Thread: New Lexus Ls430
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:46 PM
albert champion albert champion is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
New Lexus Ls430

this probably should be posted in another forum, but, since so much discussion has been generated in this forum in the last month or so comparing and contrasting this make with benzes, i thought i would place this commentary here.

if i have sinned, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa - relocate it, then.

i have just returned from LA. while there, i had the opportunity to drive a new lexus for a week. i put about 500 miles on it, principally in santa monica, west LA, and BH. some freeway driving, but mostly real streets[wilshire, olympic, bundy, san vicente, sunset, doheny, santa monica, pac1,et al].

when i was given this car to use, it had approx. 1900 miles on it. here are my impressions...

firstly, i need to preface my appraisal is based on my years of driving essentially pre-electronified and japonified benzes.

there is hardly any aspect of this car that is intuitive. before i was lent this lexus, i had rented a new jaguar xj8. the controls of that car are as intuitive and as simple as any of my benzes. except for the one control that may be the best thing that ford ever did for this cat. they have fitted a moving pedal cluster. finally i can get the leg room that i prefer in a cat. and they have finally added enough extra length to the car that the trunk can carry some contents. this makes the jag a much more suitable vehicle and a competitor, in my view.

as to the lexus, i almost rejected its free use because it had one of their computer screen nav-audio-climate control systems. but, since it saved me the rental fees for the jag, i decided to do a quasi-long term review of what i still consider to be a user-unfriendly control panel.

i will say that toyota is a more customer friendly manufacturer than dc. according to the owner's manual, the computerized, touch-screen panel is an option. the basic lexus ls430 will be equipped with a more conventional system just like all my benzes. if i was going to acquire a lexus ls430, that would be my selection.

one of the worst aspects of the screen is its virtual disappearance if you are wearing polarized sunglasses. i do.

also, using if for a day, it needs to be cleaned. fingerprints quickly cloud its visibility. and i don't eat and drive. i cannot imagine what more than normal finger oils does to the screen.

though the sound system is supposed to be super sophisticated, my old ears find nothing to it that surpasses my older benzes. it says that it has an auto sound levelling system, but i cannot prove it.

one aspect that i liked is that the rear view mirrors turn down when reverse is engaged so that they can be used for backing. a great feature because the rear end of this car cannot be determined easily by the driver because of the blind spots.

car also had the parking assist sensor system. mandatory. again for the same reason. unfortunately, i found that toyota did not design it to audibly warn at a far enough distance. i imagine lots of dinged rear bumpers.

ride quality seems to have deteriorated since i drove a 2000 ls400. now seems to have as much shock impact noise as my old 560sel. in fact, i think the jag remains the best at quietness over rough, urban streets.

car is also a mystery at placing in the lane. much more difficult to drive in tight lanes than any of my old benzes.

i never could figure out how to use the nav system to direct me - but i probably didn't try very hard as i know how to get around LA. but the one time i did use it to try and pinpoint an address on LA BREA, it was inaccurate.

thank god the owner had the good sense to keep all the manuals in the car. frequently i found myself pulling over to consult the manual. and some issues are only addressed in the supplemental nav system manual. this made for some lengthy pull overs.

as to the driver's seat, i was prepared to condemn it for the first two days. it was killing me. then i played around with all the adjustments for a day and finally came up with one that suited me, my back, and my knees. i do care to say however that the seat adjustment controls on the bottom side of the seat itself are not a user-friendly location. it would be much better were the controllers to be designed and located similar to the way daimler started doing it in the 1980's, up on the door, in sight and representational.

and could we legislate the elimination of xenon lights, please? even the lexus rear view mirrors are unable to dim those comets sufficiently.

i think that this car stickered out somewhere north of $70k. it is loaded with all the gadgets. but the bottom line is this, i would not be giving up any of my older benzes to own one.

and i think that i would probably say the same thing about the current s500.

somehow, these new model cars offer me nothing at the moment. no excitement. no desire to own. but as a free ride, i enjoyed the education.

all things considered, however, in conclusion, i would have preferred to have kept the jag. much more fun on sunset. principally because it provides better feedback and offers better visibility for accurate placement in the driving lane.

my $00.04

a votre sante
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