: LS430 - Out of Rehab



c5 rv
03-27-10, 11:35 PM
I decided to buy an 05 or 06 Lexus LS430 for my next daily driver. (It is the best sedan I've ever used to transfer my wife from her wheelchair.) My target vehicle was a custom luxury level (all the goodies except back seat upgrades and air suspension), about 30K miles, in gray (flint mica) or silver with a black interior. My budget targets, without taxes and plates, were $35K for a CPO car, $33K for a non-CPO car.

I found an 05 with everything I wanted at a BMW dealer in Bellevue, WA in late January, had it inspected, bought it, shipped it, had the 30K service done at a local Lexus dealer, and had a bunch of scrapes and dings fixed at a local body shop. (The Lexus service manager asked if the previous owner didn't know how to park.) I paid $25.5K for the car and with all the above additions, it totaled a bit over $31K before taxes and plates.

The car came home from rehab yesterday. It drives great - plenty of power, very smooth on the road, and very comfortable interior. Here is the car all done and some samples of before and after body work.

mharker
03-27-10, 11:38 PM
Nice machine. Drive it proud man!

ted tcb
03-28-10, 09:08 AM
Very nice, reminds me of my 04 Blue Onxy Pearl/Ecru Custom Lux.

I loved all the little touches, silly things that show the LS designers knew their stuff.
For example, that ultrasoft leather on the inside of the door grips, they just feel sensuous to the touch.
Or,the felt wings that extend on the side of the driver's seat to the console, so you don't lose things down that side.
I also enjoyed the suede headliner, double laminated glass, and door closers.
The LS had more headroom than any car I've ever owned.

I thought my Cadillac's had a smooth ride, but once I started driving the LS430, I realized it was the smoothest,
most comfortable car I would likely ever own.
Two things to watch for are the wonky outside mirror motors and ASC warning light for the self levelling, turning headlights.
Both went on my car ... a new outside mirror motor was about $900 installed, and the ASC sensor was about $600 installed.
Besides that, these cars are absolute tanks, very reliable.
I'm sure you've scoured ClubLexus and noticed nobody talks about powertrain issues, they are almost non existant.
Congrats, makes me miss my LS430.

c5 rv
03-28-10, 09:42 AM
... Two things to watch for are the wonky outside mirror motors and ASC warning light for the self levelling, turning headlights.
Both went on my car ... a new outside mirror motor was about $900 installed, and the ASC sensor was about $600 installed.

No problem, knock on wood, with the headlight system. As for the mirrors, one of the first things I did was switch off the auto-fold feature when switching the car off. I also avoided the ultra luxury version because I didn't want to deal with the air suspension troubles. (I also didn't want to lose trunk space to the reclining & massaging rear seats, rear air, and cold box.)

While there are a lot of great Lexus design features, especially when I transfer my wife from her wheelchair, some of them are a bit overdone:

- The slow theater lighting when opening the door
- The large steering wheel diameter
- The slow opening of the interior compartments like the sunglass holder, ashtrays, etc.

And yes, I'm Caddyowner on clublexus.

Sandy
03-28-10, 11:53 AM
Interesting but, I got curous about demensions & specs. I compared the Lexus LS430 (s) interior specs - such as Cu. Volume, legroom, head room, foot room and with the front passenger seat all the way rearward, the room from the seat's backrest to the leading edge of the Dashboard, as well as the Cu. In. / voluime of the trunk area (for wheelchair) and in every measurment, in which I could find a measurement for BOTH cars, the Lincoln Town Car exceeded that of the 430, except 1 or 2 measurements that were equal, and one where the 430 was two tenths larger. The T.C. had a considerably large trunk and more headoom. Did you know this?

c5 rv
03-28-10, 12:07 PM
I considered the TC briefly but there were two problems with it:

- No cooled front seats for me.
- Heated seat controls were on the door (like the DTS). My wife wants the "heat seater" on every time we go out. I need to be able to reach these controls easily because, due to her brain injury, she doesn't realize when things down there are getting too hot.

Stingroo
03-28-10, 12:37 PM
I'm not much of a Lexus fan either, but that car actually looks really good. Very top notch and has everything you needed. Great find, and even came in under budget. :)

ted tcb
03-28-10, 06:12 PM
[quote=c5 rv;2194843] As for the mirrors, one of the first things I did was switch off the auto-fold feature when switching the car off)

I, too, switched off my auto fold mirrors from day 1.
Unfortunately, even in the "off" position, the passenger mirror would
turn outwards into traffic whenever the urge struck it!
What a pain on your lux car ... put her into park, walk around the car, and
manually twist the passenger mirror back into place.
I actually used electrical tape on the mirror until I had it repaired.
A perfect example of over engineering ... a useless feature that became
a huge headache over time.

I agree with your comments on the huge steering wheel ... it felt like it came off a city bus:)

Other than the odd little issue, the LS430 is a truly exceptional luxury car.

