Lexus is the luxury subsidiary of Japanese automaker Toyota. Its vehicles, which range from small hybrids to full-size SUVs, are characterized by their comfort, reliability and hybrid technology. Though not known in the past for catering to automotive enthusiasts, many of Lexus newer vehicles are driver-focused and genuinely engaging.
The company entered the U.S. market in 1989 with the full-size,...
rear-wheel-drive LS sedan, which offered a luxury experience comparable to expensive German vehicles despite costing significantly less to buy and maintain. It has since expanded to offer a full lineup of vehicles, though its efforts are concentrated in the low to mid price bracket of the premium market.
Lexus most popular offerings are the ES 350 sedan and RX 350 crossover, both of which share underpinnings with the Toyota Camry but are differentiated by unique styling and coddling cabins. Competing more directly with the companys Teutonic rivals are its rear-wheel-drive sedans, which include the IS, GS and LS. The company also offers several off-road capable SUVs that utilize sturdy body-on-frame construction.
Benefitting from its affiliation with the company that developed the fuel-sipping Prius, Lexus offers hybrid variants of many of its models, and in recent years has developed an efficient hybrid-only vehicles, the CT 200h hatchback.
Not content to be known only for luxury and fuel efficiency, Lexus surprised the automotive world in 2009 with the introduction of the LFA supercar, which cost $375,000 and featured razor-sharp handling along with a powerful V10 engine. Lexus claimed at the time that the LFA was a harbinger of a more emotional approach it would take with its future models, and the automaker has backed that statement up by adding significantly more excitement to its latest IS and GS sedans.
The majority of Lexus vehicles are built in the brands Japanese factories, though the RX 350 is built in Canada. The brand sells a significant number of vehicles in its home market of Japan and is expanding its presence in China, but the United States is by far its biggest market.