10 most reliable Lexus cars

by Tadas Švenčionis
July 19, 2022
by Tadas Švenčionis
July 19, 2022

The quintessential Japanese luxury car. For decades, the Lexus brand has been known for its obsession with quality. From the first Lexus model, the LS, the company demonstrated that established luxury car manufacturers will have to up their game to compete.

Lexus is a reliable brand, but even on their roster there are better and worse examples. So, let’s find out which are the 10 most reliable Lexus cars.

How we made this list

Japanese manufacturers usually perform very well in various vehicle reliability studies. Unbeatable dependability is not just a myth, but is proven by respected reliability studies, such as those conducted by J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and What Car?. 

Based on the credibility of these organizations, we have compiled a list of the most reliable Lexus vehicles.

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10. Lexus RC

10. Lexus RC 300h F-Sport

Lexus engineers have always had a very different approach when creating sports coupes. Well-known rivals from Germany often won out in this category, but not when it comes to reliability. 

J.D. Power was so impressed with the RC that it got a reliability rating of 88 out of 100. To this day, this is one of the highest reliability scores given to this type of vehicle. The latest Lexus sports coupe also fascinated the participants of the Auto Express Driver Power survey. In a 2019 survey, they named the Lexus RC the best model overall in terms of reliability and build quality.  

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus RC

  • Owners report a whining noise coming from the rear engine mount and cross member.
  • The Lexus RC doesn’t have a particularly thick paint layer, therefore the front end is particularly susceptible to scratches. 
  • It has a wonky central command system that can lag, freeze, or crash. Usually, problems go away after updating software. 

9. Lexus LC

9. 2020 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series

The most expensive and thrilling-looking Lexus has a challenging mission to accomplish. This Japanese coupe competes with established rivals like the BMW 8-series and the Porsche 911, praised for their dynamics and wide range of abilities. 

Like the smaller RC, the more expensive and luxurious Lexus LC is set up for grand touring and blasting through the countryside. However, not everyone wants to drive a car designed for the Nurburgring rather than the Hollywood Boulevard.

While the LC impresses with its unique design and high-speed road manners, the luxury model didn’t escape some obligatory visits to the Lexus workshop. The company has had to recall the LC several times due to minor problems. 

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus LC

  • Because of a manufacturing defect, surface cracking may occur on the impeller of the low-pressure fuel pump. 
  • The brake booster pump motor may stop working because of a defective plastic brush holder. 
  • The Lexus LC doesn’t have an engine and transmission oil cooler, therefore, any over-enthusiastic drive through the countryside or track could lead to some damage.

8. Lexus LX

8. Lexus LX 570

Luxurious trucks are popular in countries where gas is cheap and roads are wider than presidential palaces. The Lexus LX is a perfect match for those seeking a luxurious yet very capable off-roader. 

Based on the rather humble Toyota Land Cruiser, the Lexus LX has a few distinguishing features. The interior quality, top-notch leather, extremely well-damped suspension, and significantly better sound insulation outperform the car on which the Lexus LX is based.

The Lexus LX also impresses with reliability. It has received a RepairPal reliability rating 3.5 out of 5 stars. While this seems like a modest score, the study also notes that the chance of any LX issue being severe or highly problematic is only 9%

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus LX

  • Like many Japanese cars, Lexus LX doesn’t have the best protection from corrosion. Vehicles driving in winter or on rough terrains may develop rust. 
  • Owners report that the dynamic cruise control tends to turn itself off when it’s raining heavily. 
  • The wheel height sensors may rust and eventually fail. 

7. Lexus GX

7. Lexus GX 460

Like the bigger Lexus LX, the Lexus GX was created using the principle of taking a dependable workhorse as a platform and filling it with luxurious items like Knee airbags, a Lane Departure Warning System, and Adaptive Variable Suspension. 

These enhancements have undoubtedly improved road handling, comfort on long journeys, and daily driving without sacrificing the Lexus GX’s off-road capabilities and reliability. For several years in a row, J.D. Power has named the Lexus GX one of the most reliable Premium SUVs on the market. 

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus GX

  • The front axles have four CV joints. Over time they may develop cracks or splits that allow foreign material to enter and damage the CV joints.
  • Owners report issues with the low-pressure fuel pumps. 
  • The 1UR-FE V8 engine can develop oil leaks where the timing chain cover meets the cylinder block and cylinder head. 

