A Buyer’s Guide to Getting a Used Lexus

Used Lexus

If you dream of slipping behind the wheel of a Lexus, you’re not the only one. This German brand is a hugely popular, prestigious car manufacturer with the kind of history and reputation that’s the envy of the industry. Its range of sedans, convertibles, SUVs, and hybrids is hugely desirable, delivering a luxurious driving experience and an unbeatable level of style and comfort. The problem? None of this comes for free. Although Lexus is considered one of the more affordable gateways into the world of luxury vehicles, make no mistake – these are high-end cars with the price tags to match. But before you give up on your dream entirely, take a second to review. A new Lexus is expensive, for sure, but who says your next car has to be new? The used car segment is huge and getting bigger by the day. Not every used car is worth your attention, nor your money, but there’s plenty that are. Choose wisely, and you could land a car that’s just as luxurious, just as reliable, and just as envy-inducing as a new Lexus, but at a considerably more attainable price point. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. But to avoid getting stung, you need to approach the buying process in a slightly different way than you might be used to. To put you on the right track, here’s everything you need to know about buying a used Lexus.

Decide on a Budget

As YourMechanic Advice.com (www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-buy-a-lexus-by-cheryl-knight) notes, deciding on a budget is the first step in buying a used Lexus. Used or not, a Lexus is still going to eat up a chunk of your savings. Before you get too far into the process, you need to make sure those savings can handle the hit. When you’re working out your budget, remember to consider more than just the initial outlay. Finance charges, taxes, insurance, ongoing maintenance costs, and other fees all need to be considered. Having your dream car parked up in your garage might be satisfying, but the appeal will soon wear thin if you can’t afford to eat as a result.

Pick a Model

When you buy a new car, you’re limited to this year’s models. When you buy used, you open up the maker’s entire back catalog. While having such a huge number of options is nice, it makes the process of deciding on the exact model and year you want even more important. Consider your circumstances carefully when you’re deciding: if you have three kids and a dog, that sporty little 2 seat convertible might not be quite the great idea you think it is. While Lexus’ lineup isn’t as vast or complicated as some of its competitors, it’s still worth taking plenty of time to review the different models available and the merits and downfalls of each one. As gearpatrol.com outlines, the models to be aware of include:

Lexus ES

Lexus ES

The Lexus ES is the most affordable midsize sedan in Lexus’ range. With a reputation for reliability and comfort, it’s a popular choice for families looking for an attractively priced entry point into the luxury segment. If you were buying new, you could expect to pay around $39,600 for the base model.

Engines

• 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with electric motor assist
• 3.5-liter V-6

Models

• 300h
• 300h Ultra Luxury
• 300h Luxury
• 350 Luxury
• 350 F Sport
• 350 Ultra Luxury
• 350

Body

• Sedan

Lexus LS

Lexus LS

Lexus’ flagship luxury sedan is the LS, a vehicle that’s been in production since 1989. Since the fifth generation, all models have featured a V6 engine; prior to that, they were equipped with V8 engines. These days, the LS is also available as a hybrid. At new, the base model comes in at $75,300.

Engines

• 3.5-liter V-6 with electric motor assist
• 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6

Models

• LS 500h RWD/AWD
• LS 500 RWD/AWD
• LS 500 F Sport RWD/AWD

Body

• Sedan

Lexus GS

Lexus GS

The sportiest and most expensive midsize sedan in Lexus’ line up is the GS, a high performing model with outstanding performance and a luxurious, comfortable interior. Prices start at just past the $46,000 mark.

Engines

• 3.5-liter V6
• 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

Models

• F
• 300 RWD
• 300 F Sport RWD
• 350 F Sport RWD/AWD
• 350 RWD/AWD

Body

• Sedan

Lexus RC

Lexus RC

The RC debuted in 2015 as a compact executive two-door coupé. Bought new, it retails from $41,145.

Engines

• 3.5-liter V-6
• 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
• 5.0-liter V-8

Models

• F
• 350 F Sport RWD/AWD
• 350 RWD/AWD
• 300 RWD/AWD
• 300 F Sport RWD/AWD

Body

• Coupe

Lexus IS

Lexus IS

The IS is Lexus’ entry-level sport sedan. New, the price for the base model is around $38,410. After debuting in 1999, it’s now in its third generation. A relaxed yet capable car, it’s a fast mover with elegant styling, a good selection of high tech assists, and a comfortable, surprisingly spacious interior.

Engines

• Turbocharged 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder
• 3.5-liter V-6

Models

• 350
• 300 RWD/AWD
• 350 F Sport
• 300 F Sport Black Line Special Edition RWD/AWD
• 300 F Sport RWD/AWD

Body

• Sedan

Lexus UX

Lexus UX

The UX is Lexus’ most affordable proposition, coming in at just $32,000 from new. New for the 2019 model year, it’s a crossover SUV that’s available in both AWD and front-wheel drive variants.

Engines

• 2.0-liter inline-four with electric motor assist
• 2.0-liter inline-four

Models

• 250h Luxury
• 250h F Sport
• 250h
• 200 Luxury
• 200 F Sport
• 200

Body

• Crossover SUV

Lexus NX

Lexus NX

Available from $36,485 new, the Lexus NX is a compact SUV introduced in 2014.

