Last post on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:42 AM
You are in the Lexus GS
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 300, Lexus GS 430, Sedan
#2077 of 3073 GS300/430 vs. Avalon vs. M35 vs. RL
Apr 22, 2005 (7:55 pm)
Having taken all for a test drive the last few days, here's my take.
I have in the past tens years owned a 95 Maxima, 2000 Avalon XLS, 03 Accord XLS/Navi. I currently drive an 04 Acura TSX, and my wife currently owns an 04 Lexus RX330. The first new car I bought was a 1969 Olds 442 to give you a bit of history. 350 HP, 9 MPG, top speed 98MPH, and the 1/4 in about 15 seconds. So I've been around awhile in a lot of different cars. Yeah, I'm an old geezer.
1st test: 05 Avalon XLS. With the Limited version, one can get close to Lexus with all the gadgets. The engine is a winner. Off the line was as fast as my 442-neck jerking acceleration and smooth transmission.
Downside: The interior materials were not Lexus like at all. My 2000 Avalon was closer if not equal in that regard. The 05's leather was hard; the steering wheel cover felt abrasive, and black and chrome plastic everywhere. And the seam in the center back became painful in just a few minutes. I can't imagine all day with it digging in your back. That was worth three strikes alone.
2nd: M35. Very nice car. Reminds me a lot of the 95 Maxima before Nissan put the body on Steroids. Dealer is a jerk and won't come off MSRP much. Rides a bit harsher than I wanted and not as quiet as the Avalon, or my Acura TSX for that matter. Handled a lot like the TSX, but even the TSX handled better, albeit with less power. And WHAT was Infiniti thinking with the retro dash? Fit and finish was the poorest of any car tested. Orange peel in the paint, dull paint in places. Three strikes for all. No thanks.
3rd: Acura RL. Loud rattle in the dash right off the bat with 35 miles on the car. I hate Navi and there's no way to get one without it. I live in a rural area and know every road for 300 miles. Drove almost the same as the 03 Accord (which also had NAVI). Looks about the same as well. Just nothing to get passionate about. Perhaps not a strike out, but certainly foul for me.
4th: GS430. The best overall in fit and finish, ride, and power, as well as design. Costs 10k more than I care to spend. Three strikes there alone.
5th. GS300: Best of the bunch, IF they would have put the Avalon's engine in it, I'd have bought one. My TSX has about as much power as the 300 and it's a four banger. For the price, it's not worth the trouble or the slight increase in power.
Winner: None. When they increase the power output in the GS I may be tempted, but none of these cars made me very interested in trading up as they currently are designed. My TSX is a blast to drive, and trouble free.
By the way, the Acural dealer, who normally never had more than one TSX, a couple of TL's and RL's had at least a dozen RL's, two dozen TL's and a half dozen TSX's. Even the salesmen admitted it was a buyers market ("make an offer, PLEASE!!!").
The Lexus dealer had three GS's (a couple of 300's and one 430). Even the Infiniti dealer had three M35's, and two M45's on the lot. He also was the least eager to deal, although I didn't push it.
Note these opinions are mine alone, and I don't expect everyone to agree. I just put it out there to give others my impression, not to start an argument, so please keep it in perspective if you bought one of these cars. As I said, all of them are good cars-just not good for me.
#2078 of 3073 Re: Got a quote today.. [bartalk3]
Apr 22, 2005 (9:18 pm)
I'm not really interested in waiting that long for one of these (or anything else for that matter). Also, after discussing it with my better half, we may be interested in other colors as well.. I did get a reply from Lexus of Glendale with a rather attractive offer, but I'm just not sure if it has the options I want.. Needless to say, the price of $2K below MSRP (~$45.6K) sounds very attrative if the right options are on it (NAV+ML Audio and perhaps a few others), but I suspect it's got nothing but the NAV for that price.. I might pop over there tomorrow afternoon to check it out..
#2079 of 3073 Re: Got a quote today.. [osxaddict]
Apr 23, 2005 (5:51 am)
Thanks much for your response about Costco - I'll check it out. I am looking for Flint Mica also with black interior. My dealer claims they have made less than 10 so far that's been shipped around the country. Had a shot at one in a neighboring state but dealer would not come off MSRP at all - crazy! I want one but not that bad. The search continues..
#2080 of 3073 Re: Got a quote today.. [soulunder]
Apr 23, 2005 (6:45 am)
We have some discussions on buying a car through Costco that you can look up with the keyword search on the left. All but one are archived, but it might be worth your time to look through the archived information and maybe pursue the subject in the active one if you'd like.
In any case, good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.
#2081 of 3073 Re: Got a quote today.. [osxaddict]
Apr 23, 2005 (6:55 am)
Let us know what the Glendale deal finally is--equipment and price.
#2082 of 3073 Nav Systems...and mark up/dealer added accessories
Apr 23, 2005 (7:06 am)
Having sold the Lexus and the Honda, I'd have to say Lexus could learn a thing or two about Nav systems from Honda. Honda/Acura is just easier to use and has more voice commands.
Outside of that, of course the Lexus is a far nicer car to drive. Smoother and much better low end torque. I don't understand why Acura doesn't tune their engines to have more low end torque.
Acura does give more bang for the buck, imho. But, for sheer joy, the GS430 (and even the GS300) is a dream to drive.
A dealer can do two things to a new and hot car. Put a dealer premium on it or accessories the hell out of it. I worked for a Lexus dealer that opted to put on rims/ XM sat/ deck lid spoiler if not put on by factory/gold-black kits and charge a lot for them as the mark up. It pisses us salesmen off cuz most people don't want that crap and end up having to give it away. In the few occasions, people wouldn't mind and pay for it. That's a dream come true!!!
