Used 1997 Lexus LS 400 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Side-impact airbags are standard.

Vehicle overview

Lexus introduced an all-new LS400 two years ago, but you wouldn't know it glancing at the car. It looks the same as the original, 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 LS400 with a new one was 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 LS400 for a new one. But, what's done is done.

The LS benefits from a roomy interior, thanks to its long wheelbase. Trunk space is commodious, and rear passengers have lots of extra leg room. The car isn't excessively large, and the 4.0-liter V8 moves this relatively light luxury sedan with alacrity. The climate and radio controls are simply designed and easy to use, and the in-dash CD changer is much handier than a trunk-mounted unit.

Outside, the LS is characterized by subtle edges, creases, and folds, which create a strong, dignified appearance for the Lexus flagship. The price hasn't increased at all for 1997, in an effort to keep the LS competitively priced against such luxury sedans as the BMW 7-Series and Jaguar's XJ sedan.

The LS400 is a wonderful car, but we question spending $53,000 when a used and perfectly luxurious LS can be had for the price of a new Lincoln Town Car, or less.

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.