By on August 16, 2016

2013 Lexus GS350

Mike writes:

If you were shopping for a reliable, full featured, cheap to own, and generally “good” car, why would you not get a Lexus? I’ve been struggling with this question for the better part of a year now.

The problem: I need a car I’ll drive every single day in God-awful urban traffic. There’s little to no fun had behind the wheel in congestion. No using the sporting personality of whatever machine I’m operating. The only reasons I want a Lexus are for the comfort and peace of mind that come with one, along with working AC and a great stereo that’ll truly brings out the subtleties in Jad Abumrad’s diphthongs. Since I can’t afford nor really want a brand new car, I’ve been looking at used.

I’m really trying to decide why I shouldn’t just get a 2008-ish Lexus IS350 and call it a day. Maybe because I can’t decide between the IS and the GS, as if a bit more space and a few more features wouldn’t be a bad thing, right? (And the upgraded Mark Levinson system, of course.) Let’s set sights on the previous-generation Lexus GS350. (The LS is out of my price range, and I’m also not feeling that old just yet.)

I’ve read reviews of the mid-size RWD luxury cars when they were new. All the comparisons put the 5 Series, E-Class, A6, and even the XF ahead of the tarted up Toyota. But 10 years on, is steering feel worth more than “will never break” or “won’t cost you $200 for each labor hour when it does break because all cars eventually break”?

Talk me out of this. And don’t argue “it’s a boring old man’s car,” because I really don’t care. I’m friggin 41. I am an old man. Moreover, I estimate that of the 10 to 12 hours I spend in the car each week, 90 percent of it will be at an average speed below 20 mph, although there are often times the GS350’s 0-60 sprint capabilities would very much come in handy.

Besides, I have enough “not boring” with my project Alfa GTV6. Even when it’s broken, which is often, it’s exciting. So there.

I’ve come to bury the Lexus GS, not to praise it. You want me to talk you out of a GS? Pssshhh. No problem.

First things first. I’m the rillest. No, wait, sorry, where was I? Oh yes, the GS. The easiest way to talk you out of a GS or an IS is to realize that the Lexus you want is actually the LS.

All the things you say you want in a Lexus are available in exponentially higher quantities in the LS than in the GS. Comfortable ride in traffic? Check. More space? Chiggy check. Better stereo? Microphone checka, one-two-checka. And at this point, the price difference between the GS and LS is negligible. In fact, according to my last search, LS models from ’06 and ’07 with low miles are well below $15,000.

You say you’re not that old? Pssshhh again. There are younger and hipper people than you driving LSes, and they’re being used for nearly exactly the same purpose you’ve described.

Besides, the GS is pretty much the definition of a poseur car. It’s not really the best at anything, is it? With the GS, Lexus tried to copy a 5 Series Bimmer and failed. With the LS, Lexus copied the S-Class and made a better mousetrap — at least when it comes to reliability. The LS has become an icon. The GS has become lot poison, destined to lose each and every comparison test between its origination and the end of time.

But you did say that you wanted that quick 0-60 time of the GS now and then, so there’s your reason to get it. Oh wait — no, it isn’t. The GS and LS are pretty much identical.

So, you’re wrong, you should choose a Lexus — but you should just choose a different one. Go LS shopping, and you’ll be glad you did.

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140 Comments on “Ask Bark Brief: Talk Me Out of the Lexus I Want...”

  • avatar

    I see Lexus IS250 all the time here in Los Angeles traffic , I know _nothing_ about Lexus but wonder if this is their entry level Sedan that’s fine to daily slogging ? .

    • 0 avatar

      Yes that’s entry level for Lexus, and there are a lot of them in San Diego too. They’re about the same length and width of a FWD Corolla, but RWD and a longer wheelbase, with a V6, and quite a bit more upscale. A former co-worker has one and looked at the equivalent Mercedes CLA with the turbo-4 and shorter wheelbase, and decided to stick with the IS250. Either the 3-point star doesn’t impress everybody, or the CLA has developed a poseur reputation.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you .
        I’ve been trying to read between the lines and I gathered as much ~ it’s a perfectly good commuter car unless you need to stand out in a big , fast , showy car commuting doesn’t necessarily need .

  • avatar

    “Let’s set sights on the previous-generation Lexus GS350. (The LS is out of my price range, and I’m also not feeling that old just yet.)”

    What’s your price range? An LS is a decent buy because no matter what the snooty dealer tells you these things drop like a rock and few traditional customers want them used. But unlike nearly everything “luxury”, the LS is not junk to own. Not knocking GS but if I had the choice between the two at similar money, LS me up.

    MY12 Lexus LS460 SWB RWD

    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $33,000 16,467 Above SILVER 8G A Yes
    07/18/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $26,800 68,143 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
    07/07/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $28,200 51,394 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
    07/04/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $27,000 54,840 Avg SILVER 8G A Yes
    06/28/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $28,500 59,893 Avg SILVER 8G A Yes
    06/09/16 Manheim Daytona Beach Regular $27,000 87,597 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes

    MY12 Lexus LS460 SWB AWD

    07/22/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $33,800 25,237 Above BLACK 8G A Yes
    08/10/16 Manheim California Regular $28,500 30,825 Avg GOLD 8G A No
    08/12/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $28,750 59,126 Avg SILVER 8G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Chicago Regular $31,500 64,299 Avg Gold 8CY A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $28,750 71,623 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Nashville Regular $21,500 103,291 Below BLACK 8G A Yes

