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Upgrading To 99 Ls

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We'll, I think I have decided to upgrade although parting the 94 will be painful. Interested in understanding major differences in the two years. I've heard that the 98 and 99 models were some of the best - do you think that is right. My 94 has 124k and everything has been done - and I mean everything from ball joints, LCD, PS, antenna motor. I've maintained the 94 to perfection and know that I can get another 100k+; however, love this 99 I have been looking at.

HELP! If I decide to upgrade based on the experts here, then I will post my 94 for sale here.

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99 is lighter, bigger, more powerful, more adwanced, more comfortable, more reliable

should i say more?

if you can afford i would recommend you to do the swap

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The 98-2000 LS400's were the best cars ever made. i think their quality is better then the 01+ models.

Excellent choice. I had a 98 (leased in 97) and it held up so well. It was unfortunate that i had to trade it in in 2000.

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I have a '92 and a '98. To me the 1998-2000 styling is modern but still classic, if that makes any sense. Some great improvements including 290HP, HID Headlights, Wood Trim Package, Navigation were offered. Mine has 100k miles and runs like new. I love the softer seats that started in '95. CD changer in the glovebox is also very nice. Most people think the car is a year old or less! From what I can see the only common issues that have surfaced in the '98+ are the typical suspension issues especially in the front, and a possible failing radio LCD. Some people are more aware of the electronic throttle (do a search here) but if you are a somewhat conservative driver like me it is not an issue. My paint is excellent and I think SW has mentioned that the paint on my year is better than many others (not orange peel looking). Here is a pic from the day I brought it home a few months ago, hadn't even been detailed. I also think the '98-'00 is the best value out there for the $, having taken quite a bit of depreciation compared to the '01+. Good luck with your decision!


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Having owned a 90 LS (quite similar to a 94) for 13+ years and a 00 LS (nearly identical to the 99) since 2003, here are the main things I have noticed:

The interior of the 00 LS seems far larger than the 90 LS. The "greenhouse" is substantially taller with the side glass being taller by over 1 inch. The front seats are much more like "armchairs" - the seating position seems much higher which even provides room for the first aid kit to slide in under the drivers seat cushion. The rear seat legroom seemed tight in the 90 but ample in the 00.

The entire passenger compartment of the 00 LS is stretched forward which is how the interior gained so much space with only a 1.4" wheelbase increase. You have to compare side views of a 90-94 and a 98-00 to appreciate the difference.

There were about $10,000 (retail) in options available on a 99 LS. You might as well buy a well optioned one - there is little difference in their prices as used cars. One reason our 90 and 00 LS probably seem so different to us is that our 90 was a fairly basic model but our 00 has all options except Nav and air suspension.

I recommend avoiding the Nav with the old 4:3 screen ratio. The map update in 2003 may well be the last one. Although I avoided cars with air suspension when we bought the 00 LS, I now think it would be very nice to have.

While the 90 LS with 240 hp was fast for its day, the 00 LS with 290 hp is a real "screamer" in comparison.

And I can't speak highly enough about VSC (which all 98-00 LS have) and the way it magically takes over when you take a turn a bit too fast when the road is slick.

The "snow mode" setting on the transmission is much more effective than the TRAC on the early LS. Add a set of Blizzaks or similar heavy duty snow tires and you will get around in winter better than most SUV's.

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Jim and everyone else here know their stuff so I don't have anything else to add about the 98-00 except even though I love the new 04-05 LS430s I think the 98-00 LS400 is still my very favorite out of all the models, in silver, black, or white. Three best colors on it IMHO.

I think "the best" LS ever made is still the original ones around 1993 or so. Unfortunately with each successive generation they've done a little less over-engineering with the LS and all Lexus vehicles. All of them are about as solid as they can get though, I know my dad has had a few problems and rattles with his 04 (all fixed promptly and properly by the dealer) but never had one problem with his 98, not one save a bad A/C compressor at some point over 160k miles. Thats pretty impressive.

I agree with Jim about the nav, its fairly rare anyways.

Jim- My dad's 98 had the air suspension and actually I found that it rode pretty much the same as other LS400s without the system. When he traded it at 160k it was starting to loose a little air when turned off on the left side so that was going to be an expensive repair for the next owner. I'd still avoid it. His 04 has it too, with the UL package. The air suspension is EXTREMELY rare on the car anyways, in fact his is the only 98-00 LS I've ever seen with one. I looked at probably 30 when trying to decide back in 2003.

I'd look for a good low mile one with HID and Nakamichi (rarer on the 99 and 00 than on the 98).

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