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Luxury vs. non luxury car brands, quality any better?

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Not looking for general opinions, wishing someone here actually worked on an assembly line manufacturing cars/car parts, or maybe mechanics (who see cars for a living, not just working on your own car) can chime in.

Say you have a Lexus and Toyota. 2 different brands from the same master company.

Is the Lexus actually any different in quality?

Do they take longer to build because more time is spent checking how things fit, are put together etc, more attention to detail.

Are the parts they use made any better? Say tighter tolerances.

Do they toss parts that don't meet spec?

I guess the same questions also apply to any luxe brands. Would a BMW SUV be better made than say a Ford Explorer for any of the above reasons?

Or are you just paying for marketing hype?
 

boiler_eng

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I am driving Lexuses for over 10 years. I never had a Toyota because you can't show up sitting in Toyota on client's sites.
So, it is the image thing, unfortunately.
What is the Difference Between Lexus and Toyota? - T3 Atlanta
Opening the thread definitely would have said I don't see a reason to buy a luxury car over a brand of similar quality beyond just wanting to indulge oneself, but I can see image as a reasonable choice. If image drives the customer's perception that much then having that Lexus may just be a business requirement.
 

M1911

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Toyota and Lexus build quality are similar. Lexus gets you nicer materials, a better dealership experience, and a completely horrid touchpad infotainment system.

You don’t buy a luxury car to get more durability. You get it because you prefer the driving and/or dealership experience.
 

drgrant

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Say you have a Lexus and Toyota. 2 different brands from the same master company.

Is the Lexus actually any different in quality?

Do they take longer to build because more time is spent checking how things fit, are put together etc, more attention to detail.

Are the parts they use made any better? Say tighter tolerances.

Do they toss parts that don't meet spec?
I can't speak for the other brands but if you're actually looking at cars, most Lexus products are still made in Japan, although some of this is changing, I think newer ES350s and RX350s are being assembled in the US now at least, because those two models outsell everything else like 10 to 1. Everything else, GS, RC , RCF, LC500, etc, are all still coming from Japan. Honestly the standards of assembly are pretty much the same, though. They take that stuff pretty seriously.

As someone who has owned both (I've owned two Camrys, and now have a Lexus ES330 and a GS350 currently) you're mostly paying for better interior materials (eg, a quieter cabin, better dashboards panels etc) and option packages, although it depends on the car we're talking about here. There's not that many cross analogues between the two product lines. For example an ES350 vs a Camry or Avalon is "close" but not the same as either. Also depends on the model years too, the current ES is radically different from either. The last generation is not far off. Same drivetrains in that gen.

If we're talking long term mechanical reliability it's really a toss up, one won't be really better than the other by much, although historically Lexus has some
cars that will run for a brutally long time. Models like the LS400 and LS430 are stupid reliable vs time. On the other hand Camrys and Avalons are generally
decent, too, vs time.

Best deal if you're looking at a Lexus look at a CPO. Buy a car some leasetard drove for 10-20K or so and save a crapload of money off the top. Unless they changed it again, the CPO program is like unlimited miles warranty, it's only time based. The other trick is, look within the generation of the vehicle you're interested in. The 2nd or 3rd model year within that generation, by that point any of the minor teething problems are usually worked out. So like if you were looking at ES350s, for the last gen, which started in 2013 you would want 2014 or newer. The current iteration (2019) hasn't been out long enough to do that with.

-Mike
 
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SKumar

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Long story short:

Luxury brands are using cheaper materials than ever
Economy brands still use cheap materials, but are packed with more featured and tech than ever

The gap between luxury and economy is so narrow, that it merely depends on style. Nearly all compact luxury cars/SUVs use a 4-cyl now. Why are you paying luxury prices for a 4 cyl?
f***ing Audi and Mercedes with their f***in A3 and A-class. They're front wheel drive econoboxes with a german badge on it. [angry2]
 

M1911

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The turbo 4-cylinder engines in the base BMW and Mercedes models are actually quite good. They have a great deal of power for the size (0-60 in under 6 seconds). They have more power and better fuel economy than the 6-cylinder naturally aspirated engines that they replaced.

My wife replaced her 2010 C300 (6-cylinder) with a 2019 C300 (4-cylinder turbo) and I’m pretty impressed with the new drivetrain. 255 hp and 273 ft-lbs.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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I can only speak for all my friends that drive Cadillacs. I had to stop giving them sh*t every time the Cadillacs would break down because it was happening way too often.

But I also know one guy that drives an Escalade, already has close to 100K miles and he says he has no issues.

It's all up to you. There is only so much I will pay for a depreciating asset.
 

ProGun

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Probably not much help as I'm not a mechanic, but my Acura was not nearly as reliable as the 2 Honda's we've owned. YMMV.
 

