The Lexus LS400 has become an icon in recent years. With the success of Matt Farah’s million mile Lexus and their drop in value low enough to be affordable to people under 25, the LS400 is a great car for enthusiasts and regular people alike. Let me tell you why.
The 1994 Lexus LS400 has a 4.0L v8 and a 4 speed automatic transmission. The V8 is known as a 1uz, a Japanese V8 which is the automotive equivalent of a gas station hotdog. Something that sounds odd, but every once in a while: they’re amazing. The 1UZ is an amazing engine. It sounds wonderful when straight piped, makes decent power, and is on the lighter side of V8s due to its alloy block. The 4 speed automatic is nothing special, it’s from the 1990s and isn’t broken at this point, so it gets a pass from me. Lastly, the LS400 is rear wheel drive, which also enhances its appeal on the second hand market.
The interior is fantastic, especially for its age. In my video review, I compared the LS400 to the Crown Victoria from Ford, and I think the comparison went over some people’s heads. The LS400 and Crown Vic are equally comfortable, similarly priced V8 rear wheel drive sedans. The LS400 is like a couch on wheels, much like the Crown Vic. The LS400 is well equipped for 1994, with my favorite feature being the power seat belt adjuster.
Now let’s get back to what I was saying about the gas station hotdog and how it relates to the LS400. There is a Mobil 1 gas station off route 72 in Gilberts Illinois. I frequent this gas station since it is down the street from the shop I bring my Rx-7 to. This Mobil 1 station is one of the only stores within a reasonable distance, so naturally it is the spot for food in between cleaning up disasters under the hood of my vintage sports car. Recently, the Mobil 1 station added a restaurant, serving anything from chicken wings, to pizza, to hotdogs. One day, tired and hungry, I decided to try some of their food expecting it to be the quality of animal feed. I was wrong. It was one of the best hotdogs I had ever had, and their burgers follow close. They tasted fresh, well cooked, and full of flavor. That is exactly how I feel about Japanese V8s. To me, Japanese automakers have always done more with less, favoring four-cylinders over six and eight cylinder options. So when I read “Japanese V8”, I expected that same quality of animal feed. But like the hotdog story, I am ever so pleasantly surprised with the LS400’s Japanese V8. The engine is smooth, unlike our loud-mouthed American V8s. This experienced really stuck with me, and now going forward I take a second look when presented with a Japanese V8, much like I do with gas station food.
My Video Review: