: Lexus LS400 or Mazda Miata???



Aron9000
04-29-11, 06:42 AM
I'm really conflicted about my next car purchase. Luxury cruiser or sports car. I'm 27, single, so practicality isn't a big deal. I have a pos truck to haul crap in.

My rationale on buying a car is that you might as well go whole hog and buy the best possible type of car for your budget. For me that means under $10,000, which is either a big Lexus LS400 sedan(95-2000) or a Mazda Miata(98-2005).

I love almost everything about the Lexus, its by far the smoothest riding, quietest, best appointed car I've ever driven. Its on a whole different level compared to my 91 Brougham. My only complaint is that its kind of boring to look at, but that can be fixed with a nice set of BBS wheels IMO.

At the same time I just love the driving thrills of the Miata. By far the best handling car I've ever been in, I just love the light feel of it. At the same time I hate how noisy it is on the highway. It also feels like a death trap, very disconcerting that you are eye level with the lug nuts on semi trucks going 80mph next to you. I've owned one convertible(98 v8 Camaro) and would kind of like another, but more in the flavor of a 1970 Cadillac Deville.

So for a man who does most of his driving on the interstate, what is your advice? This is going to be a daily driver. I'm leaning towards the Lexus, but a little voice inside of me says "you only live once, buy that Miata".

ben.gators
04-29-11, 07:51 AM
Something else

Lexus LS is too boring, and Miata is midget....

Buy something interesting... What a bout an sport CTS! I know I know, CTS is not the most interesting car in the market, but well, it is almost a luxury car, and is simultaneously sporty.... It is something between Lexus and Miata. With CTS you can have the sporty feeling of Miata and luxury features of Lexus.

Right now you can find a 2004 3.6L CTS with reasonable millage for less than 10K$.

Stingroo
04-29-11, 08:29 AM
I kinda agree with Ben. I was finding 04-07 CTS's around 10k with under 50k miles here in FL.


But of those two - the Miata wins for me. When you're selling your big luxury cruiser, why buy another one?

Jesda
04-29-11, 10:08 PM
You only live once. Buy the Miata.

Destroyer
04-29-11, 10:37 PM
You are bringing 2 TOTALLY different cars to the table here. If your concern is interstate travel the LS400 is the way to go. I owned a '97 Miata and loved it but it was a get around car for me not my daily driver. I liked it enough to recommend it but put against the LS400 as an interstate car I would not. I would take an S-Class Benz over both as I had an '97 S320 and I would take an '02-up Jaguar XJ8/XJR over your choice as well.

orconn
04-29-11, 11:23 PM
If you have a budget with $10,000. maximum to spend and you are at all concerned coming up with the cost of expensive repairs, I'd definitely cross a Mercedes or Jaguar or even a Lexus LS400 off your list. You might luck out, but you could also find yourself with expensive non economic repairs to make. Miatas are loads of fun, but not great for long trips, so if the Cad is leaving your scuderia, you might want to get something a bit better rounded in its overall enjoyment .;.... maybe something else from Mazda!

ga_etc
04-30-11, 01:00 AM
I haven't driven an NB Miata, but I have driven an NA. They are a ton of fun.

How long is your daily commute?

Aron9000
04-30-11, 01:21 AM
If you have a budget with $10,000. maximum to spend and you are at all concerned coming up with the cost of expensive repairs, I'd definitely cross a Mercedes or Jaguar or even a Lexus LS400 off your list. You might luck out, but you could also find yourself with expensive non economic repairs to make. Miatas are loads of fun, but not great for long trips, so if the Cad is leaving your scuderia, you might want to get something a bit better rounded in its overall enjoyment .;.... maybe something else from Mazda!

I've read up about the LS400. Its pretty much a tank and dead nuts reliable. Just avoid models with the air suspension(only like 10% of them had that option). Climate control and radio displays tend to wig out, but its just the LCD part of the screen. Same thing with those fancy gauges, they tend to break. There are people on ebay who sell you rebuilt displays for like $100-200, but you will get hosed going to the dealer for that type of stuff.

Plus anybody who works on Toyota can work on a Lexus, I asked the guy at the Toyota dealer and he says you don't need any sort of "lexus" certification to work on one, all their regular Toyota guys do lexus. Also interesting that a timing belt/water pump change runs like $550 at a Toyota dealer, more like $1000 at the Lexus store.

Generally its pretty easy to find a nice LS400 that was owned by some older person who kept up the maintenance. Finding a nice Miata is pretty easy too, once again just find some older person who had it as 2nd car and it sat in the garage a lot.

