Used 1996 Lexus LX 450 SUV

1996 Lexus LX 450
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1996 Lexus LX 450

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Japanese automakers are being very cautious these days. High production costs are softening sales across the board, and executives across the Pacific are frantically searching for ways to cut costs. Decontenting is one way to do this. Badge engineering is the other. Lexus chose the latter method when making the decision to offer a sport-utility vehicle.

The Toyota Land Cruiser, legendary desert runner and jungle jumper, was donated to the Lexus team of plastic surgeons. They grafted a new grille, new headlamps, new alloy wheels, and body-side cladding onto Toyota's big SUV. Inside, they added leather and wood. Underneath the sheetmetal, suspension tuning was reworked to provide a better ride on the pavement. Standard equipment levels were raised to include automatic climate controls, rear seat heater, and an amazing 195-watt audio system powering seven loudspeakers. Topping things off, a LX450 badge was added to the tailgate.

The rest of Land Cruiser remains intact on the LX450. The familiar 4.5-liter inline six produces 212 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, and the LX450 can tow 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. All-wheel drive is permanently engaged, and an optional manual differential lock system provides outstanding traction, for the two LX450 owners who will actually go way off-road in truly lousy weather. Dual airbags and adjustable front seat belts come standard, as well as a handy first-aid kit.

You'll pay a $7,000 premium over the Land Cruiser to get into a LX450, which is less than you'd spend optioning the Toyota up to Lexus standards. Factory options on the LX450 include a CD changer, moonroof, and differential locks. Incredibly, floor mats and wheel locks are optional. Talk about nickel-and-diming; these items should be included as standard equipment.

Land Rover sales have been skyrocketing, and luxury marques from the United States and Japan have definitely noticed. However, at $47,000, the only reason to purchase a LX450 is for status value, or to save a few thousand over the cost of a Range Rover 4.0 SE. Most luxury-SUV intenders will find the value inherent in the GMC Yukon SLE, Chevy Suburban LT, and upcoming Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator twins more attractive than nice leather and wood inserted into a tough Toyota.

1996 Highlights

Lexus clones a Toyota Land Cruiser, puts some fancy wheels on it and slathers leather and wood all over the interior to capitalize on the booming sport-ute market.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Lexus LX 450.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

I will buy it again and again!
I LOVE IT,03/05/2010
Bought a land cruiser w/out test drive! Was a Toyota after all. Two years later bought my 1996 lx 450. I'm still driving it after 299,000. Everything on this vehicle seems to last. Just replaced an alternator. A bit of p/s fluid leak. I check the engine oil regularly (leak? ). Have never saw its limits, in any kind of weather or load. Dependable. Comfortable. Excellent performance on back roads and highway. Useless cup holders though. Difficult for reaching the spare tire and the jack not enough for this truck. Over all is an excellent truck. My son wants to drive it now and this is the reason I am here looking for another one to adopt. Hopefully after reading this the seller won't raise the asking price.
Solid SUV
Bought this vehicle preowned; it's been very reliable and I still get compliments on it even though it is a decade old now. The problems it has had have not been very significant. The interior build quality is as good as I have ever seen; except for wear on the driver's seat, it looks almost brand new on the inside.
R. Max,07/16/2002
My LX 450 has been going strong for 112,000 miles. Comfortable. Great in the snow. Well worth the rather significant sticker price. Gas mileage is fair. Have replaced brakes twice due to normal other repairs. Great vehicle!
Without a doubt a future classic
Rod Diaz,07/16/2002
I love this vehicle and I think you will too. Someday we will all look back and agree that this model epitomized the luxury SUV concept (before it went overboard). My only complaint is that a few features are missing in a vehicle of this price range. Heated seats and mirrors, simple navigation computer with: outside temp., "distance till empty", etc.
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Features & Specs

12 city / 14 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
See all Used 1996 Lexus LX 450 SUV features & specs


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 LX 450
Used 1996 Lexus LX 450 SUV Overview

The Used 1996 Lexus LX 450 SUV is offered in the following styles: 4dr SUV 4WD.

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Find a used Lexus LX 450 for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,963.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,412.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $8,036.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Lexus LX 450?

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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