1. 2011 Lexus IS 350
The compact sedan Lexus IS 350 is the entry-level from the growing luxury brand reputed for its reliability, performance, and luxury features. The Lexus IS introduces you to the brand, encouraging you to make a moderate investment at an affordable price. The 2013 model can be purchased for around $13000.
The IS 350 is well-built both in and outside, featuring a stylish exterior and luxurious cabin. This makes it one of the best Lexus cars under 15k.
The IS 350 is ably powered by a 306 horsepower 3.5-liter V6, mated to a standard 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode.
The IS 350 has the option of rear or all-wheel-drive.
Fuel economy comes in at an estimated 22 mpg combined for the rear-wheel-drive model, and 20 mpg for the all-wheel-drive.
Acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes only 5.6 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive model, making it quite fast and within the range of comparable sport sedans.
The Lexus IS 350 is carried on 17-inch wheels. Other standard equipment includes xenon headlamps, LED running lights, a sunroof, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and a 13-speaker stereo.
The IS 350 AWD adds heated front seats.
Key safety features include airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction, and stability control.
Optional is a hard-drive-based Navigation System that also comes with a rearview camera, voice commands, and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
Maintenance and Reliability
The Lexus IS 350 used is relatively good. Like all high mileage Lexus models, you need to check for rust, which not only affects the frame, but also the electrical.
There are also model years that the IS 350 faced a lot of challenges. Some of them are 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Major problems related to a melting dashboard, oil leaks relating to the 3.5-liter VG engine, and other engine issues, especially relating to the cited years. The water pump is one to also look out for, and it may cost up to $3000 to replace.
Otherwise the Lexus IS 350 is a very reliable sedan, with maintenance costs over the first ten years well below average.
Also read: 3 Best Lexus for the Money (Costs Included)
2. 2009 Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX 350 is an excellent choice for those looking for a luxury mid-size crossover SUV. The Lexus RX makes it onto the list of the best Lexus cars under 15k.
Powered by a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the Lexus 350 has enough power to cruise or accelerate comfortably around the city and on the highway.
The power is transmitted to the front or rear wheels through a standard 5-speed automatic.
The setup will give you acceleration from zero to 60 mph in a decent 7.5 seconds.
Fuel economy is estimated at 18 and 23 mpg for city and highway driving for the front-wheel-drive versions, respectively.
The all-wheel-drive model returns a fuel economy of 17 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway.
The RX 350’s interior is decorated with real wood and leather to create a rich and comfortable cabin with leather or cloth upholstery.
Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, 17-inch alloys, and a power liftgate.
A Premium Package adds a sunroof, seat memory, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
A Premium Plus Package comes with adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights.
The Performance Package adds adaptive air suspension and 18-inch wheels.
If you need more, look for an RX 350 with the navigation and entertainment systems package.
You could also be lucky to get one with the incredible Mark and Levinson audio system.
Another trim that you could look for is the Pebble Beach edition, which comes with chrome wheels and leather seating.
Standard safety features for the Lexus RX 350 include front-seat side airbags, rear side curtain airbags, and a driver knee airbag. Also standard are stability and traction control, and antilock brakes with brake assist.
On the road, expect a smooth ride that easily absorbs the road’s undulations, although soft for comfort.
The rear seats can recline and slide, giving rear-seat passengers the ability to seat comfortably, especially for long trips.
Maintenance and Reliability
The RX costs about $8000 for scheduled maintenance and repairs in the first ten years, a very favorable figure compared to its peers.
Common problems are dashboard cracks and oil leaks. Rack and pinion oil leaks may cost $1300, whilst water leaks up to $3000.
However, despite the few challenges above, the Lexus RX 350 remains one of the most reliable SUVs.
Also read: Are Lexus Reliable? Which Lexus to Avoid?
3. 2009 Lexus ES 350
The entry-level family sedan is for the customer looking to enjoy their luxurious in quiet and comfort, without the clutter or heart-throbbing adventurous moves. They want to enjoy in peace, and they probably don’t want your uninvited attention.
The Lexus ES 350 gives them trouble-free driving and a reliable and safe car.
The Lexus gets on our list of top 3 best Lexus cars under 15k for that reason.
The ES 350, as the name suggests, is powered by a 272-horsepower 3.5-liter engine. Drive is through the front wheels, and the power is transmitted by a 6-speed automatic with a manual shift mode function. Acceleration is 7.1 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Fuel economy is estimated at 19 mpg for city driving and 27 mpg for highway.
The Lexus ES 350’s roomy interior is fitted with classy materials of metal, plastic, leather, and wood. Five adults can sit comfortably without cramping their long legs, even in the back seat.
Some notable standard features include keyless entry and ignition, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a sunroof.
Various packages add heated and ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and a Mark Levinson audio system.
Stability control, antilock brakes, and several airbags are standard. The rest are optional, including rear-seat side airbags, adaptive cruise control, and a pre-collision system.
On the road, the ES 350 provides a quiet and comfortable drive, with the various noises effectively shut out from the cabin.
Also read: Top 3 Best Lexus Under $20k (with Photos)
Maintenance and Reliability
The annual maintenance cost for the ES 350 is an average of $5500 for the first ten years. Common problems are oil leaks in high mileage units. Oil leaks can cost $20 depending on the cause.
Dashboard melting is also common.
You may also encounter a blown cylinder head or the head gasket. The head may cost from $250 to $800 to repair.
The ES 350 is, however, a generally very reliable sedan.
If you are looking for luxury without the fuss, the Lexus ES350 is the car for you. It is one of the top 3 best Lexus cars under 15k.