How a Lexus ES 350 Saved Christmas

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You probably saw a Christmas tree strapped to the roof of every other car the day after Thanksgiving. Discounted trees fly out the doors of hardware and department stores quicker than pants unbuckle after an excessive turkey dinner. I planned to snag one of those door-buster trees on Black Friday but didn't have the most cargo-friendly tree hauler: a 2015 Lexus ES 350.

Related: How to Transport Your Christmas Tree Safely

In my deal-hunting crosshairs was a 7.5-foot-tall, LED-lit artificial tree with 1,433 branch tips on sale for $79 from $199. Even boxed, I wasn't too hopeful the tree would fit in the sedan's trunk because the ES 350 lacks a folding backseat. Knowing it had no chance in the trunk, the plan was to fit the box in the cabin straddled across the backseat and over the reclined front passenger seat.

Then the inevitable happened: the store sold the last tree minutes before I walked in. The last tree standing was a scraggly, hastily assembled floor model on which I made an offer to store management. Deal accepted, but the store simply took the tree off the display rack and stuck it in a shopping cart. Now I have a shopping cart stuffed with two parts of a partially assembled tree, no box and no folding backseat. Ah, yes, the holidays.

By Joe Bruzek | December 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

Lexus Plans New Collision-Avoidance Safety Package

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Lexus plans to roll out a new safety package in 2015 and offer it across its lineup by the end of 2017 — so, in all likelihood, the 2018 model year. Dubbed Lexus Safety System Plus, the package will include automatic high-beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with corrective steering on some vehicles, and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking above 6 mph.

Related: Lexus LF-C2 Concept: First Look

The move aligns Lexus with parent Toyota's plans to make precollision systems "widely available" by the 2018 model year. Lexus' features aren't necessarily new, but the packaging is. The brand's collision warning feature, dubbed Pre-Collision System, is available as an option across the lineup; some models add a driver-monitoring system that scans for signs of inattention. And many Lexus models offer lane departure and blind spot warning systems.

By Kelsey Mays | December 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2006-2011 Lexus LS, GS and IS

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 423,000 luxury sedans, including model-year 2007-10 Lexus LS sedans manufactured between May 9, 2006, and July 20, 2010; model-year 2006-11 GS sedans manufactured between Jan. 6, 2005, and Sept. 10, 2010; and model-year 2006-11 IS sedans manufactured between Aug. 30, 2005, and Sept. 10, 2010

The Problem: Due to anticorrosion plating remnants, fuel may leak from where the fuel pressure sensor is attached to the fuel delivery pipe. In the presence of an ignition source, this increases the risk of a fire.

The Fix: Lexus manufacturer Toyota will begin notifying owners in December, and dealers will clean and reseal the fuel pressure sensor mounting area for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | November 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Lexus LF-C2 Concept Photo Gallery (27 Photos)

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Lexus' sunny new concept is pure show car — it doesn't even have a roof — but will probably go down as one of the most stunning cars to come out of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. 

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The LF-C2 brings the drama with its luminous yellow paint, gaping braided spindle grille and sharp creases that slice through the convertible’s body. Check out the gallery for more. Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.  

By Jennifer Geiger | November 20, 2014 | Comments (4)

Lexus LF-C2 Concept: First Look

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Looks like: A sporty, sun-worshiping roadster

Defining characteristics: Multifaceted shimmering golden yellow exterior paint

Ridiculous features: It has no top

Chance of being mass-produced: Lexus calls it a "design study," but nothing has filled the SC 430's space in the lineup since it was canceled after model-year 2010

Lexus picked a state known for its sunshine-filled scenic highways to unveil its new convertible concept. The LF-C2 concept is a four-passenger roadster, and with this concept, Lexus is all style over substance: There are no powertrain specs, or really any details save for an exterior inspired by sunlight, according to Lexus.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The concept is dressed in bright golden yellow paint, applied in a multilayer process with a primer, followed by silver, a clear coat, then the yellow that reflects off the silver for extra luster. Outside, it's all crisp creases and sharp angles; a bold line slices through the convertible’s arrow-shaped body. Other exterior highlights include five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels and an aggressive interpretation of the brand's spindle grille, here with a braided mesh theme. The gaping grille is flanked by dynamic-looking triangle-shaped LED headlights. In back, fin-like rear diffusers steal the show, along with L-shaped taillights and chrome-tipped quad exhaust pipes. 

By Jennifer Geiger | November 19, 2014 | Comments (2)

Lexus Plans Convertible Concept Reveal in L.A.