Also my commute is 20 miles round trip, all interstate. I do drive to Franklin and Murfreesboro a lot, about 60-70 mile round trip straight interstate.

ga_etc
04-30-11, 01:47 AM
The LS would be more comfortable for the out of town runs, but it's not an unreasonable distance to take the Miata. It's a tough call. If your commute involves rush hour traffic and a lot of slow moving, I vote for the LS for the comfort and solitude. If timing allows you run more freely, I say go for the Miata. They're a blast to drive, but not something I would want to be stuck in traffic in.

77CDV
04-30-11, 02:02 AM
If you must give up the Caddy, I'd say go with the Lexus, because that Miata won't be anything like a 70 DVC and you'll be deeply disappointed.

Aron9000
04-30-11, 03:54 AM
As for the CTS comments, that is a BIG no due to the interior and dash design. I simply CANNOT stand the 1st gen dashboard. Looks like somebody took an ATM off of the Death Star and made it into a dash board.

Maybe I'm crazy here, but have the RWD V8 STS's gotten under 10k yet? I'd be looking for something in that 80-100k mile range and pretty clean. I don't want something beat up or with 150k or 200k miles on it.

ben.gators
04-30-11, 04:26 AM
I absolutely agree with you about the stupid, ugly, and cheap interior of CTS! I used to hate it and I still hate, but I have been reading very good reviews from the people I trust, it seems like the CTS is a nice sporty car, performs very good on the corners, 3.6L engine doesn't let you regret too much about missing V8 engine, and it is simultaneously a comfortable car for the driver and passengers too. Therefore the car has started to grow one me..

About STS, RWD V6 has started to hit the 10k$ price range. You may find a 2005 V6 STS with 80k miles for about 10k$, but V-8 is still around 15k$ and even higher.

OffThaHorseCEO
04-30-11, 10:40 AM
how about an R129 Mercedes SL...i checked and there are a BUNCH under 10k. i would think this would be the perfect middle ground: power, top down fun, small, but also big enough to feel solid, comfortable and be a proper luxury cruiser. They come with removeable hardtop and a power softop like the miatas do. the cool thing is you can get a hardtop with a panoramic roof, which is reduntant but still cool. as with the LS400 they CAN look pretty boring, but the right color combo and some AMG wheels will make it look great and still be "stock"
http://www.mcsmk8.com/99-SL600/600-03.JPG <--thats an SL600 but you get the idea.

i also checked out the SC430's but those still have a while before they dip into sub 10k territory

Allantes would be along similar lines as the SL and would be cheaper BUT, supposedly you can get just about any part for any mercedes ever made after a certain date (late 60's i think). They would probably expensive but theyd be available. The allante parts are expensive as well but are becoming increasingly sparse

also, have you ever considered
http://www.mcsmk8.com/PAST-CARS/95-VET01.JPG

96Fleetwood
04-30-11, 10:58 AM
I love the R129. My Father had two of them when I was growing up (500SL and 600SL).. I really wanted a 300SL with the 5 speed manual:

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=p&car_id=294733025&dealer_id=66066563&car_year=1992&lastBeginningStartYear=1981&end_year=2005&showZipError=n&pager.offset=25&search_lang=en&start_year=1981&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&body_style=CONVERT&search_type=both&body_code=1&first_record=26&transmission=Manual&distance=0&default_sort=priceDESC&address=23464&rdm=1304175316117&marketZipError=false&sort_type=priceDESC&advanced=y&awsp=false&make=MB&num_records=25&seller_type=b&cardist=311&standard=false

OffThaHorseCEO
04-30-11, 11:03 AM
im not really familiar with those cars but i do like them...(appearance-wise)
other than engine size, what differences (advantages, disadvantages) were there between sl 280 300 320 500 600 9000

also, i dont like the design of the top, although i guess its like that to improve rear visibility
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/SL73.JPG
:drool::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool:

cadillac kevin
04-30-11, 03:25 PM
^I really like that style of mercedes (SL___). Its on my "own it sometime before I die" list. they're sexy, sporty, and luxurious. not sure what maintenance costs are, but I see alot of them at used car lots for cheap (bad omen?)
I say go for a big ass caddy convertible. you said you want a 70 CDV- go for it. Insurance will be cheaper than a miata or lexus, and its a good compromise between the 2 (convertible yet luxurious).

