Lexus LS Saloon 2003 - 2006

Lexus LS Saloon 2003 - 2006

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • A refined luxury car
  • Unsurpassed reliability record
  • A quick and capable car

Cons:

  • The interior does look cheaper than seen on the German competitors

Overview

This is the 3rd generation Lexus LS full size luxury sedan. It continues the traditions set by the previous generations and is a big improvement both visually and technically. The Lexus LS is well known for its refinement, quietness and high reliability. Although it doesn't carry the same provenance as the world's most popular luxury cars, the 3rd generation sold over 140,000 units, which is an impressive number for a large luxury sedan with what was considered a limited market share. Although still based on the Toyota Celsior, the new LS was an almost entirely new vehicle sporting a new body shape, new engine, new transmission and a completely reworked suspension.

Exterior and Interior

The first two generations of the Lexus LS might have had traits of a "made-for-Japan" car, but you cannot say the same about the 3rd generation car. It's a really well-built cleverly-designed car with impressive body dimensions and contemporary fascias. After 2003 the model was slightly updated with revised headlamps and an improved 6-speed automatic transmission. The interior is ruled by high quality materials including real walnut veneer and naturally textured leather. It may not be as refined as a Mercedes, but the cabin offers great level of comfort and quality. There are two kit levels available with the LS ‐ Standard and V8. It is slightly conservative in a standard equipment LS, whereas the V8 edition (apparently the name has nothing to do with the engine because even the Standard trim is powered by a V8) pulls all the stops. It offers a micro-climate air conditioner and an air purifier for the rear seats, maybe the V8 version was assumed to be chaufer-driven. Because of the massive suspension assemblies the space at the rear is slightly restricted. However, it will still have plenty of space for 3 passengers and an amazing 575litres of boot space. The Mercedes S Class only manages 500litres.

Performance and Economy

The massive car is capable of a 6-second acceleration and 155mph top speed. Economy-wise, it won't do better than 24mpg, but it's not economy that the Lexus buyers are looking for. The car is still very expensive to buy, even on the used car market and it is certainly expensive to maintain. A used Lexus is often a first-time buy for a person who wants a luxury vehicle. Compared to the competitors it is more affordable as it depreciates quicker than a Mercedes S Class or a BMW Series 7. Just like any other sophisticated car, it is better serviced at an official Lexus dealer, where prices are much higher than at independent service stations.

Like to Drive

The LS is an amazing car to drive. It is very big but it doesn't exhaust the driver. Quick acceleration and dynamic character will make sure you have lots of fun behind the wheel. It is comfortable and the air suspension doesn't translate the road bumps inside the cabin.

Faults and Repairs

The Lexus cars rarely disappear from the top spots of reliability surveys around the world. The LS has been listed as one of the world's most reliable luxury sedans year in year out. The Lexus craftsmen have reached such heights of technical sophistication and execution that they have eliminated many of the possible faults that can occur.