How reliable is Lexus? An honest assessment of the luxury brand

We take a look at how reliable Lexus is...

Lexus is a brand that has grown in popularity here in the UK. In fact, last year was a record year for sales of Lexus models in the United Kingdom, with over 13,000 models sold.

The luxury division of Toyota, Lexus has become known for building stylish, comfortable cars that are great to drive. And, being an off-shoot of Toyota, are reliable.

But how reliable is Lexus?

In this article, we look at just how dependable Lexus are, and how this compares to their rivals.

How reliable are Lexus?

Lexus are very reliable, is the short answer.

They have constantly topped the most dependable lists for quite a few years now including for AutoExpress and J.D Power.

Consumer Reports ranked them top for dependability, with each one of their models achieving above average for reliability, quite a feat.

They also tied with Porsche for most reliable in this years (2017) J.D Power Vehicle Dependability Survey, though this is the first time they’ve tied for a place, usually they take the top spot no problem.

AutoExpress ranked them top for used car dependability in 2016, with the RX, the GS and the IS coming top in their individual categories.

Lexus also do pretty well on ReliabilityIndex. They come in sixth, with a reliability index of 79 which is very impressive.

How reliable is the Lexus IS?

If we look at individual models, then we can see that Lexus are reliable across the board. As we mentioned, the IS came top in their category on the AutoExpress survey, with the category being ‘most reliable used compact executive’.

2017 silver Lexus IS Side View driving fast on a road

It scored a reliability index of 79 and has an average repair cost of £398.88.

AutoExpress users also seemed to be thrilled with the IS. It came top in their Driver Power Survey and overall has a score of 98.58% for reliability.

Is the Lexus RX reliable?

The Lexus RX is also a really dependable model. It came first in the ‘most reliable used SUV or 4×4’ category for AutoExpress.

Owners seem to have little complaints, and the RX sits just outside the top ten of 200 of the cars for dependability.

However, ReliabilityIndex don’t score it as highly. They give it a reliabilityindex of 142, which is below industry average. There could be an answer to why this has scored so low, and that’s because the average repair costs are a whopping £659.83. Owners also picked up on the expensive repair costs. High repair cost can bring the reliability down by quite a bit, so that could explain why the Lexus RX has scored lower than expected.

Lexus GS 450 White on the beach

Lexus GS reliability

The Lexus GS was named the most reliable executive car by AutoExpress and the results elsewhere follow suit.

ReliabilityIndex have awarded it a reliability index of 56, the best score for the Lexus models we have looked at. They have also stated an average repair cost of £491.24.

AutoExpress owners have also been pleased with the GS, awarding it 96% for reliability. It was also in the top 20 of cars surveyed for the Driver Power survey in 2015. However, owners did note the high repair costs. While they are not as high as the RX, they are still quite pricey.

Overall, Lexus are a very dependable brand. Many of their models have been awarded for their dependability and owners seem more than happy with the longevity of their models.

Why are Lexus reliable?

One of the reasons Lexus are reliable is due to the fact that they are owned by Toyota. Toyota are a hugely dependable brand and it only makes sense that their luxury division is as reliable as their more affordable brand.

The manufacturer makes engines that are extremely reliable and are miles ahead of many other manufacturers, particularly the luxury ones.

In fact, it is quite something that Lexus are so dependable, when many of their luxury counterparts are known for their unreliability. Many put down luxury brands unreliability to the amount of technology in their cars, of which can often go wrong. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case for Lexus and they have maintained the position of being one of the most dependable brands on the market.

That said, their repair costs are expensive. This is because their cars are more expensive themselves and as they are not that common in the UK yet, their parts may be harder to source and replace when needed. This can also bump the price up. Expensive repair costs can bring the dependability down, and we have seen this with the RX. However, this does not seem to be the case for many other Lexus models though.

How accurate are consumer surveys?

There are some instances in which consumer surveys aren’t as accurate as we would like them to be. This includes when a manufacturer has undergone a huge restructuring or new management, or if they are a completely new brand.

However, in this case, consumer surveys are very accurate. They ask owners to self-report on their models and use this information to determine how dependable a car is. Other companies such as WarrantyDirect, who sell extended warranties, use the information they get whenever someone makes a claim.

man doing a survey on a laptop

There may be some discrepancies between the two, where owners rank their models more dependable than WarrantyDirect do. In this circumstance, however, the general consensus is that Lexus are a hugely dependable brand, and have been for quite some time.

Lexus vs. Porsche vs. BMW; Which is more reliable?

We’re going to be honest, there isn’t much competition when it comes to Lexus and dependability. But, it’s always good to compare them to their rivals to see which one is more dependable.

If we had written this article a few years ago, then Lexus would knock both of them out of the park. However, it’s 2017 and literally anything can happen, including Porsche making a huge comeback and becoming one of the most dependable brands of the year. They tied with Lexus in the J.D Power Vehicle Dependability Study, something that would have been unimaginable several years ago.

Porsche Cayenne red driving on the road

Porsche haven’t been the most reliable brand, and have often seen themselves at the bottom of dependability tables for a while, but they seem to have made quite a big leap and are now considered an extremely reliable brand. However, that is Porsche as an overall brand, and on a model by model basis, they still aren’t very reliable.