    MY13 Lexus GS350 RWD

    08/02/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $27,250 12,718 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/28/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $26,500 17,138 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/28/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $26,500 19,533 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/18/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $23,500 19,922 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    07/25/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $28,600 21,095 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $26,000 22,104 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $25,125 22,342 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/18/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $26,500 22,562 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $27,200 23,101 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/10/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $25,500 23,104 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $24,125 23,136 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/18/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $25,500 23,233 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $26,125 23,289 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    07/27/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $28,000 23,808 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $25,825 24,198 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Georgia Regular $25,000 24,388 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $28,225 25,890 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
    07/25/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $31,100 26,204 Above WHITE 6G A No
    08/15/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $25,000 26,257 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    07/25/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $26,600 26,381 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $23,025 26,848 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $26,000 27,658 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim California Lease $27,250 28,084 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $28,300 28,655 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $24,300 29,067 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $25,000 29,309 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $22,000 29,324 Below RED 6G A No
    08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $29,600 29,382 Above BLACK 6G A No
    07/25/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $26,000 29,635 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $25,025 29,935 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $26,250 30,011 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Lease $25,200 30,205 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $26,500 30,416 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $22,000 30,918 Below GOLD 6G A No
    08/10/16 Manheim Dallas Regular $27,750 31,075 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $23,425 31,312 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $24,500 31,397 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/29/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $25,300 31,436 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $23,500 31,755 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $27,750 32,541 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/27/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $24,500 33,120 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $26,300 33,204 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $25,000 33,719 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $27,225 33,858 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $24,725 33,877 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $24,500 34,450 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $24,500 34,999 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $24,025 35,036 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    07/22/16 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $25,000 35,345 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $25,500 35,630 Avg GOLD 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $24,125 35,984 Avg BROWN 6G A Yes
    08/03/16 Manheim Dallas Regular $25,000 36,056 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $24,400 36,264 Avg OBSIDIAN 6G A Yes
    07/27/16 Manheim California Regular $28,500 36,645 Above Silver 6CY A No
    07/18/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $27,600 36,822 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $26,000 37,095 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/25/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $23,600 38,751 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $21,700 38,935 Below BLUE 6G A No
    08/01/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $23,725 39,362 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $24,100 40,344 Avg MAROON 6G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $24,000 40,958 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $24,925 41,146 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/26/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $23,000 41,506 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $24,000 43,099 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/10/16 Manheim California Regular $24,000 44,942 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/08/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $22,325 45,152 Below SILVER 6G A Yes
    07/25/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $22,000 45,208 Below BROWN 6G A Yes
    08/03/16 Manheim California Regular $22,500 45,610 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/01/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $24,100 46,498 Avg GOLD 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $25,100 47,196 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/02/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $23,600 47,464 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $22,750 47,702 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $23,100 47,786 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $23,500 48,075 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/28/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $23,250 48,589 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $24,800 48,989 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $24,100 50,307 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/12/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $24,750 50,501 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/10/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $25,750 51,839 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/12/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $24,500 51,843 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/10/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $25,200 52,113 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $23,100 52,204 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $22,800 52,414 Below GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/02/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $23,000 53,955 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Tampa Lease $21,800 54,933 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/11/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $25,100 54,938 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $23,100 55,660 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/02/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $22,200 57,167 Below GRAY 6G A Yes
    08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $25,000 58,920 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/19/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $25,400 59,323 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/26/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $23,000 61,739 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/04/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $23,500 62,988 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    07/20/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $23,900 66,377 Avg RED 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Nashville Lease $24,200 68,888 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    07/28/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $21,000 69,315 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
    08/02/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $21,200 78,181 Below SILVER 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $20,100 88,726 Below BLACK 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Riverside Factory $21,000 90,225 Below BLACK 6G A Yes
    07/21/16 Manheim Southern California Regular $18,750 97,016 Below GOLD 6G A Yes
    08/15/16 Manheim Riverside Factory $21,700 117,175 Below WHITE 6G A No

    • 0 avatar

      I second that one, 28. The LS is terrific.

    • 0 avatar

      Not actually intending to buy one; damn happy with my new Mustang. But what are prices like on the LWB LS’s? Just curious.

      • 0 avatar

        Heres the LWB, seems to add a few ticks:

        MY12 Lexus LS460 LWB RWD

        04/26/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $42,400 16,940 Above WHITE 8G A No
        06/22/16 Manheim California Regular $34,750 22,761 Avg GRAY 8G A Yes
        05/18/16 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $37,250 34,738 Above BLACK 8G A Yes
        04/26/16 Manheim Georgia Lease $32,000 40,995 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
        07/13/16 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $32,000 48,349 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
        06/23/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $31,600 59,566 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
        07/14/16 Manheim Southern California Regular $17,000 122,763 Below BLACK 8G A Yes

  • avatar

    But Bark, you didn’t even mention his dilemma between the IS and GS. What about the IS?

    • 0 avatar

      I think that he doesn’t really want an IS at all based on the features he listed.

    • 0 avatar

      What would you like to know about the IS, aside from “a pizza delivery kid in his mom’s Accord will flat out lay waste to one”?

      The IS250 was a dog. The 350 was better, but it’s rare around here (no AWD in the last generation, which is a No Sale in Denver).

      • 0 avatar

        Not to mention, if the IS driver for some reason decided to race the pizza delivery kid, with the pizza as the prize, and the kid stalled out and the IS won, the IS wouldn’t be able to fit the pizza boxes.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        His Mom’s Accord is likely a 4-cylinder with auto, so no, it won’t. If it’s the V6 Accord then it certainly will, but it will also humiliate the 4 cylinder TSX and TLX that are also underpowered for being entry level luxury sports sedans. And the Audi A3 1.8, and BMW 320i, Infiniti Q50 200t. Probably goes to show that 0-60 isn’t the primary metric by which many of these cars are sold.

        But yes, the IS250 is underpowered for my tastes and the carbon buildup issues would scare me away regardless.

        • 0 avatar

          +1, 30-mile fetch. The XE30 IS is a stylistic downgrade from the XE20, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I’d choose the XE30 because of the base power plant: more punch and less worry about carbon because of the dual injection.

          I drove a borrowed NX 200t on a 700-mile road trip, and I think the 8AR-FTS is a good engine. Plenty of power when I needed it, and I got a measured 29 mpg in highway driving. It does have a slight vibration at idle that its V6 siblings don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Agreed on the styling, the last generation IS was a very tasteful and respectable design in and out. I adore the seats in the new one, though, they are supremely comfortable and supportive, and the additional backseat room is very much noticeable. Good to hear about the 2.0turbo–I haven’t tried it. Published reviews haven’t been very kind but the power delivery has to be an improvement over the peaky 2.5 V6.

  • avatar

    28- how would prices of a 2010 or later XF compare?

    I think the interior is a very comfortable place to be, AC and stereo is good, so all the boxes are checked. The cars with the 5.0 are reliable too, although I don’t know if as good as an LS; I have no data on the LS.

    • 0 avatar

      The Jag XF might be a safe haven due to longer production life, but personally I’d step back to MY07 and get the XJ (X350). The Lexus LS after MY10 is probably the most solid luxury car available to tasteful and well discriminating proles.

