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Lexus IS 300

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  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    rsr... If it is so easy to dismiss all these, then why are IS300 sales so small to begin with and declining?

    Notice how many above are either only AWD or have an AWD model. Infiniti is bringing out the AWD G35.

    While I love my two IS300s, I disagree with many of your assessments. Keep the options down, and the 330i isn't too expensive. Same for MB C-class. 325i manual with Sport Pkg is quite a fun car to drive. Its acceleration times are comparable to the IS300. The IS300 doesn't perform like its raw numbers would suggest. That is one of its failings.

    Keep in mind that most IS300s sold are automatics. Can be hard to find a manual transmission IS300 at a Lexus dealer. And the SportCross only comes with an automatic.

    Jaguar has dropped prices on the 3.0 by thousands and added thousands of dollars in new standard equipment. A strategy Lexus should take with IS300!

    IS300 is routinely referred to as a "boy racer". For example, most reviewers have panned the chronograph instrument cluster and the metal shift ball (which can burn to the touch in hot summer).

    Keep in mind that the IS300 lacks many of the luxury touches that are found on the other Lexus models. Just look at a loaded ES330 interior. IS300 isn't known for coddling you in wood trim. Leather is an expensive option. Many opt for the optional fax leather (escaine). Was only in '04 that IS300 got memory seats. Still needs telescoping steering wheel and needs to lose the hood prop rod. Where is the split-fold rear seat option? Can't get driver and passenger separate climate control. No rear reading lights. No trip computer (so you can't get important info like "miles until empty"). No lumbar adjustment. One thing you can't say about the IS300 is that it is too luxurious! My wife's former 323ia had many things her IS300 lacks.

    Thankfully, IS300 has LSD! Plus standard HID and foglights. And it is so fun to drive. But word just doesn't seem to get out. Lexus needs to do more. Almost seems like they have given up on it.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,206
    You left off the Audi A4 and, while the Lincoln LS no longer offers a manual, I'm willing to bet that most people who buy the IS don't choose a manual.

    In fact, it looks much like the IS is going the way of the Lincoln LS, in that it receives little or no advertising dollars and is unlikely to be upgraded in any significant way anytime soon.

    OTOH, it's nice to drive something that very few other people have. . .or want.
  • Don't get me wrong, I've driven the IS300 with the manual and its a blast! Everything fits me perfectly; I can't think of a car I'd rather drive, but... its not nearly as luxurious as the other Lexus vehicles. The appearance both inside and out is not of a luxury car. The IS is still at the top of my shopping list though. I would like to see a more mature look, better interior materials, more power, VSC with the manual, and a 6th gear. Acura, Infiniti, Audi, and BMW offer all of these important features.
  • In my opinion, Lexus has failed to properly market the IS. It is a car of uncommon value butd I do not recall seeing any commercials for the IS.

    What about the fact that CR rated it number one in its class, not recommending BMW?

    Lexus needs to realize that young professionals who love to drive are not interested in plush ES.

    BTW, plenty of manual IS's available.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    I totally agree with you rsr742002. The IS300 does NOT fall short of the Lexus reputation. Just because it's DIFFERENT from the other 4-door sedans that the company offers doesn't mean that it's a POS. Lexus just blew it on the marketing of the IS300. The wood trim in some of their vehicles screams BUICK if you asked me! The ONLY Lexus vehicle that I would even consider driving is the IS300--speaking in terms of exterior styling. Quite frankly, I find all of the other Lexus vehicles to be over and beyond ugly. But I do respect both the quality and luxury aspects of all of their vehicle offerings. In fact, there's no automobile manufacturer in the world that I respect for quality as much as I do Lexus. They really do need to find and hire some good body designers though.

    While I do agree with a couple of the IS300's shortcomings that 'riez' points out, I do NOT understand why he is so critical of the IS300 in many of his posts--yet has TWO of these vehicles in his family. With all due respect 'riez', you speak out of both of sides of your mouth when it comes to the IS300. One post you're touting the value of the IS300, and in another you're ripping on the vehicle for its many shortcomings when compared to the offerings of Lexus' competitors. I simply do not understand why someone that has not just one, but TWO of these vehicles, would bust on them like you do on a perpetual basis. That just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not saying that the IS300 is perfect, but it's still a very nice, high-quality Lexus vehicle. Especially when compared to a lot of other 4-door sedans out there. I'm not trying to start an argument with you 'riez'. I'd just like to better understand why you're so critical of the IS300--yet you and your wife both own and drive one.

    Ron M.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ron_m... Ain't no car perfect. Not even the IS300. I'm brutally honest and call 'em like I see 'em. Both good and bad. And I'm pointing out things Lexus needs to address in order to keep the IS alive and growing.

    Why should I pretend that the IS300 is perfect? All you need to do is read automotive reviews and comparison tests and you can see flaws pointed out. IS is now in its 4th model year. That is a lot of time to address issues. Why is there still a cheap hood prop rod? Why does it still use space-intruding goose-neck trunk hinges, for a car with a smallish trunk to begin with?

