Car Buying

Are Lexus Cars Reliable?

Lexus showcases Toyota's take on luxury with a lineup of polished sedans and SUVs. Keep reading to find out if Lexus cars are as reliable as they are luxe.

Read time

9 minutes

Date

02.01.2024

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Key takeaways

  • Lexus cars excel in safety, fuel efficiency, and dependability, with several hybrid options in their lineup.
  • Ranking higher than Toyota in reliability, Lexus offers luxury with lower average repair costs and a high safety rating from both IIHS and NHTSA.
  • Common Lexus issues include melting dashboards, oil leaks, steering problems, and engine issues, but overall, Lexus models like the RX, IS, CT, and NX stand out for their reliability and cost-effectiveness over time.

After the success of competitor luxury offshoots, Toyota soon developed its own sophisticated counterpart, which would come to be known as Lexus. The first Lexus models to leave Japan and hit the American market were the LS 400 and the ES 250, two nameplates that proved reliable and dependable enough to push Lexus past BMW and Mercedes-Benz in 1991 as the best-selling luxury brand. Lexus sold its one-millionth vehicle in 1999 and shows no signs of exiting the industry soon.

Deciding which luxury brand fits your lifestyle can be complicated, but not with a FINN car subscription. FINN offers flexible terms and a subscription fee, including registration, depreciation, insurance, and maintenance. If you can’t decide between different Lexus models, subscribe to several to ensure you make the purchase decision that’s right for you. 

How reliable are Lexus cars?

Lexus makes reliable vehicles, with high marks in fuel efficiency and safety ratings, cost of ownership, average repair costs, and dependability. You’ll find several hybrids among the Lexus lineup, and the brand has a below-average annual repair cost for the luxury segment. Indeed, Lexus ranks one place higher in reliability ratings than its affordable counterpart, Toyota

How car reliability is measured

Measuring a vehicle’s reliability and durability can present a challenge, especially if you don’t know anyone who owns that particular model to review it yourself. However, the following resources offer third-party insight into several makes and models, including Lexus: 

  • J.D. Power dependability rewards 
  • FuelEconomy.gov’s fuel efficiency ratings
  • Safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Average repair costs reported by RepairPal
  • Kelley Blue Book’s (KBB) 5-Year Cost to Own


Collectively, these resources help many potential buyers weed out unreliable models for more satisfaction in their purchase. For example, if you’re comparing automakers like Ford, Honda, Kia, Acura, Subaru, and Nissan, these sites can help tease out the differences. Regardless of which brand you’re researching, these sources often prove invaluable. 

5 factors contributing to Lexus’s reliability

Lexus reliability ratings take into account the cost of ownership, average repair costs, safety and fuel efficiency, and dependability. Read on to learn more about how this Japanese brand excels in these areas. 

1. Safety features and ratings

Lexus earns high marks from the IIHS and NHTSA. The 2024 Lexus RC earns “Good” ratings in all categories from IIHS. The 2024 Lexus RZ was an IIHS 2023 Top Safety Pick+ that earned “Good” ratings in all categories. This model has yet to be rated by the NHTSA, along with the 2024 Lexus RX 250 and the 2024 Lexus NX 250. 


However, the 2024 Lexus UX 250h and the 2024 Lexus IS 300 earned a five-out-of-five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS also awarded the 2024 Lexus IS “Good” ratings in all categories. The 2024 Lexus NX and 2024 Lexus RX were 2023 Top Safety Pick+ models and earned high marks from the IIHS as well. 

2. Dependability

J.D. Power has a lot of great things to say about Lexus, including awarding it first place among premium brands in its 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. The Lexus RX tied with the Toyota C-HR for the most dependable model. The brand ranks among the top three to finish in the compact premium SUV and the midsize premium SUV segments. 


Several Lexus models have won past awards from J.D. Power, including: 

  • 2022 Lexus ISHighest quality compact premium car and best performance compact premium car
  • 2019 Lexus NXMost dependable compact premium SUV
  • 2019 Lexus RXMost dependable midsize premium SUV
  • 2019 Lexus UX: Most dependable small premium SUV


Suffice it to say the Lexus brand checks boxes for reliability and luxury, which isn’t something many European luxury brands can say. 

3. Fuel efficiency

The 2024 Lexus lineup includes several models. Below are the fuel efficiency ratings for some of Lexus’ most popular nameplates: 

  • 2024 Lexus LS 500: 18 city and 29 highway miles-per-gallon (MPG)
  • 2024 Lexus NX 250: 26 city and 33 highway MPG 
  • 2024 Lexus Lexus RX 350: 22 city and 29 highway MPG
  • 2024 Lexus UX 250h: 43 city and 41 highway MPG
  • 2024 Lexus TX 350: 21 city and 27 highway MPG
  • 2024 Lexus ES 250 AWD: 25 city and 34 highway MPG


Lexus also incorporates several hybrid powertrains, a characteristic not typically associated with luxury brands. For instance, the Lexus GS sedan featured a hybrid powerplant, a trait it shares with the new Lexus GX. This full-size luxury SUV promises to pair the potency of luxury vehicles with the build quality Lexus is known for. 

4. Cost of ownership

KBB showers Lexus with several awards for cost of ownership, including the following models: 

  • Lexus ES and Lexus LSLowest five-year cost to own among all cars

    • Lexus ES: $53,063

    • Lexus LS$83,727

  • Lexus UX, Lexus NX, and Lexus RXLowest five-year cost to own among SUVs

    • Lexus UX: $46,962

    • Lexus NX$52,998

    • Lexus RX$62,175

Lexus also won the KBB award for the best luxury brand for 2023. Mainstay brand Toyota earned the top spot among all brands. Together, Toyota and Lexus produce some of the most reliable cars available. 

