and whether there have been any problems with the a/c system (compressors etc.; very expensive)

    PR Director: I tested the LS430 w/all the bells and whistles, and ended up buying essentially a base car (with the ML) precisely because the addition of the nav system meant that everything was run through the touch screen. While I understand the Lexus version to be far superior to the MB COMAND, the plain fact is that using a touch screen necessarily means a decrease in ergonomic functionality and, to my mind, safety (I can feel for a button, but have to look at the screen). I understand that in some cars (Volvo?) the nav system is entirely independent of the HVAC, stereo and other electronic features; had that been true with the Lexus, I would probably have bought the nav.

    romanarc: I too think the 7 is a better looking car from the outside, but the interior is MUCH les comfortable, the ride is MUCH less comfortable and noisier, and the functionality and reliability are not really in the same class. Also, I think a number of us on this board are starting to appreciate the exterior looks of the LS more and more; it grows on you. Bottom line, though, is that I sold my 90 LS with 125k miles, and the thing was nearly bullet-proof. The LS, in my estimation, is the safest, most reliable, most comfortable, most thoughtfully designed, most reasonably priced car in this class by a wide margin. After some reflection, I realized that if I bought the 7, it would have been so that others could admire the looks of the car I was driving; seemed a pretty silly reason to pay that kind of premium.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I had the 98 LS400 and also loved it and thought it was a great car and wondered how it could possibly be improved upon also. But the new LS430 blows that car away. Much tighter suspension and better road feel but with an improved ride - seemingly an impossible task to me - but they achieved it. As for the looks nealm1 is right on -at some point the looks grab you and don't let go. Initially I thought the S was a better looking car but I've changed my mind. That car is looking more and more like a Taurus to me - though of course more elegant abd stylish - but look at the shapes closely. They resemble each other. The S interior is disappointing for a car that is so expensive and the interior is important to me because that's where you live. The LS430's interior can't be beat and only the Audi A-8 is reasonably close as far as I'm concerned. BMW - lots of problems. Friends of mine can't wait to get rid of theirs (these are 7 series owners) because of the high maintenance and many breakdowns though they also say it is a wonderful driving experience when it works. In NJ you can pick up a $68k 740 at a lease price that is not much more than a $61k LS430 (I mean a few bucks $10-20 a month if that)these days. They must be discounting heavily in advance of the new model. I've long tired of the 7's style as it looks like a box to me.

    I never had a problem with either a 95 or the 98 LS400 and have gotten used to a perfect reliability record. I'm sure a change to the German cars will likely result in a significant drop in that category for you. Good luck whatever you do.

    Nealm1 - With the audio controls on the steering wheel I almost never use the touch screen features. In fact I forget it is there. Even if you want to jump to a new cd you just hold the selection button on the steering wheel down for a longer time than you would if you wanted the next selection in the current cd.

    Mirrors - anyone have any solution to my earlier post. This is really my only gripe about the car and I realize its a minor one.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Have you folks had a chance to drop by your Lexus LS Owners Club yet? What do you think?

    You can subscribe to the whole folder if you'd like so that you don't miss anything. Also, there will always be a link to that folder at the top of this page.

    Check it out and let Karen know what you'd like to see there.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    Do you find yourself changing stations and titles inadvertently? I seem to nick the controls making a turn at least a couple of times a week. Suppose that after a while I will get used to it or train myself not to do it, but it seems to me that -- given how well thought out everything else is in the car (have you noticed the little fabric bits between the seats and the console to keep change and french fries from being lost under the seat?) -- Lexus would have figured out how to avoid this problem. But I suppose the niggling nature of the complaint simply underscores how spectacular the car really is. Was having so much fun w/the sunroof open and the ML cranked the other day I was a little late getting home. And from the volume of the music, I am sure my neighbors clearly think I have entered my second adolesence.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Yes I do sometimes nick the selection button and all of a sudden I'm on a different station. No problem when it comes to music as you just switch right back - but at first it was always happening to me in the middle of a traffic report when they were about to report what I most wanted to hear. My reaction was like someone in adolescence. But it hasn't happened to me now in a long time so I guess I trained myself. The ML radio is awesome. I thought the Nakamichi was the best I ever heard but the ML is better. I wonder how good that 300 watt Bose is on the new Q? But this car is awesome and the Ml sound of CD's is as good as my home theatre system - maybe better. Great to live in this cars interior. Drive it well.
  • romanarcromanarc Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info flint350, nealm1, ljflx,