6. Lexus LS

6. Lexus LS 460L

Since 1989, the LS has been the company’s flagship, which has helped Lexus become a global player.

Like most rivals, the LS offers impressive comfort, the newest technology, and a rather conservative approach towards design, but the LS has excelled in the reliability department. 

While the LS failed to dethrone the S-Class Mercedes-Benz when it comes to the driving experience, most reliability studies and owners have complimented the Lexus sedan’s impressive durability. Also, according to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost on the LS is just $767, which is far less than the average luxury sedan. 

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus LS

  • There are known issues with the Mass Air Flow sensors, as they clog and fail to operate normally. This can cause hesitancy and a lack of power when accelerating. 
  • An unusual knocking noise from the suspension could indicate tie rod, wishbone bushing, or ball joint failure. 
  • Owners report issues with the water pump. 

5. Lexus CT

5. Lexus CT 200h

Europeans love practical, comfortable, and fuel-efficient cars. That’s why most manufacturers operating in Europe have one or several hatchbacks in their lineup.

The Lexus CT was an entry-level model distinguished by its hybrid powertrain, inherited from the Toyota Prius. However, this is not the only comparable property. The Lexus CT is a carbon copy of the Toyota Prius – only their exterior and interior styling and suspension setup are different.

While the CT and the Prius have more differences than similarities, both are highly rated for reliability. In the Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, only 2% of CT owners reported problems.

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus CT

  • Owners report problems with the car’s loud braking noise, caused by failing brake actuators.
  • The 2ZF-FXE engine used in the Lexus CT is known for higher than average oil consumption.
  • A rough idle or engine misfiring indicates a moisture build up in the intake manifold.

4. Lexus IS

4. Lexus IS 350

From the very beginning, the Lexus IS had to convince buyers that the company had created a better compact sedan than brands that had been perfecting the formula for decades. Like almost all Lexus vehicles, the IS took a unique approach to nearly everything.

The hybrid powertrain is a key feature of Lexus. At least in Europe, hybrid versions offered lower emissions and overall costs without sacrificing driving involvement. While the Lexus IS has other powertrain options, they don’t match the excitement and dynamics of rivals.

However, the dynamic shortcomings of the Lexus sedan can be ignored due to its nearly perfect reliability. In several What Car? reliability surveys, Lexus IS has scored an outstanding reliability rating of 97%. Additionally, the research found that less than 12% of models experienced any issues during the first three years of ownership.

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus IS

  • Owners report issues with the infotainment screen, as it’s prone to freezing and not functioning correctly.
  • The rear wheels may start making clicking sounds when the car is maneuvering at low speeds. Usually, these sounds are caused by loose rear wheel calipers.
  • The Lexus IS has a 12-volt battery responsible for a smooth ownership experience. Due to the low voltage of the 12-volt battery, it can cause disruptions for hybrid powertrains or useful features like heated seats or folding side mirrors. 

3. Lexus RX

3. Lexus RX 350

The Lexus RX SUV has long been the company’s best-seller in multiple countries, as it fulfills all the requirements of a family SUV.

The RX comes with five or seven seats, a traditional gasoline engine or an efficient hybrid powertrain, front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Furthermore, the Lexus RX, like any other luxurious SUV, has a plethora of gadgets for both children and adults to enjoy. 

Due to the versatility of this SUV, the RX has received numerous Vehicle Satisfaction Awards and Best Resale Value Awards. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also named the Lexus RX a Top Safety Pick. Also, for several years in a row, the Lexus RX was called as the best midsize Premium SUV, with an average reliability rating of 90. 

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus RX

  • Owners report that a battery failure is quite a common issue with the Lexus RX. Usually, it’s not a huge problem but it can be unpleasant, especially if you’re in a hurry. 
  • The Lexus RX steering rack and pinion tend to start leaking power steering fluid. Replacing these parts could be costly.
  • Vehicles with a higher mileage have a considerable risk of water pump failures and leaks may appear sooner than anticipated.

2. Lexus GS

2. Lexus GS 350

The Lexus GS is a performance sedan sitting between the compact IS and the marque’s flagship LS. However, in 2020, after four excellent generations, Lexus decided to discontinue the GS nameplate, ignoring an industry leading reliability record. 

