Category Archives: Lexus

2000 Lexus GS300 Review

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For years, the Germans have ruled the luxury market in the U.S. However, in the late 1980s’, the Japanese created luxury divisions to take on the Germans. Toyota had Lexus, Honda had Acura, and Nissan had Infiniti. However, Lexus is the only automaker that took the U.S by surprise when it debuted the LS400 in 1989. Whereas German luxury cars were notorious for their poor reliability and were expensive to buy, the LS400 represented a change from the norm by providing excellent reliability and luxury with a starting price that undercut the Germans. As a result, the LS400 was a runaway success. Building on the success of the LS sedan, Lexus saw fit to expand its lineup. Seeing that the ES and LS sedans rivaled compact and large executive sedans, Lexus felt the need for a midsize sedan to rival the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Lexus hired the Italian design firm, Italdesign Guigiaro (a designer who is known for designing Italian cars such as Ferrari and Lamborghini) to design the GS. Sold as a Toyota Aristo in Japan and as a Lexus in the U.S., sales were nowhere near that of the Germans. This can be attributed to its underpowered engine, high price, and weird styling. The GS was redesigned in 1997 as a 1998 model. This time, it had both a V6 and a V8, and its styling was more conventional, and it also placed more emphasis on its driving dynamics. This generation was also sold as a Toyota Aristo in Japan.

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2011 Lexus IS F Review

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The F denotes Lexus’ performance division. After seeing BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their successful M and AMG performance divisions, Lexus decided that it wanted in on the action. They chose the letter F because it holds a long history with Lexus. Back in the 1980s before Lexus launched in the 1990s, Lexus was marked as “Circle F’ in classified documents by its parent Toyota. The 1989 Lexus LS400 was codenamed the “F1” or the “Flagship”. In 2008, Lexus went to work at producing a rival for the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. The result of this is the Lexus IS F, which is the performance version of the IS compact luxury sedan. Cool fact: the design of the F in the logos represent the hairpin turns of Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji test track. My mother has a Lexus IS250, so I was also curious to see how this measures up, and as Lexus’ first performance car. Continue reading

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2014 Lexus RX350 Review

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After watching the 1994 Toyota Rav4’s success in the compact SUV market, Toyota decided to use its Lexus division to launch a luxury SUV. Introduced in 1998, the Lexus RX was considered one of the world’s first luxury SUVs. Using an enlarged version of the sixth generation Camry’s platform (shared with the Lexus ES also), the RX combined car like performance with ground clearance akin to an SUV. Its success prompted other rival companies to take notice. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the BMW X5 are the results. As the RX reached even more sales, it grew in size. Whereas the original was a compact SUV, the second generation (2003-2008) was labeled as a midsize SUV. This iteration also introduced the world’s first production luxury hybrid, the RX400h. Lexus redesigned the RX in 2009. It received a facelift in 2012 which included mechanical improvements as well as revised exterior and interior updates that brought it in line with Lexus’ latest design philosophy. Continue reading

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2009 Dodge Charger SE and 2009 Lexus IS250 Comparison

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You can check out the individual reviews of both here: 2009 Lexus IS250 Review and 2009 Dodge Charger SE Review.

There is no doubt that these two cars are different in many ways. One is a compact luxury car, the other isn’t. The Lexus is a fully loaded version whereas the Dodge is a basic rental car spec. The Lexus IS250 is a direct competitor to the BMW 3 series (the 328i to be specific) and the Dodge Charger is a larger and more powerful alternative to the Dodge Avenger. Two different cars created for different clienteles. But what if you take away the price and luxury gap out of the equation? They are rear wheel drive and are powered by V6s. In my opinion, I am interested in finding out whether the more expensive Lexus is a better package than the Dodge under these circumstances. On the basis of styling and driving dynamics, which is the better car? Continue reading

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2006 Lexus SC430 Review

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It was 1991, two years after Lexus was created, the SC was birthed to complement the successful LS sedan, and to combat the Mercedes SL, Acura Legend Coupe, and the Infiniti M30. Combining stunning looks and superb driving dynamics, not to mention typical Lexus reliability, the SC was a success. Fast forward nine years into its life cycle with no major updates, and the aging SC was in need of an immediate redesign. Then came 2001 when the redesigned SC would debut. In contrast to the previous  SC, the SC is a convertible. One of its unique characteristic was that it had a retractable aluminum hardtop which meant that it could combine the looks of a coupe and a convertible. Continue reading

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2009 Lexus IS250 RWD Review

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Lexus is not usually known for “sporty” and drivers’ cars. When it launched the successful LS sedan in 1989, Lexus created a reputation as a dependable, luxurious, reliable brand. But Lexus was also perceived as a stodgy and unexciting company, which is corroborated by the fact that the average age of the Lexus buyer is around 60 years old. The 2001 IS (The IS was launched in Japan in 1998, Europe in 1999, the US in 2000 as a 2001 model.) was the Lexus’ attempt at creating a sporty image, and as a genuine competitor to the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4. The 2001-2005 IS did push the brand’s image in the right direction, but the IS itself proved to be too much of a compromise, trading the typical Lexus refinement for sportiness. The 2006 Lexus IS attempted to rectify the drawbacks of the older IS. The IS combined sleek design, typical Lexus refinement, and decent driving dynamics, which helped Lexus become a major player in the compact luxury market. Sick of the size and the fuel costs associated with her Honda Pilot, my mom was in the market for a compact and luxurious car. When it comes to cars, my mom sees them merely as transportation from A to B. She looked at the typical brands, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Lexus. It came down to the BMW 328i and the Lexus IS250. The IS won over the BMW because it felt more luxurious than the BMW. Continue reading

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