      MY10 Jaguar XF (no package specified)

      08/09/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $13,500 63,266 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
      08/04/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $14,500 65,991 Above BLACK 8G A Yes
      07/28/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $13,750 77,794 Above SILVER 8G A Yes
      08/09/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $10,750 82,560 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
      08/10/16 Manheim California Lease $12,300 84,691 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
      07/22/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $12,300 86,229 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
      07/26/16 Manheim Houston Lease $12,200 86,898 Avg GREEN 8G A Yes
      07/28/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $10,300 93,002 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
      08/01/16 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $8,300 93,848 Below BLACK 8G A No
      08/05/16 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $11,600 94,374 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
      07/28/16 Manheim Darlington Regular $12,700 95,245 Avg GRAY 8G A Yes
      07/29/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $11,900 95,946 Avg WHITE 8G A Yes
      08/02/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $9,000 101,349 Below GREY 8G A Yes
      08/04/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $5,900 131,014 Below GREY 8G A Yes

      MY10 Jaguar XJL Supercharged (X351?)

      01/18/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $29,500 19,221 Avg Blue 8G A No
      12/03/15 Manheim Mississippi Regular $27,800 79,309 Avg BLACK 8G A No
      10/23/14 Manheim Riverside Lease $34,000 28,573 Avg GREY 8G A No

      • 0 avatar

        True, the X350 (the 04-09 XJ8) is an excellent cruiser and bulletproof. Truly Lexus levels of reliability.

        • 0 avatar

          Really? I’m looking for a big cruiser for my next car.

          And of course the ol’ Jag paranoia strikes when I consider cars like this. I see XJs depreciate like mad, but if I could get half-decent reliability in one, I would consider it.

          • 0 avatar

            Those models tied with Lexus for the #1 position in reliability in the JD Power survey. Think whatever you will of JD Power, but my Jag mechanic says that about the only thing that ever goes wrong is occasional leaks from the air suspension, and that’s an easy fix.

          • 0 avatar

            I’d be interested in a clean X350, the thing I’d remember is though you need to be running primary/secondary driving setup IMO. This isn’t to say the X350 Jag isn’t reliable (heck one did 205K in Cali) but its an older luxury car and I would not depend on it 24/7/365 to get my butt into work. Personally I would augment it with something cheap and uber reliable. In my own stable I have a final year Z-body Saturn for this purpose.

            MY07 Jaguar XJ8 (style: xj8)

            07/21/16 Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth Regular $6,100 53,737 Avg RED 8G A No
            07/05/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Lease $5,600 93,199 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
            02/04/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $12,000 69,374 Above WHITE 8G A Yes
            02/04/16 Manheim Palm Beach Lease $4,100 145,187 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
            01/05/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $9,200 82,764 Above GREEN 8G A Yes
            12/30/15 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $6,000 145,186 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes

            MY07 Jaguar XJ8 (style: LWB)

            07/28/16 Manheim Phoenix Regular $8,200 82,471 Avg GOLD 8G A Yes
            07/06/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $9,700 88,171 Above WHITE 8G A Yes
            06/08/16 Manheim California Regular $3,000 205,105 Below SILVER 8G A No
            05/31/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $4,500 106,245 Below GRAY 8G A Yes
            04/27/16 Manheim Statesville Regular $7,800 109,707 Avg BLUE 8G A Yes
            04/27/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $6,600 107,084 Avg GREY 8G A Yes

        • 0 avatar

          “True, the X350 (the 04-09 XJ8) is an excellent cruiser and bulletproof. Truly Lexus levels of reliability.”

          Let’s not overdo it. It’s bulletproof (for a Jaguar). That puts it somewhere between a Galant and a Cadillac STS.

          • 0 avatar

            I dont think I could ever commute reliably in a Jag. They are beautiful cars, but after seeing several newer models on the side of the expressway with their flashers blinking, one would logically think their reliability remains subpar.

            The X350 would make an excellent weekend cruiser though…

          • 0 avatar

            Mr. Alex (former writer here) had one, and he said something about spending $4,000+ annually just on maintenance.

          • 0 avatar

            The XF is #4 in luxury sedans with 2 Lexus, and 1 Mercury above it


            The XJ is showing very reliable since 2006

      • 0 avatar

        YES – the X350 is a wonderful, dead reliable, gorgeous car (especially in BRG). It is my intention to own another one.

  • avatar

    If you want space and comfort in heavy traffic, the IS is the wrong Lexus for you. So, in all likelihood, is the GS. Both cars but especially the IS are a bit cramped inside, and the IS doesn’t ride particularly well. Either step up to the LS or save a bit of money and go for the FWD ES, which is roomier and more comfortable than the GS even as it’s much less fun to drive.

    I have a 2008 LS which I bought used a bit over a year ago with 44k miles. Now it has 49k. I had to replace the front control arms, a known weak spot on pre-2011 LSes (fixed on 2011 and up) and an expensive job. Now that that’s done (with fixed parts), I expect it to live for a while on a diet of oil, brake pads, and tires. There is absolutely no better car for sitting in traffic.

    • 0 avatar

      What are your thoughts on the wannabe Lexus CT whatever?

      • 0 avatar

        It’s a Prius with more interior goodies and slightly better sound insulation. If that appeals to you, great. It won’t appeal to most enthusiasts.

        The lack of a Camry Hybrid-powered CT300h was a lost opportunity for Lexus. That one could have lived up to the promises the styling made.

        • 0 avatar

          My job situation is changing and it looks like I have to join the great unwashed in a commute type situation (*shakes fist at the sky*). Initially I am making no automotive moves but in the future I may assuming the new job happens and holds.

          • 0 avatar

            Good luck, 28.

          • 0 avatar

            Good luck at the new gig!

            I think right now if I had to get a car as a pure day-to-day commuter it would probably be either a new C-Max on lease or, if I wanted to keep it longer, a purchase of a new Camry or Accord Hybrid depending on budget (the Accord is significantly more expensive in the real world). Used prices on late-model hybrids are just hard to stomach.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, it’s easy to get used to telecommuting.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks guys


            C-max hmmmmm, had not occurred to me – but isn’t that a plug in? Probably cheaper and easier to operate my two newer (and paid for) ICEs than to jump into a payment, but I think as my state continues into eventual financial failure incidental taxes (such as fuel) will continue to climb. I noticed the CT claimed 46mpg and could be had under 20K on the block, which is why I asked. 10K miles / 21mpg avg of the two cars (19mpg and 25mpg in theory) is 454gal * 2.30 is $1045 (and this is on the low end as I doubt fuel will be allowed to be cheaper here). So I save over half of this figure with something like the CT, and savings climb with fuel prices in the future.


            Most jobs let you do that somewhat but I’m not sure about this one. Final interview is Friday. Where I work now is literally three miles away so for them I haven’t been telecommuting.

          • 0 avatar


            The C-Max is either Hybrid or Plug in Hybrid. Although with the current federal tax credit, the C-Max Energi (plugin) is awfully close to the C-Max (hybrid) in price.