Rockrivr1

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In the same boat. I've always wanted an Escalade, but for less of a price I could get a GMC Yukon Denali or go even lower and get a Chevy Tahoe. I've driven all three and the only real difference seems to be the body panels. Otherwise the technology is basically the same.
 

drgrant

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Long story short:

Luxury brands are using cheaper materials than ever
Economy brands still use cheap materials, but are packed with more featured and tech than ever

The gap between luxury and economy is so narrow, that it merely depends on style.
Meh, it's not that simple, I think part of it is brand identity etc is changing and shifting. For example Kia makes what I would call "a low end
luxury car" now and you can drop like 40 or 50 grand on a Stinger if you don't chinse out on it, and it almost can run with the big dogs.

The reason "economy seems to be coming up" is because the default trim levels are better (and cost more) than they used to. This is because
Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota are all fighting for their share of the slowly dwindling sedan/coupe markets. And they know these buyers are less
likely to be nippleheads. You can still get an entry level stripped down shitbox, but those are "at the back of the lot" because they know they
can get the average buyer to suck for the better cars. The typical Elantra today is now competing at slightly less than the same trimmed Corolla, it's
no longer just a stripped down shitbox, and cars like the Corolla frequently come with disc brakes now etc. These cars have largely graduated.

The whole FakeUV/Crossover thing is a whole different story. The industry assumes the average FakeUV/Crapover buyer (or at least like, 50% of the market) is a brawndo drinker and the products pan out accordingly... there's a lot of trash in that market. (look at an entry level Ford Escrap ecoboost and if it
doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit, then I'm not sure what will. Yet they sell some 6 digit amount of the f***ing things
every year... [laugh] )

Nearly all compact luxury cars/SUVs use a 4-cyl now. Why are you paying luxury prices for a 4 cyl?
f***ing Audi and Mercedes with their f***in A3 and A-class. They're front wheel drive econoboxes with a german badge on it. [angry2]
This is "because leasetards". MB, Audi, BMW all have lineups of cars with shitty motors in them to attract leasetards, all are fighting with one
another over those markets. The shit motor keeps the monthly price down, although as M1911 says, some of them have gotten a lot better, and with
careful selection you can get something that has a set of nuts.

The small motor FakeUVs though are just a joke but that's brawndo fumes fun time land and a whole other story. [laugh]

-Mike
 

appraiser

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I was talking to a friend of mine last night, a former mechanic/service writer/ service manager.

He said he hates his Dad's new Lexus and thought the Avalon he was driving prior to the Lexus was a better car.

The higher the brand, the more gizmo's it has, the more trips to the dealer to have little things reset or re-programed.
 

new guy

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Toyota and Lexus build quality are similar. Lexus gets you nicer materials, a better dealership experience, and a completely horrid touchpad infotainment system.

You don’t buy a luxury car to get more durability. You get it because you prefer the driving and/or dealership experience.
I have a Lexus (ES350, pre(?)/non-touchpad) and a Toyota (4Runner Trail). Both made in Japan. Both have been very reliable and I'm very satisfied with both, but as you say the main differences are materials and the dealership experiences.

Re: materials I'm not sure if it's apples:eek:ranges with my particular vehicles, but I've been in enough Toyota sedans to say with some confidence that the Lexus materials are just nicer. Hand stitched dash and steering wheel, very civilized ride/sound, etc. Can you get a top end Camry or Avalon or whatever with the same stuff? Maybe, once it's all optioned out. The Lexus, at least as far as I can tell, offers the nicer stuff at even the lower trim levels.

The dealership experience is night and day. At Toyota they're nice and polite and all that, but it's still your basic car dealership stuff. The Lexus dealership is great. Free car washes, coffee, donuts, lounge area is very nice, dedicated service adviser as far as I can tell, better and more available loaners, etc. I'm sure I pay for it in the hourly rate but did I mention free donuts?
 

drgrant

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I was talking to a friend of mine last night, a former mechanic/service writer/ service manager.

He said he hates his Dad's new Lexus and thought the Avalon he was driving prior to the Lexus was a better car.
Which model did he buy? Just curious. If it was a new 2019 ES, then I can possibly see that, given characteristically two different cars...

-Mike
 

M1911

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I can only speak for all my friends that drive Cadillacs. I had to stop giving them sh*t every time the Cadillacs would break down because it was happening way too often.

But I also know one guy that drives an Escalade, already has close to 100K miles and he says he has no issues.

It's all up to you. There is only so much I will pay for a depreciating asset.
Cadillac has crap reliability these days. The ATS in particular has been really bad.
 

new guy

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Touch screen? Prolly 2008-2012? Still great cars. I might buy something in that generation to replace the 330 when I blow it up...

