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2002 Lexus LS430 Review
More refined than pretentious German-made rivals.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2002 Lexus LS430 is the flagship luxury sedan in the Toyota subsidiary’s line-up. It's more refined and luxurious than even its vaunted in-class German rivals with a reasonable price for its segment. That can change with options and the performance and handling have a ways to go before being able to match the Teutonic competition.
Engines: 4.3-liter V-8
Models: Lexus LS430
The 2002 Lexus LS430 sees almost no changes or alterations since it underwent a major overhaul the previous model year. The only addition or change of this model year is the inclusion of a new color: Platinum Blue Metallic.
The 2002 Lexus LS430 is the flagship luxury sedan and is available in only one trim level. Standard exterior gear includes 16-inch alloy wheels, intermittent rain-sensing wipers, four-wheel independent suspension with double wishbones in the front and rear, reverse tilt dual mirrors provides curb view when vehicle in reverse, power door mirrors, and heated door mirrors. Options can be stand-alone or in packages. Notable features that can be added to the exterior include a power moonroof, performance suspension or chrome 17-inch wheels. It has a 0.25 coefficient of drag, a measure of a vehicle’s resistance to the air that it is passing through. This number is the lowest of any sedan sold.
The 2002 Lexus LS430 is one of the quietest and most luxurious and refined in the automotive industry. There are many cabin goods that come standard. Optional amenities and appointments can be added individually or via packages. Notable examples include heating and cooling elements for the front seats, reclining and heated rear seats with a massaging mode, the Lexus Link communication system that is part of GM’s OnStar but staffed by Lexus employees, a navigation system, the Ultra Luxury package that has a navigation system, Lexus Link, a Mark Levinson premium sound system, front and rear ""intuitive"" ultrasonic parking assist, laser-based cruise control that maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead, and power trunk and door closers.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Lexus LS430 uses a 4.3-liter V-8 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Lexus’ own tests have the LS 430 accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. A ""smart"" throttle system called Intuitive Powertrain Control is employed to smooth acceleration from a standstill. The rear-wheel drive flagship sedan makes use of a five-speed automatic transmission. It may not be a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes-Benz, but for the price, it will get the job done performance-wise, although the gearbox is sometimes a bit slow to downshift for passing and general speeding-up.
The 2002 Lexus LS430's braking is solid, swift and devoid of drama. The handling is decent enough in and of itself, but when compared with revered German rivals it shows a lack of agility and athleticism needed to be top-notch. Call the moves capable and acceptable. The ride is quite stable and controlled. The bumps are all smoothed out and the ride gets even more plush and soft with the optional air suspension. As for noise, there isn’t really any as this is one of the quietest cars around. Some of the many technological revolutions of the LS400, Lexus’ first car and the ancestor, was the notable decrease of cabin noise thanks to new damping techniques and construction techniques that help establish Lexus’ reputation.
The 2002 Lexus LS430 comes with an impressive list of standard safety equipment that includes dual front impact airbags, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft alarm system, all-wheel four channel antilock brakes with Brake Assist and electronic brake force distribution, rear door child safety locks, auto delay off headlamps, dusk sensing headlamps, rear center three-point belt, traction control, stability control, and vehicle skid control. The airbags are advanced variable-force airbags that use sensors to determine the force needed to deploy the front airbags in an effort to reduce the chance of airbag-related injuries. Front seats and rear outboard seats are equipped with seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters. The NHTSA has not performed crash safety tests. In IIHS tests the Lexus flagship earned the highest rating of ""good"" for frontal offset crash safety, but a lower score of ""marginal"" for rear crash protection/head restraint safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Ride quality
- Build quality
- Quiet cabin
- Cabin material quality
You Won't Like
- Not as athletic as rivals
- Options take it to price level of better competition
- Navigation controls
- Performance of the automatic transmission
More refined than pretentious German-made rivals.
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