I saw Toyota's VCR-tapes of the Celsior's tortured development in 1989 and wanted it for its soul, not its looks. It's the best way to consider a Toyota product. It arrived as a "The LS", and my birthday gift from me to me was a good price on the last '92 at Lexus of Oakland... and driving home, I said-to-ME "I HOPE this is the last car I ever have to buy". I was 49. That was TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago. It's cost me normal care & feeding, a "surprise" alternator and starter, and a new windshield from a rock-hit. Sure, some of its more gee-whiz features have faded, but then, so have MINE. When I see what $37,000 buys "new" NOWADAYS? To ride on a sled of Lithion-ion BATTERIES? Are you CRAZY?
It was Toyota's finest effort. It cannot handle or stop like a BMW or Mercedes, but they did manage to run away from the Germans with true ingrained quality of manufacture. This Lexus has given me 100,000 miles of totally reliable driving, the engine is a dream, smooth, free-revving, outstanding fuel economy of 24-28 mpg (if other reviewers are complaining about fuel economy, try changing the o2 sensors), the transmission is smooth and capable (though it does not hold the gear you're in if you get off the gas quickly like the fully-hydraulic transmission in my Mercedes manages to figure out), and the overall experience of this car has held constant, from 77,000 miles to 180,000 miles. Leather is intact. Carpeting is plush. Engine is silky smooth. Nakamichi stereo is simple and competent. My favorite doodad is that electro-flourescent instrument panel. Yes the speedometer needle went dark, yes the dealer wanted $1,200.00 to repair, yes, I fixed it for $15.89 (a bottle of window defogger repair paint tp establish an electrically continuous line on the backside of the needle). I love Toyota's real effort with this car. I do not like new Lexus Bloat Barges . . . update: July 10, 2017 - gave reviewed car to brother. Then had crippling Seller's Remorse. So, I bought an identical 1991 Lexus LS 400 with only 57,000 miles that is utterly perfectly fresh (still smells new in the trunk). Set for life.
After reading the reviews on the Lexus LS400, we found one with 97K miles in good condition. The car run smoother than many new vehicle I have driven! The car if maintained well is very dependable and will last for 300k miles I am sure. I will say this: if you are buying a used one especially the 1992, make sure the timing belt service has been done to it (think it is the 60K or 100K service) it is pretty pricey. I have had it since Feb 10 and it looks brand new. The cars lines are ahead of its time, straight and classy. The interior it nice and comfortable, The factory sound system is very nice. I do suggest tinting the windows cause the leather gets hot during the summer.
My favorite feature is the sooth ride. The car is 18 years old and it drives like it is brand new. The classy straight lines is also one of my favorite features. Many of today's cars no longer have the sleek lines (in my opinion)
For a 1992, there aren't any improvements I would recommend, some of the amenities in this car new luxury models still don't have today.
Nice car, big $$$ problems (I am 2nd owner). Brakes need fixing every year. Power steering pump replaced 2x. A/C died, and fix required engine removal (big $). Imbalance in the drive shaft caused vibration at hwy speeds - 5 dealerships could not find cause until Heffner Toyota did - fix would have cost thousands and fault was factory caused but dealerships never noticed or fixed for original owner (little old rich lady family friend - honest!). 5 of 7 dealers not very ethical or reliable, with one of the two good ones susceptible of "bad days". Every repair is big $. Nice drive, comfortable yet responsive. Quiet. Handles snow well for RW drive. Stick with regular Toyota in future.
Stereo - Nakamichi dream, dashboard is way cool, body paint and exterior look is snazzy; seats nice, excellent rear view mirror, handles minor front-end crashes well, stainless steel exhaust
Brakes need major improving, interior parts not always well assembled, MUST HAVE better reliability, lower cost parts and repairs, dealers I could trust. Little old lady who owned car 1st bought a later model (yr. 2000) LS and was NOT happy, but switched to SUV model later and was happier.
Purchased in 2001 with 87,000 miles for $12,500 in spring of '01. Should have waited a few months - I would have learned that AC did not work. Never bothered to fix the AC, but shelled out around $5,000 over the last 9 years for brakes, front end parts, water pump, timing belt and power steering pump. Engine and tranny have never been a problem. Love the smooth ride and premier sound system. I believe the vehicle would match up very well against a Caddie or Lincoln of the same year. It's going up for sale soon and for $1,000 someone will get a darn good used car.
smooth, powerful, quiet and relatively economical 4.0 liter V8 engine and reliable transmission
too much lateral leg room was sacrificed in front to join the dash with the console