-Mike
2013 - first year of the generation. Picked it up CPO. It might not have the touch pad (It has a dial/knob) b/c I don't have the navigation option.
 

Asaltweapon

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My wife has been in an Acura now for 13 years. The first one, a TL was flawless from 06 to 13 and to this day remains that way as my sister insisted on buying it for her daughter.
When we sold it she wanted to be up off the road more for viability and so I got her a 13 RDX. Still a good SUV but not as good as the TL IMO. I do not like the CRV, its sister SUV. If it was solely my call I would have done the TLX.
The dealership (Sunnyside) has always been great to work with. It's just the two of us so ya, we spend a little more on ourselves. The Acura is a bit more quiet but I do not know what a loaded CRV costs or how it's outfitted.
 

drgrant

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2013 - first year of the generation. Picked it up CPO. It might not have the touch pad (It has a dial/knob) b/c I don't have the navigation option.
That's weird, the 6th gen (2013-2018) has the joystick usually, although I've never seen a no-nav car, I always assumed they had a screen for the radio climate controls but no nav option. Of course all is operable without the stupid joystick too, thank god. The 5th gens usually have a touch screen right in the center stack.

-Mike
 

new guy

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That's weird, the 6th gen (2013-2018) has the joystick usually, although I've never seen a no-nav car, I always assumed they had a screen for the radio climate controls but no nav option. Of course all is operable without the stupid joystick too, thank god. The 5th gens usually have a touch screen right in the center stack.

-Mike
I had a choice between two similar CPO cars, one with nav and one without. The one without had some other options that I wanted, and I've never been a huge fan of factory nav anyway so it was an easy choice, especially after dicking around with that joystick/pad thing for a few minutes. Not my car but it looks like this:
 

Roadglide

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Can’t speak to the mechanical superiority over a lesser priced vehicle but I drove a used bmw 330 for a bit. It had well over 100000 miles on it at the time and it drove, rode, handled and anything else you can think of better than any new average class vehicle I ever owned. The car was mint. 115 mph felt like nothing. They just cost a fortune to maintain.
 

M1911

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We buy a new C-class for my wife, get the longest factory extended warranty, and she keeps it for about 9 years. She has it maintained by the dealer — they are close and treat her very well.

But this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a cheap way to go. Buying a 2-year-old CPO and having an independent do the maintenance would be cheaper.

Personally I think she would be better off in a loaded Camry Hybrid, but she likes her Mercedes...

I buy a new or CPO Toyota and drive it for ~140k miles. I have it maintained by an independent.
 
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drgrant

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I had a choice between two similar CPO cars, one with nav and one without. The one without had some other options that I wanted, and I've never been a huge fan of factory nav anyway so it was an easy choice, especially after dicking around with that joystick/pad thing for a few minutes. Not my car but it looks like this:
Nice, didn't realize they put a knob there. The nav sucks anyways, you have a point there. Getting non-nav Lexus cars is actually pretty
rare, a lot of them end up being dealer loaner fleet cars, etc.

-Mike
 

Asaltweapon

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RE: Factory navigation.

What a scam it is. Never again. Took the RDX to Holliston Sunday to see friends. Stupid program sent me down to exit 19. I should have known better as it's not the first time. Add to the fact it sucks to use with that stupid knob thingy. My 18 GMC is no prize either.
I'd be a lot more impressed it it let the screen on the dash mirror your phone screen.
 

M1911

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RE: Factory navigation.

What a scam it is. Never again. Took the RDX to Holliston Sunday to see friends. Stupid program sent me down to exit 19. I should have known better as it's not the first time. Add to the fact it sucks to use with that stupid knob thingy. My 18 GMC is no prize either.
I'd be a lot more impressed it it let the screen on the dash mirror your phone screen.
Most all manufacturers are now (or will soon) support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (or both).
 

rcwhat

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We buy a new C-class for my wife, get the longest factory extended warranty, and she keeps it for about 9 years. She has it maintained by the dealer — they are close and treat her very well.

But this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a cheap way to go. Buying a 2-year-old CPO and having an independent do the maintenance would be cheaper.

Personally I think she would be better off in a loaded Camry Hybrid, but she likes her Mercedes...

I buy a new or CPO Toyota and drive it for ~140 miles. I have it maintained by an independent.
Damn dude. 140miles? That’s like a new car every other day lol
 

Asaltweapon

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Most all manufacturers are now (or will soon) support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (or both).
My truck does support Apple CarPlay but you are limited in what apps will work. For instance Waze, Pandora are fine. Waze is good most times but stalled traffic shows up much better using INRIX.

I swear I'm going to Velcro my wife's note pad next to the screen on the dash one of these days. I'll have it all then!! LOL
 
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