Congratulations, I hope it serves you well for many years to come.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-28-10, 07:52 PM
The Lexus LS is one of the great luxury sedans of all time. Each generation improves upon the last & as they say, perfection is relentlessly sought. I always thought that the LS430s looked like the W140, except it wasn't as quite as long, but it was taller. Needless to say, you've got one of the finest late model full sized luxury sedans available.

Jesda
03-28-10, 08:09 PM
This thread is incomplete without pics of Lexus's awesome interior.

c5 rv
03-28-10, 10:20 PM
This thread is incomplete without pics of Lexus's awesome interior.

Will do, once the rains stop this week.

billc83
03-28-10, 10:40 PM
Coolness, Mr. C5. After the body work, it looks fantastic.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-28-10, 10:46 PM
Does that have the Sport package? It looks like it has the sport's nice 5 spoke wheels.

c5 rv
03-29-10, 08:56 AM
Does that have the Sport package? It looks like it has the sport's nice 5 spoke wheels.

Mine has the optional 18" chrome wheels, but not the sport package. The sport package was only available on Premium (lowest) and Modern Luxury (nav & Mark Levinson stereo) levels. It was not offered on the Custom Luxury (mine) or Ultra Luxury (air suspension) levels. The external indicator of the sport package is a small badge just behind the front wheelwells.

I originally thought about looking for a sport package car and test drove one. However, it was a cold morning and the car had like Z-rated tires on it. It felt like a Flintstone-mobile with soft springs. (Well, as much like a Flintstone-mobile as a LS 430 can.) I felt the regular suspension was fine and more appropriate for the car. That was a good thing for my search because sport suspension cars are fairly rare.

Thanks to all for your kind words. The car has now entered service as my daily driver - at least on nice days like today.

Lord Cadillac
03-29-10, 11:51 AM
Interesting but, I got curous about demensions & specs. I compared the Lexus LS430 (s) interior specs - such as Cu. Volume, legroom, head room, foot room and with the front passenger seat all the way rearward, the room from the seat's backrest to the leading edge of the Dashboard, as well as the Cu. In. / voluime of the trunk area (for wheelchair) and in every measurment, in which I could find a measurement for BOTH cars, the Lincoln Town Car exceeded that of the 430, except 1 or 2 measurements that were equal, and one where the 430 was two tenths larger. The T.C. had a considerably large trunk and more headoom. Did you know this?

The Town Car is definitely a bigger car than the LS430. However, an inferior car in every way imaginable otherwise. I've always liked the big Lincolns and Caddys (Town Car and Fleetwood) - but there are none that fare well against the Lexus LS...


The Lexus LS is one of the great luxury sedans of all time. Each generation improves upon the last & as they say, perfection is relentlessly sought. I always thought that the LS430s looked like the W140, except it wasn't as quite as long, but it was taller. Needless to say, you've got one of the finest late model full sized luxury sedans available.

The LS430 may have been the best "Lexus LS" of all time. We'll have to see. The LS460 is inferior in some ways - especially in build quality. Technology and power have improved, though...

I leased an 05 for a year before I traded it in on my Escalade ESV...

Sandy
03-29-10, 07:32 PM
I politly do not agree. I am on my 3rd Town Car (1986, 1989 and current 2003. Have never had "Problem # 1 with all 3 combined !!
They are smooth as silk, have good power due to stout axle ratios, and are solid. No squeeks nor rattles and you can drive thm over RR tracks at 30 MPH and it's like driving over a drum-stick. 'Ya feel nothing.
Nothing breaks, at least on my 3. Great A/C, and a solid feel.
Truck-loads of convenience items. Power open and power close trunk,
and an in dash cassette player and an in dash Ced player and an in the Trunk 6-Disc CD Changer. After you pull a small thin metal arm that pops out between the grille bars, the hood (it's heavy) self raises ! Regular fuel, it gets good mileage for being a 4,000 pounder. Very pleased with the lincolns!

Of course, I love my 1993 Sixty Special - but I never drive it, to keep the miles low, and be able to have collector car insurance on it. She has 10,007 miles on her, in her 17th birthday year. Under 600 @ yr. 90% of that on Garden State Pkwy.

orconn
03-29-10, 07:56 PM
I think your stateemnt " 'Ya feel nothing" pretty much states why many of us avoid the Lincoln TC. The TC is a car I would rather be driven than drive. Not a disparagement of the car, after all it was designed to be that way. Just not my cup of tea!

The appearance of the last model TC's always brings back the scene from "Steel Magnolias" where a portly older lady is dancing at the daughter's wedding and Olivia Dukakis's character says "Looks like two pigs fighting in a poke!" Yup the car looks like a hefty senior lady in a girdle ..... but then what do I know?

Jesda
03-29-10, 09:40 PM
I love the Town Car the way I love a good porterhouse steak. Its big and satisfying. The LS430 is more like French cuisine.

