Buy Older Lexus (V8) or Newer Something Else?


Mabye it’s because of higher gas prices, but I have started to notice older Lexus LS400s selling for $10K or so. I’m tempted to buy one, because there are so many testimonials to this car’s quality, reliability, longevity, mechanical perfection, nice ride, etc. The dilemma: buy an older Lexus V8 for, say $10K, and pay more money thereafter for fixup, gasoline and repairs? or buy a newer something else, like an Accord, for more money (maybe $15K-$20K), but pay less thereafter for gasoline and repairs. Am I being realistic thinking the total operating costs of the two alternatives would be about the same over a long term like 10 years? I know the answer is going to be a variant of “it depends” but I’m wondering if anybody here can strongly recommend one over the other based on experience. Maybe the scale tilts definitively when one considers resale value after the hypothetical holding period of 10 years?


A used Lexus is like any other used car in that its future reliability depends mostly on its past maintenance history, not its reputation. There are beater Lexus vehicles out there, and a Lexus that needs work will cost a TON of money.

I’d go with an Accord or Camry myself.

C’mon now, gasoline is heading for $4.00 per gallon. Do you REALLY think it’s going to get much less expensive any time soon? I don’t.

If you don’t mind feeding a V8, then go ahead, buy and enjoy a Lexus LS400. But before you spend your money, read the owners manual. The Lexus V8 may need premium gasoline, which will soon be $5.00 per gallon.

For my money, an Accord or Camry with a 4-cylinder and a 5-speed is the way to go for low operating costs. Save even more with a Civic or Corolla.


Most older luxury cars like BMW’s, Mercedes and Jaguar I tell people to steer clear of but for me the Lexus LS is an exception. These cars-especially the older ones were among the most reliable well made cars ever to cruise our highways. Many stories abound of these cars travelling many thousands of miles without incident. However, as nice as they are they still need all servicing done. Although they are more tolerant of missed maintenance than most cars. If you can actually find an LS that’s been well maintained and garaged there’s nothing wrong with an older LS. Care and maintenance are key. For instance my mother has owned a 1990 Acura since new. It’s well maintained and in 18 years of ownership it has been repaired only once-yes only once in 18 years. All maintenance gets carried out as scheduled and she reaps the benefits.

As far as year of LS to buy newer is better because of continual updates. The 1990-1994 are the first generation and then you have the 1995-2000 cars. I recommend a 1998 or later, as the 98 model received variable valve timing and picked up 30 horsepower, a 5 speed automatic, and vehicle stability control.


You can probably find a decent lexus/toyota for $10K, but you might find a better deal on one badged as a toyota. You have to decide if you want a V8 or something that uses less fuel. Calculate your cost per mile based on assumed fuel prices in the $4-5 range and decide if you can live with it.