Aron9000
04-30-11, 03:50 PM
^I really like that style of mercedes (SL___). Its on my "own it sometime before I die" list. they're sexy, sporty, and luxurious. not sure what maintenance costs are, but I see alot of them at used car lots for cheap (bad omen?)
I say go for a big ass caddy convertible. you said you want a 70 CDV- go for it. Insurance will be cheaper than a miata or lexus, and its a good compromise between the 2 (convertible yet luxurious).

Find me a NICE 1969 or 70 Deville convertible for under 10k and I'll buy it.

And no Benzes, after reading about Chad's experience with them.

ryannel2003
04-30-11, 05:36 PM
I saw a very nice 89k mile '05 STS V6 in Charlotte for $11,500 I believe. I even thought about driving up there and checking it out myself if I think about replacing my STS. The V8's are harder to find under $10k but the V6's are just starting to get to that point and you can find many with less than 100k miles. Watch out for the V6 timing chains though, as prolonged oil changes cause them to stretch and can damage the engine.

77CDV
04-30-11, 11:31 PM
Find me a NICE 1969 or 70 Deville convertible for under 10k and I'll buy it.

And no Benzes, after reading about Chad's experience with them.

Chad loved his MB. I don't recall him ever saying it was a bad car, just that his wallet couldn't handle the upkeep.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-01-11, 08:35 AM
Chad loved his MB. I don't recall him ever saying it was a bad car, just that his wallet couldn't handle the upkeep.

I loved owning it, but it was far from peerlessly reliable and easy to own like an LS400 would be. It wasn't that it was just expensive to keep up, but it had a lot of weird stuff that broke. For example, about a month before I sold it, if it was raining or even the least bit humid out, the radio wouldn't work at all. I'd turn it on and it would say something about how it couldn't find a (analog) cell phone connected to the radio, but you couldn't get it out of that mode and back into radio AM/FM & Cassette play. When it was dry out, it didn't have any issues like that.

There was another issue that only acted up when it was below 30* outside. Whenever I'd go anywhere in that car, I'd set the auto climate control to "fully auto" and "72 degrees". Usually it would work just fine, blowing air out of whichever vent it decided, and acting totally normal. But when it got below freezing and I'd have it set to fully auto, under acceleration it would blow air out of the defrost vents on top of the dashboard, but once I let off the throttle, it would go back to floor like it should have been. Something was causing a vacuum leak somewhere in a line that ran between the engine and the hvac control unit, but nobody could ever find it. Weirdest damn thing...

If you were looking at a '90s era M-B, get ready to have a good independent European specialist chase down lots of bizarre electrical issues. I'd imagine the R129 would be a lot of the same way, considering they both run a lot of similar systems in them and they were both released a year apart from each other.


But to answer your initial question Aron, I'd definitely go for the LS400. The Miata is a fun car, but you said it yourself: "I've owned one convertible, but would like another, but more in the flavor of a '70 Deville. By the way it sounds, you'd be "settling" with the Miata to hit that desire you have for a convertible, whereas the desire for the Lexus seems to fill a greater need in your life.

98-00 LS400 FTW! I don't like much of Lexus's lineup (too boring, too sedate, too weird looking), but those late '90s LS400s were the cat's meow. Lots of power, peerless quality of construction and design, handsome & subtle design, incredibly comfortable and quiet, etc etc. There's a reason they're hard to find on the used market and always command a high dollar when you do.

If I ever get back into that sort of car (S-Class, XJ, A8, 7-Series, LS) again, it'll definitely be with a 98-00 LS400.

orconn
05-01-11, 01:35 PM
It appears that these ten year old nd then some Lexus LS400 have become a sort of "Camelot" of cars for the younger members of the forum. Experience with these cars remembered by actual owners who belong to the forum it seems is now several years in the past ...... so I would wonder if their odes to reliabilty are still accurate, especially when talking about these cars aceesories! The fact that the cars can be maintained at Toyota agencies and in some cases using Toyota instead of Lexus parts is certainly a benefit (especially compared to Audi, where despite the same kind of a situation with Volkswagen, cannot be service by VW dealerships).

Chad's candid statement of his experience with an out of warranty senior Mercedes should be taken into account by those on a limited budget called to answer the siren song of that brands better models, or any model for that matter, especially the SL's!

I think Sub's advice on the ownership of "luxury" cars is still ture and will be true for the forseeable future, "If you can't afford one new, you shouldn't consider one out of warranty!"

Aron9000
05-02-11, 01:55 AM
I think Sub's advice on the ownership of "luxury" cars is still ture and will be true for the forseeable future, "If you can't afford one new, you shouldn't consider one out of warranty!"