And take that from me, the forum's resident Lexus hater. :)

ben.gators
03-29-10, 10:25 PM
Nice car, congratulations. hope it serves you very well. Lexus is a very reliable and good car. The only thing that I dont like about lexus is its design, it looks very old, this new lexus looks like to a 1990 one. Beside this, it is a real luxury car.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-29-10, 10:52 PM
I politly do not agree. I am on my 3rd Town Car (1986, 1989 and current 2003. Have never had "Problem # 1 with all 3 combined !!
They are smooth as silk, have good power due to stout axle ratios, and are solid. No squeeks nor rattles and you can drive thm over RR tracks at 30 MPH and it's like driving over a drum-stick. 'Ya feel nothing.
Nothing breaks, at least on my 3. Great A/C, and a solid feel.
Truck-loads of convenience items. Power open and power close trunk,
and an in dash cassette player and an in dash Ced player and an in the Trunk 6-Disc CD Changer. After you pull a small thin metal arm that pops out between the grille bars, the hood (it's heavy) self raises ! Regular fuel, it gets good mileage for being a 4,000 pounder. Very pleased with the lincolns!

No offense Sandy, as your posts are always most insightful and fun to read, but the Town Car, as nice as it may be, is no competitor to the LS. I don't just mean that in terms of overall luxury feel or items, but they're two totally different luxury sedans. The Town Car's closest competitor is the lamented Fleetwood Brougham, and the LS lines up with the S Class, 7 Series, A8 and XJ Jaguar. It's much more agile, sporty, European flavored and modern overall. It was even this way in the '90s, as a friend of mine has a '94 LS400 and a '97 Town Car Signature Series. The Town Car is much bigger and floatier, like your typical american road yacht, and the LS is much smaller, much more nimble and faster at highway speeds. The Town Car has this really definable personality though, like a big old codger that everyone gets along with. The LS is pretty bland and stale by comparison.



The LS430 may have been the best "Lexus LS" of all time. We'll have to see. The LS460 is inferior in some ways - especially in build quality. Technology and power have improved, though...

I think the 460 looks better, but the 98-00 400 still takes my choice as coolest LS of all time....it looked so nice in such a subtle, quiet way, and did it's job so well. The 430 had more power, more technology, but it was taller and it wasn't as proportioned as well, atleast to me.

c5 rv
03-30-10, 09:14 AM
I considered the LS460, but the LS430 had better ergonomics for my wife. The LS430 seats are a bit wider & flatter and the narrower center console doesn't interfere with reaching in and buckling her seatbelt. LS430s also had fewer repair issues than early LS460s.

Lord Cadillac
03-30-10, 10:10 AM
Chad, the LS isn't "much" smaller - but with everything else, you're right on target. The LS460L may lack a tiny bit in width... And don't forget that the LS, while it is agile, it's also very soft on the road. You get a very soft ride with the LS - though the car handles well - and there's always the option for an adjustable suspension to firm things up IF and when you want to. I've always been a big fan of the Town Car - but the Lexus LS is in another class. If you need power, you're running to 60mph in 5.4 seconds. While you may never need that in the Town Car - it's not even possible if you do...

I don't know if the Town Car has heated and cooled seats in the front AND rear - but rear seat passengers seem to love these options. The massaging rear seat with ottoman is another plus. There's a long list of features and amenities that the Town Car doesn't have - which is why we probably won't see it for very much longer... As much as I love it, the ONLY reason I'd take it over the Lexus LS is to save money...

Stingroo
03-30-10, 10:14 AM
Is it going the way of the Dodo when they kill off the Crown Vic?

Lord Cadillac
03-30-10, 10:46 AM
Is it going the way of the Dodo when they kill off the Crown Vic?
I don't know what the final word is, but they've been talking about discontinuing the Town Car for a long time now. I don't believe it's getting any design updates - but we'll have to see... Last I heard, officially, it wasn't supposed to be sold to the public anymore...

Stingroo
03-30-10, 11:09 AM
Hmm....

Interesting.

Sandy
03-30-10, 12:23 PM
The 2010 is the last Town Car. In an odd move, they have dropped the factory moonroof. whitewalls, and other features. There is a special edition, with a very weird name....The Continential Edition...
Chromed Wheels, Continential embroirdry on seat backs & carpeted mats, and chromed "B" pillars.

Yes, I have heated seats, auto brake release, in dash cassette, CD and trunk CD changer, moonroof, the Trunk is power open & power close from fully opened posistion from driver seat or key fob, auto dim RV mirror, auto loking at 7 MPH, genuine wood all over the place, ABS anti lok brakes, memory from key fob to MY seating posistion, exterior mirrors, and pre-set on stero, when wife uses her key fob it all change for her, before she enters, Air Shocks in rear are H.D. and car was ordered with "Touring Suspension" It does NOT "float" or feel floaty at all. Front/Rear Anti sway bars. It has the Crown Vic police suspension that I ordered. It has a very strong feel to it.

Jesda
03-30-10, 12:49 PM
Oh that's right, you have an '03. Great year, lots of improvements. Reviews of the 03+ say it drives like a much more modern car thanks in part to rack and pinion steering.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-30-10, 11:52 PM
Or as Homer Simpson once said, "Rack and Peanut Steering"


My favorite Town Cars are either the 1977-78s, when they had that big menacing grille, the 460, and the sheer awesomeness of being the largest full sized luxury car on sale in the US, or the 1986-87 Signature Series, after they added multiport fuel injection to the 302, and before they switched to the much less elegant round speedometer in 1988, or maybe the 1993-94 Signature Series, back when they had the really wide, deep soft seats, old style flat dash and after they added the push button electronic climate control.