            I looked at one for my wife when we were replacing her Honda Fit. Nice, but I couldn’t sell her on it. And I was disappointed in the lack of a subwoofer even in the top trims and the lack of a real sunroof. The panoramic roof is fixed.

          • 0 avatar



          • 0 avatar

            if your commute is less than say 20-25 miles and you’ve got another car, think about a leaf or something like that. wife’s got one and turns out sound deadening doesn’t matter at 25-30mph rush hour; you might be able to get your company to put in a charger, and the the operating costs are $0. maintenance is $0 and even charging at home is cheap… if you’ve got aregular commute its a really viable option.

          • 0 avatar

            I cannot picture a 28CL in a LEAF.

    • 0 avatar

      In the early 1980s, I commuted in a 1963 Chrysler Newport with dents, rust, faded paint, and a big crease in the middle of the front bumper (a previous owner must have fought a freight car, and the freight car lost). I just picked a lane and drove serenely where I was going. The Mercedes, BMWs and Jags kept their distance and moved out of the way when I changed lanes. When I got to my destination, nobody parked near my car. It was wonderful, until gas prices went up and 9 mpg became too expensive.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The IS is snug. If you want to commute in a cockpit it’s a very nice cockpit, but I’d want something a bit bigger.

    Reviews I’ve read of the prior gen GS350 suggest it isn’t as sporty a sedan as some of the competition, but it isn’t a soft LS either. There is going to be a significant flavor difference between the GS and LS in both driving character and styling/appearance, so I’d try them both and see what you like better. Just because the GS isn’t the “best” at any one thing doesn’t mean you won’t love it for your intended purpose. “Poseur”? “Lot Poison”? Please..

  • avatar

    I actually looked at both the GS and LS (used) when shopping for my ride, and while I ended up getting neither, there’s no question that I would choose to go for a slightly older LS as between the two. It’s just a terrific luxury sedan.

  • avatar

    Just out of future curiosity, what is the best Lexus for about $40K if one *is* very interested in the sporting personality of the machine?

  • avatar

    As long as you just want reliable dead-silent transportation, and you aren’t going to be looking at it for any extended amount of time, I guess a Lexus isn’t all that bad.

  • avatar

    I know the feeling. I’m 44 and looking at LaCroix a lot lately. Opposite of urban traffic though. I’m stuck in the sticks for a bit, it’s 2 hours to any airport and civilization, on boring straight roads mostly. Lots of retirees around, so Lacrosse, MKZ, Verano around.

    • 0 avatar

      What about a Lincoln MKS, or a Taurus SHO? If my market is anything to go by, at the asking price of an ’08ish GS, you’d be in the realm of a ’10-’11 MKS with significantly lower mileage.

      Other than that, just anything with adaptive cruise control.

    • 0 avatar

      A 2014 LaCrosse with Driver Convenience 2 or 2013 XTS Platinum, both having Adaptive Cruise Control, is the cat’s meow when it comes to heavy traffic filled freeways. But both are still in the low-to-mid $20’s.

  • avatar

    Get the GS. Plenty of room for rear facing carseats. Gets 30mpg on roadtrips and soaks up the miles. Super isolated for daily commute. 300hp is plenty when the kid in the civic tries to pass you at the light. Oil changes and new tires is essentially the list of maintenance over the past 5 years.

  • avatar

    I bought an old LS. In stop and go traffic I push the button by the shifter to put it in “ect snow” mode. It changes the gas pedal mapping, so even a clumsy guy like myself can drive smoothly.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Actually, the *current* GS has garnered excellent reviews (especially in 450h guise). The previous one is a little bland to be a sport sedan, but it won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road the way a 5-Series or A6 will.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I’m not sure I get the hate for the GS. The 450H would be my ultimate long distance commuter.

    • 0 avatar

      I logged in to agree with this. By my recollection, the reviews painted the GS as a better 5 series than the 5 series, especially in the steering department. I much prefer the interior design of the GS to anything else in its class and daydreamed of ordering one in the baseball glove shade. I felt that the GS was really let down by its exterior design – flashy front end with everything aft downright drab and generic. And that was before the refresh where they grafted on the grotesque Predator grill.

      The prior gen GS is about as exciting as rice pudding though. Solid Lexus build quality with no sense of delight anywhere else. I once had the misfortune of doing a 2hr sightseeing trip sitting three across in the back of one of those. The seat shape was especially uncomfortable when you’re sitting off center and had me wishing that the trip would end soon when we were 15 min in.

  • avatar

    You’re 41!
    You are NOT an old man, unless you believe it so just stop about age!

    If you want excitement, a Lexus isn’t for you.
    I want one too but can’t afford one, yet, but have considered pre-owned, like yourself. Let someone else take the depreciation hit of the first few years.

    If you can afford it, then go buy one and stop thinking about it.

    Read that the IS is cramped and not powerful and isn’t worth the money. Consider the other models.
    Seen many people drive the LS models in my NE area.

    • 0 avatar

      Finally, a proper response to that old man business. According to the latest research, a poll of 2,000 baby boomers, middle age doesn’t BEGIN until age 55. At 41, you’re just two years past the ‘young adult’ stage that ENDS at 40.

      People are living longer (and growing up more slowly), so the old standards had to change. If you don’t want to believe 2,000 baby boomers, there’s Mark Twain who said, “A man at 50 is not old, but he won’t realize it until much later.”

  • avatar

    Why not an ES? I know it’s just a really quiet Camry/Avalon, but if you’re just commuting and want to do it in comfort I feel like that’s more ideal. Add in the fact that if you live somewhere that has winter you’ll have FWD traction to get going in the snow easier, unless you shell out extra for an AWD GS.

    The IS is small in all of its iterations, I’d write it off immediately in this scenario. It also tries a bit too hard to be sporting IMO, and wouldn’t live up to the comfort goal that the OP has here.

    • 0 avatar

      Why not then just get the Avalon to begin with and save some scratch? It’s the best Buick Toyota builds.

      • 0 avatar

        Avalon (in my region the SW where the retires keep the Avalons as numerous as LaCrosses) is one of the few Toyotas to have decently high depreciation for us skinflints. I see CPO examples on Autotrader with less than 30,000 miles for less than $25,000.

        If the OP wants something quiet and comfy for his urban commute the Avalon would do well.

      • 0 avatar

        The ES is actually a better ride than the Avalon.
        Starting in 2013 the ES and Avalon share the same chassis, but they tried to stiffen up the ride of the Avalon to make it seem “sporty”. It’s not nearly the highway cruiser that the older models were, the ES rides noticeable better than the Avalon these days.

