- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Lexus LS 430 is not only one of the most luxurious sedans in the marketplace; it is one of the most problem-free and dependable. J.D. Power and Associates’ owner surveys have consistently shown the Lexus to be one of the best-built, reliable, luxury vehicles anyone could hope to own. A bedrock of solid construction and a long reputation for reliability make this one of the most popular sedans in the luxury segment.

Lexus revised the exterior styling of the LS 430 to create a more dynamic full-size sedan. The front fascia shows a bolder design around the headlight assembly and grille, while the rear has exposed dual exhaust tailpipes and a new taillight design.

Dynamic safety best describes the Lexus LS 430. Almost every automotive safety feature that has ever been invented is found on the LS 430. The automaker says the body structure of the sedan is strengthened, as has the passenger cell, all designed to protect occupants against side impacts with higher riding sport utility vehicles. Lexus has made front-passenger knee air bags and adaptive headlights standard features on its flagship sedan. The adaptive lights turn as the driver steers to better illuminate the roadway.

The LS also comes with a tire-pressure monitoring system, vehicle stability control, brake assist, anti-lock brakes, seat-mounted side-impact air bags, plus front and rear side-curtain air bags. The LS 430 is even equipped with a pre-collision system. It uses a variety of sensors to read the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and yaw rate to provide early activation to retract the passenger’s seat belts and ready the brake assist for increased braking force.

So, having read all this groundwork for the integrity and quality of the Lexus, you won’t fall over when I add that the test car is priced at nearly $70,000. Actually, the base price was $55,375, but it featured the optional $11,320 Ultra Luxury package that substantially increased the as-tested price.

For the price of an economy car, the Ultra Luxury package features amenities that might resemble a focus group wish list. Some of the items in this big-bucks package include a navigation system with a rear back-up camera; air suspension; swivel reading lamps for rear-seat passengers; front and rear climate-controlled seats; rear-door sunshades; a rear air-conditioning system with mold-killing deodorizer; SmartAccess for starting the car from inside your home; and laser cruise control to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead.

The Lexus LS 430 is powered by a 32-valve, dual-overhead-cam 4.3-liter V-8 engine. It delivers 290 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 320 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400 rpm. The LS is a very quiet running car that provides a smooth, responsive ride on 17-inch wheels and summer tires.

The rear-wheel-drive sedan is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous five-speed unit. This six-speeder can move the 3,990-pound LS 430 from 0-to-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. (The five-speed transmission time was 6.3 seconds).

The new electronically controlled transmission features “Power,” “Normal,” and “Snow” modes to suit the driver’s style preference.

The Lexus achieves fuel economy ratings of 18 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway. For drivers who want more sport performance from their LS, the automaker has available as an option a euro-tuned sport suspension system and 18-inch wheels with summer tires.

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