One of my best friends just sold his mint 1988 Town Car, in beige with the beige leather interior. Even though it wasn't a Signature Series or Cartier, it was really cool because it was mint and only had like 59k miles on it. He sold it for $3,000 yesterday to a 70 year old man. Weirdly, it did not have a power passenger seat. That blew my mind the first time I went to adjust the seat and saw there was no switch or anything, but felt up front for a handle and there it was. It sure was cool riding in it, seeing that long and completely flat hood extending out in front of me for what seemed like atleast 5 feet. It was really cool how the center of the hood was raised over the sides, except for the fenders being pointed over the lower section of the hood.

http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs492.snc3/26904_624501618582_199104188_35612003_3504993_n.jp g

I like the 77-78 models for their sheer size, 460 power and cool design, but they drove SO SLOPPILY! The total lack of any feedback what so ever in the steering and suspension was incredibly irritating and unnerving. My buddy's '88 drove much better, but it didn't have that "get out of my way" look to it, nor the size and the 302, even with it's MPFI, couldn't hold a candle to the 460 for power. The '94 floated and were much more boaty than the '80s models were, but that's because the '80s models never had the rear air springs, but the '94's 4.6, especially with the optional dual exhaust, made a lot more power than the 302.

V-Eight
03-31-10, 12:28 AM
. If you need power, you're running to 60mph in 5.4 seconds.

Holy shit, really? That's pretty close to a first gen V!

c5 rv
03-31-10, 08:43 AM
^^^

LS460 (2007 and later): 0-60 in 5.4 seconds
LS430 (2004-2006): 0-60 in a more stately 5.9 seconds

Lord Cadillac
03-31-10, 03:04 PM
^^^

LS460 (2007 and later): 0-60 in 5.4 seconds
LS430 (2004-2006): 0-60 in a more stately 5.9 seconds

Consider the fact that the 1998 Lexus GS430 ran to 60 in 5.9 seconds.. That was very impressive for 1998... They "were" really on the ball over that at Toyota...


Holy shit, really? That's pretty close to a first gen V!

Seriously. It's impressive. But it's not like the 750Li and S550 do it any slower.. That's what these types of cars can do. And, of course, you can get the high performance versions (expensive) which bring you closer to 4 seconds flat...

V-Eight
03-31-10, 06:10 PM
Seriously. It's impressive. But it's not like the 750Li and S550 do it any slower.. That's what these types of cars can do. And, of course, you can get the high performance versions (expensive) which bring you closer to 4 seconds flat...

Which is exactly what we need from Cadillac! Hopefully they bring a RWD car that is larger than the XTS, but we'll just have to wait and see.

93DevilleUSMC
03-31-10, 06:52 PM
It's good to see your car back in your hands after a wile in the shop, isn't it?

Jesda
03-31-10, 07:37 PM
The 1998 LS400 I got from Ian did 0-60 in just over 6s, but its like... I didn't care that it could do it. The car didn't care either, making few sounds or vibrations as it flew off the line. Well, correction... that 5-speed auto absolutely hated being pushed, like trying to get an old cat to do tricks -- "GOD, YOU WANT ME TO DOWNSHIFT? WHATS YOUR PROBLEM MAN. F! OFF IM WATCHING JEOPARDY."

The one thing it was intended for, comfortable cruising, it did with incredible ability. I've yet to enjoy such comfortable long-distance seats in a car. Older MBs and the Navigator came close. Ideally, I'd pluck an LS400 seat out of a junkyard and make an adapter plate for the Seville.

The difference in build quality from the 98 to the 06 is unfortunate. The early 2000s LS was the pinnacle of passenger car build quality and precision.

c5 rv
03-31-10, 08:09 PM
It's good to see your car back in your hands after a wile in the shop, isn't it?

I bought the car in the beginning of February.

- It took about two weeks for the car to arrive
- Another two weeks for the title to arrive
- A few days at the Lexus dealership
- Two and 1/2 weeks at the body shop.

Yeah, I'm glad it's home at last.

ted tcb
03-31-10, 09:06 PM
I've yet to enjoy such comfortable long-distance seats in a car..

I liked the seats in my 2000 LS ... but ... I was amazed at the comfort of the seats in my LS430. I remember during the test drive thinking that this was the best driver's seat I'd ever experienced.
The seat simply envoloped me ... I sat in it, not on it, and it just seemed to feel right.

billc83
03-31-10, 09:14 PM
I bought the car in the beginning of February.

- It took about two weeks for the car to arrive
- Another two weeks for the title to arrive
- A few days at the Lexus dealership
- Two and 1/2 weeks at the body shop.

Yeah, I'm glad it's home at last.

