A fantastic way to buy a great luxury car is to get a used model. This decision can maximize how much car you’ll get and minimize the money you’ll need to hand over. Consumer Reports took a look at some of the best used cars that are available for between $15,000 and $20,000. All of their recommendations had good reviews when new and above-average reliability ratings as well. One solid choice for buyers looking for a used luxury midsize sedan is the 2011 Lexus LS.
The 2011 Lexus LS
Consumer Reports describes the Lexus LS as “more of a luxury liner than a driver’s car” but points out that being a luxury liner isn’t a problem. It’s a “supremely pampering car that isolates its occupants and is fuss-free in every way.”
Redesigned for the 2007 model year, the 2007 through 2012 generation received better ratings from Consumer Reports than today’s Lexus LS has. The 2011 model year received a five out of five for reliability and a four out of five for owner satisfaction. For comparison, the 2020 Lexus LS has a predicted reliability rating of one out of five and a predicted owner satisfaction rating of two out of five.
How’s the driving experience?
The 2011 Lexus LS has a 4.6-liter V8 engine, which produces 386 hp. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. A hybrid version is available as are all-wheel drive and a long-wheelbase version. It comes with standard electronic stability control, but it does have some lean when the conditions are more demanding. This car does require premium fuel.
Technology and safety
The 2011 Lexus LS included top technology and safety features for the day. The audio system includes 10 speakers and an eight-gigabyte hard drive. A 19-speaker audio system is available with a CD/DVD player. The car comes standard with a six-CD player, satellite radio, and a touchscreen with iPod compatibility (but not Apple CarPlay or Android Auto since they hadn’t been developed yet).
The optional Advanced Parking Guidance System is a neat feature that is able to use radar to park the car either parallel or pulled in. However, Consumer Reports found this to be mainly a novelty since a large space was needed for the system to work. Safety features include a pre-collision system with radar-based cruise control. The rear backup camera is optional.
Interior of the 2011 Lexus LS
The 2011 Lexus LS excels at providing a luxury experience. The interior is exceptionally quiet, and the ride is quite smooth. The car is easy to get in and out of, with large door openings, low floor sills, higher seats, and assist grips.
The cabin interior surrounds the driver with leather and wood, providing a high-quality luxury environment. There’s plenty of room for the driver, and the space is comfortable, with a power-adjustable tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable upper shoulder belt anchors, and soft armrests.
The seats are both plush and supportive and offer plenty of adjustments to best fit tall and short drivers. All the seats are heated, and the steering wheel is too. The front seats are also air-conditioned.
There is a smog-sensing recirculation mode to determine whether or not to use outside air. There’s plenty of storage space for the front and back seats in the doors, seatbacks, and center console. Front and rear seats all have map lights. The front sun visors slide on their arms, for more positioning options, and include lighted covered mirrors.
The rear seats are equipped for extra comfort. There is a reclining rear seat with massage, leg rests, rear seat heaters, and refrigerated rear storage. Rear passengers also have rear vanity mirrors and a powered sunshade. For even more room in the rear seats, the driver is able to move the front passenger seat forward. Rear-seat passengers have plenty of space, especially in the long-wheelbase Lexus LS.
The 2011 Lexus LS is now available for between $13,550 and $16,650. Since a new 2020 Lexus LS has a starting price of $75,450, a used model from 2011 offers a luxury ride at a fraction of the price.