        The seats in the ES are much more comfortable and the interior is just better overall than the equivalent Avalon model.

        IF he’s looking for quiet and low speed commuting then the ES 300h would be the ticket. It will crawl along on battery when trapped in traffic and it’s actually a little larger on the inside, especially in the rear seats than the GS.

        I’ve been told that the GS actually shares a most of the unibody platform of the ES/Avalon, it’s the GS rear wheel drive changes that makes it’s much tighter in the back seats.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah, stay away from the Avalon Hybrid that Car & Driver reviewed.

          Look at a 2014 LaCrosse or 2013 XTS Platinum for $23K and $26K, respectively. Both have the latest anti collision warning/braking and Adaptive Cruise Control. The ACC is nice on a daily commute in heavy traffic as it adjusts to the cars in front of you right down to a stop if need be.

      • 0 avatar

        I assume OP wants the higher build quality and the badge, seeing as he started his search at Lexus to begin with.

  • avatar

    How do I submit an “Ask Bark” question? Where do I send my email and what needs to be in the subject line?

  • avatar

    Not having to sit in traffic has been such a revelation. Standing on an MTA subway, crawling on the street, doesn’t matter. The sense of autonomy and control I get from being able to commute at highway speeds and choose multiple routes to and from work if need be… amazing. Makes having a funnish car and motorcycle so worth it. No waiting on the weekend to carve corners.

    I would move if I could.

  • avatar

    I occasionally find myself looking at the Hyundai Equus on Autotrader, which I guess makes me not only an old man, but an old man who thinks the LS is too flashy.

    • 0 avatar

      I have much lower opinion of the Equus after actually test driving one. It was hardly used, with under 20k miles. The day was extremely windy. I drove my BMW 550i to the dealership. I was shocked by all the wind noise when I started my Equus test drive. I thought it was an S-class competitor. In their dreams…

      Otherwise, I was not impressed by the gearbox or the steering, although the active cruise control was very good. The Genesis I test drove earlier felt like a better car.

  • avatar

    Lol, OP definitely nailed the right brand for him, but totally missed it on the model. Like everyone else has said – go for the LS or the ES. Although nearly any model year of used LS will be a better value (purely on purchase price) than a comparable used ES, you would still be able to buy a newer/lower mile ES for the same price and the operating costs would be much lower. I would vote for a 2012 or newer ES as the fifth gen from 2006-2011 had a less than impressive interior.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, I went looking for an old ES from before they went from the nicest looking fwd sedan to the possibly the ugliest car on the road (pre 2001) and found that the LS was practically the same price.

  • avatar

    If you’re stuck plonking through traffic, an electrified drive train is what you want. I have a plug in hybrid Fusion, I would recommend it highly for that sort of driving. The stereo sounds much better when it doesn’t have to drown out the engine.

  • avatar

    Briefly –

    The LS460 has weird issues most of them got fixed my MY2010 but they didn’t all get fixed until MY2012. That said, it’s still cheap to own.

    The LS430 had its amp issues fixed by 05/06 but they’re pricey.

    The 01-04 LS430s can get their amp issues fixed for $600 or so at United Radio.

    The LS’ V8 really sucks down fuel in traffic – expect to get 10-13 mpg with the a/c on in stop and go traffic.

    The GS sips fuel a bit less – but these cars don’t do well in stop and go.

    Avoid the IS250 it has carbon build up issues.

    Consider looking for a hybrid GS or poping the coin for a hybrid Camry / ES / avalon. They’re even nicer at 0 mph than an LS because there’s no engine vibration and you’re not burning fuel.

  • avatar

    My friends mom had an ls400 (maybe it was a 460) back in 2008 or so. It was a very nice car and it ran a 14 second quarter mile. My dad had a GS. It’s the only car he’s ever hated. I managed to completely wreck it when I was 17 and he didn’t mind at all except for the increased insurance rates. Wrecking that car instead of my car probably saved my life, so, thanks Lexus.

  • avatar

    I’d pass on the ES. Soft, floaty and basically not giving you anything that an Avalon doesn’t. The LS isn’t a sports sedan but it is more buttoned down than the ES.

  • avatar

    Do you know what offers more peace-of-mind than an 8-9 year-old Lexus?

    Nearly anything that’s much newer, that’s what. It’ll last longer and cost less to own long-term, too.

    If affordability is such a consideration that you’re looking at cars that are nearly a decade old as a commuter, and the commute is joyless no matter what you’re driving, why not just get a car that’s comfortable, reliable, and will be kind to your apparently-fragile finances? Bonus points if you go to a smaller car which will fit through the traffic congestion better and cost less in fuel.

    I’d be looking at comfortable, reliable cars that’ll commute worry-free day in, day out for a decade. An Accord or Camry would fit the bill nicely, and let you save the wrenching, parts-buying, and excitement for the Alfa.

    Buying an old luxury car on a budget to slog through 30 MPH traffic every day sounds like the perfect recipe to make sure you’ll never afford things that’ll actually bring you joy.

    • 0 avatar

      Not true. If you buy the things that are known to hold up well, they’re astonishingly good cars. And if you know where to look, parts are as cheap as any other Toyota.

      Sure the 2007 ES3350 isn’t great. But the 2006 LS430 is that good. Heck, I’d rather take a 2000 LS400 with a service history than a comparably priced Chrysler 300.

      So your advice is to forsake a fast depreciating used Lexus and get a used Camry (a car that stubbornly holds onto its value) instead?

      Uhhh – you first.

      • 0 avatar

        So is it your contention that a Lexus in similar condition will be cheaper than a Honda or Toyota? Or that they’ll last meaningfully longer than the >200k miles those kinds of cars? Or is it that parts and labour for an older Lexus will cost less than for a newer Toyonda?

        None of these things seems to be true, so I have trouble believing that keeping Lexii on the road as commuters will be cheaper than something more plebeian in the long run.

        You already said that a Toyonda will stubbornly cling to its value, so you’re not losing on depreciation costs if you go to sell, either.

        Going from the, say, 16 MPG an LS does crawling through traffic, to something that does 23 MPG alone will save $500/year if driving 10k miles @ $2.50/gallon.

        I’d love to believe that a quality luxury car will cost less to run than a quality econo-mid-size car, but I just don’t see it.

        • 0 avatar

          The Lexus versions of cars absolutely hold up better than the comparable Toyotas. Look at Consumer Reports. They report the Lexus ES owners report 5-10% fewer problems than Avalon owners. Ignoring the possible selection bias – the primary difference between the cars is that the Lexus ES was Japanese built and the Avalon was made in America.