You're doing better than me, at least. Bought February 1st, got home around the 4th, now my poor car is in pieces, and I'm scraping out the floorboards with a putty knife...

c5 rv
04-01-10, 08:15 AM
You're doing better than me, at least. Bought February 1st, got home around the 4th, now my poor car is in pieces, and I'm scraping out the floorboards with a putty knife...

Hopefully it's not planned to be your daily driver anytime soon.

Destroyer
04-01-10, 08:26 AM
Nice Lexus. If I need another luxury car it will be a Lexus. I was never a fan of Japanese cars. Always loved American and German cars. America builds nothing as nice or comfy as an LS Lexus and the German cars just aren't as reliable. If you can't beat 'em join 'em..............:cool:

93DevilleUSMC
04-01-10, 08:40 PM
I bought the car in the beginning of February.

- It took about two weeks for the car to arrive
- Another two weeks for the title to arrive
- A few days at the Lexus dealership
- Two and 1/2 weeks at the body shop.

Yeah, I'm glad it's home at last.

For that much waiting, I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of her.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-01-10, 10:10 PM
Nice Lexus. If I need another luxury car it will be a Lexus. I was never a fan of Japanese cars. Always loved American and German cars. America builds nothing as nice or comfy as an LS Lexus and the German cars just aren't as reliable. If you can't beat 'em join 'em..............:cool:

Story of my life. If I ever go back to the "S-Class" sort of car, it'll be an LS. All of the joys of the S Class, with none of the headaches!

Jesda
04-01-10, 10:25 PM
http://www.planetlexus.com/lexus-ls430/lexus-ls430-interior2.jpg

Its not much to look at, but when you sit inside you can feel all the soft surfaces, precisely fit panels, smooth knobs, and quiet-click buttons. Even places you can't see are softly padded with leather. The Infiniti Q45 from 1990-1996 is on this level, which unfortunately got much cheaper inside by 1997 (though much more reliable). The sum of all parts is greater than the whole. Good place to spend several hours.

Destroyer
04-02-10, 09:46 AM
Story of my life. If I ever go back to the "S-Class" sort of car, it'll be an LS. All of the joys of the S Class, with none of the headaches!It just won't have that shiny 3 pointed star on the hood. I actually liked looking at that when driving. ;)

96Fleetwood
04-02-10, 11:36 AM
Congrats on making that LS like new again! Looks fantastic!

I wish Lexus would make a sport version of the LS460/600h... I would rather have a S63 AMG or Alpina B7 for the driver feel.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-02-10, 03:39 PM
It just won't have that shiny 3 pointed star on the hood. I actually liked looking at that when driving. ;)

True, and I did like that too. But I'd live without the tristar so I could have a car that wouldn't have all sorts of weird & expensive problems.

c5 rv
04-02-10, 03:53 PM
Promised interior pics. I specifically looked for a custom luxury model with the black semi-aniline leather, additional leather on the lower dash & center console, and the burnt walnut. The interior needed no rehab and the leather is glove soft.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-02-10, 03:58 PM
Man, that looks fantastic! That leather on the dash bottom and sides of the center console looks amazing.

orconn
04-02-10, 04:30 PM
While I am not a fan of Lexus styling, I have to admit that interior is beautiful! One of the more restrained and tasteful luxury interiors to date. I am glad it meets your special needs and I am sure it will serve you well in the coming years.

Playdrv4me
08-08-10, 07:55 AM
Ok... So I thought I'd revive this thread since I just spent a week in Wichita helping my brother get a car, and the final decision was between one of these and a 2003 Range Rover. The only Range Rover that fit the budget was in California and frankly, that's a long journey back to the midwest for a vehicle with unproven reliability, good as my gold one was (that was rare).

I really couldn't think of anything else in this price range that retains its value as well, looks BETTER than the current version, and just keeps on ticking. Ted's old thread on his 2004 reminded me just how the good the used car market WAS back in late 2008/early '09 for buyers (somewhere around there is when I bought my old '06 Escalade decked out for something like 16.6k FROM a Caddy dealer, now you can barely get an '04 for that). I simply couldn't find anything approaching anywhere near 16k for a car with 70k miles that had the service history and color combination we liked.

I briefly considered another Navigator, but those depreciate waay too fast and again, nothing attractively priced out there. Jesda made some comment to me a while back that the used car market is suddenly a seller's market, and he's right. There is crap out there right now.

Anyway, I digress. The car we ended up getting was an '04 black on black Premium package owned locally and traded back in to the Lexus dealer with 95k miles. Total ended up being 17.5k plus 295.00 for a 90 day warranty just in case anything major breaks in the first few months. What really amazed me was the fact that when I opened up the hood the timing belt service had actually been performed (that's a 1200.00 dealer service) AND the owner's manual had nearly every single maintenance stamp from day one to about 86000 miles (the whole "stamping the booklet" thing is yet another trick Lexus copied in its "relentless" pursuit of the three pointed star).

