"As the owner and operator of an independent Import repair shop I've seen and worked on a wide variety of vehicles. The generation 1 LS400 is IMHO the finest car ever made! The series II (1993 and 1994) are even better than the 90 t0 92 as 50+ improvements were made. (larger brakes being the most notable.) The engine is absolutely exquisite. Forged crankshaft and pistons in this all aluminum block 32 valve yield a silky smoothness that is unbelievable. At 4.0 L it is a rather smallish V8, however power is adequate and fuel economy is excellent (23-25mpg Hwy) Engine turns a lazy 2,000 RPM at 65MPH. All this translates to an engine that is routinely capable of lasting 500,000 miles.
Fit and finish is superb. This all steel welded body is not only ultra safe in an accident but also provides the QUIETEST ride of any car in the world. The doors close lake a bank vault.
One cannot go wrong with this car. If you can find one ...buy. Don't be afraid of paying a premium for an ultra nice one as it will last forever. Pay attention to timing belt service prior to purchase as it is pretty pricey to replace the required parts. ( T belt, T belt tension and idler pulleys, T belt tensioner, cam seals, crank seal and waterpump)
Now the bad:
(1) instrument cluster malfunction ( about $250.00 for a forever fix)
(2) Climate control display malfunction ( about a $200.00 forever fix)
(3) although very reliable, the air suspension repairs can be pricey ( buy one with standard suspension)"
"Lets just do a walk into the history of this car. My mom first bought this car in 1991 and drove it everyday on the highway to get to work or to go out. After 250000 miles in 2000, it was turned over to my older sister and she used it from 2000 to 2005 just about everyday and did not take care of it, but it still worked just fine. Then in 2005 at 320000 miles it was turned over to me and I had to fix small things, but nothing major. Drove it to un'till 2007 and at about 360000 I was in an auto accident were a guy ran a red light and totaled both cars(his was a lifted up truck). But here is the kicker, not only did the airbag work, but the car saved my life because the car has a steel-frame and stopped the guy's truck from pushing the engine futher into the windshield. How. Because his tires bounced off the steel-frame, causing the whole truck to bounce backward. Hows that for a car?"
"I purchased this vehicle in late '89 with every option for just over $40K, and it was the first Lexus sold by Superior Lexus. I still own it and it has never required any significant repair. Clearly over-engineered and built like a tank. The rotors have been replaced several times, the power steering hose started leaking and it was $400 in '07, and the plastic rear door handle broke when someone (kids) pulled too hard on it when the car was frozen shut. But, with >20 years of use and normal maintenance, nothing significant has had to be replaced/ repaired, not even the exhaust system, and it still runs and looks great. No rust. And, for a 4L V8, I still get over 20 mpg with plenty of power and a super smooth transmission. I've known many others that have owned this LS400 model and have never heard of any problems. I've had 3 teenage daughters drive it through their high school years also, and it has survived their rough driving styles. This has to be the pinnacle of reliability and value. The few things that could have been better designed include the LCD temperature control display that has started to cloud, and the brakes could be larger/ improved for the weight/ size of the car. I may finally have to pay for front end work on the suspension (maybe just bushings?) since I've developed a bit of a rattle there. But hey, what other vehicle could run/ keep this well for so long? I'm confident there's no other vehicle with a better track record. Question is, how much longer will my wife let me keep it? It might outlast her! :-)"
"i WRECKED MY HONDA ACCORD, AND I WAS TIRED OF RIDING IN SMALL CARS. DID MY RESEARCH AND CAME ACROSS THE LEXUS 400 AS BEING VERY RELIABLE. I BROUGHT ONE IN FEB FROM A PRIVATE OWNER . VEHICLE WAS SUPER CLEAN WITH 107,000 MILES. FROM DAY 1 I HAVE BEEN IMPRESSED, SMOOTH QUIET AND POWERFUL. I WAS SHOCKED BY THE GAS MILEAGE. IT HAS A 22.5 GALLON TANK, STAY OFF THE GAS AND DRIVE IN THE NORMAL MODE AND YOU CAN GET OVER 510 MILES ON A TANK. I HAVE OWNED ALOT OF VEHICLES, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST. MY WIFE HAS AN 01 MERC. E320. SHE HAS CONCEEDED THAT THE 94 LEXUS IS JUST BETTER. PLUS THE BENZ STAYS IN THE SHOP. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR IF YOU NEED A STRONG 2ND DEPENABLE CAR GET A LEXUS LS 400. HAVE IT SERVICED AT A TOYOTA DEALERSHIP AND SAVE MONEY OR GO TO A LEXUS DEALER AND PAY MORE ,BUT GET TREATED LIKE ROYALTY. EUROPEAN CARS ARE JUST NOT AS DEPENDABLE AS LEXUS"
"This has been by far the most reliable car I've ever owned. Very easy to work on if you do have any issues.. Lexus did such a great job on designing this vehicle inside and out.
