1998 Lexus LS 400 4.0 petrol

Summary:

OK, but a well-sorted 1st generation is just as good, even if it's looking dated now

Faults:

Front lower balljoint, which was bad when I got the car.

Some backlighting bulbs blown on the temperature displays, which are very time-consuming to change. This is deliberately obstructive design.

General Comments:

This review is perhaps more of a comparison with the UCF10 Mk2 (1994), A.K.A. UCF11. The car has been completely redesigned. There's not much in common with the 1990-94 (the door handles being one exception)!

Lots of people say this car is a step up from the 1st generation. In some ways that is true, in others, not so.

Performance and handling are outstanding. Acceleration and cornering are much improved. The ride is tighter, yet supple (on standard coil springs). Downside: This one has an interference engine.

Corrosion protection is clearly much more effective. This 19-year-old car has no rust at all.

Comfort is better in that the seats are softer, but for a while the base of the driver's seat back seemed intrusive, no matter what adjustments I made.

A/C is much better.

Noise is on a par. Not much improvement here.

Interior trim is much more modern, but there is evidence of cost cutting in places. For example, the door stays no longer have a cap to conceal the pin. (And why doesn't the CD player flap have the same type of handle as the glovebox? Ridiculous!) The cupholders are worse. Not only are they of much cheaper (black) plastic, they are also too wide and with no gripping flap - meaning that a bottle of water just falls over.

It's possible to pop the trunk lid with the engine running - a new feature - which has its uses (but also its dangers).

Many options can be reconfigured in software, but this will not be accessible to many people. The power tilt & telescope, and all-windows-down on the remote might be features you'll want turned off!

The touchscreen audio/navigation system is a frustration and a potential distraction. The original was way better. Here, it's multiple presses just to change the EQ settings, and likewise to turn down the navigation volume - the main volume control being for audio only. You could operate the previous system by feel - whilst still watching the road; this one you can't. FM reception still sounds muffled, presumably due to US-standard de-emphasis. The power antenna goes up even when listening to a CD - which was not the case on the gen1.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th July, 2017