The interior is absolutely flawless, but the exterior had quite a few small rock chips, commensurate with the mileage, that me and my brother meticulously took care of with a bottle of duplicolor universal black. I also thought the car was paint-work free (I absolutely detest repainted panels anywhere on my cars, but I'm learning to live with the fact that maintenance comes before perfection on a used car within a budget) from my initial walk-around, but when we were touching it up I found a small spidered area on the paint of the rear bumper. When I looked closer I noticed the right rear quarter had gotten a respray as well, though of very good quality. This also confirms why one of the park sensors doesn't work. At some point later on I'll have to replace that, but much like Ted, I turned off a lot of the extras, including the auto folding mirrors and automatic vents.

Since I had already had an '02 with ML and the Navigation a few years ago, I actually didn't much care for Toyota's antiquated Nav unit, and the center stack with Nav also reminded me a little too much of the older car. Ironically, the BASE sound system in the 2004 LS430 sounded BETTER than the Mark Levinson in the 2001 LS430 we drove the day before. It was quite odd. This makes a little sense though, since the ML is only 240 watts anyway. The Bose 4.0 in the Sevilles is a whopping 450 watt affair, which I personally still find to sound better than any ML unit I have heard. I also prefer the Nakamichi in the 1998-2000 LS400. It's a tigher overall experience. Also, the cool white LED backlighting on the non-Nav center stack makes it look like a really high end Japanese audio system. I really like that a lot. The only downside to passing on Nav is that you don't get the backup camera and bluetooth cell connectivity.

Other standard and optional features include: Adaptive front Xenon headlamps, Heated and Ventilated seats, Park distance control, Smart Key (keyless ignition and keyless entry), lots of other stuff.

One big change from the 2002 I had to the 2004 is the 6 speed automatic trans. The '02 always shifted a little wonky, and wasn't too precise. The '98 was even worse. The 2004 is at least acceptable, though not 3 series quick by any means. It's still a little sloppy for a car with so much power on tap.

Overall, still the absolute best balance of quality, reliability, luxury and value retention you can get in this price range. No offense to Sandy, but the Town Car is only a competitor at half the cost. i.e., if I am going to spend 10000.00 or less, I will definitely buy the most loaded up 2003 Cartier I can get, but I wouldn't spend anymore than that on any TC.

On the flip side of the token, maintenance and repair concerns on W220 Mercs and 2002+ BMW 7 Series' made those unappealing when you consider they both already look really old (the Range Rover gets away with its reliability problems because its such a damn good looking piece of machinery with some utility, but just barely) and both have interiors no where near as precise or plush as the LS430. The LS430 really is in a very weird place in the market, and now it has been orphaned because as Sal pointed out, the 460 just doesn't compare in the fit and finish department. It is much more powerful and technologically advanced of course.

Other vehicles considered:
2003+ Range Rover
2004+ Jaguar XJ
2003 Jaguar S Type R
2002+ 745Li
2003+ S500/S430
2003+ Navigator

Couple of dealer pics (I didn't have my camera with me):
http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/157207/1s/JTHBN36F240148565-1s.jpg

http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/157207/2s/JTHBN36F240148565-2s.jpg

http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/157207/3s/JTHBN36F240148565-3s.jpg

http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/157207/4s/JTHBN36F240148565-4s.jpg

http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/157207/8s/JTHBN36F240148565-8s.jpg

Oh yes, those gold emblems are going.

Jesda
08-08-10, 04:32 PM
I thought we permabanned playdrv4me?

orconn
08-08-10, 04:47 PM
I am sure it is a well put together luxury car, but it sure isn't a looker! Really sort of a bad copy of a '90s Mercedes "E class" (which was not a great looking car itself). For that kind of money and potential upkeep I would have to have some sort of style .... but I quess it IS the ultimate "appliance" car.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
08-08-10, 06:19 PM
Agreed entirely. It does a very good job of knocking off the S-Class, and it's a lot more mindless to own.

ben.gators
08-08-10, 06:53 PM
That is a nice looking car. Hope it serves you well. The interior is very classy, that is something that I rarely see in Asian cars.
The only drawback of these cars for me is their price. It seems that these cars keep their value a lot, you have spend correct amount of money for this car, KBB says this! However for me it is hard to spend 17.5K$ for a 6 year old car with 90K miles on it. Anyway, congrad for your new ride.

Playdrv4me
08-08-10, 07:08 PM
I am sure it is a well put together luxury car, but it sure isn't a looker! Really sort of a bad copy of a '90s Mercedes "E class" (which was not a great looking car itself). For that kind of money and potential upkeep I would have to have some sort of style .... but I quess it IS the ultimate "appliance" car.

I guess looks are really subjective. I know that for many (myself included) the W124 E Class is one of the best looking cars ever produced. Although I think Lexus really intended to copy the S Class here which makes more sense when you look at the tall greenhouse and the huge C Pillar, which the W124 doesn't really have.

Other than a Range Rover on the SUV side, I couldn't really see being bothered with any of the other large sedans in this price category. They either look old, are ugly, or completely unreliable. The only exception to this was the 2004 Jaguar XJ, but there weren't any equipped the way I wanted. Those are actually quite reliable too (made JD Power tops in reliability at least a couple of times).

