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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's quick and reliable, with strong residuals

Against It's a real disappointment to drive - and very cramped in the back

Verdict It's a bland, cumbersome car with limited rear space

Go for… Later models in metallic colours or black

Avoid… Anything without a solid service history

Lexus SC430 Open
  • 1. Space is limited, particularly in the back. The rear seats are virtually upright and all but useless
  • 2. Make sure that any electrical problems are ironed out before you buy
  • 3. Watch out for slow roof mechanisms: it should fold back within 25 seconds
  • 4. The dashboard controls are easy to use, but the car feels designed more for the American market
  • 5. The automatic transmission feels lazy and reluctant, but the engine is smooth
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Lexus SC430 Open full review with expert trade views

The SC430 is a low-key offering. Its bulbous shape tells you that this is something Americans might like, but it’s less likely to be the choice for Brits who prefer more sleek lines from their coupes.

With that in mind, it's odd that space is limited, particularly in the rear. The rear seats are virtually upright and so small as to be all-but useless.

The SC430 is powered by a smooth and refined 4.3-litre, 282bhp V8 and it will take you from 0-60mph in 6.2sec, which is plenty quick enough. But, other than that, the driving experience is bland and far from engaging. The automatic transmission feels lazy and reluctant, and the engine note is a little disappointing.

On the open road, the suspension is too stodgy, the turn-in to corners lacks precision and you can feel the chassis flexing on bumpy roads.

The dashboard controls, however, are easy to use, but the whole feel of the car is a little boring for an open-top that you might have expected to be a bit more sporting.

Trade view

John Owen

Great stereo, shame about the surroundings

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There’s only one to pick from. But, as you would expect from a car that cost £50,000 when new, it has a more-than decent level of comfort and equipment.

Eight-way adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, touch-screen sat-nav and electric memory front seats are all standard. There’s also an impressive stereo created by hi-fi expert Mark Levinson, that even adjusts itself when the roof goes down to provide a superior sound.

Later models got incremental revisions - with upgraded alloys and emissions reductions - but the differences were minimal. Non-metallic colours are less desirable; try to avoid flat red, but black examples are still sought after.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Few around but interest in keenly priced models if mint

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Lexus’ reputation for strong reliability has kept second-hand prices high. And, these strong residuals should continue, so if you do invest in a SC430 you won’t be too disappointed when you come to resell.

Servicing costs are not prohibitive: parent company Toyota has tried to keep its hourly labour rates down, but you can expect Lexus parts to set you back a pretty penny. And, with carbon dioxide emissions of 287g/km, it's in the highest band for Vehicle Excise Duty.

Fuel consumption is what you might expect from a 155mph, 4.3-litre engine: if you're lead-footed, you get 17.3mpg; on long stretches, you might get over 30mpg, but the combined fuel consumption figure of 24mpg is more realistic.

Trade view

John Owen

Great stereo, shame about the surroundings

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There’s plenty to go wrong on one of these cars because the equipment levels are so high. But Lexus has a reputation for building bulletproof cars, so you’ll be very unlucky to find anything going wrong. All the same, make sure that any electrical problems are ironed out before you buy, and check the service records, particularly on older models, which might be a bit more vulnerable in this area.

It's also worth looking out for the more attractive revised later models. You can spot these from modifications that included changes to the grille, front fog lamps and bumpers, a six-speed ’box and adaptive front lighting. The rear lights were changed to LEDs and the revised alloy wheels on the later models make the whole car look smarter.

Finally, watch out for slow roof mechanisms: the roof should fold back within 25sec, so get your stopwatch out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Few around but interest in keenly priced models if mint

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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