Automobile

Top Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Models: IS, ES, and NX | Kelley Blue Book

If you’re in the market for a used sedan or crossover, it’s worth looking at a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Lexus. Lexus’ CPO program, known as L/Certified, includes complimentary maintenance for the next four factory-recommended service visits for 2 years or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Also included are trip interruption, roadside assistance, and a warranty that covers up to six years of coverage. Each CPO Lexus undergoes a comprehensive 161-point inspection by factory-trained technicians.

2017 Lexus IS 300 AWD

Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $29,665 (as of May 2021)

Sticker price when new: $45,145

With three different powertrain choices in the IS lineup, the 2017 Lexus IS 300 AWD appeals to us because it splits the difference and provides the all-weather confidence of all-wheel drive.

The base IS 200t has a turbocharged 4-cylinder, whereas the IS 300 uses a 3.5-liter V6. The 350 has the same V6, but tuned for more power, and both the IS 300 and 350 are available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The IS 200t has a CPO price about $1,200 lower than the 300, although its non-CPO price is nearly $3,000 lower. However, we prefer the peace of mind that comes with the CPO car, knowing that it’s been thoroughly inspected, includes extra features, and doesn’t involve the hassle of meeting and negotiating with a private party.

See the Certified Lexus IS models for sale near you

Overview

While its big brother the ES focuses on comfort, the Lexus IS is definitely more sporty, with great driving manners and even an F Sport trim that firms up the suspension.

Some people find the look of the IS polarizing, but to us it is distinctive, and updates for 2017 included a revised nose and tail with a slightly different grille. The steering is sharp, the suspension has some bite to it, and both engines make a nice growl. When the road starts to turn, the IS 300 knows how to handle itself.

Inside, the IS has high-quality materials and the impeccable build quality for which Lexus is known. We don’t love the controller for the infotainment system, but that’s a minor issue. It’s also worth noting that while the 2017 IS infotainment system does accommodate the iPhone, neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto compatibility is available. Other standard features include a moonroof, keyless entry, and Bluetooth, as well as an 8-speaker audio system.

What to Look For

A significant upgrade for the 2017 Lexus IS 300 was that the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver-assist features went from being optional to standard equipment. This includes pre-collision assist, lane-departure alert with steering assist, active cruise control, and automatic high beams.

Desirable options to look for include a navigation package with a 10.3-inch screen, a 15-speaker/835-watt Mark Levinson audio system, and a luxury package with amenities like leather interior and wood trim. The F Sport package will likely cost more but includes a firmer suspension, stronger brakes, and some cool gauges.

2017 Lexus IS 300 Key Features

We like the IS 300 because it not only has a 255-horsepower V6 but also includes all-wheel drive for extra stability, particularly in cold-weather conditions. Power goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission rather than the 8-speed that comes with rear-wheel-drive models. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city/26 highway, versus 22/32 for the smaller engine.

2017 Lexus IS 300 Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.5

NHSTA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2017 Lexus IS
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 255 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 236 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 22 mpg (19 city/26 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter turbo I4; 3.5-liter V6 (different tune); all-wheel drive
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 5
EPA Passenger Volume 90.0 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 13.8 cubic feet

 

2017 Lexus ES 350

2017 Lexus ES

Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $27,598 (as of May 2021)

Sticker price when new: $39,895

While the 2017 Lexus ES was offered with two powertrains, our choice is the V6-powered ES 350 rather than the hybrid ES 300h. The hybrid started about $5,000 over the non-hybrid when new, and its CPO price is about $1,000 more today, so there’s a fair drop, and non-CPO prices for the two are nearly identical.

The V6-powered ES 350 makes more than 100 horsepower over the hybrid, although the hybrid earns significantly better city fuel economy (40 mpg vs. 21). Both have the same standard features and optional extras, although due to the battery placement, the hybrid’s trunk is quite a bit smaller. Non-CPO prices are about $1,000 less for both, but given the comprehensive inspection, extra warranty, and all the other amenities that come with a CPO car, it’s a small price to pay.

See the Certified Lexus ES models for sale near you

Overview

Understanding that not every luxury sedan buyer puts a premium on sportiness, Lexus offered the ES 350 with a focus on smooth driving, a comfortable ride, and enough performance to move it along at a good clip. That formula has worked well because the ES offers exceptional build quality, a comfortable and cosseting ride, and sufficient power for passing and driving on mountain roads.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a full suite of safety features, and a rearview camera. The multimedia system is operated by a mouse-like controller that some have found a bit frustrating to use, however.

