Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,700 – $10,200*


1995 Lexus LS 400


1996 Lexus LS 400


1996 Lexus LS 400


1995 Lexus LS 400 interior


1995 Lexus LS 400 interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Passenger room
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Price

Impressive as the original LS 400 turned out to be, the latest rendition is even better. Workmanship? Simply excellent. Refinement? Exceptional. Expensive? Of course. Like many items of true quality, though, an LS 400 is well worth the price.

Overview

Shortly after the 1995 model year began, a second generation LS 400 went on sale. Roomier than the 1990 to ’94 edition, the new LS 400 also had more engine power as well as fresh styling. Wheelbase was stretched by 1.4 inches, to 112.2, but overall length stayed the same as 196.7 inches. Back-seat passengers gained 2.6 inches in leg room and trunk space grew by half a cubic foot, from 14.4 to 14.9. Still rear-wheel drive, the LS 400 kept its 4.0-liter V8 engine, but horsepower output rose from 250 to 260. Standard equipment included dual airbags and 4-wheel antilock disc brakes.

Yearly Updates

1996 LS 400
Except for one new body color, nothing was new for the Lexus flagship sedan.
1997 LS 400
Side airbags were installed in front seatbacks of the LS 400 for ’97.
1998 LS 400
LS 400’s V8 gets variable-valve timing and an additional 30 horspower and pound-feet of torque. Also, the 4-speed automatic transmission was replaced by a 5-speed unit and an antiskid program called Vehicle Stability Control was added.
1999 LS 400
Lexus added daytime running lights, a wood-and-leather steering wheel and shift knob, and reverse-down outside mirrors to their flagship sedan for ’99. A satellite-based in-car navigation system remained a costly option.
2000 LS 400
A new Brake Assist feature and rear child-seat anchors highlighted the 2000 changes, prior to redesigning of the Lexus flagship for 2001 (to be called LS 430).

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

All LS 400 sedans had the same powertrain: a 4.0-liter, dual-overhead-cam V8 engine, developing 260 horsepower and driving a 4-speed automatic transmission. In 1998, Lexus added variable-valve timing to the V8, increasing horsepower and torque by 30. Also, a 5-speed automatic transmission was made standard.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/242
Engine HP 260-290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270-300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
19/26
19/25
19.5

Road Test

Not only is this version of the LS 400 quicker and roomier than its predecessor, it’s also quieter. In fact, it was one of the quietest cars on the market. Acceleration is outstanding and feels considerably stronger than before–perhaps a testament to the reduced weight as well as the moderate horsepower boost. As for gas mileage, we averaged 19.5 mpg on the required premium gasoline.

Behaving with greater agility than before, the LS 400 suffers less body lean in turns, and enjoys good grip on the pavement. Steering feels much crisper, too. Though slightly firmer, the sedan’s suspension is still gratifyingly supple and absorbent.

A longer wheelbase means adults now get ample room to stretch their legs in the back seat. They even get space for their feet beneath the front seats. Head room is adequate all around, even with the optional power moonroof. Some controls have been simplified, even though the dashboard’s appearance has not changed much.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 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 - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 9
90%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 9
90%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 62

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 196.7 72.0 56.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.9 22.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 36.9 43.8 36.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 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 145
Injury 58
Theft 218

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: Due to a problem in the printed circuit, outside temperature reading may report -22F. Removing the fuse for 30 seconds should reset the system. (1995-96)
Engine misfire
Description: Undercoating on the oxygen sensor may reduce its effectiveness and cause the check-engine light to glow. (1995-97)
Engine misfire
Description: Rough engine performance above 40 mph can be remedied by replacing the engine-control computer, cruise-control module, and spark plugs. (1995)
Check-engine light
Description: The check-engine light may come on because of a problem with the fuel vapor emissions system. (1995-00)

Recall History

1995-97
Description: Due to improper assembly of terminal for starter motor switch, short circuit can occur if electrically conductive liquid, such as road splash with deicing salt, enters the area.

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.