Top 3 Best Lexus Under $20k (with Photos)

Lexus is perhaps one of the most luxurious car brands available in the market. Developed by the luxury division of the renowned Japanese automakers Toyota and having its headquarters at Nagoya, Japan, it now operates in more than 90 countries, but is largely manufactured in Japan.

The first-ever Lexus car was built and debuted in 1996 as sport-utility LX 450 series. Since then, the company has seen worldwide growth, especially in the United States which is its largest market, and the year 2015 saw its biggest sale ever as 344,601 vehicles were sold.

But since then, the company has seen a downward sale, due to the arrival of German luxury car brands like BMW and Audi, but the Lexus brand is still quite trustworthy among average Americans due to its long-term reliability, lower maintenance cost, and high resale value.

So, if you are someone looking to buy a Lexus under a tight budget, here is a compilation of 3 best Lexus under $20k.

1. Lexus ES 350

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 base model was rated as one of the top midsize luxury car models, with high reliability and safety ratings, powerful engine, spacious and posh interiors. The car comes for $19,985, which is pretty affordable when compared with other similar luxury cars.

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 was rated as five out of five in terms of reliability by JD Power. Even though the car has a high safety rating, there has been one incidence of recall as the brakes were applied suddenly due to pre-collision warning system failure, so need to address the same issue before buying, along with engine knocking and periodic GPS failures that need to be assured, but overall, it has very high reliability and safety scores.

The car comes in a single trim model, i.e., ES 350, which has a 3.5L V6 engine that generates 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque along with an all-wheel-drive feature, and when paired with six-speed automatic transmission, it provides high acceleration and a smooth ride at the same time.

The car also provides a mileage of 21 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highways, which is good enough for a luxury sports car. The car also accelerates from 0 to 60 MPH in just 6.5 seconds, giving tough competition to its rivals. Other additional features in the car include:

  • Keyless entry
  • Eight speaker sound system
  • Automatic climate control
  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated and Ventilated front seats
  • A Panoramic sunroof
  • Heated steering wheel

The safety features are an essential part of the Lexus ecosystem and add to its sale value, therefore some of the essential safety features include:

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure assist
  • Pre-collision warning and braking system
  • Adaptive cruise control

The average Lexus ES 350 car insurance in the USA can cost up to $1,470/ year or $123/ month, but that also depends on certain factors like customer’s age, gender, monthly income, credit score, etc., so the insurance cost is low too.

Also, if you are looking to buy a used Lexus ES model, then it is highly recommended by different auto experts to buy the 2012 and the 2015 models because of their high reliability, resale value, and longevity in the market.

Also read: What’s A High Mileage for A Lexus? The Facts!

2. Lexus RX 350

The 2012 Lexus RX 350 was the top-ranked luxury midsize SUV and placed highly due to its extra spacious and comfortable interiors, powerful engine, and high longevity and resale value. The car comes at an affordable price of $18,995.

The car is available in seven different trim levels and packages which are mentioned here: a choice of the Premium Package 1, Premium Package 2, Touring Package, Sport Package, Ultra-Premium Package 1, or Ultra-Premium Package 2. With every package, there are additional features added, and experts recommend the Sport Package for a better buy.

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The standard base engine comes with a 3.5L V6 engine that generates 275 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive with an option of an all-wheel-drive feature. With an easy and quick transmission and high acceleration, the car scoots from 0 to 60 MPH in just 7.4 seconds.

The car has a high-reliability score as well, with JD Power ranking rating the car a solid 85 marks out of 100. Even though the car is one of the top sellers and has high safety and reliability ratings, there have been few incidents of massive oil leaks and oil pressure loss, which has led to recalls as well.

The car is also very durable and can last about 25000-3000 miles, or 16 to 20 years, depending on periodic maintenance and sensible driving. The base model provides an average of 18 MPG in cities, while it gives a mileage of 24 MPG on highways. Also, its hybrid version can provide MPG in cities and 28 MPG on highways, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient cars at this price range.

The car has other additional features as well that make it a luxurious and interactive car to have. Some other features of the car include-

  • A Panoramic sunroof/ moonroof
  • Wood and Leather steering wheel
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Heated and Ventilated front seats
  • Mark Levinson audio systems
  • Intuitive parking assist

The safety features are one of the pioneering features of Lexus cars that makes it a complete ride, therefore, some of the safety features include:

  • Anti-Lock braking system
  • Vehicle stability control
  • Child safety rear door locks
  • Side-impact door beams
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

The average insurance cost for a 2012 Lexus RX 350 is $1,664 per year or $139/ month, which is not that high but also depends upon certain factors like age of the driver, gender, profession, credit score, and other important details as well.

Also read: Are Lexus Reliable? Which Lexus to Avoid?

3. Lexus GS 350

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is a luxury midsize sedan and also one of the top-ranked sedan cars available in the market between the years 2013 to 2018 due to its high-reliability ratings, high safety scores, spacious interiors, and smooth ride. The first GS sedan appeared in 1993 and the used model comes for $18,900.

The car comes in a single trim, with a 3.5L V6 engine that generates 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque and a 6-speed automatic transmission coupled with paddle shifters and both all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive options available that makes this car both sporty and smooth at the same time.

The GS 350 accelerates from 0 to 60 MPH in just 5.7 seconds. With regular maintenance and proper driving, the car can last around 250,000-300,000 miles, which roughly means that the car can last for 17 to 20 years. The base sedan can provide a gas mileage of 19MPG in cities and 24MPG on freeways, while its hybrid version gives an average of 29MPG in cities and 34MPG on freeways.

As per the JD Power automotive rankings, the car has a reliability rating of five out of five for its better safety feature, mileage, smooth ride, and engine longevity. Even though the car has excellent reliability ratings, there have been incidents of breakdown due to melting dashboards and engine breakdowns in the past, due to which there have been a few recalls.

The GS 350 is loaded with different infotainment and comfort features that make it a unique ride to have. Some of the additional features include:

  • A Panoramic sunroof
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Mark Levinson 17-speaker audio system
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • HD and satellite radio
  • Heated steering wheels

The safety features are the most important feature of the Lexus brand that makes them a reliable and safe option to choose from. Some of the important safety features include:

  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Parking assist
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Pre-collision warning system
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring

A Lexus GS 350 will charge around $5,721 in the first 10 years for its maintenance and repair, which is higher than the industry average, still a good enough investment. Also, the cost of the insurance of GS 350 is $1,884 or around $157/ month, depending upon certain factors that are mentioned above.

Also read: Top 3 Best Lexus Cars Under 15k (with Photos)


So, in the conclusion, we can confirm that Lexus is still one of the most dependable car brands in the market. A car with a powerful engine, high reliability and safety scores, high resale value, and spacious interiors, surely it is a brand that customers can invest in.

Even though their sales have fallen since 2015 due to the entry of different German luxury car brands like Audi and BMW who have disrupted its American markets. The Lexus should still be considered a trustworthy investment if you want to invest in a car for its longevity and high resale value.