I do plan to get the Sport package wheels that C5 RV has though. These base wheels are pretty terrible.

Destroyer
08-08-10, 08:55 PM
I was on an exhaustive search for an LS430. Drove an '03 model and fell in love with it. Rode much like an S Class Mercedes but perhaps even a bit nicer inside than my S320 LWB. I wanted one with a price not to exceed $16k cash and that is out the door. I came close but bad carfaxes lured me away from a few and others had sold before I called and so forth. I ended up with my '03 XJ8 which cost almost 1/3 of the price of an '03-up LS430. I'd probably still take an LS430 in place of the Jag on a straight up trade because it was roomier but the Jag does have a lot more character and is a sexy car. That is worth something to me as well.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
08-08-10, 09:04 PM
Like Nick said, I like the LS430 because it's as luxurious as the S-Class, yet more reliable. I don't like the LS because it doesn't have the character of the S-Class or XJ or what have you.

Playdrv4me
08-08-10, 09:15 PM
I was on an exhaustive search for an LS430. Drove an '03 model and fell in love with it. Rode much like an S Class Mercedes but perhaps even a bit nicer inside than my S320 LWB. I wanted one with a price not to exceed $16k cash and that is out the door. I came close but bad carfaxes lured me away from a few and others had sold before I called and so forth. I ended up with my '03 XJ8 which cost almost 1/3 of the price of an '03-up LS430. I'd probably still take an LS430 in place of the Jag on a straight up trade because it was roomier but the Jag does have a lot more character and is a sexy car. That is worth something to me as well.

You hit the nail on the head, Nick. I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, it is the test drive that seals the deal on these cars. My brother was reticent about not getting any kind of Lexus product. He had two very divergent wants that I had to make some sense out of... an E46 3 Series, and the fact that he would oogle every single time a DTS or Seville drove by. For the prices that local sellers in the area were asking for Sevilles and Devilles, I just wasn't going to play that game, especially when I'd be leaving him with serious potential maintenance headaches down the road. Being that this isn't my car (yet), I couldn't have that on my conscience. So after dragging him into the first '01 LS430 we drove and taking it around town, he was absolutely hooked. This was ironic because back in the early days of my car searches, it was him who was the "get a Lexus" guy and me who insisted they were for dentists and people who chose to fall asleep at the wheel to initiate their own suicide.

However as I've grown older and more mature, and having always liked the 2004 to 2007 LS430 (I liked my '02, but never warmed up to the odd headlights on those) I realize they serve a purpose and do it well. The ride is at once plenty supple, yet somehow serene with that tomb like trademark silence. There is still just enough road feedback and not too much body roll to make the thing enjoyable to pilot, yet comfortable for hours and hours of driving without fatigue. So call it a "road trip appliance", I'd say that's a fair estimation. Still, I like it plenty as a car on its own.

I guess if your budget was 16k for an 03 sans Nav, I didn't do too badly with our 2004 being a local car I didn't have to go anywhere for, with meticulous service history and even the timing belt service done. Still, your Jag, as I mentioned in your other Jag thread, is in a class all its own. It is the polar opposite of the Lexus in many ways and for 6k I wouldn't have batted an eye at that either. You did great on that one.

I seriously considered an S Type R that was a few grand less and only had 49k on the clock down in Palm Beach, but those can become a handful real quick, and unlike your classic X300, have a lot of warmed over Ford feel inside.

Jesda
08-08-10, 09:22 PM
I'm about as excited about this LS430 as I am about doing homework, but I'm glad your brother found a reliable, well-maintained car to start his career with.

It looks like a god damned refrigerator.

Playdrv4me
08-08-10, 09:28 PM
I'm about as excited about this LS430 as I am about doing homework, but I'm glad your brother found a reliable, well-maintained car to start his career with.

It looks like a god damned refrigerator.

My refrigerator keeps all my treats cold. I have nothing against my fridge.

Destroyer
08-08-10, 09:37 PM
You hit the nail on the head, Nick. I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, it is the test drive that seals the deal on these cars. My brother was reticent about not getting any kind of Lexus product. He had two very divergent wants that I had to make some sense out of... an E46 3 Series, and the fact that he would oogle every single time a DTS or Seville drove by. For the prices that local sellers in the area were asking for Sevilles and Devilles, I just wasn't going to play that game, especially when I'd be leaving him with serious potential maintenance headaches down the road. Being that this isn't my car (yet), I couldn't have that on my conscience. So after dragging him into the first '01 LS430 we drove and taking it around town, he was absolutely hooked. This was ironic because back in the early days of my car searches, it was him who was the "get a Lexus" guy and me who insisted they were for dentists and people who chose to fall asleep at the wheel to initiate their own suicide.

