1999 Lexus LS 400 UCF20 0014905 4.0 V8 from Australia and New Zealand
Beautiful luxury car, but be very careful on your purchase, especially the import ones
Cam-belt replaced at 85,000 Kms, which is not very good for the car of this level. I might be an unlucky person to buy a bad secondhand car. But my other cars (some are secondhand) show much better results (my secondhand Accord from Japan had the belt changed at 90,000, my two Volvo 960 changed at 100,000km, and my S80 changed at 110,000 km).
This car gave me a real nightmare on the steering rack. It leaked oil like a fountain. The oil leaked 6 months after I purchased this vehicle. The steering wheel was locked and the car could not move at all. The mechanics tried to fix the racks on three occasions, each time taking a week or more. However, they were unable to locate the problem, and finally the whole rack needed to be replaced at my expense (it cost me $6,000 to replace a rack + $1,000 for the three previous visits). Unfortunately, the fluid is still leaking from times to times.
The water pump was out of order at 70,000 Km. It makes a sound like I am driving a steam locomotive. This is terrible, and it took mechanics three days to fix it. Thanks to Lexus, I have to take a bus to work nearly 30 times since I owned this diabolic vehicle.
The VVTi problem makes the car shake like a Magnitude 8 earthquake. The mechanic was unable to locate the problem at first. They presumed that the car was running out of some fluid, and billed me $200.00. After paying that bill, the car still had the same problem, and they fixed the VVTi for me at the cost of $550.00 (they never confessed that their first $200 bill was their own mistake for being unable to locate the fault).
The remote key was broken. So, I ordered a new one in for $1,000. Unfortunately, the Lexus dealer was unable to code the key successfully. So, they decided to move the unit within my old key to a new one, while my new $1,000 key can be use manually. (I am uncertain whether my car is a real lemon, or the mechanics who work at the Lexus dealer are not that good, since they were unable to detect the problem on some occasions).
The car is very thirsty. I paid around $140 for full tank of petrol and it only drives 390-420 Kms. I only drive my car within the city, and that is not considered good fuel economy by anyone's standard (my old Volvo took me nearly 500 Km for a full tank).
Since owning this car, I have replaced the rings for steering rack a dozen times.
The Lexus is not that cheap to maintain as well. The Lexus always costs me $500 per year for servicing alone, and that is on a par with my Jaguar XJR ($500), and even more expensive than my Volvo S80 ($400).
The wires of the speaker need to be reworked. However, I give credit to Lexus Service staff as they did that for me without any additional charge. However, the very same mechanic give me a piece of advice that the cars imported from Singapore gave plenty of problems, and he told me clearly that even though he is a mechanic himself, he will not buy any Singapore imports, regardless how cheap they are in the market, because it is not worth his time and money to fix them.
The fluid leak got me in the habit of checking my car on daily basis, whether the car has another fluid leak again or not. The worst one occurred on 23 December 2005, while I am planning to take my family for a week long holiday in Queenstown. The fluid leaked right before we departed, and instead of driving my car down south, I had to drive the car to a Lexus service center instead. To make the matter even worst, the Service center was closed for Christmas and New Year. So, they could not fix my car until after the 3 January. So, we ended up have to cancel the trip because of one damn car. Since I owned this Lexus, I never taken my family on any holiday at all.
I might be an unlucky person among the other reviewers. I ended up purchasing a Lexus Lemon which gave me a diabolic reliability, and a shocking experience.
I acknowledge that the brand new car might be very durable and reliable, as I have a friend who owns a LS430 (UCF30), and he has been very happy with his car. However, I am unable to rate this vehicle based on my friends experience, as my one is the other way round.
I bought the car when it was 4 years old, and had done 55,000 Km. The car came from Singapore (which might be one of the reason that caused me to have a tragic experience of owning a Lexus). All of my horrible experience is listed above.
The good part of Lexus is the feather light steering that assists me in every corner, and the turning is awesome.
The Lexus service agent is amazingly nice and helpful. They are very friendly and helpful. Still, I have a few issues with the mechanics who were unable to locate the faults of my cars (but still charge me for their work).
Furthermore, the loan car from Lexus was always a Toyota Corolla (I only got a Lexus IS250 and RX330 for loan cars in two occasions, while my other 10+ visits I either left without a loan car, or have to take a bus or Toyota Corolla), while I always got Volvo S40 or Jaguar X-Type for a loan car at Volvo centers.
The personal air conditioning and rear seat package are real gems. I love them; the only down side of the car is that it did not have any heated seats (I heard NZ New version has one, and this is one of the reasons to avoid import cars).
My comment is that if you cannot afford a new Lexus, at least try to buy a NZ New (I cannot guarantee that it will be good though; the reason I recommend NZ New is based on my friend's happy experience).
But avoid all import cars, as I ended up paying $12,000 for fixing the problems with this car. There is no such thing as a cheaper way to get into luxury, but rather an easy way to get into expensive poverty. Any second hand with import history should be avoided, and any without ongoing service history with the dealer should be avoided as well (it is expensive to service with the dealer, but the truth remains that the mechanics at the dealer have little idea how to locate the faults, if the car has no service record with authorised Lexus dealers in the country).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 1st August, 2007
5th Aug 2007, 16:28
I have had problems with a 1999 Lexus LS400 imported from Singapore, including with the power steering rack at 100,000 K .Fortunately, I had taken out mechanical insurance with the AA, which paid the NZ$6,000 this problem cost to repair. I can recommend this to anyone. The cost is about $1,200 for three years and now there is no excess.I would now not buy any second-hand "luxury" car without this insurance
My Lexus mechanic told me that Singapore imports have more problems than NZ-new models.
Having said this, I am very pleased with the comfort, performance and ride of the car. The stereo is first-class.