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2004 Lexus LS430 vs 2007 Toyota Avalon Limited...HELP!

alimoalem

Diamond Member
Sep 22, 2005
4,025
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CLIFFS AT BOTTOM

Hey everyone,

after a LOT of research, test-driving, and a near-purchase experience, we're looking at getting either a used 2007ish Toyota Avalon, or an older (2004ish) Lexus LS430. We have driven both.

Our budget is around $15k cash (if it goes over, it'll be financed, but we'd rather not go that route). We can get a 2006 Avalon XLS or Limited for $16.5k (40k miles) or $14k (80k miles). The 2004-2005 LS430 with comparable miles is ~$5k more. And we may have to travel a lot farther to get it (like from the San Jose area to Los Angeles).

We would really like to stay as near as possible to the budget , but if the LS430 is a much better car, we're willing to pay extra. The only thing is, are there any common problems, particularly with the LS430? Is there a site/forum that goes over the common repairs/costs at each mileage interval?

And in a 10 min test-drive plus looking around each car for 15 minutes, we may have overlooked some obvious things. Is there any obvious reason to go with either?

Anyway, thanks for your help. Your help is appreciated.

CLIFFS:
1. Choosing between a 2004ish Lexus LS430 and a 2006-2007 Toyota Avalon XLS or Limited
2. Budget is $15k, but can go extra if needed
3. Avalon is around the budget, LS430 costs $5k more than Avalon
4. Any expensive things to be aware of for the LS430 (if we get one, it might have 80k miles on it)?
5. Any obvious reason to go with either car?
5. Anything else I should know?


EDIT: We ended up getting a 2006 Lexus LS430 w/Modern Package and 51.5k miles on it. Thanks for the help guys.
 
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amdhunter

Lifer
May 19, 2003
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Over here, the Avalon/Camry have taken over their Lincoln counterparts as being the Gypsy cab car of choice.

Because of this, there is NO WAY AT ALL I'd ever get a Camry/Avalon for a car.

My brother-in-law recently got rid of his LS430 (fully loaded) about 2 months ago. That car was incredible, you could be cruising at 110MPH and think you were going 50.
The only problem is the 04 LS430 is definitely showing it's age, but its still a nice car. He got $14.5k for it with 140K miles, in perfect cosmetic condition.
 
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alimoalem

Diamond Member
Sep 22, 2005
4,025
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Showing its age as in from the design you can tell it's an older car? Or at 140k miles, the car feels tired?
 

woodie1

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2000
5,947
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Disclaimer: I own a 2008 Avalon but I'm older than dirt and could care less what anyone thinks.

In my experience the LS will be much more expensive to maintain and it burns premium fuel. They are great cars though. My Avalon burns regular fuel and I can go 400 miles between fill-ups. YMMV On a summer trip I ran 70-75 MPH in 90-100 degree heat and got 34 MPG. My maintenance costs are about the same as a Camry. Check on tire prices between the two cars.
 

alimoalem

Diamond Member
Sep 22, 2005
4,025
0
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Thanks for the replies. Btw, this car is for my dad.

woodie1, what trim Avalon do you have? If you have the XLS or Limited, what do you think of the "luxury" items? Also, have you had any problems with the car in the last 2 years?


To compare the cost of ownership, is there anywhere I can check how much things cost? And what items should I look for? Tires, brakes, what else?
 

amdhunter

Lifer
May 19, 2003
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Showing its age as in from the design you can tell it's an older car? Or at 140k miles, the car feels tired?
The car NEVER felt tired. Him and my sister owned the car for 3 years, so I got tired of looking at it...lol It just feels like the body is old after all this time.

But, it was an amazing car, and had one of the nicest navigation systems ever. I know they miss it, they went from that to a 2006 Ford Explorer. :(
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
2
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The Lexus is obviously a "better" car but that is a subjective statement. It will cost you more than the Avalon in every single possible way from insurance to gas to maintenance. This is kind of like cross-shopping an Accord with a BMW. It's obvious which will be nicer to drive and also obvious which will have less costs long term.

The Avalon may be a grandpa car but they are very nice nonetheless. It's certainly no more grandpa than a Camry and unlike a camry it will feel somewhat rich. I've driven a couple but not the 2006 gen, which looks sharp. My father in law is on his second and has around 100k miles on an early 2000 one now. It's had a few maintenance items as one would expect over that many miles but has been mostly problem free as one would expect with a Toyota. Maintenance frequency I would guess will be a little more common on the Lexus as far fewer of them were made but in any case repair costs will be higher when you do have an issue.