What to Look For

The big news for 2017 was that the previously optional Lexus Safety System+ suite of safety and driver-assist features became standard equipment across the board. This includes a pre-collision system, lane-departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beams, and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control.

Also on the safety front are 10 airbags and Lexus’ Automatic Collision notification, and NHTSA awarded it a 5-star safety rating. Other desirable options to look out for include a navigation system, leather and aniline-leather seats, and an 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

2017 Lexus ES 350 Key Features

Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the 2017 Lexus ES 350 makes 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which gets it to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. A Sport mode makes the transmission shift a bit more aggressively. Flared fenders and narrow windows give it a tough, masculine look, and the ES 350 has twin tailpipes. Standard wheels are 17-inch aluminum alloys, but 18s were also offered as an upgrade. Front-wheel drive is the only choice, as all-wheel drive was not available.

2017 Lexus ES 350 Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.0

NHSTA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2017 Lexus ES
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 268 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 248 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (21 city/31 hwy)
Also Available 2.5-liter I4 + electric motor; CVT
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 5
EPA Passenger Volume 100.1 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 12.1 cubic feet

 

2017 Lexus NX 200t

2017 Lexus NX

Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $24,337   (as of May 2021)

Sticker price when new: $38,535

There’s no mistaking the 2017 Lexus NX 200t. This distinctive compact SUV is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that sends its power via a 6-speed automatic to either the front or all four wheels. When new, all-wheel drive cost an extra $1,400, so expect to pay a little more if you want it.

Also on offer is a hybrid, the 300h, with under 200 horsepower but 31 mpg combined versus the 25 mpg combined for the turbo. With an original price of over $40,000, the hybrid NX can now be had for a CPO price of just under $28,000.

See the Certified Lexus NX models for sale near you

Overview

There’s a lot to like about the 2017 Lexus NX, a smaller brother to the RX but still plenty big inside and a lot of fun to drive. Materials quality is excellent, with soft and padded surfaces and such details as a dash-cover stitching.

Space is good for a 5-passenger compact SUV, and there are 54.6 cubic feet for cargo with all seats folded. The exterior design is bold, with a big grille and heavily sculpted taillights.

Standard equipment is generous, including power seats, dual-zone climate control, a 7-inch screen, and even a Drive Mode function that alters throttle response. Unlike some other Lexus models with a mouse-like controller, the NX uses a touchpad controller that’s more user-friendly.

What to Look For

Changes to the Lexus NX for 2017 included a new GPS app, and the NX 300 hybrid was only offered with all-wheel drive. Safety features include blind-spot alert, a collision warning system, a driver knee airbag, and front and rear parking sensors, helping it earn a 5-star NHTSA safety rating.

Desirable options include a navigation package with Bing, Yelp, iHeartRadio, and other apps. There is also a leather package, which includes both the Comfort and Premium packages, with such things as heated and ventilated front seats.

2017 Lexus NX 200t Key Features

The NX 200t has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that’s surprisingly smooth and makes 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, while the optional AWD helps stability but adds weight. There’s also an F Sport trim that adds aluminum pedals and a sportier suspension. Given that the F Sport’s CPO price is nearly $3,000 higher than the regular 200t, it’s probably something to pass on.

2017 Lexus NX 200t Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.5

NHSTA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2017 Lexus NX
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 2.0-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 235 hp @ 4,800 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 25 mpg (22 city/28 hwy)
Also Available 2.5-liter I4 hybrid; CVT; AWD
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 5
EPA Passenger Volume n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 54.6 cubic feet

 

Why Should I buy a Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

Lexus has made its name with high build quality and a solid reputation for reliability. Given that these vehicles are priced significantly lower than their 2021 counterparts, it’s worth considering a CPO L/Certified Lexus.

As these vehicles come directly from Lexus, they must undergo rigorous inspections and checks, and include such added perks as roadside assistance, free scheduled maintenance, and an extended warranty.

Lexus will also not accept a vehicle into its CPO program if it is older than 6 years or has more than 70,000 miles. Yes, a private-party sale could net a lower price, but it involves test-driving, negotiating, paying for your own pre-purchase inspection, and relying on the seller to be upfront about any problems. We think a CPO vehicle represents money well spent.

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