Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,500 – $22,200*


2001 Lexus LS 430


2001 Lexus LS 430


2001 Lexus LS 430 interior


2002 Lexus LS 430


2002 Lexus LS 430

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Instruments/controls

New-car base pricing was competitive with most V8 rivals, but could quickly climb if Custom or Ultra Luxury equipped. In that case, the LS 430 approached the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in both cost and techno-overload. Even the Custom Luxury Package had to be ordered with a minimum of $1,460 in leather trim. Still, an LS 430 in any form is unsurpassed for comfort, coddling, and refinement at the price.

Overview

For 2001, Toyota’s luxury division introduced the successor to the 1990-2000 LS 400 sedan, which had been known for hushed accommodations, V8 muscle, and Camry-like dependability. Named for its new 4.3-liter V8, the new second-generation LS 430 sedan offered greater interior space, thanks to a taller roofline and a wheelbase 3 inches longer than its predecessor’s.

Horsepower remained at 290, but the new LS engine delivered more torque for improved throttle response. A five-speed automatic transmission was used.

Rather than continuing the prior one-model lineup, Lexus offered a base model, a base sedan with sport suspension, and an Ultra-Luxury variant. All had side curtain airbags, front lower-body side airbags, high-intensity-discharge headlights, leather upholstery, and an antiskid control system. An available Lexus Line assistance service was provided, in conjunction with the similar GM OnStar system. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes were standard.

Sport-suspension versions of the rear-drive four-door got tauter suspension tuning and 17-inch wheels, instead of the usual 16-inchers. Ultra-Luxury models included a dual-mode air suspension, navigation system, Mark Levinson audio system, laminated side glass, power door closers, heated/cooled front seats, and upgraded leather/wood trim with a suede headliner.

In addition, the LS featured rear audio and climate controls, a refrigerated armrest, power sunshade, and manual side window shades. Seat adjusters included memory, heat, and massage functions. The LS 430 also offered front and rear parking assistance and laser-operated cruise control, which could maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead.

Yearly Updates

2002 LS 430
Lexus’s flagship sedan got a new lower-priced luxury package for 2002. A firm Euro-tuned suspension was a no-charge option, but required available 17-inch wheels.
The new $6895 Custom Luxury Package included a navigation system, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, rear-seat audio controls, and cruise control that automatically maintains a safe following distance. This equipment had been in the $12,505 Ultra Luxury Package, which returned for 2002 at $12,485 and added rear-seat climate controls, massaging rear seats, a self-adjusting air suspension, and Lexus Link service. Both packages required optional upgraded leather upholstery.
2003 LS 430
Larger (17-inch) wheels went on all 2003 models, which got some revisions to available features. A firmer Euro-tuned suspension was now a no-charge option. So were all-season tires, to replace the performance treads. The available Custom Luxury Package included a navigation system, heated/cooled rear seats, rear audio controls, and “Smart” cruise control.
The Ultra Luxury Group added rear climate controls, massaging seats, a self-adjusting rear suspension, and Lexus Link. Both packages also had heated/cooled front seats and front/rear obstacle-detection systems, each newly available as a separate option.
2004 LS 430
Lexus’ flagship sedan retains a 4.3-liter V8, but swaps a 5-speed automatic transmission with a 6-speed with manual shift gate. Suspension, steering, and ABS systems are also revised. Driver and front-passenger knee airbags were added as were a tire-pressure monitor, steering-linked headlights, and a power rear sunshade. New options included heated/cooled rear seats, keyless access and starting, satellite radio, and a rearview camera that uses the navigation system’s screen to display a image of the area directly behind the car when backing up. Front and rear styling were also revised slightly.
2005 LS 430
An assistance and concierge service is no longer available on Lexus’ LS 430 for 2005. A firmer Euro-Tuned Suspension option substitutes 18-inch wheels for the standard 17s. Gone is the optional Lexus Link service, which provided assistance through GM’s OnStar network.
2006 LS 430
No changes of note for the LS 430 in 2006.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Sole engine was a 4.3-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine, producing 290 horsepower. Original transmission was a 5-speed automatic. In 2004 that transmission was supplanted by a 6-speed automatic with manual shift gate.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 320
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
18/25
18/25
17.8
18.4

Road Test

Lexus claimed a 6.3-second acceleration time to 60 mph, though in our tests we averaged 6.7 seconds. Still quite good, though the original 5-speed automatic was sometimes slow to downshift for passing. Six-speed automatic downshifts more promptly and offers a manual shiftgate for aggressive driving. One test LS 430 averaged 19.2 mpg in mostly highway driving. Another got 17.8 mpg in hard city driving. Premium fuel is required.

Any LS 430 offers a ride that is supple and controlled, even on the harshest surfaces. The available air suspension makes the going smoother yet. Lexus’s optional Euro-Tuned suspension is a bit stiffer. Steering/handling is acceptably capable, but even the sport setup cannot match European rivals for agility. Truth be told, this is a fine automobile for chauffeurs, but less so for avid drivers. Test sedans have made swift, undramatic simulated emergency stops. The LS 430 is one of the quietest cars around, despite mild wheel patter on rough pavement and slight body drumming over railroad tracks.

Instruments and controls are handy and logical, in the Lexus tradition. But if all the available gizmos were installed, you’ll get a daunting jumble of buttons, switches, and displays. A navigation system aggravates the situation, by absorbing functions that would be better left to conventional controls. Even its voice activation requires button-pushing.

The front seat is spacious for adults of most any size. Wide, supportive power seats adjust 14 ways. Drivers benefit from a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and enjoy fine all-around visibility. Rear seats are no less spacious than up front and are very cosseting with the Ultra Luxury Package, which also delivers topnotch interior fit and finish. Lower-level models have less-impressive interior materials. Cargo space is among the best in class, though the Ultra Luxury’s separate rear air conditioning cuts trunk capacity by 2.7 cubic feet.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Lexus LS 430

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 - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 10
100%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 10
100%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 10
100%
Room/Comfort Rear - 9
90%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 74

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
115.2 196.7 72.0 58.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
20.2 22.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.0 44.0 37.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

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 N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: The front brakes may be noisy—squealing or groaning—and installing revised brake pads should eliminate the noise. (2001)
Mirrors
Description: When the heater is switched on for the outside rearview mirrors, they may crack requiring replacement with revised heated mirror glass. (2001)
Steering noise
Description: A groaning or moaning sound may come from the steering column for which there is a countermeasure replacement column assembly. (2001)
Trunk latch
Description: The trunk may relock itself after release, may require extra effort to open or may be hard to close requiring replacement of the striker. (2001)

Recall History

2004
Description: Impeller inside fuel pump may have been improperly molded; alcohol in some fuels could deform the impeller and cause it to contact pump housing, and in worst case, could result in fuel pump failure.
2004
Description: In some cars, if accelerator is operated quickly, small metal piece in automatic transmission may separate and cause parking-lock system to be inoperative when shift lever is in “Park” position.
2004-06 LS
Description: Some air bag inflators were produced with an insufficient amount of the heating agents. In this condition, the expansion force of the gas may be insufficient to properly inflate the air bag, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. Dealers will replace the specific SRS air bag.

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.