Engines

• 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
• 2.5-liter inline-four with electric motor assist

Models

• 300h
• 300 F Sport FWD/AWD
• 300 FWD/AWD

Body

• Crossover SUV

Lexus LC

Lexus LC

Available from $92,300 when new, the LC is a two-door grand tourer that ranks as one of the most luxurious offerings in the Lexus catalog.

Engines

• 3.5-liter V-6 with electric motor assist
• 5.0-liter V-8

Models

• 500h
• 500

Body

• Coupe

Lexus RX

Lexus RX

Lexus’ best selling vehicle in the US is the RX, a crossover midsize SUV available as both a forward wheel drive and an all-wheel drive. Prices from new begin at $43,670.

Engines

• 3.5-liter V-6
• 3.5-liter V-6 with electric motor assist

Models

• 450hL
• 450h F Sport
• 450h
• 350 L FWD/AWD
• 350 F Sport FWD/AWD
• 350 FWD/AWD

Body

• Crossover SUV

Lexus GX

Lexus GX

A part of the Lexus lineup since 2002, the GX is a midsize SUV built on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado platform. It delivers off-road capability and is available from $52,355 as new.

Engines

• 4.6-liter V8

Modes

• 460 Luxury
• 460 Premium
• 460

Body

• SUV

Lexus LX

Lexus LX

Priced at $86,080 from new, the LX is one of the most expensive vehicles in the Lexus range. A full-sized SUV introduced in 2008, its spacious interior, powerful engine, and family-friendly appeal have made it a popular option.

Engines

• 5.7-liter V-8

Models

• 570

Body

• SUV

Find the Average Market Value

Now you’ve decided on your model, it’s time to get to grips with the next step: determining the average retail value. Use sites such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, and Cars.com to work out what consumers are paying for the same model elsewhere. Not only will this help you avoid getting stung by an overly ambitious dealer, it also gives you a great bargaining tool. You can also use the average retail price as a way of avoiding lemons: if a car is advertised way below the usual price but is described as being in ‘as new’ condition, either the dealer was born yesterday or they think you were. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Check the Warranty

Found your perfect car? Then now’s the time to get stuck into the details. First of all, do as nile-auto.com (www.nile-auto.com/guide-to-buying-a-used-lexus-car/) recommends and check whether you’ll get a warranty with the car. Even used cars might come with the warranty still in place, depending on the year of production and mileage. As you’re checking on the warranty, check the rest of the paperwork as well. Pay particular attention to the title history report. If the title was recently changed, it might indicate a problem – dealers are notorious for passing on dodgy cars they can’t sell to private sellers to advertise via Craigslist and the like. If the seller’s name is different from the title name, be very, very cautious about proceeding further.

Research the History

Lexus LX 1

Never buy a used car without first checking on its history. Even if the dealer seems reliable enough, do your own research. For a start, the dealer may not be as trustworthy as they seem. Secondly, the previous owner who traded the car in at the dealership may have neglected to mention some key facts. Check past maintenance records for any signs that the car has been involved in an accident or had any major repairs.

Inspect the Car

Never buy a used car unseen. No matter how great the offer, it’s simply not worth the risk. Always arrange to physically inspect the car yourself. If you have a mechanically minded friend you can take with you, so much the better. Check for any obvious dents or dings. Take a look under the car for any signs of rust or corrosion. Although small dents and minor areas of rust can usually be fixed easily enough, they should still be noted: not only will you need to factor in the cost of repair into your budget, you can also use any faults as a negotiating tool. Don’t limit the inspection to the exterior: the interior can give you some vital clues as to how the car has been maintained by previous owners. Ultimately, you’re dealing with a used car, so some minor wear and tear is to be expected. However, take any big scratches or tears on the seats, any big areas of dirt or grime, and any suspicious smells as a warning sign.

Arrange a Pre Purchase Inspection

If the car passes your preliminary inspection, arrange for a qualified mechanic to complete a pre-purchase inspection. This will let you know if there are any serious issues with the engine or mechanics of the vehicle you need to be aware of. As autoguide.com notes, a pre-purchase inspection will usually cost around $100: as it can reveal thousands of dollars’ worth of problems, it’s well worth the investment.

Take a Test Drive

Lexus LX 2

Even if the car appears to be in good order, don’t skip one of the most important aspects of the buying process: the test drive. As edmunds.com notes, test-driving a used car is the best way to know if it will fit your needs and meet your expectations www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-buy-a-used-car.html Taking the car for a spin will let you know in no uncertain terms whether it lives up to your requirements. Even if the car is a first-class example of its type, the performance, comfort level, and driving style of the model might not be what you’re looking for. While you’re driving, take note of how spacious the cabin is, what kind of leg and headroom you have, and how easy you find the controls to navigate. Similarly, take note of any little areas of concern, whether that’s a faulty control or a strange noise. Raise the concerns with the dealer: they should either aim to rectify the issues prior to sale or account for them in the final asking price. If they try to bluff their way around your concerns, walk.

Negotiate

Once you’ve taken a test drive, the final step is negotiating the price. Take everything you’ve learned about the vehicle from the inspection, the vehicle history, the average retail value, and the test drive to try and negotiate the best possible price. Although some buyers can feel shy about attempting to lower the asking price, don’t be: the dealer expects it and will typically be happy to consider reasonable offers.


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