2001 Lexus LS 430

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2001 Lexus LS 430
Available in 1 styles:  2001 Lexus LS 430 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

18 city / 25 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 6
2001 Lexus LS 430 5.0 12
$ 4,675-11,931
July 18, 2001
When it comes to luxury vehicles, Lexus is now king of the heap.

Surpassing all others in sales, the Japanese automaker has clearly climbed the most profitable of mountains to become leaders in the field. Most of this has come at the lower end of the price scale, with the majority of sales coming from cars such as the ES300 and IS300, both of which have sticker prices in the low-to-mid 30s. Trucks have also helped pushed Lexus past such traditional luxury leaders as Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac and Lincoln.

But Cadillac still sells more DeVilles than Lexus sells LS430s, so Lexus is always trying to polish its crown jewel even more. Like other automakers, Lexus is using high-tech toys to distance itself from the pack.

It's certainly the most remarkable part of the LS430, with gadgets that will amuse and delight otherwise bored and distracted drivers. Here's what Lexus packs into the LS430:

Laser Guided Cruise Control: A laser collects inputs from 630 points. It senses how close a vehicle is in front of the LS430 and adjusts the cruise control accordingly.

Parking Assist: Ultrasonic sensors sound when parking the LS430 too close to another vehicle.

Power door closers: Didn't quite get that door shut all the way? Small motors close the door tightly for you.

Seats: A bit wide and flat, they adjust 14 ways on the driver's side, 10 on the passenger's side.

Rear seat adjustments: Rear passengers can not only recline their seats, they can also warm them or use the massage feature to ease their aching back muscles. Rear seat passengers also get their own automatic climate control system with air filtration, just like front-seat passengers. If that doesn't do the trick, rear sunshades will.

Front audio: Lexus now features Mark Levinson audio systems. The sound is incredibly accurate, as if the musicians are playing right there in the seat next to you. If you've never heard the name, you're either not an audiophile or you can't afford this systems. It contains not just an in-dash 6-CD changer, but also a single-slot CD player. Nice touch.

Rear audio: If they get bored with the front-seat passenger's Montovanni CDs, rear seaters get their own radio, so they can listen to Korn.

Rear cooler: Thirsty? A small cooler just behind the rear armrest will hold a few cans of your favorite beverage.

Air suspension: This is the reason the ride of the Lexus LS430 is positively cloud-like.

DVD-Navigation System: With a 7-inch screen, Lexus' detailed map is one of the best available. It uses voice commands so you don't have to fiddle with the controls while driving.

Other: All the standard luxury gear is here, including automatic dual climate control with outside air filtration, 3-position memory for the driver's seat, steering wheel and seatbelt anchor height, trip computer, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated outside auto-dimming mirrors, automatic headlamps with washers, keyless entry, power trunk, programma ble garage door openers, anti-theft system, outside temperature gauge and boatloads of leather and wood.

All of this seems more important than the performance, although that's none too shabby.The 4.3-liter V-8 makes a sufficiently powerful 290 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a computer controlled five-speed automatic transmission. This is enough to move the car from 0-60 in a factory-claimed 6.3 seconds.

The car feels quick and eerily smooth off the line. Credit goes to what Lexus calls Intuitive Powertrain Control. A computer analyzes how much pressure you're putting on the accelerator and compares that against engine speed and vehicle speed. Meanwhile the transmission's computer analyzes road grade and transmission shifting and the entire drivetrain works in concert to give the right amount of engine power and the right gear. It all works seamlessly, so there's never a feeling that the car is in the wrong gear.

The car feels soft and serene, like best Cadillac that Cadillac doesn't build.

The styling is the same bland pseudo-Mercedes line that Lexus has used from the beginning. It's not overly memorable or distinct, but it is conservative and handsome.

The fit and finish of the car is outstanding, with a gem-like polish that makes you feel that you're getting your money's worth, even at this lofty price level. The most outstanding example is the ultrasuede headliner, which finishes off the thoroughly post-modern feel of the cabin.

For the driving enthusiast, there's not much that's exciting here. The driving experience is not memorable in the extreme. For the driver who views driving as something to be endured, you'll adore this vehicle. It makes driving life absolutely painless. At the end of a long day, this is a car that soothes you, not enlivens you.

For most drivers, that's the ultimate luxury. And that's what's made Lexus and the LS430 the king of the heap.

    Expert Reviews 2 of 6

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