Well my Brougham has been the most reliable and least expensive car to maintain that I've ever owned. There are always exceptions to the rule.


Also, I found this in Cleveland, love the brown and low miles:
http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=p&car_id=298094379&dealer_id=66211203&car_year=1998&systime=&doors=&model=LS400&search_lang=en&start_year=1981&keywordsfyc=&keywordsrep=&highlightFirstMakeModel=&search_type=both&distance=500&min_price=&rdm=1304315860251&drive=&marketZipError=false&advanced=y&fuel=&keywords_display=&sownerid=639573&lastBeginningStartYear=1981&end_year=2012&showZipError=y&make2=&certified=&engine=&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&body_code=0&transmission=&default_sort=priceDESC&max_mileage=&color=BROWN&address=37214&sort_type=priceDESC&max_price=&awsp=false&color2=&make=LEXUS&seller_type=b&num_records=25&cardist=449&standard=false

ga_etc
05-02-11, 02:02 AM
Damn. I saw Cleveland and I immediately thought Cleveland, TN.

Jesda
05-02-11, 02:57 AM
Old cars are old. Even an old LS400 can be a money pit. A 1990 Miata with 200k and years of neglect can cost a couple grand to bring back to life.

Just find the nicest example of whatever happens to be on the used market at the time.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-02-11, 07:33 AM
Also, I found this in Cleveland, love the brown and low miles:
http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=p&car_id=298094379&dealer_id=66211203&car_year=1998&systime=&doors=&model=LS400&search_lang=en&start_year=1981&keywordsfyc=&keywordsrep=&highlightFirstMakeModel=&search_type=both&distance=500&min_price=&rdm=1304315860251&drive=&marketZipError=false&advanced=y&fuel=&keywords_display=&sownerid=639573&lastBeginningStartYear=1981&end_year=2012&showZipError=y&make2=&certified=&engine=&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&body_code=0&transmission=&default_sort=priceDESC&max_mileage=&color=BROWN&address=37214&sort_type=priceDESC&max_price=&awsp=false&color2=&make=LEXUS&seller_type=b&num_records=25&cardist=449&standard=false

Awesome. Buy it!

96Fleetwood
05-02-11, 08:53 AM
LS400/LS430= boring. Save it for retirement.

What about a Q45 or M45? I sold my wife's 2003 M45 with every option (Navi, adaptive cruise, xenons, heated/cooled seats) for $12K last year.

That car was fun.. 340hp! It was very reliable in the 40K miles we owned it. We sold it with 90K miles still running strong.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u222/angelatruck/m45/SAM_0197.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u222/angelatruck/m45/SAM_0226.jpg

Destroyer
05-02-11, 09:08 PM
Chad's candid statement of his experience with an out of warranty senior Mercedes should be taken into account by those on a limited budget called to answer the siren song of that brands better models, or any model for that matter, especially the SL's!

I think Sub's advice on the ownership of "luxury" cars is still ture and will be true for the forseeable future, "If you can't afford one new, you shouldn't consider one out of warranty!"Very true on all counts. I had better luck with my '97 S320 Mercedes than Chad had with his. I walked away thinking it was a great car. It's also very possible that whoever bought Chad's Mercedes is happy with it after all the work Chad did to it. You just never know with cars. Still, I advised Chad NOT to buy one when it was up for consideration. It just isn't a "budget" car even if you get it for a good price. The S class was the premium Mercedes and it carries a premium price tag for repairs. Same story for any other luxury car. Luxury cars become hard to resist because of their fast depreciation and pimp(ish) good looks but if you don't have a whole lot of cash it maybe a better idea spending $10k on a Camry than the same on a sports/luxury car that costs a fortune to fix and maintain.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-02-11, 11:38 PM
I bet if I bought a '99 LS400 instead of that '99 S320 I would have avoided a lot of expensive repairs...heck I might have never needed to buy the GS...

77CDV
05-03-11, 12:39 AM
^Don't go getting any bright ideas, lad. :D

Lord Cadillac
05-03-11, 10:40 AM
I bet you're right...


I bet if I bought a '99 LS400 instead of that '99 S320 I would have avoided a lot of expensive repairs...heck I might have never needed to buy the GS...

orconn
05-03-11, 12:01 PM
Those who want to believe will believe! I it is how myths are created.

