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Acura TL vs Lexus IS 250 vs Acura TSX

richey02hgrichey02hg Posts: 69
edited September 2014 in Acura
alright I will basically break it down by how I see it. I am just finishing college and am pretty much planning to buy one of these 3 in the next few months. I wanna stay as close to 30k as possible (or even go lower than 30 k) Reliability is huge to me considering I have a chevy now and have spent way to much on repairs and maintenance(hence, why I do not consider a BMW 325 an option)

heres my pros and cons of each, let me know if these are correct or if you agreee/disagree. I am sure there are other pros and cons, but thse are the things that stand out most to me

Acura TL
Pros - most roomy
cons - the most expensive if the IS was closer to its invoice

Lexus IS
Pros - I really love the look and interior of it
Cons - small back seat, last time I went to a fleet dealer(in april), he said this costs more than the acura TL because of the high demand of it

Acura - TSX
Pros = under 30k but still a luxurious ride
Cons - from what I read there will be totally redesigned 2008 model

right now Im leaning towards the IS if its come down to closer around 30k from what I was told its about 33-34 for the most basic packages, and I can get the TL around 32-33. I would go with the TSX right now no matter what do the obvious value, but I do not like the idea of me buying a car and a new version coming out later.

If this helps in giving me advice, im 22, 6 ft tall and average build. And also, right now I drive a stick shift 98 chevy s-10. So honestly, the test drive wont mean too much to me because all thse cars will blow it out the water. My main goal is to get an entry luxury level sedan from Toyota or Honda and this is what I narrowed my search down to. Thanks, Richey


  • deanvitdeanvit Posts: 23
    I recently purchased an IS 250 after owning an Acura CL for the past seven years. I have had the opportunity to drive the TL and TSX on numerous occassions over the years as loaners from the dealership when my car was in service for routine check-ups. Honestly, you simply cannot go wrong with any of the three. The main reasons I went with the IS was that for me (subjectively) I liked the interior and exterior looks plus I wanted a change from what I drove in the past.

    As far as price goes, the IS was recently redesigned and I do not see dealerships willing to sell close to invoice. It may depend upon your location. Where I live, there is only one Lexus dealership in a city with high demand. So the dealer was not willing to go far below sticker. From what I hear TL's are often going closer to invoice. I'm not sure about the TSX as I believe Acura produces them in low volume so there is a smaller supply to fill the demand.

    I'm 6 ft myself and have no problems with front leg room in any of the three. However, for me there is little spare headroom in the IS. The interiors of the Acura's certainly feels more spacious than the IS in every interior aspect except leg room.

    Though it had nothing to do with my purchasing choice as I'm older and married. I'm assuming your not as you are a recent grad, but the dates could look more favorably upon the IS. Good luck in your search. As each one are great in their own ways it is a difficult choice.
  • I was in pretty much the same boat as you, graduating grad school and trying to find a nice reliable car beneath 30k. I eventually went with the TSX, mainly because it is by far the best value of the bunch. After you add up all the options on a IS250 it comes out to quite a bit more than TSX. And there wasn't enough of a difference for me personally in the TL to justify paying the extra money for it.

    The car is great to drive and I love all the features and looks. And I've read rave reviews of the manual, but I drive an auto so can't say for myself how it is. And while a new one comes out in a year and a half, you don't want to get stuck waiting forever for the next big thing because by then another big thing will be happening if you wait yet another year, and you'd never end up buying a car! :)

