2003 Lexus SC430

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2003 Lexus SC430 Review

Fun top-down driving for a price lower than its competitors.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2003 Lexus SC430 is a convertible that features a very sleek profile with a low roof line. It is Lexus’ answer to the luxury class coupes and convertibles of its competition. It also offers features that consumers cannot find with the other brands, all at a lower sticker price. It depends on a 4.3-liter, V-8 engine that delivers plenty of power. It is the jewel of the Lexus lineup, with curves and shapes inspired by the French Riviera. It makes use of radical styling, which is a bit far from the conventional vehicles rolling out of the Lexus plant.

The Range

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

What's New

The 2003 Lexus SC430 gets a new, optional custom communication system called Lexus Link. Buyers can also now opt for a rear spoiler and a set of run-flat tires.

Exterior

The 2003 Lexus SC430 has a hard retractable top in place of the usual fabric top. Lexus designers and engineers made sure that this setup passes Lexus standards for vibration, harshness, and low noise. It comes with High-Intensity-Discharge headlamps, fog lights, and headlight washers. The suspension system has a four-wheel independent set up with double wishbone for the front and the rear. The interior has a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that takes into consideration the outside temperature and whether the hard top is up when automatically adjusting the cabin temperature. It is pretty compact, with a dimension of 53.1 inches in height and about 178 inches in length. It rolls on 18-inch alloy rims hugged by P245/40R Z tires. The car is also equipped with a warning system that alerts the driver when the tire pressure gets too low.

Interior

The 2003 Lexus SC430 is tagged as 2+2 coupe with the rear seat primarily serving as extra space for luggage, given the very small trunk. It can accommodate four adults, but the legroom in the rear cabin is next to zero. The interior design is dominated by leather, wood, and other natural materials that are in line with the luxury living room concept of the Lexus cabin. It comes standard with a nine-speaker system by Mark Levinson that booms out 240 watts. The gauges are large enough to provide easy feedback for the driver. The rest of the controls for the lights and systems can easily be reached. It has a wind dampener located at the back of the rear seats. It also comes standard with power front seats with ten-way adjustment and a power steering wheel that tilts and telescopes for a more comfortable driving experience.

Performance & Handling

Under the hood of the 2003 Lexus SC430 is an all-aluminum, 4.3-liter, V-8 power plant with Double Overhead Cam(DOHC) and variable valve timing intelligence(VVT-i) for its 32 valves. The engine gives out 300 horses while revving at 5600 rpm and generates a torque of 325 lb-ft at 3400 rpm. The powerful engine is coupled with a five-speed automatic gearbox that makes use of Shift Logic Control to keep the gear in place on certain driving conditions. The powertrain transfers all the power of the engine to the rear wheels. The car also has a Torque Activated Powertrain Control, which guarantees sufficient linear acceleration. Lexus claims it can go from a stand still to 60 mph in a matter of 6.5 seconds. It has a double wishbone suspension for the rear and front, and this is complemented by gas shocks and coil springs to make sure that handling is responsive without sacrificing the quality of the ride. The independent suspension setup guarantees that it will not jolt or float on the road, but glides over slight imperfections instead.

Safety

The 2003 Lexus SC430 comes standard with daytime running lamps and side-impact airbags mounted on the seats. The safety provisions include anti-lock brakes that make use of brake force distribution, traction control, Brake Assist, and Vehicle Skid Control. The run-flat tires, which comes as an option, allow it to cruise at 55 mph for 100 miles with deflated tires.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus SC430: 16/22 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Quiet ride
  • Good acceleration
  • Handling

You Won't Like

  • Automatic transmission lags a bit when downshifting
  • Very little cargo space
  • Almost useless rear seats

Sum Up

Fun top-down driving for a price lower than its competitors.

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