Best used car for first time driver? Lexus RX vs Lexus LS

Hello, I am moving to Texas soon and since in my previous positions I was always in large cities that were well connected, I actually never drove and in fact I have just gotten my driving license. In Texas, I will need to drive 25 mins to get to my office every day so approx. one hour a day in the car. Additionally, I will occasionally have to drive for 2-5 hours for work. I thus need a comfortable and reliable car which made me set on a large Lexus. The question I have is: which one do I choose between a Lexus RX and a Lexus LS. Essentially the largest sedan vs one of the largest Lexus SUVs (BMW X5 competitor). Which one would it be easier to drive for a first time driver? How about parking? Any other issues to consider? Thank you!

EDIT: Since you suggest that I buy a cheaper car, I was thinking that the best car for $10K or so would be a VW Phaeton. Still very luxurious and safe and I suppose reliable. You can truly get them that cheap now that they are c. 12 years old and with 90,000 miles. The original price adjusted for inflation was $110,000. What do you think?

Edit #2: To those suggesting a Honda Civic or similar so that I do not lose too much value as I inevitably scratch it being a first time driver. Unfortunately, I cannot buy something like that as I still need a car of some prestige and status given that I will often drive to places for business. That is why I thought of the Phaeton. I welcome any suggestion for a used, reliable car which is cheap but yet prestigious.

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Comments (30)

Jun 5, 2020 - 7:52pm

Lexus is certainly reliable so good choice there. The LS will be hard to park as it is so long but the RX May have hard suspensions making your long ride quality worse. It is hard to comment especially since I have never Owned one myself (my uncle has one though).

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 5, 2020 - 8:00pm

I've been driving an RX for the last five years now. Good noise cancellation, decent mileage (I would personally avoid Hybrids, because if your battery needs to be replaced, that can become costly if you're in it for the long term), good design and nice height you would not otherwise get in an LS. Supposedly, the newer RX also has even better turn radius than the older versions, which I drove.

I cannot speak to the LS, since I personally have never driven one, but I am a huge fan of Lexus vehicles. Super reliable overall, great quality, and aesthetic design.

I think in terms of first-time drivers, it would depend what you have been comfortable driving so far. My parents taught me driving in the RX, so I have had my share of experience in larger SUV/crossovers. Either way, I think you'll get used to it one way or another. However, if you like occasionally transporting or taking items out for travel, perhaps the RX would be more suitable. I also like being in a slightly raised vehicle when driving on the road -- get a feeling of safety and not being the smallest on the road.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 5, 2020 - 8:08pm

As much as I am a fan of Lexus, Tesla comes right up there, if not with a slight edge over Lexus. The Model 3 is a great vehicle that I am very happy with, and now there is a Model Y version if you want something a tad larger.

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Jun 5, 2020 - 8:53pm

This. I know you asked between two Lexus models, and to that I say, great choice, Lexus is a great company, but I too live in Texas, and the model 3 is the only thing that keeps me from hating life during traffic jams. Model Y sounds like it'd be better for you if you want a bigger car, especially down the line if you need more space.

Array
Jun 5, 2020 - 8:11pm

I had a Lexus RX for a few years and liked it a lot. It rides smooth and doesn't feel big and bulky like some other SUVs, so I never felt like I was going to accidentally bump into things and never had trouble parking it.

The LS is super nice but honestly I've always viewed it as an old person's car... If you really want a full size luxury sedan I think the Tesla Model S is hands down the best choice. If an electric car isn't your thing then look at the Audi A8 or BMW 7 Series. They're all roughly the same size as the LS but a little more, shall we say, generationally appropriate.

Jun 6, 2020 - 6:30am

Model S is too expensive and complex, the Germans are certainly sexier but even though they are much cheaper on the used market, they are also far less reliable so the choice is LS vs RX meaning what is easiest to drive and park for someone with no experience SUV vs full sized sedan

Jan 10, 2022 - 4:24pm

Yeah this is the best comment I've seen in a while. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jun 5, 2020 - 9:26pm

I've always thought the RX looks like a women's car, but I Googled the new one and it looks pretty sweet. I'd go with a sedan personally -- ES for a nice ride, GS for something sporty, and LS for luxury. Keep in mind these are likely longer than the RX (may be slightly tougher to park) and sit lower to the ground, but should have better acceleration and be more fun to drive.

Can't go wrong with any of them tbh.

Jun 6, 2020 - 6:26am

Hello, thank you all for the responses.
I forgot to say that I am a first time driver with really minimal experience as well. Additionally, I would not be buying the new versions but I am looking to buy something that is 3-4 years old with under 50,000 miles on it.

Jun 6, 2020 - 6:48am

How are you thinking of whipping an LS as a first time driver and so young? If you have money backing it makes sense but that's a pretty older guy kind of car. Just asking as I'm a huge car guy but I'm accustomed to seeing LSs driven by my friends dads or the likes

  • Associate 1 in Acct - Other
Jun 6, 2020 - 9:49am

It is your first car and you're a new driver. You are inevitably going to scratch it, ding it, wreck it, etc. Suggest buying something quite cheap for your first car. Nothing wrong with a used Honda Civic and then in a few years getting a car you actually like.