Ride is very comfortable. The v8 1uz-fe and transmission are are a great match, seamless and a blast."
Cons: "NONE, 400O + POUNDS, V8 AND 25 MPG OR MORE HY-WAY."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I AM LOOKING FOR MORE OF THEM. THIS THING IS A TANK AND THE LOCAL LEXUS DEALERSHIP TECHNICIANS SAY BUY ONE IF YOU CAN FIND ONE. IT IS THE BEST LS400 EVER BUILT, 1994. BUY THE WAY I AM A FORD SERVICE MANAGER ..........."
"I bought my 1990 Lexus LS400 in 1995 with 48,000 miles on it. This car has been fantastic. Regular maintenance keeps this car running forever. I've also changed the front end bushings, idle control module, brakes and rotors, and tune ups. Oh, I almost forgot 3 timing belts and 1 water pump. It has 431,000 miles on it and is still running great. I highly reccommend this car."
"the Lexus offers a very smooth ride in the city and over the road. The maintenance was affordable and as long as this car is maintained (oil change, brakes, rotors, and tires), it will never let you down. It was worth every penny I spent on it. The only major problem that I had was the power steering had a leek and had to be replaced and the labor was more than the parts. I would definitely get another Lexus!"
"I purchased the original model year LS400 in 1990. I loved it then. Love it now. Only when someone talking on a cell phone failed to look up and see traffic was stopped did I make a change. My beautiful, mint condition 1990 was in pieces and I was relatively unhurt. (The CHP said they had never seen a fatality in a Lexus)
I searched and searched for a 1990 but couldn't find one and settle for 1993. My new baby is every bit as comfortable but even with low mileage (122k) she is starting to have problems. The sun roof leaks, I need a major repair to a part of the exhaust system which is right behind the firewall and takes massive amounts of labor, the stereo has gone out, it has the classic early LS400 electrical problem that causes loss of lighting in the dash.... an I still want to keep her! It's hard to drop more money in to a car than the car is worth but I live in a downtown area and don't drive that much so until she just gives out, I'm keeping her - and mostly happily tucked away in my small garage where that beautiful, long stretched line that I will always love fits by one inch!
FWIW - anyone who has back pain problems needs this car. The driver's seat is the only place I can sit without pain. I have always said it's like driving a barcalounger that will be over 120mph quickly of you don't pay attention.
FYI - Nakamishi sound system was well worth the price!"
"I have a 1990 LS400 with 260,000 miles on it. I replaced the timing belt, water pump, thermostat, o-rings. Basically done the full timing belt service at the dealer. Trust me this car is worth every penny. This was the only investment I made on the car and do not have any other expense on this car. You never need to worry about anything. Having the car for 1 year and just changed oil and the car drives like a dream. Its the most reliable vehicle and will never leave you stranded. Moreover, this engine is a non-interference engine meaning when the timing belt breaks, there will not be any harm to the engine. The best engine design compared to other cars in the world. Also I am a daily commuter and get 400+ miles on a 20gallon (mixed downtown and freeway driving). I would keep the car forever and don't even consider any car other than a LS400. This cars lifespan if 500,000miles and I would keep it till it dis-mantles. Its the most value for money vehicle. You can also use it as a sports sedan. It gives good pickup when you can turn on the performance mode for this vehicle. Best car for all times and very economical for the pocket."