1996 Lexus GS 300 Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Some readers may think we're goofy, but when the GS 300 first appeared we kept confusing it with the Ford Mustang when one of them approached us on the road. Understandable perhaps, since the Mustang was released at about the same time. We don't know if this similarity in front styling is a good or a bad thing. It could be good that the Lexus sport sedan resembles the quintessential American sport coupe, lending the GS a decidedly rakish look. It could be bad if status-seeking buyers interested in a premium sport sedan find that the car looks like a brash boy-racer hot rod. Whatever the verdict, we were quite embarassed when discovering that the approaching Mustang GT was in fact the Lexus, but the way cars are styled these days, it's often difficult to tell what brand, let alone what model, a vehicle is from a distance of ten feet or more.

From the side, this Lexus is easily identifiable. The unique roofline gives it away instantly. The GS 300 is a very attractive car, aside from an odd taillight design and rather hefty-looking rear quarters. Inside, the GS is pure Lexus, with electro-luminescent gauges, near perfect control placement, and luxury touches everywhere you look.

The GS 300 is powered by a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six cylinder, which provides slightly sluggish acceleration for a sport-minded sedan. For 1995, this Lexus receives no changes.

Slotted between the ES 300 and the LS 400, the GS doesn't come cheap. It is a solid, competent car, but lacks a distinct personality. Sometimes the relentless pursuit of perfection can lead to some rather dull consequences, and at more than $40,000, the GS makes a good argument for the buying a 5-Series BMW.

1996 Highlights

A five-speed automatic transmission makes the GS 300 feel more sporty, while rear styling revisions and five new exterior colors update the suave exterior. Side-impact standards for 1997 are met this year, and the power moonroof features one-touch operation.

2021 LS 500


starting price
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MSRP excludes delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,025, which may be subject to change at any time. Excludes taxes, title, license and optional equipment. Dealer price will vary.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Lexus GS 300.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4dr Sedan
Best car i've ever owned and its a '96. I also have a Lincoln mkz 2006 completely loaded and i prefer the Lexus. The interior is extremelely comfortable with 12 way power seats. Its has the legendary 2JGE STRAIGHT 6, NOT V6! So thats a complete heads up on reliabilty. The leather trim holds your body and the quality is there even at 14yrs old. As for performance its probably as fast as a 6 cylinder will go up untill around 2003 and thats without pushing the sport button. Steering the car is the softest ive ever felt but holds corners like a sport coupe with its double wishbone suspension. The car was ahead of its time using many LS components. Built by 90% Robots in Tahara Japan. 9/10
5 out of 5 stars
My first Lexus
4dr Sedan
I purchased my 96 GS300 with 100K, after driving an 01 Lincloln LS with only 40K - I wish domestic cars were this nice. The ride is wonderful, smooth power and much less depreciation.
5 out of 5 stars
1996 Lexus GS300
4dr Sedan
This is a great car. I drive 30,000 per year, and have had zero repairs or issues (except replacing trunk lid lifters) - just normal wear & tear. Sporty performer with good looks, strong acceleration even with 100k+ miles, comfortable ride, beautiful interior, great value. I plan to keep it until close to 200k miles with possible repaint/touchup for minor road & parking lot dings.
5 out of 5 stars
GS300 Grand Ride
4dr Sedan
Love my GS300, handles well, excellent comfort features like power seats, sunroof, all controls well-designed. Driven over 140,000 miles and no significant repairs beyond standard belts/hoses/maintenance.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Lexus GS 300

Used 1996 Lexus GS 300 Overview

The Used 1996 Lexus GS 300 is offered in the following submodels: GS 300 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan. The Used 1996 Lexus GS 300 comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Lexus GS 300?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Lexus GS 300s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Lexus GS 300 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Lexus GS 300.

Can't find a used 1996 Lexus GS 300s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus GS 300 for sale - 12 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $15,053.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 6 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $14,502.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus GS 300 for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,911.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus for sale - 9 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,156.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Lexus GS 300?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Lexus GS 300 lease specials