    And I won't criticize the shortcomings of other cars without addressing shortcomings in the IS300. That is why I point out Jaguar is lowering prices on its X-type 3.0 plus adding thousands of dollars of additional standard equipment. Jaguar realizes what it will take to recover from its mistakes. But Lexus hasn't.

    I always point out all the wonderful things about the IS300. Critical things like braking, steering, and handling are magnificent. Same for the creamy smooth I6 and the precise transmission. All of the most important things about the IS300 are fantastic. But so many of the little things need to be addressed. And for the money, the IS300 was quite a bargain, though not so much any more in comparison to the G35, TSX, TL, WRX, and other competitors.

    And I love the dealership experience. First class customer service. Reliability and quality outstanding. We've got a bit under 7K miles combined on our two cars. Haven't had a single issue, not on anything! They are built very, very well!!!

    Will readily admit I may set very high standards. I've owned some very nice cars. They raise the bar. Cars like my '98 540i6, '00 LS8 Sport, '00 323ia, '96 Impala SS, and '96 G20t. In some ways, the IS300 reminds me of the G20t. Infiniti didn't market it much. Truly fun to drive car. Practical, great customer service, and outstanding reliability (I didn't have a single problem in 80K miles!). Needed more work on the little details to be a real player in the market. Look what happened to it from '89 to '03. Don't want to see that with the IS.

    I'm praying Lexus hasn't given up on the IS platform. I want it to be better and better. Continuous vehicle improvement.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Finally snowed in midwest. My wife is pleased at how her '03 IS300a handled the storm. I took her's out once and concurred. She has the standard all-seasons along with LSD and VSC.

    I haven't taken my '04 IS300m out. She sits in the garage. Take my FWD '00 Hyundai Sonata work car in winter. Hate to see salt on her and hate getting snow and all over the interior floor mats and foot wells. She looks and stays so much cleaner in her garage. (Think she is happier but know she is chomping at the bit to get out soon.)
  • Yesterday (after months of debating IS300 vs. WRX) I picked up my IS300 '03 demo (5M appearance package). Last night we received 6" of snow.

    I had the car delivered with Pirelli 210 snow tires on 16" RAV4 rims. Early this morning I took it out to an empty Walmart parking lot to see how bad it would be in the white stuff.

    Bottom line - I was pleasantly surprised! The IS300 is fairly heavy, and straight-line and braking performance with the Pirellis is good (if not excellent). With TC and Snow Mode engaged, the car turns in and corners predictably, and the TC catches you if you oversteer or apply too much gas.

    About the only negative is that the car is very low, and gets caught up in any drifts or piles of snow. I can live with that.

    So I think I'll be able to drive the IS300 about 360 days a year - the other five I'll either take my wife's RAV4, or work from home.

    PS - does anyone else find the rear defroster slow?
  • Lets hope for a lame winter unlike last years continual dump of snow...

    I don't mind the IS in snow. Good tires, TC/LSD/VSC and snow mode really HELP.

    I nailed my bumper/spoiler on a icy drift last winter and busted the washer reservior and cracked the bottom lip of the spoiler...so you are correct in saying that its a wee bit low.

    I actually prefer the dynamics of RWD (with all the technology) to FWD when general driving is concerned...wait till you have to cut through those little piles of snow that accumulate between lanes on the 401 and you will see what I mean.
  • I bought a 2004 IS 300 E-Shift a week ago.

    The website for Lexus list the VSC(Vehicle Stability Control)and LSD(Limited-Slip Differential) as options for 2004 E-Shift models but when I bought my IS 300 the car salesmen said
    they are not options.

    And when you build your model on the website they are not options to build your car.

    Can anyone help me out with this confusion?

    Thanks,
    Dan
  • dnoecker - I too was very frustrated in my attempts to get a car with VSC. Are you in California? I was trying to find out the real story when I was shopping a few months ago and got a different story from everyone with whom I spoke, which included many different dealer internet sales managers and the customer service rep at Lexus headquarters.

    No one knew what the "Build Your Own" option packaging on lexus.com was based upon. It didn't seem to have any basis in how the cars are actually equipped. The Lexus guy assured me that everything listed as an option under the options section of the site is in fact an available option. The dealers all told me that they just have to take what Lexus gives them and they don't send any VSC cars to California. But the Lexus guy told me that the dealers specify how they want the cars equipped. He said they can get the cars however they want them but they will tell you they can't so that they can move what they have on the lot. Most dealers didn't want to have anything to do with a special order car and the few who would told me it would take 3-4 months and they'd only do it if I was willing to pay full sticker.
    In short, getting a VSC car in California is difficult. The only way I could have done it would have been to special order it at a substantially higher price than a car on the lot. I finally gave up, though I did get one with LSD. In retrospect, I'm actually glad I don't have VSC. The damn TRAC is overly intrusive as it is but at least I can turn that off. I don't think you can turn VSC off.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I haven't done it but there is fuse you can pull that disables VSC and I think the ABS along with it.