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The Los Angeles Auto Show teases continue to trickle out as we get closer to next week's show; today Lexus announced it will show off the LF-C2 concept.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show News

Details are slim, but we know it's a convertible. Could this be a replacement for the SC 430 that was discontinued after the 2010 model year? We'll have to wait and see, but the teaser pic is promising. The LF-C2 will meet the press on Nov. 19, and Lexus said it will also be simultaneously revealed through a 72-hour online social media campaign; check back for updates.

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By Jennifer Geiger | November 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

Toyota Leads, Fiat-Chrysler Disappoints in Consumer Reports' Latest Reliability Study

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Toyota and its Lexus subsidiary earned the top two spots in Consumer Reports' 2014 Auto Survey (subscription required), which rates reliability from consumer surveys of some 1.1 million vehicles over the past 12 months. Of the 28 brands ranked in terms of predicted reliability, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Fiat, Jeep, Ram and Dodge brands landed in the bottom four slots. At the top and bottom of the survey, those results played out similarly to Consumer Reports' study a year ago.

Related: Porsche Flies, Fiat Flails in 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Buggy multimedia systems, including navigation systems, Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility, garnered the most complaints. It's a recurring trend, Consumer Reports notes, and respondents to J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study have expressed similar frustrations.

But rankings between the two have otherwise limited correlation. Consumer Reports says its reliability study surveys subscribers for malfunctions on existing cars, whether recently purchased or older. J.D. Power says its IQS surveys those who recently bought a new car for objective malfunctions and subjective dislikes in the first 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power ranked 32 brands in its IQS this year; Consumer Reports ranked 28. Five brands made the top 10 in both studies: Honda, Kia, Lexus, Porsche and Toyota. Just three brands made the bottom 10 in both: Fiat, Infiniti and Jeep. To some degree, that cements the reliability — or lack thereof — for those eight.

By Kelsey Mays | October 27, 2014 | Comments (8)

Lexus Talks Turbochargers, Possible SC Successor

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German luxury brands have been bullish on turbochargers for years, but Toyota's Lexus division has been reluctant to follow — at least until now. An all-new turbocharged four-cylinder in the NX 200t serves as the base engine in the brand's newest SUV. If you believe Brian Bolain, Lexus' corporate marketing manager, it's just the tip of the turbo iceberg.

Related: 2015 Lexus NX Starts at $35,405

Lexus has come a long way since its 1989 inception: Sixty dealerships have grown to more than 230, and the brand held the U.S. luxury-brand sales title throughout the 2000s. But it lost the crown to Mercedes-Benz in 2011 when a March earthquake and tsunami in Japan left U.S. inventory below BMW and Mercedes levels for six of the nine months that followed. Mercedes has kept the sales title ever since.

Bolain downplayed the importance of Lexus being America's top-selling luxury brand, but he did hint at a few directions it might go — specifically, more turbochargers and perhaps a replacement for the SC convertible.

By Kelsey Mays | October 27, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2002-2005 Lexus, Toyota and Pontiac Cars, Pickup Trucks, SUVs

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 250,000 model-year 2002-05 Lexus SC luxury coupes and Toyota Sequoia SUVs, and 2003-05 Tundra pickup trucks, Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks, and Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks, all originally sold or currently registered in high-humidity areas of southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa

The Problem: The front passenger airbag inflators are susceptible to rupture in a crash, necessitating the deployment of the front passenger airbag. The inflator could rupture, causing metal fragments to strike and seriously injure the passenger-seat occupant or others.

The Fix: Toyota will notify owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, and GM will notify owners of Pontiac vehicles. Dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflator for free. As an interim measure if a replacement is not available, the dealer will disable the front passenger airbag and advise owners not to use the front passenger seat until a replacement inflator is installed. Toyota will begin notifying owners around Oct. 25; GM has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles can call Toyota at 800-331-4331, and owners of Pontiac Vibes can call GM at 800-521-7300. Owners can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Lexus NX Starts at $35,405

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Lexus released pricing for the all-new 2015 NX 200t and NX 300h compact SUVs, which go on sale in December. The NX 200t starts at $35,405, including a destination charge, or $6,490 below Lexus' larger RX 350 SUV. The NX 300h hybrid, meanwhile, starts at $40,645; that's $7,900 below the RX 450h. All prices are for models with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive adds a modest $1,400 to the NX 200t and $1,590 to the NX 300h.

Related: 2015 Lexus NX First Drive

That puts the NX atop the starting prices for entry-luxury SUVs like the 2015 Audi Q3 ($33,425), Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class ($32,225) and BMW X1 ($31,850), but Lexus insisted at a press drive in July that the NX competes with their larger siblings — respectively, the Q5 ($39,825), GLK-Class ($38,825) and X3 ($39,450) — a group that's dimensionally closer to the NX; all prices include destination.

By Kelsey Mays | October 16, 2014 | Comments (11)

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