          Go talk to a Toyota technician and ask them about how much better the Japanese made cars age over the American made cars. You’ll find that there’s a real value to owning the Japanese cars in years 7+ over the American cars.

          All in all, I don’t want to make the claim that the luxury car will definitely be cheaper, just that it’s indeterminate / so close that you may as well get the extra refinement of the luxury car. If you truly and only cared about minimizing the cost of a commute you’d get a used Volt or Prius.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven or been a passenger in all of these models.
    LS top of the line, cream puff, quiet, thirsty.
    GS don’t like the look of the current one. Last one had a very upright and no so comfortable rear seat. The V8 is also thirsty.
    ES is a quiet cruiser. The current one is very plastic on the inside. Sit in the rear seat and look at the Camry-seque environment. The front seats are comfy and it’s quiet. It is sparsely equipped in the lease leaders, so check carefully that the one you choose has all the equipment you want. I like the idea of the hybrid although I’ve neither ridden nor driven one. If you think the Avalon may fit the bill, drive it carefully..except for the 2016, I’ve heard lots of comments that the ride is too “sporty”.
    IS is too small and not a smooth ride.
    My suggestion from left field is a used Hyundai Genesis (my current ride). You are limited to the 2015/2016 as the first generation had a less than comfortable ride.

  • avatar

    Current GS? I’d do it in a heartbeat (and did.) Frankly they get the sport sedan thing down solidly. Put it in sport or sport plus and I think it is better than the 5.

    Last gen? They didn’t quite get there on the sporting front. Tried the Genesis, 5, E class, and pretty much everything in that class.

    The ES is a nice car and much better than people give it credit for. The Avalon gets you the same car basically for cheaper but with worse resale. Used RXs are everywhere and are pretty comfy as well, if a bit decontented.

    So that doesn’t help you really. But you want quiet, reliable as hell and good stereo – a Lexus will get you there no problem.

  • avatar

    Anyone have a chance to drive the LS F-Sport? I believe they became available in 2013.

  • avatar

    Here is a suggestion for him, get a previous generation BMW 5 series, with the straight six, non-turbo version, the sport package. Essentially, it handles like a previous generation 3 series, not the fat buick that the F generation of 5 series became. The Bangle butt looks better every year. It was ahead of its time, and avant grade. There was a reason every car manufacturer, including Lexus and Toyota copied the Bangle design. With the non-turbo edition of the 5 series you get reliability. AC and Heating are good. idrive is a little tricky to use but you get used to it. The run flat tires and active steering are the worst things about them. Easy fix, get a non-active steering version, replace the run flats, you have the perfect handling car. Without turbo it is not fast, but you’ll be amazed at its reliability, handling, and plushness with the rough leather, and soft touch material everywhere. Get that BMW. It doesn’t go fast, but it does fast enough and handles like on rails.

    • 0 avatar

      lol at BMW and reliability in the same sentence.

      • 0 avatar

        EX35, if you choose right with BMW, you can still get reliability. Every feature of my 12 year old 530i, including power bottom seat cushions that extend(if you are tall they are great), power headrest adjustments, power back shade, headlights (xenon) that still swivel when you turn, the angel lights, little LEDs under mirrors, the never leaked sunroof, the ZF six speed automatic, work in perfect order. I have it garaged, and the paint and the real leather (not the fake Napa nonsense they put in cars nowadays) are like day one.

        Now if you choose wrong with BMW (old turbo six, or the V8s) yes you have problems.

        My only areas of problems (fixed under extended warranty) were the active steering where the computer and steering rack had to be replaced. Expensive. Outside that, and stupid run flat tires, it is rock solid (the transmission pan and seals had to be replaced also). That is it for a 12 year old car.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      From the OP: “I need a car I’ll drive every single day in God-awful urban traffic. There’s little to no fun had behind the wheel in congestion. No using the sporting personality of whatever machine I’m operating. The only reasons I want a Lexus are for the comfort and peace of mind that come with one, along with working AC and a great stereo…although there are often times the GS350’s 0-60 sprint capabilities would very much come in handy”

      So you recommend a Sport package BMW that “handles like on rails” and “doesn’t go fast”?

      Nothing about that 5 series is going to outdo a Lexus in the criteria the OP laid out.

      • 0 avatar

        A nice Panther would be better than a 5 Series for the OP’s criteria!

        • 0 avatar

          Jagboi, be serious, I am a 54 year old man in Atlanta, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a panther

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve got a friend who is 19 and loves his Town Car! It’s great for going out with his friends, as they all fit; can go camping with his buddies and fit all the gear in the trunk. Plus much cheaper to insure than just about anything else out there.

          • 0 avatar

            Jagboi, my nephew is 23, 6′ 4″ and drives a first generation Pontiac Vibe and loves it. That is a function of circumstance though. He is in college and has to drive something cheap and reliable. Same as your friend, probably.

            In the case of Bark M’s guest, he is wanting more than basic transportation, and you tried to compare a Panther anything to a BMW.

            There is a reason a town car is no more, and BMW became the number 1 luxury car maker in the world.

      • 0 avatar

        I own a 2004 5 series 530i. I can tell you after almost 12 years, that car has not one time left me stranded. To me comfort and peace of mind come with choosing right. Those were the criteria I was looking at. Not to mention I have not touched the AC and the stereo is fantastic.

        I did point out the problem areas (guess how I know).

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Your one BMW is a single data point. But spread is inherent in data. If you have an actual source showing that your model of BMW has statistically similar repair frequency and cost as a Lexus GS350 of similar vintage, then its a valid recommendation for this guy. Your entire steering rack and computer needing to be replaced under extended warranty isn’t exactly supportive of your point, but again–sample of one.

          • 0 avatar

            30-mile-fetch, I never said that the 5 series of the last generation had as good a reliability record as the Lexus ES, GS, or LS(of any era). Still, I would take quality of its materials over any Lexus. There is a difference. But when it comes to joy de vivre, mixed with excellent reliability of its certain models, you can have a great experience with BMW, something a Lexus will never replicate.

            The person looking for a Lexus, is looking for something special, otherwise, that person would choose a Camry V6, or Avalon. There is something he is wanting more than basic transportation and reliability.

            I am not trying to convince any one, but if you think BMW didn’t earn its reputation the hard way, making great driving cars before falling for gimmicks and making fat luxury cars (current 5 series is a good example) to become number 1 luxury car maker, rather than sticking to what got them there, then you are not being real.