    Both the VSC and the ABS are too sensitive when you start pushing the car really hard. The time I had my car on the track, I would be going above 100 into a heavy braking zone and the brake assist would bring in the ABS every time I got on the brakes messing up my turn in points. The computer logic would assume anyone going that fast and applying the brakes moderately hard must be in an emergency situation and needs full stopping power. Once I got back on the gas and got a little throttle induced oversteer the VSC would cut in and try and straighten out the car. Not really a great setup for turning a good lap at anywhere near the cars potential.

    Swapping out the sway bars on my car took out some of the push and seems to have raised the break away point for the rear end. The net is I don't provoke the VSC as much as I did before. I really notice the improvement in the rain. (BTW the GoodYear GS-D3 tires work well in the rain for a street tire). I would still like the VSC to let the rearend rotate a little more before it cuts in but now I have much better sense of where the threshold is for my setup.

    At one point in 02 the rumor was Lexus was trying to make the VSC mandatory with e-shift and LSD. So even though they were separate options you couldn't get them any other way, at least here in the Pacific NW.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    My '04 IS300 manual has LSD. VSC is not available with manual transmission.

    My wife's '03 IS300 automatic has LSD and VSC.

    All the automatics I've seen at my two nearest Lexus dealers have had VSC.

    In midwest, dealers appear to be ordering their cars with LSD and VSC. Also, all the ones on lots appear to have all-season tires.
  • fredmcmurray- I live in Houston,Tx.

    Maybe that's why I can't get VSC/LSD. Because the
    terrain down here is flat and it does not snow so
    the dealers think there is not a big demand.

    I'm going to ask a service adviser when I get my 30 day check up.

    Thanks for the info.

    Dan
  • I think they have dumped VSC in Canada too. My 2002 SportCross has it, but a friend's 2003 IS (auto) does not. It was part of the top package (which he has) yet it is not on his car. Neither are headlamp washers.

    I couldn't live without it. I agree the TCS is a little sensitive, in fact driving in snowy Toronto I worry that the TCS light may burn out (HAHA). VSC has saved me several times.
  • I am waiting for my ordered SportCross with both LSD and VSC. I also got the all leather package, wood switch plates, value package and black pearl emblems. I faxed about 26 dealers from CT to VA, listed the options I wanted and stated that I knew the car would need to be ordered. The LSD and VSC and the all leather is not always readily available. I only received about seven responses. Some dealers were close to sticker and wanted a large deposit but two did come through with reasonable offers less than 5% over invoice, which I consider a fair profit for them to make. SportCrosses are even more rare than the sedan. One dealer said they get one for every 15 Sedans. Anyway, it is a 3-4 month wait and the sales manager ordered the car with me sitting right there and all of these options were available. I ordered mine in October. Orders submitted by the 24th of October were scheduled for December production. The web site said to allow thirty days for production and 30 days for shipping which brings it to February. Some dealers are reluctant to order because they are afraid you might change your mind before the wait is over and they would be left with a car they would have difficulty selling. Hope this clears up some misconceptions. Waiting for an ordered car really sucks.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,091
    but the wait is well worth it! You get exactly what you want.

    I saw a Silver SportCross tonight. I like it!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • webby1webby1 Posts: 209
    2005 Lexus IS 300 Coupe,Early 2004
    Lexus is readying a coupe and possible convertible version of its sporty IS 300, with release dates probably sometime next year. and
    2005 Lexus IS 430 late 2004 ??
    4.3L V8 IS 430 may debut concurrently with the facelifted IS range. appears to be a beefed-up IS 300.It is also rumored that Lexus may replace the IS 300's in-line 6 with the ES 330's V6, making it the IS 330. The V6 version is said to be tuned to produce more than 230 hp.
    It appears that the IS 300 is designed strong enough for a V8 therefore I think it will be my next car this spring instead of the new TL
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Latest issue of AutoWeek (12/22/03) has a 2-page story with a couple of nice pictures of Rod Millen's IS430 concept. No confirmation of any production. No information on any price info. Quotes former head of Lexus as saying "If there isn't a strong business case, we probably won't do it." Article does point out that "Lexus will sell about 14,00 IS 300s this year, down from 20,000 in 2002." As they point out, Lexus has to do something to spark excitement and sales in IS. IS430 might make sense, even if it doesn't make money. But the safe money is likely not on it.
  • Do not go to Lexus of Richmond in Virginia.

    I am quite disappointed with everything they have done so far. The sales rep from Lexus of Richmond had the audacity to call me today and compalin to me about the survey I filled out for the Lexus Headquarter.

    I gave Lexus of Richmond an average rating on the survey. I said the Sales Reps did not know about the SportCross model and was ill informed about its product line. They were pushy in negotiation and etc. But I did enjoy other parts of the dealship. The overall rating was not great, just so-so.

    Lexus of Richmond dared to call and complain AFTER they have taken my money?? Very unprofessional. The sales reps actually said "I am going to give you a spanking!" to me. hmm...

    That's how Lexus of Richmond treat its paying customers.
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