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2002 Lexus SC430

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2002 Lexus SC430 Review

Offers trade-off of gadgetry for driving dynamics.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2002 Lexus SC430 is the first sport coupe convertible design for Toyota’s luxury label since the 1992 SC coupe. It is meant to be a luxury cruiser, but still packs enough power to beat a Porsche Boxster in the zero-to-60-mph run. It has a nice list of features, solid power and handling, and a nice style. The interior’s only flaw would be a very small backseat and the lack of cargo space. It is a minor complaint as this type of car isn’t really about utility.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible
Engines: 4.3-liter, V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Lexus SC430

What's New

The 2002 Lexus SC430 itself is new for 2002 and puts an end to 10 years of a Lexus favorite, leaving fans without a convertible sport coupe since 1992’s SC coupe.

Exterior

The 2002 Lexus SC430 convertible sport coupe is available in just one base trim level. Standard exterior features include 18-inch alloy wheels, rear defogger, intermittent wipers, power retractable hard top, power door mirrors, heated door mirrors, four-wheel independent suspension, double wishbones in the front and rear, high-intensity-discharge headlights, headlight washers, and fog lights. It portrays an ""it is what it is"" philosophy so there aren’t any trim levels or packages. Run-flat tires are one of the very few stand-alone options for the exterior.

The 2002 Lexus SC430 offers a nicely-styled look that was created by Toyota’s European design center and is reportedly influenced by the sights and feel of the French Riviera. The design was still subjected to Lexus’ wind-wrap tests to ensure that it meets the luxury makers’ standards for low noise, vibration, and harshness. It has the distinction of being the first Lexus to ride on 18-inch wheels.

Interior

The 2002 Lexus SC430 is a luxury cruiser and all of the necessary cabin gear for a luxury car is here, including leather upholstery, eight-way powered and heated front seats with adjustable lumbar support, lots of wood and leather trim, power everything, tilt steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, dual zone climate controls, interior active charcoal air filter, memory seat, and a 240-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system with AM/FM, six-CD player, nine speakers plus subwoofer, speed-sensitive volume control, and a DVD-based navigation system.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Lexus SC430 gets power from an all-aluminum, 300-horsepower, 4.3-liter, dual overhead cam, V-8 engine that produces 325 lb-ft of torque and employs variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i). It mates to a five-speed-automatic transmission that incorporates Power and Snow modes. A new electronic throttle control system called Intuitive Powertrain Control is designed to ensure linear acceleration. The SC430 is rear drive only. In Lexus’ own tests, it ran the zero-to-60-mph sprint in a time of 5.9 seconds, yet the car meets ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) emissions standards. Its zero-to-60-mpg time actually beats that of the Porsche Boxster. While it is respectable off the line, it does best after gaining some speed and will handle traffic situations well with its performance the smooth as silk transmission that never has a hard time finding gears.

The 2002 Lexus SC430 is more of a luxury touring coupe, yet it is still rather responsive, athletic, and agile despite the numb steering. It corners well, doesn’t lean or roll much and inspires confidence. The ride is befitting a car that uses words like ""luxury"" and ""cruiser"" in its description. It is a smooth and easy going car with a pleasant ride, but taking on options will have an effect on the ride: the 18-inch tires will make occupants feel road imperfections and the run flat tires will make the ride stiff and lumpy.

Safety

The 2002 Lexus SC430 comes standard with a respectable list of safety equipment, including Brake Assist, a system that applies maximum braking power during emergency stops. It also includes VSC (vehicle stability control), traction control, seatbelt pretensioners and dual front impact airbags, side impact airbags, all-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft alarm system, auto delay off headlamps, dusk sensing headlamps, and tire pressure monitoring. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have performed crash safety tests, so the extensive safety features list along with maker reputation will have to suffice for convincing prospective buyers about the level of occupant protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus SC430: 16/21 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Comfort features
  • Convenience features
  • Styling
  • Engine performance
  • Retractable hard-top

You Won't Like

  • Cargo space
  • Backseat almost useless

Sum Up

Offers trade-off of gadgetry for driving dynamics.

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