2003 Lexus LS430

  • 2003 Lexus LS430 Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      4.3L V8
    • MSRP
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2003 Lexus LS430 Review

Who says the Germans have the only game in town?

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Lexus LS430 was completely redesigned in the 2001 model year to make it more competitive with European manufacturers. It was given a new, powerful V-8 engine and a slew of new standard features that made it one of the most enjoyable riding sedans available on the market. The 2003 Lexus LS430 has only received minor changes.

The Range

Body Styles: sport sedan
Engines: 4.3-liter V-8 engine
Transmissions: five-speed automatic transmission
Models: Lexus LS430

What's New

The 2003 Lexus LS430 gained a few new features for 2003. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are now standard, replacing the old 16-inch wheels of previous years. Climate control front seats and rear park assist, previous part of feature packages are now included as optional items. Those base vehicles ordered with climate-controlled front seats now receive perforated leather.


The 2003 Lexus LS430 is 196.7-inches overall, and rides on a 115.2-inch wheelbase. The styling takes a cue from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, boasting a muscular and aggressive design that will please many fans of European sedans. Standard exterior features include side body cladding, high-intensity discharge headlights, alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, heated mirrors, rear defogger, and fog lamps.


The interior of the 2003 Lexus LS430 isn’t as inspired as some of the other Lexus models in the lineup, but there is plenty to get excited about in terms of standard features. Cargo space is limited to 20.2 cubic feet, although a center pass-thru in the back seat makes hauling skis a breeze. Standard features on the Base model include 10-way power adjusting passenger and driver seats, passenger and driver manual lumbar support, height adjustments, folding storage with pass through center slot, rear ventilation ducts, remote power locks, power mirrors, heated mirrors, four one-touch power windows, front console with storage, front and rear cup holders, front and rear door pockets, universal remote transmitter, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, charcoal air filter, memory settings for three drivers, memory setting for the steering wheel, seven speakers, six-CD in-dash player, seven speakers, radio data system, and wiring for a phone.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Lexus LS430 comes equipped with a 4.3-liter, V-8 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. With all that power, the vehicle will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds, a great time for such an affordable sport vehicle. The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Even though the Lexus LS430 is affordable as a Base model, it still gets moving. Lexus has made a name for itself by providing drivers ride comfort, performance, and stability, and the Lexus LS430 continues that tradition. The suspension adjusts itself to practically any road situation, keeping the driver from bouncing up and down when there is a pothole in the road. That’s not to say that the ride feels cushioned; it’s actually quite taut and commanding. The expected result of the high weight would be a sluggish take off, but the exact opposite is true. The Lexus LS430 practically leaps off the line. Passing and merging on the freeway is simple and painless. The vehicle is easy to drive with the steering wheel providing control with the smallest touch. The Lexus LS430 doesn’t have exactly the same sportiness as some of the other European sedans on the market, but it is pretty close.


The 2003 Lexus LS430 comes equipped with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front and rear head airbags, dual front-side mounted airbags, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft alarm system, emergency brake assist, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, rear door child safety locks, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, fog lights, two front and three rear headrests, front seatbelt pretensioners, stability and traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency trunk release, and self-leveling headlights. The NHTSA has not tested the Lexus LS430. However, the IIHS has run several tests. The Lexus LS430 scored a rating of ""good,"" the IIHS’ best rating, for frontal offset impact, but only scored ""marginal,"" the second-worst rating, for rear collisions and head protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus LS430 Base: 17/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Great ride quality
  • Standard and optional features abundant
  • Great interior materials
  • Lexus reliability

You Won't Like

  • Lacks athletics
  • Optional features expensive

Sum Up

Who says the Germans have the only game in town?

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