Rank the Japanese luxury cars

I’m sure that there are more than just the big 3, but those are the ones I’m focused on.

So, in order of preference of ownership, how would you rate the 3 big Japanese luxury autos?

  • Acura, Infinity, Lexus
  • Acura, Lexus, Infinity
  • Infinity, Acura, Lexus
  • Infinity, Lexus, Acura
  • Lexus, Acura, Infinity
  • Lexus, Infinity, Acura

0 voters

My boss has owned multiple Infinities. Frankly, I wasn’t that impressed so I put them last. IMHO, there isn’t enough difference between a top of the line Toyota and a Lexus so they’re #2. Acura just seems a step above the rest to me.

ETA. I put these in alphabetical order but it seems that Discourse doesn’t respect it. Maybe it keeps them until you vote. IDK.

Since OP is specifically asking to rank luxury models (not sport models), it’s: Lexus, Infinity, Accura.

Lexus has the LS/LX flagships that are considered quite luxurious.

Infinity has the QX80 flagship. I don’t consider the Q50 sedan to be particularly luxurious.

You know what they call Accura in Europe? Honda. Anyway, the TLX/MDX are not exactly luxurious.

Frankly, I think Genesis should be in the running here and would probably take the #1 or #2 spot with the G90/GV80.

ETA: I see the OP said “Japanese”, so my point about Genesis is irrelevant. Still gonna leave it though.

I’ve owned all three.
The G35 was certainly fast but the interior quality fell short and the seats in particular were not comfortable.
The RL was smooth as silk but there was always the looming issue of the problem transmission to worry about. Mechanical unreliability is what kills Acura for me.
The ES was a fantastic car, never had any issues with it other than the age.

Now I’ve got an Avalon, like others have said at the upper range, Toyota compares favorably with lower parts and labor prices.

Never owned any of these brands, I based my vote on the quality I have encountered with their regular brands of cars, Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Every Toyota has been basically bulletproof. The Hondas were excellent as long as maintenance was maintained. The only Nissan I have dealt with was my ex wife’s 2000 Altima. 3 months after buying it in 2003, a drive axle broke and took out the transmission case with it. It was fixed under warranty, it would have cost $3900 if I had to pay for the repair. The warranty for a used car was $2200. I consider that money well spent. After that it was a constant barrage of small issues. The car died while my ex was driving it across a long bridge in Delaware in 2008. It was towed and she never saw it again. She was sued a year later for a $3500 towing and storage bill.

To nitpick, it’s “Infiniti.”

My mother used to have a 1995 Acura Legend. It was a very nice car. Was still running until just a couple of years ago.

A close friend used to have an Infiniti Q45, circa 2002. Unremarkable in almost every way; that model was not one of their great triumphs. But most of their other cars are pretty nice.

We bought my wife’s Prius used from a Lexus dealership. While we were waiting for paperwork, one of the salesmen let me drive around in any car they didn’t have to move anything else to get at. Drove a lot of very nice, very expensive Lexus’s (Lexi?) around a circular road connecting all the dealerships in the auto park a bunch of times (speed limit: 15mph).

I have it: Lexus, Infiniti, Acura.

I always thought Acura was going more for sportiness than pure luxury. I think of them as more in the category of BMW’s sports sedans.

ETA: My ranking was Lexus, Acura, Infinity mostly going by my perceived level of prestige. Infinity has always just felt like the “also ran” of the Japanese luxury brands to me.

It’s hard to compare lines across time and across models, so I’ll just give my experience.

I bought the G35 in 1993, the year it won the Motor Sport Car of the Year, though I didn’t know that. It was my first luxury car so I didn’t have anything to compare it with, but I loved that car. Power, style, equipment, seating, everything. The acceleration was so terrific that I called it teleport mode.

After a decade I wanted a hybrid. The Infiniti hybrid felt meh. Nothing about it stood out. I got a good deal on the Lexus ES 300h hybrid. That was a different experience. The car was built for sitting in royal comfort and not for the sportiness of the G35 and also had bells and whistles up the wazoo. It took quite a while to get used to the change, but, heck, I’m past retirement age and creature comfort won. Short version: the sporty car strided and the luxury car glided.

Both cars were excellent in their way. I never had any mechanical problems with either. Routine maintenance only. Infiniti doesn’t seem to have gotten back its 90s mojo, though.

I test drove an Acura but it did nothing for me.

My wife and I downsized to a single car, a plug-in hybrid Kia Niro. Nobody’s ever heard of it, but it proved to be the perfect car for the pandemic. Plug it in, get 24 miles of electric power, do all the local driving, stick it in the garage, plug it in, get 24 miles of electric power. We needed gas only a handful of times in 2020, since the gas engine gets around 50 mpg. Yes, it’s smaller and has no oomph, but the top model has all the electronics and doodads of the older Lexus and a few more new ones for 2/3rd the price.

Test the cars until you find the one that fits you. Check to make sure it doesn’t have noticeable problems or reliability issues. Otherwise, brands vary too much over time to call one over the other.

Are you sure you didn’t call it time travel mode? I don’t think the G35 was produced until about a decade later… :wink:

If you’re old enough to remember 1993, you don’t have a memory anymore.

Yes, that should be 2003.

Lexus is clearly #1 by any metric. I forgot about Acura transmission issues (or wasn’t aware they’re still around). And Infiniti is kind of a sleeper, not as popular but more unique.

Of course by the parent companies, Toyota is very good, Honda is usually good, and Nissan is so-so.

@WildaBeast yes, while they’re fancy Honda, I think of them as more emphasis on performance and aimed at a different demographic of buyer. The NSX of course, but also Integra.

I don’t think I’ve seen more than 2 or 3 Genesis…es in the wild.

Well…I’m not crazy about the road feel. A weakness of Toyotas generally IMHO. They’re great cars in most respects, but I always find them a little “floaty” and isolating. I know that’s why many folks like them, so I wouldn’t say it is a flaw per se. But it is a ding for me.

One better have deep pockets if the starter on a V-8 Lexus ever needs a replacement. It will cost thousands since the engineers put the thing inside the engine valley, under the intake manifold and other parts. Brilliant.

As with all luxury brands, they make the assumption that if you can afford the car you can afford the repairs. Bumpers these days!