Used Lexus LS Saloon 2003 - 2006 review

Category: Luxury car

It's a superbly refined limousine, but it's expensive to run and lacks personality

Lexus LS Saloon (03 - 06)
  • Lexus LS Saloon (03 - 06)
  • Lexus LS Saloon (03 - 06)
Used Lexus LS Saloon 2003 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Lexus LS saloon like?

The LS is an anonymous-looking but very efficient luxury cruiser that wafts along on air springs, which can raise it by an inch to clear rough ground.

That's clever, but the most impressive thing is its refinement. The V8 engine runs in near-silence and, on the move, only a little noise from around the mirrors breaks the hush. Otherwise, you might as well be in a library, albeit one with good grip and little roll from the body. And, if there is a criticism, it's that the LS handles with composure rather than enthusiasm.


It's a superbly refined limousine, but it's expensive to run and lacks personality

  • Quick, smooth and serene - the Lexus LS is huge inside and luxurious
  • It can't match the style and elegance of its main rivals

The cabin is vast and loaded with gadgets, so many that they risk distracting the driver. Items that are extras on other luxury cars are fitted as standard. It's beautifully fitted out using high-quality materials, and any complaints are nit-picking. Mid you, the wood trim on the dash and wheel is a bit bright for some tastes.

There's more room in the rear than any passenger could need, while the boot is generous, although the suspension layout intrudes, narrowing the available space.

Ownership cost

What used Lexus LS saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Lexus LS saloon?

The LS is a far from cheap to own and run. Its second-hand value falls faster than average for luxury cars, losing almost two-thirds of its original worth in the first three years of its life. As a result, buying a nearly new one is a costly prospect, while a three-year-old model makes a lot more sense.

Fuel economy runs at up to 25mpg overall, which isn't too bad for a big 4.3 engine, and the car's in insurance group 17, which is also reasonable.

However, servicing is as expensive as you'd expect for a big luxury saloon. And, to make matters worse, there isn't much of a network of knowledgeable independent garages prepared to fix and fettle your LS more affordably than a main dealer will.

Spares are dear, but the car's near-legendary reliability means that you shouldn't have to stump up for many unexpected repairs outside the normal servicing schedule.

Our recommendations

Which used Lexus LS saloon should I buy?

There's only the one model to choose from, and just about everything you could think of is already included on or in it. So, in addition to what some may think of as the regular goodies, there are keyless entry, air-conditioned front seats, soft-close doors, leather upholstery, rain-sensitive wipers, sat-nav and air suspension, all as standard.

The 4.3-litre V8 pull strongly at low revs and in the mid-range to waft the car along comfortably, with all the power going through a wonderfully smooth six-speed automatic gearbox. The result is a swift take-off, effortless cruising and rapid acceleration on the move.

There are no fewer than 10 airbags in the car, including two to protect the knees of the front occupants. Active safety features are just as impressive, with standard traction control. Lexus was also the first manufacturer to score 100% in What Car?'s Security Supertest.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Lexus LS saloon?