            As for my experience, I am being honest if our Bark M.’s guest wants something fun and reliable, he can choose something that I have had personal experience with.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “I never said that the 5 series of the last generation had as good a reliability record as the Lexus ES, GS, or LS”

            Great, the OP can move on from your recommendation right there because that seems to be Priority #1 for him.

            “but if you think BMW didn’t earn its reputation the hard way, making great driving cars…”

            I never said that, but it’s completely irrelevant for this OP and the reliability argument.

            “But when it comes to joy de vivre, mixed with excellent reliability of its certain models, you can have a great experience with BMW, something a Lexus will never replicate.”


            Look, I am not crapping on your BMW, if it has been as trouble free as you say then it sounds like a balance of enjoyment and reasonable ownership cost that I would like very much. It’s obviously been a great car. My main point is that the OP would probably be far better served on the reliability front searching for 2004 Lexus GSs than 2004 BMW 5 series.

          • 0 avatar

            “Joy de vivre?”

            Well, I guess at least you’re trying with the second languages.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    I’ve listened to the Lexus Mark Levinson system in the LS430 and its sound quality is nothing to write home about. The Nakamichi system in the LS400 is far, far superior.

  • avatar

    I have an LS430 and love it, would recommend to anyone, but I wouldn’t write off a Lexus GS because some magazine ranked it lower on one of their subjective test.

    FWIW, I’ve seen the Lexus GS “win” those type of luxury showdowns, depending on the year. My big issue with the GS is it just seems to cramped for being a “midsize” type luxury car.

    Here’s one showdown where Motor Trend ranked it first above the Audi, BMW, Infiniti, etc. I’m sure there’s others publications where it came out completely different and the Lexus was ranked worst car ever. Which shows you how subjective this stuff is.

    • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Actually, now I’m curious Bark. A lot of Motortrend news and content is fluffy puffy junior league boring stuff, and the quality of actual writing is nowhere near Car and Driver or our dear Jack, but in the context of comparison tests such as that one, do you have strong reason to believe their objectivity and judgement is anymore suspect or clouded than other auto journo publications?

        • 0 avatar

          Do you really think anyone at Car and Driver still writes well, or anyone still at Car and Driver writes well?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            That’s not the question I’m asking, but thanks for the subtle suggestion that you have superior taste.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re asking me to make an accusation. I don’t have any reason to think Lieberman or Loh or anybody there is on the take. I just think they suck.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Thanks, I guess. “They suck” is just about as informative as “LOLOLOL”

            I wasn’t fishing for accusations of unethical or scandalous behavior but looking back I suppose my question comes off a bit that way. Lack of objectivity and judgment also includes personal biases, poor reasoning, and general incompetence. That’s what I was curious about.

            In any case, I wouldn’t be asking you to make an accusation. I’d be asking you if there were cause for an accusation to be made. Subtle but important. You’ve made accusations before:


    • 0 avatar

      Or this one where the Lexus finished last:

      These online publications are good for the data and that is about it.

  • avatar

    He said “dipthong”.

  • avatar

    Not sure where the thirsty comes into play but I recently purchased a 2009 Ls 460 L with 144K miles. Just returned from a road trip from Jacksonville Florida to Kansas City Missouri. Best tank full was 28.6 Mpg with average speed of 79. Worst was 27.4 with avg speed of 81. Ultra comfortable ride ML sound system is delightful and very low road noise. To me these cars used are the best kept secret on the road. Other than the melting armrest which I don’t have in mine because is has the upgraded interior package these cars simply can’t be beat. Damn near 400 HP, rear wheel drive, and you can’t even feel when the thing shifts gears.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s great highway mileage for a big car. Problem is, when you get into city driving, the mass makes itself apparent and you’ll pay at the pump.

      My Miata doesn’t get better mileage at 75 MPH than your LS due to aerodynamics and your V8’s ability to chug along at low RPM, but in the city stop-and-go the Mazda will still get ~25 MPG. A big Lexus definitely won’t.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Talk me out of the Lexus that I want…Because I am going to have to cook a ton of Meth to buy an LFA and I’m not big enough for prison life.

  • avatar

    Buy a GS or a certified LS. CarMax has a few LS & GS that might fit your budget.

  • avatar

    No offense to IS250 owners, but I just don’t understand the car. My wife’s friend is still paying hers off and after driving it I really don’t understand the car. It’s really cramped in the backseat, underpowered, overweight, doesn’t brake particularly well, and feels heavy on the corners. What’s more is the price?

    As to original writer, my brother bought a used Lexus CT200h for his commute. He makes fun of it constantly and goes WOT any chance he gets because the car has no power. On the plus side, he’s saving about 60% on fuel and saving a ton on repairs compared to his out of warranty BMW 328.

  • avatar

    Painfully mediocre car. Frankly, every current Lexus is. But if I were to get a car for sitting in gridlock traffic, Lexus or not, It’d have to have adaptive cruise control. That has been a life changer for me.

  • avatar

    Economy means a lot, right? Here is why you should not buy an IS or a GS now. The current IS and GS recently got a facelift, but sales have steadily declined month after month. Sales are moving toward SUVs thus forcing Lexus to either focus solely on SUVs or really do something about the car offerings. In any case. Prices of used cars will take a hit – especially once the next generation is introduced. You should at least wait until this happens.

    A hybrid seems to be what you are looking for if you want calm and inexpensive.

    • 0 avatar

      A good suggestion. There’s other discussion on the ES hybrid and Avalon hybrid, above, too. Even a heavily optioned new Camry hybrid might fit the bill, presuming any of these can be found in his price range with adaptive cruise.

      For my money, “heavy traffic” means “buy a hybrid.” We own a Prius and are pleased with it but may move up to a more luxurious hybrid in the future.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not sure about how they handle Lexus but Toyotas, no matter how well optioned they are, *always* feel cheap to me. I recently drove a loaded Venza and, wow, the amount of bad plastic, poor fit, platform flex, squeaking and such quickly overwhelmed anything the nav, panoramic sunroof, and leather could do. Plus, they always smell the same. And it’s a cheap, unpleasant smell. I don’t think a Camry Hybrid would cut the mustard in this case.

  • avatar

    Current gen GS is a solid choice. Best looking interior of all modern Lexuses. And best steering/suspension too. Better than current 5 series if compared apples to apples (stock vs stock and full M-package vs full F-sport). 350 with 6 speed is reliable and proven combo. Enough power and smooth shifting. Lexus really got the current gen GS right. LS is too soft and chassis is not nearly composed as GS’s. Maintenance is way more expensive too. Author of this article really gave you some bad advice here.

