You should not consider a 10+ year old used car if reliability is one of your top considerations.
I bought my 98 GS400 in 09 when it was 11 years old. It has been perfectly reliable for the last 5 years and 82k miles.
I bought it in Ohio with 88k miles for $6500 (It was listed for $7200)and drove it down to Florida. Here I see 02-05 GS430s between $8-9k even with well over 100k miles and LSs (01+) are $10k+. The problem with the GS430s (and GS400s) is that they are harder to find. The GS300s and LSs outnumber them by a wide margin. The power door lock actuators seem to be pretty common on all of them. Mine doesn't work on the passenger side door. But, even at 16 years old and 170k miles, I would still get in it today and drive cross country without concern and I would buy another 10+ year old one in a heartbeat. Good luck on your search.
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I've got an 02 GS430. It was on my bucket list and it has not disappointed although I do have my own critiques of some things.
Fusionrx, I was in the same boat as you in some ways. I drove a 93 LS400 quite a while ago when I was kicking tires etc. and I'll tell you the ride on that LS blew me away. It was nimble too. No it won't match my GS for absolute edgy driving but maybe you're not after that.
I've never seen a car that "glides" over everything the way the LS does and still turns corners without dragging its door handles on the pavement.
I think the 03+ LS resembles the Mercedes Benz way too much but that's a subjective thing.
I find my car a little cramped. I'm 6'1 but it is still not a big issue for me. If I was in your shoes... go for that black LS. Slightly better materials and way better ride and room.
When the snobs at Car and Driver tested it, they actually praised it quite a bit.
Heard back from the seller of the LS430 and it looks like the oil pan gasket needs replacing as its 'weeping' but not dripping yet. Mileage is higher, and not sure that I would want to spend that much on a car with almost 180k miles...
Plus I love the double eye look of the GS430.
I wish I could test drive one closer by. I keep on going back to the fact that in the scheme of things, we've owned a number of small cars (Ford Tempo (pre-kids)), Mitsu Lancer and then slightly larger sedans (VW Passat, Saab 9-5), drive frequently in my MIL current ride (Honda Civic '10) and make it work.
What platform is the GS430 based on? Camry? Meant to compete with what cars?
What to do indeed Yeah the GS headlamps definitely do something for the car no doubt about it. But then again you won't see them when you're driving.
I would just keep in mind that those other smaller cars you mention are all fwd so there is some efficient use of space. One of the things I found when I got my GS, was tighter interior space due to its rwd layout. And you have the big drive tunnel hump running the length of the interior.
Like others have said, there isn't a whole lot of room in the back once you put the front seats to a comfortable distance from the dash.
Oh and no the GS is not a Camry platform (fwd vs rwd). Toyota wanted to compete with the E class MB and the BMW 5 series and maybe Jaguar.
Either way, the LS430 and GS400/430 are great cars. The LS430 has a longer wheel base, so fitting the family will be easier. All the 4.0L and 4.3L will need the timing belt replaced at 90,000 miles and spark plugs at 120,000. If the cars you're looking at have similar mileage, try to find out if these things have been done to save you $$$.
Personally I love my GS. Where I live, they're far less common than the LS' are , plus the body styling is more eye catching to me. When the cars all cleaned up, everyone can't believe its a 10 year old car
Plus, how can you deny "Something wicked this way comes" ?
So the biggest thing is the oil pan gasket weeping... The GS is cleaner and less miles (160k) vs the LS at 175K.
The LS has been 'for sale' (albeit at a higher price) since last year. The owner dropped the price as he is now ready to really part with it and its in line with what Edmunds 'appraises' it at.
The question is, can I get him to come down (LS is ~$900 bucks more expensive, but local) vs the GS which is cheaper but 3.5 hrs away in Des Moines. The attraction with the local one is I can have my mechanic inspect it whereas the Des Moines one I'd have to buy blind....
Yep, that is the one I have been considering as well.
The door actuator issue is present on that one though so would need to be remedied. Clean otherwise.
I just got 2 rear actuators via ebay (OEM toyota part) for 90$ per... getting them installed for 100$ since I have ZERO patience when it comes to interior. I nearly punched a hole through my garage wall, taking the rear sub woofer out, lol. 300$ is a lot of cash for something like door actuators, but I'm not sure if that's a show stopper. Besides, anyone with bit more patience can fix it for like 20$ and a little work. I think it's worth 300$, one time rear door don't get locked and get one of my kid's iPads stolen, well, yeah...
I paid premium for 2001 GS430, 2 years ago... had 70k miles. What I'm guessing is that 70k miles in City of Chicago has more wear and tear than that one in Iowa with 160k.
01 GS 430 (DD)
93 Supra TT (Garage Queen)
08 GX470 Sport (Wife's DD)
97 4Runner 5sp (Winter beater)
They're hard to find in the twin cities, I craigslist browse for them often and they don't pop up a lot, if you don't mind not having a v8 you're a lot more likely to find a GS300 though, and I've seen some fairly low mileage ones go at good prices, what area do you live if you don't mind me asking?
Actually in Prescott Wisconsin which is down by hastings mn. Right where the Mississippi and St Croix rivers meet. Small town of 3500 people that No one knows... so I just say twin cities. How about you?
The 2002 and newer ES has a very nice interior which was more "up to date" than the GS as it was all new design for 02 vs. the GS which dated back to 98. Ditto for the 2001+ LS. However, the ES was a Camry based entry level Lexus. It shares its platform, drivetrain, body, suspension, etc. with the V6 Camry. It lacks quite a bit of the features of the GS and just doesn't quite drive as refined. It is still a very nice car, however, and also very reliable with the proven 1mz-fe 3.0 v6 which has been usee in the bulk of Toyotas mainstream v6 vehicles since 94. The only problem I hear with these engines is oil sludge if the previous owner didn't change oil regularly or use good quality oils, made a lot of short trips, etc. Good maintenance history and highway miles are key. Try to find a ES330 (04-06) I hear the 3.3s don't sludge as easily (if at all) and the 04 refresh added some good features like steering wheel audio controls. Good luck.
The current owner has had it for the past 130 k miles with full service history and the same mechanic. Timing belt plugs etc have been all done. Price us more in line with what I want to spend although the gs 300 in Des Moines is still a consideration. My only concern is that I can't get my mechanic to look at it until I buy it. I've been burned too many times by not doing this....
Originally Posted by Lmcqueen
I had older 1997 ES300, my current GS replaced that ES.
I have no idea how the newer ES' are like, but the 1997 ES300 is the most reliable vehicle I've ever had.
The ES gets a lot of crap from people for looking like a camry, but I think it's a sharp looking car, I would try and find an es330 instead they won't cost much more, and keep in mind our GS and I would imagine LS are not good at all in the snow, an ES is fwd so a lot more practical in winter but they aren't "drivers" cars and aren't very sporty, but if you just want a comfy reliable cruiser they're great cars.