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Used Car - Down to 2, which one?

I’ve been doing my research, reading, checking Consumer Reports and doing some test driving. I’m still on the fence and hoping someone can give me some personal insight.

I’m looking at a 2006/2007 Lexus IS250 (or maybe IS350) or an 2006/2007 Infiniti G35. 4 door, auto is the plan. Both are rated well. Both seem to drive well (I haven’t driven the G35 sedan, only the coupe 6 spd so maybe not a good comparison). And I know that the 250 has a smaller engine than the G35, hence my consideration of the 350. But thinking mpg might be better on the IS250?

I currently have a 95 Toyota Tercel so either would be a HUGE step up for me. But as this is more than I originally intended to spend and I don’t want to think about buying a car again for quite some time, I’m looking for any insight anyone might be willing to share. Your experience with either car, thoughts on the comparison, reasons you may have bought one over the other, etc? Repairs and cost of things?


21/29 - IS 250 gas mileage
19/25 - IS 350 gas mileage
17/24 - G35 gas mileage

Both use premium gas, as does the G35. If you are going to spend that much money, you should drive all 3 with the auto transmission. Even if you don’t want to buy from a dealer, you can get test drives there. And just because you don’t initially want to buy a car from a dealer, they might have exactly what you want. BTW, you can get a G35X for the same price as the IS350, if AWD interests you.

If each car seems equal, look into cost of repair and scheduled maintenance. The Infiniti or the Lexus each sound expensive on each front.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never been impressed by Lexus, the look of the cars and the supposed superiority seem like hype more than fact. I know very little about Infiniti either.
What I DO know is that Toyota makes very good cars. If you have any appreciation of quality control in manufacturing you’ll know that Toyota has no equal in this respect. I’d look at another Toyota before moving “up” into a car that is more like a yacht, something you don’t buy if you have to ask how much it will cost to operate.

If I did not drive my BMW 328, I’d go for the G35 sedan. It does, however, feel like they put a truck engine in a near luxury car (well, it is a Nissan truck engine).


Lexus is made by Toyota and uses many Toyota parts. Overall quality of Lexus and Toyota models is equivalent. Infinity is Nissan’s upscale nameplate. Infinity quality seems to surpass most Nissan products.

Thanks all.

How is the overall quality of Infiniti vs Lexus? Is it a flip of a coin, get what you like best, or is one a little better than the other? May be a bit subjective I know. Seems I’ve heard Lexus is a little above Infiniti. Both cars are CR picks with fairly similar ratings, so almost sounding like the coin toss (well, which I prefer) but just trying to get as much info as I can. How about longevity? If I was thinking of getting one of these to keep for 10 years (not that I have ever had a car that long), is there one that would be a better long term bet?

There’s no way of knowing which car will be more reliable. That’s all going to boil down to how it was driven and maintained. Keep in mind that the vast majority of cars are not maintained properly so a used car is a crap shoot at best; even if an inspection is done beforehand.

This is especially true in the day and age of leased cars. Many people have no intention of keeping them and certainly have no intention of spending their money maintaining a car they know they’re going to dump off in a year or so.
Service records is one of the best ways of determining what has been going on with any car you’re interested in and unfortunately, most of the time those records are not available or never existed at all due to lack of service.

If both were properly maintained and not abused, both are excellent choices. They’re two vehicles with perhaps among best reliability ratings of all. Which is “better” is really only personal choice.

My only thought is that for what you’ll pay for one of these you just be able to buy a brand new vehicle like a Scion. Have you included these in your comparisons?

I only know about pick ups, but Nissan has a history of being as well liked by blue collar guys as Toyota as far as quality in that department, and Ford since the late 90s is also considered to rival toyota, esp. since Toyota has begun to scrimp on qualtiy in recent years.

The G35 will cost slightly less to repair and less than half as much to maintain than either the IS250 or IS350. The maintenance cost is significant; much higher than the expected repair costs.

The overall 2010 Reliability GPAs of your choices are rather good. They are:

The rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS250: 2.25 over a 4-year data history
The Lexus IS300,IS350: 3.48 over an 8-year data history
The all-wheel-drive Infiniti G sedan: 2.92 over a 6-year data history
The rear-wheel-drive Infiniti G sedan: 2.94 over a 7-year data history.

However, you may want to consider:

The 4-door Toyota Yaris hatchback, with a 2010 GPA of 4.00 over a 3-year data history (over a 9-year data history if the Echo is included),
The Toyota Prius, with an overall 2010 GPA of 4.00 over a 9-year data history.

You might also consider a new Scion xD in lieu of a used Lexus or Infiniti, as any used vehicle you must inspect thoroughly for abuse.

Finally, I think that the Lexus IS350 will likely be a step up from your 1995 Tercel in reliability (if not abused) - the other 3, likely not.