Lexus SC Coupe 2001 - 2009

Lexus SC Coupe 2001 - 2009

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • It is extremely reliable and well built
  • The V8 engine is very powerful, smooth and quick

Cons:

  • It proves to be a rather dull and disappointing drive
  • The back seats are practically useless

Overview

The Lexus SC 430 is a more of a relaxed cruiser than a sporting drive despite its looks. You first notice this when you climb into the cabin which is sumptuous and comfortable despite having sport seats. The handling is rather disappointing as it loses its composure through the corners and over rougher surfaces. Despite having a V8 engine the insulation keeps the engine noise to a low murmur which is rather disappointing especially when the roof is down. The engine is superbly powerful and quick though reaching 60mph in 6.2 seconds. It’s just a pity that the automatic gearbox isn’t as good feeling ponderous. It also isn’t very smooth especially when downshifting.

Exterior and Interior

The Lexus SC 430 comes with a more rounded shape than most Brits are used to from their coupes as it was designed more for the US market. It is far from an ugly car though and it looks good with both the roof up and down. The interior is sumptuous and comfortable as you are surrounded by leather and wood. The sports seats are designed more for comfort and support than for enthusiastic driving though. The back seats are nothing but useless with even children struggling to sit in them comfortably. The best use they provide is for an additional storage area to fit smaller items. The boot is a good size when the roof is up, it is able to hold a couple of suitcases for a week away easily enough and if not there’s always the back seat. With the roof up the boot space drastically reduced to less than half of the normal space and even the weekly shop will be a squeeze to fit in. Everything is clearly laid out on the dash and the central console makes it all easy to read and use. The roof is straightforward and easy to use too as it is fully automatic and you don’t have to unclip any catches before opening or closing it, an action it does in less than 25 seconds. There is only one trim available, but it comes with plenty of kit including sat-nav, alloys, a CD multichanger, climate and cruise control, electric windows and seats, heated seats, headlight washers, leather trim and traction control.

Performance and Economy

The 4.3-litre V8 unit is very smooth and refined cruising effortlessly to 60mph in just 6.2 seconds whilst returning 24mpg. Try and avoid the earlier models as they came with the five-speed sequential automatic gearbox, instead go for the six-speed box instead as it’s a lot smoother especially when downshifting.

Like to Drive

The SC doesn’t provide you with the sporty drive you expect it to as it loses its composure when pushed in the corners with plenty of body roll and you can feel the chassis flexing over bumpy road surfaces. The soft suspension setup also gives it a see-saw effect as the car pitches and dives as you brake and accelerate. It’s good as a relaxed cruiser on the motorway though with very little wind, road and engine noise being heard even with the roof down. The wind deflector in-between the two rear headrests also does a good job of keeping wind buffeting to a minimum. However due to the engines excellent insulation it never sounds as good as you expect it to.

Faults and Repairs

Lexus is known for building practically bullet proof cars, but it’s worth checking all the electrics in the car before hand as there’s a lot of kit that could potentially go wrong. We would also advise going for the newer models that received a revised front end and alloy wheels in 2006, which all make the car much more appealing to look at. The final thing to check is the roof. Make sure it goes up and down smoothly and when it’s closed that it fits snuggly. Also make sure that it goes up and down in under 25 seconds each way. Finally, don’t settle for a car that doesn’t have a full service history as even the most reliable of cars is likely to start suffering from problems if not cared for. Servicing costs for SC 430 are not too bad as they’ll be carried out by Toyota (Lexus’ parent company) and their hourly rates are low. Repairs are likely to prove costly though.