Destroyer
05-03-11, 09:09 PM
I bet if I bought a '99 LS400 instead of that '99 S320 I would have avoided a lot of expensive repairs...heck I might have never needed to buy the GS...
The Lexus is more reliable than a Benz, I don't doubt that. Thing is, as a car gets older and accumulates more miles..........anything goes. I was looking to get an '02-'06 LS430 before I got the '03 Jag. I drove several LS430's and I ran into several that had problems like check engine lights, exhaust leak and yes one rattled and creeked bad enough that I didn't want it. Another one my wife and I drove had some very real suspension issues and an annoying knock on the floorboard from the exhaust. A few also were involved in accidents, so we started looking at other cars again. My wife was pretty much like "Lexus what?" when she saw and drove the XJ8 which is less practical but a whole lot prettier to look at compared to the LS430. I have to admit that I really liked the LS430 and may be the car I get after the Jag. Finding a good example was harder than I thought it would be. So far the Jag has been rock solid reliable though so maybe I just have luck with these European cars? We are taking a 500 mile road trip in the Jaguar this weekend. I grew to trust this car even though all I have done in the last 14k miles or so is simple oil changes. Let's see how this road trip goes.........

Jesda
05-03-11, 10:53 PM
I bet if I bought a '99 LS400 instead of that '99 S320 I would have avoided a lot of expensive repairs...heck I might have never needed to buy the GS...

Maybe, or maybe not. It depends on which particular LS.

An S-class will always cost money to run, an LS -could- cost money to run. As these cars age, they're being driven by their third or fourth owners, some of them college kids or urban dwellers.

OffThaHorseCEO
05-04-11, 10:16 AM
The Lexus is more reliable than a Benz, I don't doubt that. Thing is, as a car gets older and accumulates more miles..........anything goes. I was looking to get an '02-'06 LS430 before I got the '03 Jag. I drove several LS430's and I ran into several that had problems like check engine lights, exhaust leak and yes one rattled and creeked bad enough that I didn't want it. Another one my wife and I drove had some very real suspension issues and an annoying knock on the floorboard from the exhaust. A few also were involved in accidents, so we started looking at other cars again. My wife was pretty much like "Lexus what?" when she saw and drove the XJ8 which is less practical but a whole lot prettier to look at compared to the LS430. I have to admit that I really liked the LS430 and may be the car I get after the Jag. Finding a good example was harder than I thought it would be. So far the Jag has been rock solid reliable though so maybe I just have luck with these European cars? We are taking a 500 mile road trip in the Jaguar this weekend. I grew to trust this car even though all I have done in the last 14k miles or so is simple oil changes. Let's see how this road trip goes.........


Like Orconn said, i think things sometimes get blown out of proportion and mythified. As long as you stay on top of things a european/german (i know, still european)/japanese/american car should all run well and be fairly reliable. if you neglect to repair a small failure on these expensive complex cars, it will probably balloon into a major issue.

but expensive cars arent inherently crappy

Playdrv4me
05-06-11, 04:56 AM
Ok, we are getting way into what if territory here... On the balance, if you find an LS400 with a suitable maitenance history (it doesn't have to be flawless, just regular), the car will reward you with hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles. When things DO break, they may be more costly, but not much more so than say, a 2000 Camry XLE V6. The only mechanical thing to look out for on the 1UZ is the stupid alternator arrangement which is placed directly underneath the power steering pump. As a result, the PS pump will leak right onto the alternator, thereby taking out the alternator in addition to requiring replacement of the PS pump.

As for the LS400 and the LS430... they are two completely different stratas of vehicle. It does not surprise me that Destroyer found so many poor LS430 examples as they are generally recognized as having a poorer build quality and reliability than the 400. They aren't BAD, they just aren't as good as the 400. Like Chad said, those things really are TANKS in every sense of the word. An LS400 is 80 percent S Class without the headaches.

The LS400 is and always will be one of my favorite cars of all time, and I don't particularly give a shit that it's a fancy Toyota.

mhamilton
05-06-11, 12:24 PM
Like Orconn said, i think things sometimes get blown out of proportion and mythified. As long as you stay on top of things a european/german (i know, still european)/japanese/american car should all run well and be fairly reliable. if you neglect to repair a small failure on these expensive complex cars, it will probably balloon into a major issue.

but expensive cars arent inherently crappy

And surprisingly my aunt has a '98 S500 that has had almost no issues. I know she did have to replace the rear shocks and an ignition coil, but that was it. And shocks on a 13 year old car are not an "unreliable car expense." This is with some 90k miles of urban driving.

Not like all of them are bad, and those models did have their issues, but I think the people with problems are more vocal than ones without.