1997 Lexus LS 400 from North America


Nothing has gone wrong with the car.

General Comments:

Nearly all comments on this car have been positive. A couple have said it is boring and to this I must agree. But it is safe and seemingly reliable transportation. I guess if you want exciting, a BMW might be more your style.

My only gripe with the LS400 is in regard to comfort. Most will say that it is a comfortable car, but honestly, I feel more comfortable in my 86 Nissan 720 pickup. One problem is, where do you put your hand or arm when cruising down the highway. Especially your left arm. Putting the seat back a comfortable distance for your legs leaves the armrest for your left arm too far forward. And, my legs are average length for my 5'11", 185 lb frame.

One of the things I enjoy doing on a long road trip is lowering the driver's side window and placing my arm on the window ledge during nice weather. This is uncomfortable with the Lexus, as the center post is too far forward to allow for a comfortable position for my left arm.

I thought the seats were comfortable when I bought the car at the beginning of the winter. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the seats seemed to comform to the temperature of my back during the cold weather without the heated seats. Probably due to excellent insulation in the seats I thought. However, this blessing in the winter has turned out to be a negative in warmer weather, as the seats always feel hot on my back, necessitating using the AC. This is true, even on days when it is in only the 60s.

Lastly, the cabin, near the feet and calves, always seems hot, even on days in the lower 60's. Thus you have to fiddle around with the AC, vents, mode and so on to get a comfortable temperature. Again, my truck is more comfortable in all these regards, so it is not like I am really a nitpicker. The car is genuinely uncomfortable.

In summary, I must say regrettably, this is not a car I would want to take on a long road trip. It is just not comfortable to me. Check out these points for yourself if you look at one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th April, 2011

30th Jul 2011, 01:21

I wrote the review above, and have a couple of other comments now that I have driven the car about 5,000 miles.

The first is, I don't like the transmission. If you stomp on the gas to pass at certain speeds, it goes into too low a gear to be at the car's optimum power band. In other words, the car just doesn't have anywhere near the power you would expect at that time. In fact it is unexpectedly sluggish, which could get you into trouble while you are passing until you get used to the car. Incidentally, I have glanced at the tach during these times, and it doesn't go into the red zone. It goes up to the RPMs you would expect.

Secondly, the car does not have all the bells and whistles that others seem so pleased about. I compare it to our Mercury Grand Marquis, and the car comes up short. My biggest complaint is the Lexus does not have a compass. It also does not have nearly as large a trunk, does not shed additional light to the side when you turn on the blinker, no touchpad entry, not as comfortable, and no MPG calculator on the dash to name a few things.

A few last points. The car had a complete dealer maintenance history when I bought it with around 95k. It looked to be in pristine condition. It appears to run fine. Gets good gas mileage, about like the Grand Marquis. It was never wrecked, always garaged.

I have already written about the car not being that comfortable in terms of driving position and cabin temperature maintenance. This, and my observations above, makes me wonder why almost everyone praises this car? Have we been brainwashed to adopt the favoritism toward Japanese cars that the automotive press seems to possess? The Lexus LS400 is okay, but certainly not deserving of the almost unmitigated praise some seem inclined to give it.

10th Aug 2011, 00:21

Why would I want to sell or trade my '97 Ls400 coach edition? At 156k I can't hear the engine or feel the car vibrate at all at idle.

Engage the ECT button and you should get 0-60 in 7 seconds or less. It handles lane changes and turns well enough for most average non sports car drivers.

It is so quiet and comfortable to drive. I have rented Town Cars, Grand Marks, Crown Vics, and Infinitis etc when on vacation, and there have been times that I felt I might change cars, but when I get back into my LS at the airport and pull out on the highway, I am glad to keep what I have.

I have been told and have read that "you own one of the best all around (near?) Luxury cars on the road." I hate the trunk size, and wish it had fold down rear seats and a compass, and more of a radio and better arm rests, but change for the sake of change is not worth it to me.

BTW, when it comes out of the detail room, it still turns a few heads!!

1997 Lexus LS 400 Coach Edition 4.0 from North America


Smooth operator!


Nothing wrong yet. The only down side to the LS400 is the headunit/stereo configuration. I'm sure in '97, the Nakimichi sound system was great, but now it sounds a little old. I'm currently looking for a replacement, but would like to keep the clean stock appearance.

General Comments:

Here's the deal, and why I'm posting today. I have been searching for the last couple of weeks for a replacement for my convertible Mustang. I'm a big guy who was looking for a car that I could pay cash for, and would be reliable. After searching for a few weeks, and at a suggestion from a friend, I stopped looking at Cadillacs, Grand Marquis and Lincolns, and looked at Avalon/Lexus line-up. First thing I did was check Carsurvey.org for reviews, and that helped immensely. The only problem was, I didn't see too many big people leave posts, and wanted to help other people in my position.

I'm a big guy, so the car needed to be roomy, functional, fun to drive and have a moon roof. So, I went to a local used car retailer and sat in a few different models. I did find that for me at 6'2" and near the 500 mark, and healing from a back injury, most were a tight fit or uncomfortable, mostly due to shoulder width where the "B" pillars start curving in at that roof line. As I'm sliding in and out of cars, I tried an Avalon and a Lexus LS430. Both were comfortable, but the Lexus was a better fit, but I didn't want to spend $18,000 during these troubled economic times. To my amazement, I actually found one.

After calling several private owners, I finally found one who didn't sell theirs prior to my calling them. It would seem that the LS400 is a sought after vehicle, and only stays on the market a short time in South Florida.

I bought mine at 120000 miles for $7000 cash, and it already had the timing belt and other high mileage service performed. Since titling it, the car has driven unlike anything I have ridden in before, with the exception of an S430; smooth rolling, quiet, and when needed, with pep. The interior was immaculate, and the exterior was just as good, with only very minor dings. The silver jade metallic paint seems to be as nice as the day it was bought new. Seating for me was pretty comfortable, with my only complaint being that my lower back has issues, and the seat itself was a bit small (both of which shouldn't be an issue after my back is fixed), but not particularly the seat's fault.

After 13 years, the Coach Leather (to my surprise) has held up very well, with no cracks or wear. The engine has just a slight movement to it, and transmission is very smooth, with shifting almost being imperceptible. I am really impressed with the vehicle overall, and it pains me to say that as a big believer in Ford. If my initial impressions hold true for the next 60,000 miles, I will be one very happy camper.

If you can find one, that has been taken care of and you are thinking of getting it, you should. I will update after I put some real mileage on, and let you know more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2011

2nd Jun 2011, 16:20

Thank you for the great lead up. Please keep us informed!