Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,800 – $3,700*


1994 Lexus LS 400


1991 Lexus LS 400


1993 Lexus LS 400


1993 Lexus LS 400 interior


1993 Lexus LS 400

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Quietness
  • Reliability
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat comfort
  • Repair costs

The LS 400 is softer and a little more luxurious than rivals from both Europe and Japan. All told, it comes mighty close to premium-sedan perfection, but prices remain high for nice examples.

Overview

The rear-wheel-drive LS 400 luxury sedan arrived in 1990 with a 250-horsepower 4.0-liter V8 engine, a high degree of mechanical refinement, a very accommodating interior, and one of the quietest rides of any car ever manufactured. Standard equipment included a 4-speed automatic transmission, antilock brakes, a driver-side airbag, automatic temperature control, and walnut interior trim. Traction control was optional in 1990 as was an air suspension that adjusts ride height automatically by altering spring and damping rates.

Yearly Updates

1991 LS 400
The flagship Lexus gets only a handful of minor equipment revisions the second year out.
1992 LS 400
The LS returned as a virtual rerun in 1992.
1993 LS 400
A standard passenger-side airbag highlighted numerous cosmetic and functional changes made to the Lexus flagship for ’93. Outside, the LS 400 sports a retouched grille, thicker bodyside cladding, and new color-keyed rocker panel moldings and lower bumpers. Inside, the instrument panel display has been expanded to include outside-temperature display, brake-wear warning light, and a headlamp-on indicator.
1994 LS 400
Given the fact that many changes were made for ’93, and an all-new LS 400 is set to debut in 1995, only a few minor color and trim changes are put in place for ’94.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The LS 400’s 4.0-liter V8 ranks as one of the premier luxury-car engines in the world. It delivers 250 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. A 4-speed overdrive automatic is the only available transmission. The well-engineered 32-valve V8 is smaller than most, but strong and incredibly smooth, running eagerly to more than 6000 rpm with no vibration or harshness. In fact, the LS 400 is so quiet that it’s easy to exceed the speed limit–by a considerable amount–without even noticing the fact you’re breaking the law. It leaps lithely from 0-60 in a quick 7.3 seconds. Given the amount of power on tap, it uses fuel modestly, posting numbers of 18 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway (by EPA estimates). At those levels, it avoids the federal gas-guzzler tax. However, drivers may feel taxed at the pump, since Lexus does recommend that owners use only premium fuel in its V8.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/23

19.5

Road Test

With either the standard coil spring suspension or optional air suspension, the LS 400 rides with reassuring stability at high speed, yet is supple enough to absorb tar strips and minor pot holes with little or no reaction. The standard antilock brakes we tested are quite powerful, stopping the car in a straight line, with excellent control.

The standard V8 provides ample acceleration and passing power. It is among the smoothest and most quiet engines available today. On the downside, the V8 has a thirst for fuel. Don’t expect much more than 17 mpg overall.

The interior is elegant, comfortable, and generally accommodating. An electronic gauge cluster pops out at you with a 3-D effect when you turn on the ignition, and the driver’s seat has generous rearward travel. Back-seat passengers will discover that they appear to have ample leg room, but little if any space under the front seats for placing their feet. While there is ample interior room, and the car’s width will easily accommodate three in back, the LS 400 is a rear-wheel-drive car, meaning the middle passenger must straddle the driveline tunnel.

Outside, the car is flawlessly built, with world-class workmanship and quality. Inside, high-quality materials are used to cover all surfaces, not just the seats and door panels. In addition, all controls fall easily to hand and operate with commendable smoothness.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1993 Lexus LS 400

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 9
90%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 8
80%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 61

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.8 196.7 71.7 55.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.4 22.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 36.8 43.8 34.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 LS 400 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 151
Injury 53
Theft 467

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: An intermittent open condition in the temperature-sensor circuit causes the ambient-temperature display to show -22 degrees (F). If repaired, the display will not change until the fuse for the air-conditioning control unit is removed briefly. (1990-94)
Steering problems
Description: If the steering wheel is turned hard against its stops, the whole rack-and-pinion housing can shift and the steering wheel will end up off center, so the automaker has issued new grommets to hold the rack more firmly in place. (1990-91)
Vehicle noise
Description: Revised parts can be retrofitted into earlier models to eliminate a squeak or groan from the front end when stopping. (1990-94)

Recall History

1990
Description: Housing of center high-mounted stoplamp could become distorted after prolonged illumination and bulb might move from its original position, affecting luminous intensity.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.