  • avatar

    Why not a much newer Camry? It will probably be more reliable, have more modern tech available, and be relatively comfortable.

    It’s not defined as luxury, but given advancements in NVH is it on par with a 6-10 year old Lexus?

    • 0 avatar

      And last much longer, get better fuel economy, and be cheaper to maintain, to boot.

      But with that you don’t get to feel like a $50k millionnaire as you slog through your soul-crushing commute until well into your 60s.

  • avatar

    OP here. Now a good friend of mine is really trying to sell me on the virtues of the ’08 Infiniti M35.

    • 0 avatar

      Well now you have my attention, since I have an 09.

      Handles well
      Ride not as nice as GS (bit stiff)
      Interior not as nice as GS
      Uses more fuel generally
      Much more powerful
      Not as common
      Timing chain not belt
      Little bit bigger I think than GS
      08+ got revised improved interior trim, front fascia, and rear lamps and bumper
      Easier to find loaded with navigation than GS

      • 0 avatar

        But it drives better, has more character, and according to CR at least, is more reliable. It’s also substantially cheaper than the Lexus, this one included. Asking $11,500 and I know the owner. He takes care of his stuff.

        The ’09 got a 28bhp bump and an 8-speed autobox. The complexity of that single component gives me pause, though. The 5-speed in the ’06-’08 is far more common, and at least to my simple mind, is less prone to problems.

        The M has its appeal. Hmm.

        • 0 avatar

          “The ’09 got a 28bhp bump and an 8-speed autobox.”

          Assuming you’re shopping RWD versions only, as the AWD kept the 5-speed. The fuel economy gains for the 8-speed are something to consider as well. And it quiets down the VQ, which is too rumbling with only five gears. And it’s going to kill you a lot less on your low speed commuting.

          I’m at about 18.5 mpg @ 40mph speeds with stop lights on my way to work (AWD).

          Shouldn’t the 8-speed be the same as widely used in the G37?

          • 0 avatar

            I honestly don’t know a whole lot about that transmission. I’ll do some research. It seems the ’09 starts to climb well into the high teens and even low 20k range, which is really getting outside of my “want to spend” range. Basically what I can get for my CRV plus a small amount of car savings. Most of our surplus money right now is going back into building back our rainy day fund, so we don’t want to take on debt for a few more years.

          • 0 avatar

            Depending on where you are, finding RWD ones shouldn’t be that hard. Ebay is your friend as well if you’re willing to go that route. I came out of an 01 GS430 into this car (from Ebay), because it was just feeling a bit too old, and I wanted AWD. The used selection was too limited around my area because it wasn’t popular.

            They don’t really break, but I’ve had two things to do on mine.

            -Needed brakes and rear rotors before 60k miles, that was about $840 IIRC.
            -The rear sway bar links are bad (causes a plastic clonking sound over bumps in cold weather), which are $250 installed. Haven’t fixed that yet.
            -They can have typical Nissan radiator seepage of coolant around the “crimped on” top area connecting to the main radiator shell. Radiator stop leak will end this.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, look at the ratings. They should reveal if the 8-speed was problematic, but AFAIK it wasn’t. I like the M, but Infiniti’s penchant for harsh suspension might get annoying in a long commute.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an 8-9 year-old luxury car which you plan on putting through commuter duty hell. You talk about affordability in your opening post, and we know that every car has a finite lifespan.

      How long do you need this car to last? What’s your plan for replacing it once it wears out and/or becomes too expensive to repair?

      What’s the cost vs. benefit of buying something like the Infiniti or Lexus over something newer, cheaper, and more economical? In other words: what are you giving up in order to do this, and is it worth it?

      You don’t mention what you’re driving now, but from where I’m sitting, anything north of a well-optioned, nicely-maintained Civic is plenty comfortable to sit in traffic in. Are there cars which do it better? Absolutely. What are you willing to give up in order to have it? Personally, I’d be directing my discretionary income towards not having to sit in traffic twice a day to begin with.

      Nothing is more comfortable than having the money to make going to work optional, and if you think you’re already old at 41, going to work for another 25 years just to fund used-luxury purchases might not be so appealing long-term.

      • 0 avatar

        Where I’m ending up is just keep the loathsome CRV I have now and learn to put up with the pain it causes my herniated discs until we can move. I’m literally done with cars. Deleting my account here and Jalopnik. I’m sick of worrying about non-essential BS. Looking for a job in Chapel Hill or Fayettevile so I can walk to work, even if it means a 50% pay cut. Moving on.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m sorry, did your post not ask for us to talk you out of buying a Lexus (while not offering a whole lot of background, other than that the commute is low-speed and no fun, finances are an issue, and you already have a fun car)?

          Buy whatever you want, but I’m perplexed at the sarcasm directed towards someone providing you with the opinion you wrote into a website asking for.

  • avatar

    RX350 is the answer.

    Comfortable, easy to live with, great view of the road, no concerns in regards to scraping parking or kerb risers. Also easy on that 41 year old back. I am 39 and am loathed to admit that our X3 is way easier to live with than out 9-3 wagon, especially with kids.


  • avatar

    I love this topic. I’m in a similar situation.

    30 miles each way in and out of Boston during rush hour
    Bought a 2011 fusion to be frugal but it’s turned into a bit of a penalty box

    I was considering a new Accord, 4-Cyl, EX. I figure I can get one for $25k or so. But,…

    2013 ES350’s are going for similar money
    Adding a few years (2011 or so) puts the LS in the same range
    2015 Genesis is on par w/ a 2013 LS (~35k)

    I’ve always liked the idea of a land yacht (LS) but the ES seems like the more intelligent choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Fiance’s father bought a creampuff 32k mile ’13 ES300h this summer. Nice enough car, it’s basically what the Camry should be if they stayed on the same ‘fat’ trajectory of the 1990s. Having said that, some of the interior plastics, particularly the rear door cards, would never be seen even on a base model DX Camry from the early 90s. Drives stiffer than previous ES cars. On decent pavement it isn’t a problem, but on bad roads it is noticeably less comfortable. Center joystick to control the Nav is an ergonomic abomination.

      I think overall it feels a lot less ‘special’ than something like the LS, but is certainly a bit step up from a regular modern Camry, and is very practical and economical to own in the long haul.

  • avatar

    Love my GS400, but I think I’ll go LS430 in the next couple years. Don’t care that my GS isn’t the ‘best’ at anything, it’s the best for me. Plenty fast enough, plenty comfy enough, plenty reliable.

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