    Yeah, I really do find my 1999 LS400 quite fantastic. I owned a Mercedes 420SEL before(87' model), and this the LS400 is much better for less money. My 420SEL cost $60,000 back then, I got my LS400 for alot less. I also like the new LS430 alot, the differences between my 99 and the 2001 are noticeable, everything from higher feature content, more room, to improved ride & handling is immediately noticeable.

    BTW, saw a silver Lexus SC430 today parked in a parking lot near my office complex. There were about 5 or 6 people just gathered around it looking at it. on my way back from lunch I drove around the SC430. I like what Lexus has done with the SC430. Looks really sharp from every angle.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    I find the touch screen much better than standard controls. i don't take my eye off the road, and the ergonomics make MB look downright archaic. This was my first touch screen, but they organize it so that frequent things go so well, you don't need the screen to adjust the temp. the MB command is so poor you need a passenger to do it. not my opinion, my friends that has a ML55 with command. everything is so intuitive. it's the best on the planet.
  • dave203dave203 Posts: 13
    I currently own a '94LS400 and must fess up that I have been shopping around for a 2 year old 740i. I think more and more that I would be making a mistake. The LS400 has never given me one single problem, not the slightest glitch or problem of any sort. I have been lusting after the 740i for all the wrong reasons. The 740 is indeed a beautiful, stylish, beast of a car, but I do hear nightmare stories about 740i dashboards lit up like Christmas Trees - "check engine", "check brakes", "check coolant", starter motor failure, and so on...with visits to the dealer costing 2 or 3 thousand bucks. These cars are electrical nightmares and it is just too bad, because if BMW could just make a 740i with the reliability of a Lexus, I would make the switch.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi from's PR Department.

    A journalist from one of the country's largest newspapers has asked us for help finding consumers who recently purchased a Lexus L430, Mercedes C class or BMW 3 series after considering a more expensive vehicle, or anyone who recently considered purchasing a luxury vehicle, but decided not to because of the economy.

    If you fit this description and care to share your story, please respond to and/or with your e-mail, phone number, city and state of residence, and a brief description of your experience. The journalist promises to keep you identity hidden at your request.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Jeannine Fallon

    Director of Public Relations

    PLEASE NOTE: Respond by clicking on the email addresses above. Responses posted here will NOT be seen by the folks who want to hear from you. Thanks!

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    nealm1 - I assume you got that 90 LS400 for under $40k. 10 years - just normal maintenance and 125k miles -- what a deal.

    dave203 - I'm sure I can get one of my buddies to sell you their 740's. They are just about 2 years old. Actually one guy has a 30 month lease and is probably going to the LS430 around Sept. He's hoping they come out with a v-12. The other guy owns his and is afraid its going to get badly de-valued when the new model (which looks like a beauty to me) comes out. Both guys love the cars but the reliability has been pitiful. Be careful.
  • stevesteinstevestein Posts: 263
    Post 984 tries to put the LS in the same category as the MB C or BMW 3? Then says these are not luxury cars? Someone really has their head stuck on backwards. I would hope that a journalist writing an article on luxury automobiles would know enough about his subject not to make that gross an error. And then Edmunds doesn't know enough to correct him and puts this post on the board. Doesn't make the company look too good.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    It doesn't say that any of those vehicles are or are not luxury cars at all. Nor does it put anything in the same category as anything else, in my opinion.