5. Average repair costs

RepairPal awards Lexus seventh place out of 32 car brands. With a four-out-of-five-star rating, the brand costs roughly $551 annually for repairs. Shop visits number 0.5 in frequency, with an 8% chance of a severe repair compared to a 12% chance of severe repairs among all car brands. For a luxury brand, those numbers resemble Toyota’s more than Mercedes-Benz or Audi

What are common Lexus problems?

Like any other car brand, Lexus suffers a few missteps here and there. Below are some of the most common Lexus problems you may come across, especially if you’re buying a used car

1. Melting dashboard

Lexus dashboards are prone to premature wear if left out in the sun. Due to poor material quality, these melting dashboards can also contribute to electrical issues in the infotainment system. Several Lexus owners have also reported malfunctioning with their GPS. 

2. Oil leaks

Excessive oil consumption can indicate an oil leak. Loss of oil pressure can also be a symptom of a broken seal. Several Lexus owners have pinpointed the issue as a lack of seal between the timing chain cover and the engine head. 

3. Steering

Many Lexus models suffer from rack and pinion leaks that can lead to loss of power steering. Issues with power steering fluid can also influence how the steering wheel feels while driving. If you’re in the market for a used Lexus, check the power steering to ensure it’s in good shape.

4. Engine

Like any other vehicle, Lexus has had engine issues throughout the years. Water pump failures and cracked casings can lead to overheating. The failure of a mass air-flow sensor can put a dent in any trip, no matter how far you need to go. Some Lexus owners also reported hearing whining noises from the rear engine mount, indicating a replacement should be in the works. 

Which are the most reliable Lexus cars?

Finding the most reliable Lexus model to buy can be challenging. You might also ask yourself if it is better to finance a car through a bank or dealership. As you ponder the answer to the latter, the following models can help answer the former. 

Lexus RX

Two Lexus RX variants rank first and third in their segments. The RX 350h takes the bronze for luxury midsize SUVs, according to RepairPal, with an average of 0.4 annual visits to the shop and an 8% chance of severe repair. The RX 450h may visit the shop more frequently, but the severity of repairs drops to a 7% chance. The RX 450h only costs $540 annually to repair, nearly $300 under the luxury segment standard. 

Lexus IS

Several Lexus IS model years rank high in reliability, from the 2011 IS 250 to the 2015 equivalent. The 2016 model offered a turbocharged four-cylinder or a V6 engine.  Lexus equipped this sedan with several top-end features that helped it remain competitive. 

Lexus CT

As the first luxury compact hybrid that also ticked the “hatchback” box, the CT was aimed at a younger audience. Although horsepower wasn’t the CT’s strong suit, the hybrid powertrain consisted of two electric motors that helped get the hatchback off the line. Lexus CT model years 2011 and 2016 are exceptionally reliable. 

Lexus NX

RepairPal ranks the NX 200t second out of 11 luxury compact SUVs. This model costs roughly $690 annually to repair, with 0.3 visits to the shop yearly. However, the probability of a severe repair is only 6%, half the percentage for all vehicles.  If you’re in the market for a new car, the Lexus NX could prove to be a worthwhile purchase. 

Should you drive a Lexus?

You should drive a Lexus if you’re looking for the reliability of a Toyota but the refinement of a luxury platform. If you want to take over car payments on a Lexus or lease one instead, you can experience just how sophisticated driving a Lexus can be. If you don’t want the hassle of leasing or car ownership, check out a FINN car subscription with convenient and flexible terms.  

Are Lexus cars reliable FAQs

According to RepairPal, Lexus cars visit the shop an average of 0.5 times annually. Specific maintenance intervals vary depending on the age and model of your Lexus. However, at $551 in average annual repair costs, Lexus comes in lower than the $652 in average repair cost for all brands. 

RepairPal ranks Lexus one place higher than Toyota, with both finishing seventh and eighth out of 32 car brands. Repairing a Lexus will cost you $110 more annually, but the luxury brand has a lower potential for severe repair. However, Toyotas do tend to visit the shop less frequently. 

The average lifespan of a Lexus can be upwards of 200,000 or even 250,000 miles, depending on how well it’s taken care of. Many Lexus models from the early 2000s are now hitting their two-decade intervals and may already have nearly 200,000 miles or more on their odometers. 

Final thoughts

Lexus does Toyota one better by excelling in various areas of car ownership, from average repair costs and safety features to fuel efficiency ratings and dependability. This luxury brand offers consumers creature comforts, technological advancements, and standard safety features for a well-rounded package that performs as well as it looks. If you’re in the market for a luxury car but don’t want to break your budget, Lexus offers a happy medium. 


Figuring out you want to drive a Lexus is one thing, but knowing which model you wish to purchase is another. For those times, a FINN car subscription can give you the time you need behind the wheel to narrow your choices based on real-life driving experience. Subscribe to a FINN vehicle, and your monthly subscription fee includes insurance, registration, depreciation, and maintenance. Plus, FINN delivers your Lexus subscription straight to your door. 

Lexus Reliability
Lexus Reliability

Final thoughts

Lexus does Toyota one better by excelling in various areas of car ownership, from average repair costs and safety features to fuel efficiency ratings and dependability. This luxury brand offers consumers creature comforts, technological advancements, and standard safety features for a well-rounded package that performs as well as it looks. If you’re in the market for a luxury car but don’t want to break your budget, Lexus offers a happy medium. 


Figuring out you want to drive a Lexus is one thing, but knowing which model you wish to purchase is another. For those times, a FINN car subscription can give you the time you need behind the wheel to narrow your choices based on real-life driving experience. Subscribe to a FINN vehicle, and your monthly subscription fee includes insurance, registration, depreciation, and maintenance. Plus, FINN delivers your Lexus subscription straight to your door. 

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