"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"
"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."
"I have had my Lexus LS400 for over 5 years and I can't begin to tell you what a great car this is! It is by far the nicest car you will see or drive for its age. Very little has been done to it. You will not regret getting this car if you can find one! I have toyed around with getting a newer car and every one I have driven doesn't compare to my Lexus...I plan on keeping mine for quite some time."
"Lexus first introduced this car in 1989, releasing it as the 1990 Lexus LS400. 8% of it's sales that year were from BMW and Mercedes buying them, trying to figure out how Lexus did it. It is indeed a great car. I don't care about gas mileage really, but I can get 24/25mpg on the highway, with a V8! The engine is completely silent. Not as powerful as other cars I own, but still an excellent engine nonetheless. The styling is somewhat timeless, as it still looks great today parked next to my other modern-day cars. I use mine as a daily driver, and while I don't get on the gas that much in this car, it still does a great job for 260hp in a 4000lbs car. The 0-60 is around 7 to 7.5 sec. The car is extremely technologically advanced for the time period it was produced, as many luxury cars (cough cough BMW) are just catching on to a few of the gadgets that are available in this 15-year-old vehicle.
I paid $3500 for my LS400, in great condition. Sure, gas was $4.50/gal at the time, so the V8 didn't help it's resale value, but I got a great deal on it. I believe this car sells for that range now. If you have the money and are interested, ignore the 7-Series, S-Class, and Legend... get the LS400- you won't be disappointed."
"The first generation of Lexus LS 400'S, particularly 1993 & 1994, are one of the greatest automobiles ever built. If you can find one with reletively low mileage grab it. Extremely reliable, luxurious and quiet ride, like riding in a very quiet Jet."
Pros: "Very safe, Very reliable and a great value"
Cons: "the styling of the car could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car for 17 years. I put a lot of miles on all of my cars but I keep them clean and well maintained. This car is undoubtedly the best car I've owned. It runs well and I've done very little in terms of maintenance beyond the normal preventive maintenance. When I bought the car it was the quietest car I had ever been in. Over the years I hear more creeks and interior noises but when I test drive other cars looking to replace my LS very few of them are as quiet. Now I'm curious how long it will go. I'm going to try for 500K miles. Great vehicle."
"I'm a senior in high school. I owned this car for two years. The most reliable car ever. The best starter car. I couldn't have ask for a better car. It had 266000 miles on it and it still drove like a car straight out of the dealer. Very comfortable and also looks great with a few add-ons."
"My husband and I bought this car 5 years ago and it has been amazing. We have taken it across country 5 times and it has 280,000 miles on it and is still running great the only problem we have had has been a power steering fluid leak that didn't cost much to fix. I love it because I have two children and I feel safe driving them it. I will always own a lexus because of how much my family has been able to rely on it."
"I bought my 1992 Lexus LS 400 in 1995. Since then, I have had the best driving experience with the performance of this car that I've ever had. It now has 193,000 miles on it but still drives and rides great. After 14 years, I still love this car. I travel and drive nice new rental cars with the latest stuff but I can't see anything that would make me want to replace this 17 year old Lexus. I recently had my Lexus vinyl wrapped and now it looks brand new. I'm keeping it!"
"I bought this car used for my son and took it to a mechanic. The mechanic was totally impressed since this car is a 1991, it has no leaks of any kind anywhere. It is in excellent condition all over. It drives and rides like a dream. It's appearance and style are all of that and more of a luxury car. We are totally happy with the car. Don't let the year model fool you of an awesome car to drive and ride in."
"This car is one of the best cars that I have ever driven. It has over 300k km on it and still drives like a new vehicle. This car has technology in it that new cars are just coming out with today. It has great pick up and has good fuel consumption. This is one great car!!!!!
Only problems that have ever arose were a small exhaust leak and a little lifter knocking. Not bad for the km's on it though."
"I've owned my car for over 4 years. I bought it with 130,000 miles and I was unsure how long it would last. It now has 261,000 and it still purrs like a kitten. I wouldn't be surprised if this vehicle went another 100,000. Hands down it's been the best vehicle I've ever owned. I will only buy Lexus from here on."
"305,000 miles and still drives and behaves better than most cars with one third the mileage. Do not get me wrong. There isn't any car out there that can go this long without some maintenance and repairs along the way. However, with some TLC, most 1st gen LS400 can go as long as mine. The interior does not look dated or weird even 22 years after it first was driven off the dealer lot. A coworker of mine just bought a new 2013 Challenger and was gloating about its features like traction control, anti-lock brakes, heated seats, etc. I told him my car has that too.......since 1991! If you know how to spin wrenches and can find one of these, snag it ASAP! For about $1800 you can get luxury in a very beautiful package too! I cannot see myself buying another make or model ever again!"
"I have had this car for 7 years now an couldn't ask for a more well put together vehicle. This car will probably be around for another 100,000 miles at least. The ride is so smooth it is hard to drive anything else without feeling like you are riding in a dump truck."
"I absolutely adore this car. I have owned 5 Cadillacs and they don't even come close to this car. When you start this car yoou cannot hear or feel it inside until you step on the gas. My current plan is to drive it until I die. Best ever....!!!"
"It is what it is....the best car i have ever owned/driven.. i bought this 94 with 108,000 miles on it i now have 160,000 i have changed the oil and tires that is it..... car is 15 yrs old and looks better and runs better than 80% of the new cars on the road today..and the chix dig it too.....throw some 20s on it and look out"