Me and all my friends drive, we've all wrecked at least one or two cars, they're honestly a waste of money unless 30-40k is 'pocket cash' for you.

Jun 6, 2020 - 10:21am

Another thing maybe worth considering is that the RX does pretty well on gas and I believe can run on regular, with the LS you will need 93 octane and I imagine its V8 will do worse on mileage.

Array

Jan 10, 2022 - 8:12pm

For anyone seriously looking to buy a cheap, reliable car with decent amounts of frills, this is a great car. Lots of used units at 3-5 years old that would run for many years more.

VP
  • 3
Jun 6, 2020 - 4:52pm

My daughter was in a similar position: got her license much later than most kids, hardly ever drove, and then found herself needing to drive several miles a day into the heart of downtown Houston for her post-graduation job.

She "inherited" a fairly old sedan that's on the borderline between mid-sized and compact. Eventually, I'd like her to get something a bit bigger and newer for improved accident avoidance and--especially--crash protection, but she seems to appreciate the good visibility (important for urban streets) and good maneuverability offered by a smaller vehicle. The latter is particularly important if you'll be negotiating parking garages (which my daughter has to do both at work and in her apartment complex); if you drive something too big for your comfort zone, you'll end up with lots of dings and scratches.

One advantage of the RX over the LS would be the increased ride height; this can be disconcerting if you aren't used to it, but you'll find that Texas roads have a high percentage of SUVs and pickups, and choosing a SUV over a sedan can make it easier for you to get a better view of what's happening on the road around you. Heavy rain can also be a problem in Texas (esp. Houston), so the increased ground clearance of an SUV can also give you a safety edge in minor street flooding.

My advice would be to forget the Lexus for now and instead get a fairly late model compact SUV--something like a Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, etc. Choose something that you can see well out of, and choose something new and high-end enough that it has useful saftey equipment like automatic emergency braking and blind-spot warning. (The latter is particularly useful in urban driving.) Your new ride is likely to get dinged, so I would not advise starting out with a luxury compact SUV, like an Audi Q5 or a BMW X3, even if you can afford it. In a couple of years, you'll feel much more confident driving, and you'll have a much better idea of what sort of vehicle you want to sink a substantial amount of money into. Good luck!

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jun 6, 2020 - 4:59pm

Might want to look into a Mercedes E-Class too. Similar comfort / ride quality to Lexus and pretty reliable too. Plus it's a little bit smaller than the LS so it's easier to park / maneuver.

Jun 6, 2020 - 7:03pm

EDIT: Since you suggest that I buy a cheaper car, I was thinking that the best car for $10K or so would be a VW Phaeton. Still very luxurious and safe and I suppose reliable. You can truly get them that cheap now that they are c. 12 years old and with 90,000 miles. The original price adjusted for inflation was $110,000. What do you think?

Jun 6, 2020 - 7:11pm

To those suggesting a Honda Civic or similar so that I do not lose too much value as I inevitably scratch it being a first time driver. Unfortunately, I cannot buy something like that as I still need a car of some prestige and status given that I will often drive to places for business. That is why I thought of the Phaeton. I welcome any suggestion for a used, reliable car which is cheap but yet prestigious.

Jun 6, 2020 - 7:52pm

There's a reason old luxury cars are cheap-- they're a gamble. They might work great for another 100k miles or you might get hit with a $5k repair bill tomorrow when you need to replace your timing chain because the guides are made out of jelly beans or something dumb like that (looking at you old M5s). You get the idea. Focus on buying something a few years old that's just coming off lease so the majority of the depreciation has already occurred yet it's still new enough that you are not likely to incur any substantial surprise repair bills.

IMO, if you want something that has "prestige" to it just buy a 3 series. They depreciate quickly and there's 520928609234 of them under the sun (lot of inventory in the used market). The styling doesn't change aggressively so most people can't tell a 2015 from a 2019 and so on. Most independent mechanics are familiar with them (so you can avoid a dealership) and parts are plentiful and cheap. It's prestigious enough where you don't have to explain or justify it to anyone (it's a BMW, few people look past that). I never was a fan of Lexus, Infiniti or Acuras just because i felt like I was basically buying a Toyota, Honda or Nissan that had some wood trim on the dashboard and cost $20k more...never saw the point really.

Jan 10, 2022 - 5:03pm

Case in point #1 - A Phaeton? Definition of gambling on astronomic bills (especially if you went for a W12). Take it from someone who has a VW W powered car, the engines are wonderful until they break and then they're money pits. Case in point #2 - Automatic "this guy fucks" award for the wisdom with the 3-series suggestion. First car out of college was an off-lease 325i and everyone's only reaction was "Wow! A BMW straight out the gate?! How're you ever going to top that?!" Could've been a loaded $120k 7 series or S class, would've been the exact same response. So definitely hits the cachet target.

Jun 7, 2020 - 10:53pm

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