Used 1996 Lexus LS 400 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Deep Jewel Green Pearl is newly available on the paint palette.

Vehicle overview

Lexus introduced an all-new LS 400 last fall, but you wouldn't know it if not for the advertising blitz on television and in print. The car looks the same, inside and out, even though virtually every piece has been revised or redesigned. In defense of the evolutionary styling, Lexus claims it is going for a corporate look to further strengthen brand identity. We think that engineers and stylists had a pretty tough time improving upon a car that really needed no improvement. Replacing the old LS 400 with a new one is akin to pouring out a gallon of milk because the expiration date is a couple of days away or buying a new set of Goodyears when the tread is still good for another 15,000 miles or trading an old LS 400 for a new one. But, what's done is done.

The new LS benefits from a roomier interior, thanks to its longer wheelbase. Trunk space has increased, and rear passengers get nearly three inches of extra leg room. The car is no bigger on the outside, and has lost a couple of hundred pounds while gaining ten horsepower and improving fuel economy from the 4.0-liter V8. The climate and radio controls have been simplified, and the CD changer moves from the trunk to the dashboard.

Outside, the new LS is blockier, with more edges and character lines. Still, the difference is so subtle that 99 percent of the population won't be able to tell the difference between the two cars. Prices haven't increased much, so the LS is still competitively priced against such luxury sedans as the new BMW 7-Series and Jaguar's stunning new XJ6. The new LS 400 is a better car than the old one, but why spend $55,000 when a two-year-old LS can be had for the price of a new Lincoln Town Car?

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.