Oh, Lexus did make one big bib mistake. They should have added XM as a standard feature instead of just per-wiring the car. They should have offered it as a 90 day free trial. We had a Glacier Frost Mica GS430 that had the XM put on with a small black square box glued to the top of the trunk with the wire showing going into the space between the trunk and back window. Anyone have a scissors to cut that with? And lets not talk about how ugly it made the car. No way would i pay over 60K for a car where the idiots in the service department did such an idiotic thing to an awesome car.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to sell one. All I had were mooches coming in wanting the car at invoice when Lexus is hardly making them.
#2083 of 3073 Re: Nav Systems...and mark up/dealer added accessories [use2sellcars]
Apr 23, 2005 (8:55 am)
Hopefully I'm not one of those moochies! Anyway, after not having looked at any vehicles in about 3-4 years, I find it rather amusing that these predefined packages are now being pushed instead of nickel and diming each option to the buyer. I'm not sure which is better, but with the current set of options available for the GS300/430 that are typical configurations from the factory usually have stuff that most people aren't too interested.. I for one can take or leave the M. Levinson audio system, and I really don't know how much $$ it adds to the price of the "NAV" option.. I suppose one way around that would be to just order from the factory direct..
On one of the other things you mentioned.. In my past, I've never had good results with dealer installed options -- they're usually (not always) installed in some sub-standard way such that they are one of the first couple of things that you start having problems with. I'd take factory installed options any day of the week over dealer installed options. Now, things *may* be different with Lexus, as I've never bought a Lexus before.. Anyway, enuf rambling..
#2084 of 3073 Re: Nav Systems...and mark up/dealer added accessories [osxaddict]
Apr 23, 2005 (10:03 am)
I hope you aren't a mooch either . Interesting enough, the ones who are the happiest are the ones that pay allt he money. Those that haggle etc are always bitter and the ones that give you the worse surveys.
As a salesmen, we ask for all the money, and rightfully so. As a consumer, you want a good deal, and that's understandable as well (I buy cars too!). What isn't understandable is when you get an unrealistic buyer wanting a hot car that is hardly produced (lexus is only producing ~47 GS430 for 58 western region Lexus dealerships) and want to pay invoice.
I understand the numbers have to make sense or we'll never be able to earn the customers business. But where it would be unreasonable for us to ask way over sticker...it's also (in some cases) unreasonable to ask for a hot in demand car for invoice. Besides, us salesmen need to earn a living too!
As for ordering cars from Lexus, it's not as simple as just ordering something the way you want it. Lexus builds cars and then puts them into allocation for dealerships to pick. Dealerships can't order cars the way a customer wants them. Most of the GS300s come two ways. With NAV/ML/sonar sensors/ back up cam or with out. IT would have been nice for lexus to have put the back up cam and sensors as a package sans the nav, esp with all the new cars coming with painted bumpers. Scratch it gets very expensive to fix.
The GS430 comes loaded and you get nav whether you want it or not.
And I agree, I didn't like the fact that the dealership put on these crappy aftermarket rims. Chroming them, ok..that's fair but I know as a consumer, i'd like to pick what i want on a car. It's just a way for them to get more money for the car instead of putting a dollar mark up on it.
The best way to make sure you get a car with no dealer additions is to pre-order the car. Most dealershps will contract you on an incoming car where you put a refundable deposit on it. You hve first right of refusal *(of course you need to discuss this with what ever dealership you use as not all will do this).
On a side note, i got a lot of people comparing the GS with the Infiniti M.
One thing lost in the comparison is that the GS wan't meant to be an all out sports car. It takes the Lexus focus on luxury and mates it to a more technologically advanced and sporty engineering. The M is chasing BMW to be an all out gutsy car. One thing Infiniti can't touch lexus is in reliability and fit and finish. No doubt Infinity did an excellent job with the new M..hell no one wanted the old M. But, consumer reports, JD powers etc cant be ignored when it comes to how well Lexus does by giving it's customers a great product, a great warranty and great service after the sale.
I will also mention that if you come across a great salesperson who takes the time to help you and answer all of yoru questions without being pushy and forceful, GIVE HIM THE BUSINESS when you are ready, especially if he takes the time to follow up with you. But, I can get into the customer stories I have another time.
#2085 of 3073 Re: Nav Systems...and mark up/dealer added accessories [use2sellcars]
Apr 23, 2005 (10:17 am)
Suffice to say that Lexus makes a great product. Its fit and finish and reliability, however, are slowly declining. I've noticed this in the six Lexus' which I bought brand new and I'm not saying that it represents a continuum. My newer ones required more "tweeks" from the dealer than earlier ones, although the issues were relatively minor. Infinitis, on the other hand have steadily improving quality, design, and engineering. This is exemplified with the new M.
It remains to be seen if the sales success of the new GS will continue or simply represent a new honeymoon phase as it did with the '98 GS redesign. I've driven and researched the '06 GS and feel it IS another fine Lexus product, but like the M, not perfect. My point is that Lexus ought to be watching carefully in its proverbial rear view mirror (or back-up camera) as competition is close by.
#2086 of 3073 Re: Nav Systems...and mark up/dealer added accessories [use2sellcars]
Apr 23, 2005 (10:27 am)
Very good post. You see clearly the motivations of buyer and seller. It's a free market. Unsophisticated buyers get screwed. Each is out for his own best interest. I see nothing wrong with a seller asking over MSRP for a new hot model if there are buyers willing to pay to be the first on the block with a new model. On the other hand, there is no reason for a seller to accept a low ball offer. Generally, the party who needs the deal the least, gets the best deal. Unfortunately for the salesman, a smart buyer will take the salesman's time to explain, demonstrate and negotiate and then check around elsewhere for a lower price from someone else.
I pose the question: How much more should a "loyal" customer pay for the service of a conscientious salesman? My guess - not much.