However as I've grown older and more mature, and having always liked the 2004 to 2007 LS430 (I liked my '02, but never warmed up to the odd headlights on those) I realize they serve a purpose and do it well. The ride is at once plenty supple, yet somehow serene with that tomb like trademark silence. There is still just enough road feedback and not too much body roll to make the thing enjoyable to pilot, yet comfortable for hours and hours of driving without fatigue. So call it a "road trip appliance", I'd say that's a fair estimation. Still, I like it plenty as a car on its own.

I guess if your budget was 16k for an 03 sans Nav, I didn't do too badly with our 2004 being a local car I didn't have to go anywhere for, with meticulous service history and even the timing belt service done. Still, your Jag, as I mentioned in your other Jag thread, is in a class all its own. It is the polar opposite of the Lexus in many ways and for 6k I wouldn't have batted an eye at that either. You did great on that one.

I seriously considered an S Type R that was a few grand less and only had 49k on the clock down in Palm Beach, but those can become a handful real quick, and unlike your classic X300, have a lot of warmed over Ford feel inside.
If this car is as disappointing as a fwd N* Cadillac I swear I'll be in a Lexus next time, lol. Today I bought a new work van (nice black '00 extended E250 w/80k), traveled 120 miles each way to go look at in the Jag. It was one of the best highway drives I've ever had. Up there with my '85 Porsche 928 and my S320. It's a luxury car but feels like a sports car behind the wheel, I would like to drive an XJR. I parked next to a Chevy Cobalt the other day and could not believe how much bigger the Cobalt looked next to the Jag (much taller). This really is a slick, low car and I'm loving that more and more.

Jesda
08-08-10, 11:14 PM
My refrigerator keeps all my treats cold. I have nothing against my fridge.

That's my fridge, actually. Until I'm reimbursed, all contents belong to the owner -- me.

Jesda
08-08-10, 11:14 PM
My refrigerator keeps all my treats cold. I have nothing against my fridge.

That's my fridge, actually. Until I'm reimbursed, all contents belong to the owner -- me.

ted tcb
08-09-10, 01:10 AM
Very nice car, Ian.

Having the full dealer service history is worth it's weight in gold.
Only 1 of my 3 Lexus products had a 100% dealer service history, and that car proved to be the most reliable.

I'd probably put a deep tint on your black LS, and lose the gold emblems ... other than that, very nice.
I still find the 01-06 body style to be rich, luxurious, and pretty rare.
I love the front style of the car, but from the side, I found mine to appear way too tall.
I preferred the side styling view of my 2000 LS400.
Having said that, the headroom in the 430 is amazing, the best I've ever seen.

I notice that lots of guys on the CL forums are considering upgrading to German rides ... they just don't feel
the 460 is built as well as the 430. That "vault like silence" appears to be lost on the newer cars.

The only thing I didn't like on my 04 Onyx blue was the ugly orange trip computer ... it just seemed out of place
on an otherwise elegant instrument panel. Two common problems to watch out for on the 04 would be a failing rear height controller, which knocks out the adpative headlights and points your main lights too low.
You'll know it happens if you get the flashing AFS light.
The other common failure is when your outside mirrors swing all the way around, to the tune of 180 degrees.
The mirror motor was about $700. Thankfully, someone on CL responded to my old thread and showed how to
simply cut the wire to the power mirror.
Incidentally, turning off the folding mirror button will not disable the mirror if it decides to act up.

The LS430 is one of those sublime cars that grows on you over the miles. Every day, you notice a new, tactile touch
that delights the senses. Just the type of thing that a true luxury car owner will appreciate.
Not my favourite car on a winding road ... for that type of ride, I'll take my Miata.
But, if you are commuting or stuck in traffic, the LS430 will always be my favourite interior.
Great wood, lots of leather and real suede, soft touches abound, ever panel lines up with precision, and no need to look at engine temps as traffic is gridlocked.

I agree on the ML stereo. Mine never had any bass response ... I almost thought the sub was blown, but no, bass
just doesn't factor in the audio experience. Jazz was great on the ML, but most other music was lacking.
I also agree on factory Nav ... the Lexus unit is awkward, and the basic dash layout looks and works best.
On my 03 STS, the factory Nav has an 06 update, but I still hate it.
When I drive somewhere new, I take my portable Nav unit and turn off my factory screen.

Your price paid actually seems pretty good.
In the spring of 09, my LS430 (same year as yours) went for about $19USD, with about 80k on her.
It was a cross between a Modern Lux and Custom Lux, kind of a Canadian freak package.
I had the door closers, suede headliner, Radar cruise, Mark Levinson, headlight washers, but no Navigation.
Strange used car market back then ... Chrysler and GM reorganized in the summer of 09, and by the fall, the used market went nuts again. My car rose in value to about $22USD ... one of the few times I've seen one of my cars raise in value, especially in such a short span of time.
Up here, the LS430's have really held their value.

Ian, I hope you and your brother enjoy the car ... I know I'll end up with another.

On a somewhat related note, here is my dirty, 91 BRG Miata enjoying vacation time up on
Georgian Bay, parked on a large slab of Canadian Shield.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n243/tedtcb/P1050256.jpg

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n243/tedtcb/P1050252.jpg

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n243/tedtcb/P1050271.jpg