Toyota vs. Lexus | Check Out Their Differences

Toyota and Lexus are both brands within the Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyotas are affordable, reliable cars, whereas Lexus' are luxury vehicles that are more expensive, possibly slightly more reliable (debatable), and have additional technological and performance features.4 min

Lexus Vs Toyota

Many car brands fall under the same corporation and have many similarities, like Toyota and Lexus.

Lexus is a brand within the Toyota Motor Corporation that focuses on luxury cars exported to the US from Japan. Each car within the Toyota brand (Corolla, Camry, etc.) has a luxury Lexus equivalent with more features, higher performance, and arguably more reliability, albeit at a higher price.

In this article, we will explain how Lexus and Toyota are the same and different, and which one is better in terms of cost, reliability, and maintenance. Then, we’ll compare a few of the popular Lexus and Toyota models and offer some resources you can use as a Lexus or Toyota buyer or owner.

Are Lexus and Toyota the Same?

Lexus is part of Toyota Motor Corporation, so all Lexus cars are Toyota, but not all Toyota cars are Lexus. Lexus is one of five brands that Toyota sells, the other four being Daihatsu, Hino, Ranz, and Toyota itself. The Lexus brand focuses on luxury vehicles.

Lexus means luxury export to the US and was launched in 1989 when Toyota Motor Corporation wanted to venture into the luxury car market. Toyota originally marketed the brand to the United States but quickly expanded to other countries.

Then, in 2005, Toyota finally sold Lexus cars in Toyota’s home country of Japan, where they’re now the highest-selling luxury cars in the country. Lexus is now sold in seventy countries worldwide.

Lexus cars are manufactured in Japan, the United States, and Canada, with more than ten different Lexus models being made and sold. Some of the models have a hybrid version.

If you want to learn more about how Lexus got started and how the brand has adapted since it first started, check out this video:

Does Lexus Use Toyota Parts?

Lexus and Toyota cars use so many of the same parts that they are fairly close to the same car after production. Lexus vehicles just are fitted with either more luxury versions of the same components or additional standard features not offered in Toyotas.

Because of the overlap in parts, Lexus mechanics can work on Toyota cars and vice versa. The dual mechanics is beneficial to Lexus and Toyota owners who live near a dealership or other mechanic that services the cars.

However, if you have the option to go to your car’s dealership, you should. By going to your specific dealership, you can guarantee that the technician will know how to service your car. If you go to another dealership, it can create problems with the warranty, so check your warranty policy.

Are Lexus and Toyota Parts interchangeable?

A great many of the parts are interchangeable between Lexus and Toyota. In fact, you can often get the same exact part for cheaper just by buying it under the name “Toyota.” To find out for sure about an individual part, you can call the parts department or any Toyota or Lexus dealer.

My father and brother do a lot of mechanical work on vehicles, and they often will buy the non-luxury version of parts from a “u-pull it” or junkyard. They are exactly the same part, but often much much cheaper.

Does Lexus Use Toyota Engines?

Lexus brands use virtually the same exact engines that are found in their Toyota counterpart. Lexus cars have one of these three engines: a four-cylinder, a V6, or a V8. For example, the Lexus ES and the Toyota Avalon use the same 3.5Ltr V6 Engine.

However, engines with fewer cylinders have more advantages. They weigh less and are more fuel-efficient. The more cylinders in the engine, the more it will weigh and cost.

Is Lexus as Reliable as Toyota?

Lexus is rated to be just as reliable as Toyota, if not more in some cases. In a 2021 study by Consumer Reports, they named Lexus as the most reliable car brand for 2022, out of the twenty-eight total, including Toyota, which came in third. 

The study analyzed data from more than three hundred thousand cars in seventeen categories, then scored them to determine the most reliable. Some of the categories in the study include squeaky brakes, transmission issues, problems with the four-wheel-drive system, and broken interiors.

Thanks to Lexus’ top ranking on the reliability report, you can be confident that your Lexus is a reliable car to have on the road. But, if you decide to go with a Toyota instead, you can still be confident that it’s a reliable car.

Is a Lexus More Expensive To Maintain Than a Toyota?

Lexus vehicles are more expensive than their comparable Toyota vehicles. The cost of maintenance for a Lexus is higher than a Toyota, but they’re cheaper to maintain than other luxury vehicles.

As discussed earlier, a Lexus car has a lot of performance features that a Toyota doesn’t. So, there’s more to maintain and more for the mechanics to know about, which costs more for you as the Lexus owner.

Is It Better To Buy a Lexus or Toyota?

Choosing between a Lexus and a Toyota can be a hard decision because they are both reliable cars and come in a range of sizes comparable to each other no matter what you are looking for.  But is it better to buy a Lexus or a Toyota, and what factors should you consider when choosing one?

The cost is the biggest factor to consider when you’re torn between a Lexus and a Toyota. A Lexus can cost nearly twice as much as its Toyota equivalent. So, if you’re on a budget, you should go with a Toyota as it can save you thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, a Toyota is a great choice if you’re a family buying for a teenager as their first car. Toyotas are reliable and won’t break the bank, especially if you decide to get a used car. And, if you as the parent have a Lexus, you’re still all going to have cars within the same car family.

But, if you’re not worried about cost as much as you want something stylish or with some extra features that Toyotas may not offer, you should go with a Lexus. Lexus cars are fancier and have some performance features that a Toyota doesn’t. If you often drive or drive on less common roads, a Lexus can give you more peace of mind.

And Lexus cars tend to be more affordable than other luxury cars on the market. But, they still come with nice interiors and high-tech features that make luxury cars desirable.

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