Generation after generation, the GS offered one of the highest quality and reliability ratings in its class. Several times, J.D. Power awarded the Lexus GS as the best midsize premium car, due to its wide range of features and durability. 

The most recent Lexus GS generation is also among the best Lexus vehicles ever produced. RepairPal ranks the Lexus GS as the 3rd (from 30) most reliable luxury full size cars, citing lower maintenance costs than most rivals in its class.  

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus GS

  • The power steering rack is known to fail. Note if the steering is jerky and hesitant instead of smooth. 
  • The sunroof seals are prone to water leakage. 
  • The trunk lock mechanism is prone to premature wear, so you may need to change it at some point. 

1. Lexus ES

1. Lexus ES 300h

Since 1989, the Lexus ES has been recognized as a dependable sedan with a high resale value and an impressive reliability record. 

Several generations of the Lexus ES scored high reliability ratings, every single time leaving the competition behind. The newest generation of the Lexus ES offers an impressive J.D.Power reliability rating of 84 out of 100, but the previous generation was even more impressive – with an astonishing reliability rating of 93. 

Lexus designed the ES for the North American market and it was a huge success. Especially the 6th generation, which sold well in North America, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. It was popular due to its extensive list of excellent features and hybrid powertrains.

Things to look out for when buying a used Lexus ES

  • Lexus owners report that the dashboard on the ES is prone to melting. Plastic on the dash can melt if your car is regularly parked in the sun.
  • GPS malfunctions are a relatively common problem with all Lexus ES models. You can fix it by updating the firmware or replacing the GPS module.
  • Owners report that the engine casting of 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engines is susceptible to cracking, leading to both internal and external coolant leaks. 

Is Lexus the most reliable car brand?

Lexus NX 300h

According to many different studies, Lexus can call itself the most reliable mainstream car manufacturer. 

Lexus has a long history of achieving high ratings in reliability and dependability surveys. In almost all of them, Lexus ties for first place with Porsche. However, unlike most Porsches that typically have a much lower annual mileage, Lexus produces cars for everyday driving and covering impressive distances without significant issues. Furthermore, Lexus sells 700,000 to 800,000 vehicles worldwide each year, whereas Porsche sales are several times lower.

Even the most reliable cars need a history check

While Lexus is known for dependability, some owners prefer to skip scheduled oil changes or repair their vehicle with low-quality parts. Every careless act of maintenance reduces the lifespan of a car, causing problems for the next owner.

Do yourself a favor and research the history of any Lexus vehicle you intend to purchase. Our VIN check may give you information that could help you negotiate a lower price or confront sellers lying about the vehicle’s mileage.

FAQ

Are all Lexus vehicles reliable? 

In general, yes. Although there may be bad apples, Lexus has always paid close attention to the details, build quality, and overall vehicle endurance.

Do Lexus have a lot of problems?

No. While Lexus offers outstanding reliability, these vehicles have a few problems with corrosion protection, squeaking brakes, and oil leaks. 

Is Lexus made by Toyota?

No. While Toyota owns Lexus, these Japanese manufacturers operate as separate entities. However, Lexus and Toyota share several components to reduce complexity and improve manufacturing efficiency.  

Are Lexus good cars to buy?

Yes. Lexus vehicles offer a wide range of good qualities. Even 10-15 years old cars shouldn’t be overlooked.

Where is Lexus built?

Most Lexus models are made in Japan. However, Lexus has a plant in Lexington, Kentucky, that produces its ES model.

Are Honda and Lexus the same company?

No. Honda and Lexus are two separate companies with opposing values. Honda is also considered a competitor of Toyota. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are rivals of Lexus.

What does F stand for in Lexus?

Lexus’ high-performance division is known as the Lexus F marque. The F stands for flagship and Fuji Speedway, Lexus’ primary testing facility.

Is Lexus popular in Japan?

Lexus is doing moderately well in its home country. In 2021, it sold 51,118 vehicles or as much as Mercedes-Benz. However, Lexus is more popular in Japan than Audi or BMW. 

Is Lexus considered luxury? 

Yes. Lexus had been awarded many times for outstanding quality, reliability, and resale value. 

Do Lexus cars hold their value?

Yes. Most Lexus vehicles retain their value better than Acura, Infiniti, and several European competitors. For example, the Lexus GS and the LS were recognized as having the best resale value in their class.

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