I don't question that Toyota and Lexus are reliable- I drove the same Celica for 14 years until a rust problem forced me to junk it, but the JD Powers reliability ratings are based on the first year of ownership, not long term reliability. The first year reliability has more to do with fit and finish.
The Consumer Reports ratings are more indicative of real reliability, I think. Mercedes, Toyota and Lexus all rank high in the CR ratings. Mercedes biggest problem is the cost of fixing things rather than the longevity of the parts.
Or so it seems to me.
Of course, you SHOULD get a better car for $60K than for $18 K.
Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty
1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)
"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"