Certainly you'd pay the extra $2.5k to shave 40k miles off one all other things equal. Unless you can sock that $2.5k away into savings since chances are low 40k miles would eat $2.5k in maintenance.
 
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PricklyPete

Lifer
Sep 17, 2002
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My Dad has a 2006. He has had no issues at all with the car other than a trim piece needing to be replaced at delivery. I think he's around ~50K on the car so far...XLS trim I believe (not limited...step down from it).

the car is a great highway cruiser, is very comfortable with plenty of room. Engine is strong...transmission is ok for an automatic. I think it is ugly from most angles...but that's subjective. There is the pedal recalls out there for it right now.
 

zoiks

Lifer
Jan 13, 2000
11,787
3
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I recently rented a brand new Avalon with 300 miles on the odo. It ran pretty fast but I have to say it's more of a grandpa's car. That's my take on it but your dad might like it.
I wouldn't spend $15k on a Lexus that's already 6 years old. All that bullshittery about them running forever doesn't cut it. Old is old.
 

alimoalem

Diamond Member
Sep 22, 2005
4,025
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I think making a list of pros/cons will be a good step forward. I'm busy with school right now, but at the end of the week, I think I'll start making one. It's a tough decision for us.

Zoiks, I'm just curious, what's the oldest used car you're willing to buy? We generally keep our cars til they give out.
 

zoiks

Lifer
Jan 13, 2000
11,787
3
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I think making a list of pros/cons will be a good step forward. I'm busy with school right now, but at the end of the week, I think I'll start making one. It's a tough decision for us.

Zoiks, I'm just curious, what's the oldest used car you're willing to buy? We generally keep our cars til they give out.
I guess it depends on the person. To me $15k is a lot of money so I probably would try and get something newer. Lot of Foresters and Outbacks out there for that money. I normally buy cars when they're a year to 2 years old and generally sell them before or right after the warranty expires. But then other people buy new and drive the car until its end of life.
 

evident

Lifer
Apr 5, 2005
11,632
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always a big fan of the LS series for some reason, even though they are luxo barges.
 

amdhunter

Lifer
May 19, 2003
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FWIW, the Lexus my sis had went 80,000 miles with nothing more than 2 oil changes or so. (My bro-in-law believes in just topping off when necessary, and changing the filter once in a while.)

That car was solid.
 

desy

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2000
5,394
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Why would you go through the trouble of changing a filter and topping up and not drain the whole shebang?
Oil is cheap, I go extended intervals w synthetic as well but only a half job?
Weird
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
2
0
Why would you go through the trouble of changing a filter and topping up and not drain the whole shebang?
Oil is cheap, I go extended intervals w synthetic as well but only a half job?
Weird
See angry hamster's post after yours for the answer.
 

jtvang125

Diamond Member
Nov 10, 2004
5,399
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Even though the Avalon is a few years newer the LS is still in a totally different class. The materials, fit and finish and ride quality will all be better on the LS. Also of all of Lexus's line of cars the LS is the least troublesome mainly due to them being built in Japan. I don't think you can go wrong with either car but I think your dad will like the LS a lot more. Have him test drive one locally before driving up there to look at the one there.
 

LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,520
1,573
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Why would you go through the trouble of changing a filter and topping up and not drain the whole shebang?
Oil is cheap, I go extended intervals w synthetic as well but only a half job?
Weird
If the leak is bad enough... :biggrin:
 

DVad3r

Diamond Member
Jan 3, 2005
5,340
3
81
FWIW, the Lexus my sis had went 80,000 miles with nothing more than 2 oil changes or so. (My bro-in-law believes in just topping off when necessary, and changing the filter once in a while.)

That car was solid.
The oil change interval on my Lexus is 5000 miles. Your bro in law isn't too intelligent...
 

PricklyPete

Lifer
Sep 17, 2002
14,714
164
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One comment. The latest Avalon had a few quality issues when it came out...I believe in 2005. My dad has a 2006 and has had no problems other than a minor problem with some of the wood trim. Just throwing that out there as the early latest generation Avalons may not be the best example of Toyota quality.
 

amdhunter

Lifer
May 19, 2003
23,276
165
106
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The oil change interval on my Lexus is 5000 miles. Your bro in law isn't too intelligent...
I know a couple of older guys that just top off the oil when necessary. I think it's standard practice everywhere, except in the USA.

I personally change my oil every 6 months or so. I've had 4 oil changes in 2 years, with only 8,000 miles.
 

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