    The way I read it is that the reporter has some specific issues in mind to write about and is just looking for folks who can speak to what he or she is looking for.

    Those are just my thoughts - feel free to give your feedback to's PR director, Jeannine Fallon, at

    I'm just the messenger! :-)

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • rollomanrolloman Posts: 64
    It says....."anyone who recently considered purchasing a luxury vehicle, but decided not to because of the economy"

    Sounds like Jeannine needs to test drive an LS430 to see for herself...and it is "LS" 430, Jeannine...not "L". I would be very careful responding to a newspaper journalist (Chicago Tribune?) that might possibly put the LS in the same class as the C and 3 series. Someone needs to do some research.

    Just keeping you on your toes and defending the best auto on the planet.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Either the reporter meant the entry level Lexus, I assume an ES300 or the reporter is lost in space. The Benz and BMW models cars are not comparable in price, size, engine displacement, features or quality to an LS430. It's an insult to the Lexus and an embarassment to the other two models. There are only four cars in the LS430 competitive space that fit such a request (per your own luxury board that seems to have died since we Lexus guys left) and all of us on this board who can afford any of the four have concluded that they are inferior.

    I'm surprised you let this one get by you.
  • morpheismorpheis Posts: 1
    Hi folks:

    I bought a Black/Black Nav/Lev 430 in February after I couldn't find the same in an Ultra. (I don't understand Lexus' lack of flexibility.) Anyway, one of the features I most wanted was the integrated Nav/Lexus Link/integrated phone option.

    At the time I took delivery, my dealer informed me that the Sprint PCS phone was discontinued because of problems and that a re-tool was in the immediate future. I continue to check with my dealer (Lexus of Sacramento). Unfortunately, they have no information on an upgrade or solution for existing owners.

    This puzzles and frustrates me about an otherwise perfect car. Yesterday, I was riding in my business partners' new Mercedes AMG 55 and his integrated navigation/phone system seemed to work just fine. I just read the new Infiniti Q45 review that said their system worked fine. All of these systems are based on GM's OnStar platform, so what gives? The Lexus website is useless and gives no information updates of any detail.

    Does anyone know what options are available or on the horizon for existing owner? One of the major conveniences I was looking forward to with the car was hands free phone use.

  • dmattgamdmattgam Posts: 15

    The brochure from Lexus advertises that the Navigation/Mark Levinson package includes 11-speakers and 240W of power. I went to several Lexus dealers and noticed that the sticker on the car says that the Mark Levinson includes 7 speakers. It does not say anything about 240W or power ? Does anyone know what's the story with this Mark Levinson stereo ? THanks.

  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    After all, I hear it is already having major problems. Recall in Japan, hood problems, ergonomics,etc. Maybe when they went looking for all that Lexus-beating horsepower, they forgot the quality. Oops, there I go, using the "quality" word- that always seems to upset the competition. And I agree with ljflx, the hosts/Edmunds should have much more carefully reviewed the "major newspaper" request for value and relevance before forwarding it as it is. I, for one, would have no interest in participating in what appears to be pre-biased and inaccurate.
    On the other hand, I just enjoy finding new little things in my LS that I never knew about before. It still happens after nearly 3 months with the car. I won't admit just how long it was before I found the little sun shade above the rear view mirror, or that the pax seat has lumbar adjust. And nearly every day the Nav system shows me something new. But, I must admit, that damn phone issue is a sore spot for me too. It is mind boggling to think they screwed it up so badly in the first place and then, can't seem to solve it or keep us informed as to any progress.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I appreciate your comments, but if you want them to be heard, please do as I suggested here: pat Apr 21, 2001 7:01am and email Edmunds PR director.

    I was asked to relay a message and I did so. I thought she meant "LS 430" but perhaps she did not. I don't necessarily disagree with what you are saying, you are just saying them to the wrong person in the wrong place. :-)


    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
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