ReliabilityIndex have awarded the Porsche Cayenne a reliability index of 414, and an average repair cost of £772. This is considerably more expensive than Lexus. That said, if Porsche have become that much more dependable, we don’t think it will be too long before their individual models follow suit. So that’s something Lexus should look out for, because there could be some serious competition in the years to come.

That competition won’t be from BMW, though. BMW are another luxury brand that have never quite reached the dizzy heights of Lexus for dependability. They come 30th out of 39 on ReliabilityIndex with a reliability index of 179. The BMW X5 has a reliability score of 248, which is better than the Cayenne. It is also cheaper to repair at £615, though that’s hardly affordable.

Out of the three, Lexus are by far the most dependable. Their individual models score well for reliability, as do the brand as a whole. BMW have a lot of catching up to do, but Porsche look like they aren’t far off from being just as dependable as Lexus. As soon as their individual models start catching up in terms of reliability, Lexus will have some serious competition.

The most reliable Lexus models

The following are the most dependable Lexus models;

  • Lexus IS
  • Lexus GS
  • Lexus LS

These all score below 100 on ReliabilityIndex.

The least reliable Lexus model

This is the only article we’ve done where there is just one unreliable model, and even then it’s not that unreliable;

  • Lexus RX

This scores worse than the other Lexus models, but is still a pretty dependable car by industry standards.

In conclusion, you cannot go wrong with a Lexus if you want a dependable luxury car. Owners and automotive experts alike are singing their praises when it comes to longevity so you wouldn’t want to overlook them. Admittedly, their repair costs can be costly, but they aren’t as costly as some of their less dependable rivals. One of the main reasons for their dependability is the fact that they are a division of Toyota, a manufacturer that has been known for their reliability for years. If you want a car that is well built, stylish, drives well and won’t let you down, then a Lexus is perfect for you.

Not sure which Lexus is right for you? Read our latest Lexus reviews to help you make a decision! 
Rachel Richardson
Latest posts by Rachel Richardson (see all)

24 Comments

  • Graham Hewitt| 20th September 2020 at 4:17 am Reply

    I have just bought a 2002 Lexus V8 470 8-seater Landcruiser. When you go around a right-hand corner at normal speed the left-hand front brakes grab.
    Is it an ABS problem possibly?

    Anyone’s thoughts would be most welcome. My mechanic is at a loss to know what to do.
    We want to drive around Australia( when we can !) but my wife won’t drive if it does this.
    I would be most grateful for any replies.

    • Rachel Richardson| 23rd September 2020 at 11:36 am Reply

      Hi Graham,
      Thank you for your comment. We are not mechanics, however, we have done a little research into the issue you mention and have been unable to discover any reports of ABS problems. We would recommend you go to a LEXUS-specific forum to speak with other owners who may have more information.

  • Oralia| 18th September 2020 at 5:36 am Reply

    I’m 73 yrs.old , l want to buy a 2015 350ES or 350 RX Lexus with under 48,000 miles, wanting to retire in the next year . I’m VERY healthy & in great shape ( just throwing that in on account of the RX SUV) I cannot make up my mind , what are my pros & cons , explain . Thank U

  • Poppy| 2nd May 2020 at 3:11 pm Reply

    I bought my 57 plate Lexus IS 250, in 2017. Not 1 issue, just start her up drive and come back !..So reliable.
    We drove for 12 hours , in the heat, because the M6 was shut . Stuck in traffic all the time, but constant temperature,
    no problem at all. Just 30k on the clock now. Amazing car.

    • Rachel Richardson| 4th May 2020 at 12:20 pm Reply

      Hi Poppy,
      Thank you for your comment. Lexus is considered to be one of the most reliable manufacturers and is always receiving incredibly positive feedback when it comes to consumer and warranty company data.

      • Martin| 16th August 2020 at 9:33 pm Reply

        I have a 2017 Lexus GS Premier, which was 2.5 years old when I bought it for my retirement car. It is absolutely stunning to look at, drive and has the wow factor. My last company car was Also a Lexus GS and gave me 3 years trouble free motoring, completing almost 55,000 miles on one set of tyres. I plan to keep the Premier for maybe 10 years and will make sure it is fully services and maintained.

        • thomas bock| 17th August 2020 at 2:59 pm Reply

          yes i can confirm since i got 2016 a gs 450 h and drove 95000 km no problem. its better than any german “socalled” premium car i drove in 4 decades.

  • Ikol| 17th February 2020 at 7:12 pm Reply

    We used to have two bmw, Audi and Three Benz. Changed to lexus about 4 years ago and never looked back. Never german again

    • Rachel Richardson| 24th February 2020 at 8:52 am Reply

      Hi Ikol,

      Thank you for your comment on the Lexus. Lexus has been shown to be incredibly reliable by multiple consumer reports over the last few years.

  • Joseph| 9th October 2019 at 8:54 am Reply

    Any helpful tips on my 93 Lexus LS400

    • Rachel Richardson| 9th October 2019 at 11:57 am Reply

      Hi Joseph,

      Thank you for visiting the site for information about your vehicle. Looking at one of the sources online for models that are from the 90s, there are several issues which were reported on the 93 model. If you would like to find out more information we would recommend you search on a US forum for Lexus owners. Another site that provides information on recalls for US cars that may prove helpful is carcomplaints.com.

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