    You should be able to get the TSX close to invoice. Looking at other posts it's going for about ~$500 over invoice at around $28,300 for a nav. I got mine for $150 over plus dealers fees. Depends on the dealership though, some quoted me online $1500 more!
  • doggiebusdoggiebus Posts: 11
    The TL isn't sporty enough for me, to me it looks like a Chevy Mailbu. I loved the inside very much and the stereo sounds great. The TSX you get A LOT for the money. I could have gotten one with navigation out the door for $30,000. But something wasn't right. I always went back to the IS 250. The fact that the TSX is going to change in 2008 bothers me a lot. Two years after I bought my last car they totally revamped the new model. So you knew my car was already dated driving down the road. That's why I am passing on the TSX, even though I am giving up a lot of options (heated seats, ventilated seats, navigation, blue tooth, satellite, folding rear seats, wood trim) to get into a base IS 250. The IS 250 is sporty inside and out. Some dealers have started to deal on these cars, you just have to check around.
  • nrossnross Posts: 13
    I recently purchased a Lexus IS 250 AWD after leasing an Acura CL type-S and here is my take on your three choices. I've owned 9 Acuras and 4 Lexi. The TL is by far the fastest of the three. It is almost too fast, getting you into trouble before you realize it. The transmission is not smooth and the suspension transmit every road imperfection through the hard seat. It will put a grin on your face at first, but gives you a headache by the end of the day. The TSX is very fun to drive but is slow and needs to be reved up to get it going. The automatic is sluggish, the manual is much more fun. The steering is terrific and the car is nicely made. I would get it over the TL, saving money on the car and on the insurance. The IS is more refined than the Acuras. The trans is very smooth, and the car is very quiet and refined. Not much of a growl from the engine compartment. I'm 6'2" and have no trouble with room in the front. I don't plan to sit in the back, so its not a coincern for me. The interior materials are far superior in the Lexus and it is justy as fun to drive as the TSX. I do miss the accereration of the CL, but the IS adequate, being neither slow nor fast. Hope this helps your decision, you can't go wrong with any of those choices.
  • richey02hgrichey02hg Posts: 69
    thanks for all the replies...

    i am definetly leaning towards the IS, however I can not justify to myself why I would get it if the TL is cheaper. Is this still true or is the Lexus closer to 30K yet?

    also, without a doubt I would go with the TSX if it wouldnt be outdated in a year.

    Also, maybe you can guys can help me with a question. I noticed on the IS and TL they both require premium fuel however on the acura site is says the TSX is optional for premium fuel. If thats the case, does that mean you could go with unleaded on the TSX (thus saving another 4-5 over the long run on gas savings. WIll the TSX handle just as well whichever fuel you use?

    and also, I live in southern california (orange county) so with all the crappy traffic.. MPG definetly weighs in a little, which is another point for the IS over the two acuras
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    You've got to be kidding me. The TL looks
    like a Chevy Malibu to you? Boy, I sure
    don't see any resemblance in these two cars!
    I almost fell off my chair when I saw that
    comparison. The Chevy Malibu wishes it
    looked like the TL. Come on! I don't
    really think anything out there looks like
    the TL, not even the Maxima, which I also
    happen to like. The IS is nice, but it's
    just too small for me, no rear seat space.
    That would most probably be a deal-killer
    for me.
  • dr_gdr_g Posts: 21
    I gotta agree with above post - if you think the TL looks like a Malibu you need some corrective lenses :confuse:

    I bought my TL about 30 days ago. I was initially in the market for an Accord or TSX. Then I said I would spoil myself so I started looking at the G35 and the IS350. One of my close friends bought a TSX last year and she absolutely loves the car, of course she doesn't push the car hard. I was coming off of a Contour SVT that could run circles around any car under $30K so I wanted some power.

    The TSX would have been my choice if it came as a lighter coupe version. The 200 HP engine is a little anemic for my needs.

    The IS 250 is just not worth getting when you consider for $4k more you can get the beast that is the IS350. Obviously if you don't want power then the 250 is the same car with a few performance hits.

    If you really like the styling on the IS250 I say just go with that. Cars, like homes, have a lot of emotional pull and aren't always logical decisions.

    Now having said that, the reason I didn't get a IS350 was it was ridiculously priced. Just like the OP I live in SoCal (Cerritos). Dealers probably won't go budge from retail (one dealer wouldn't budge from $200 above MSRP). Problem is the car just when through a upgrade cycle and it's in demand. Just like gas - supply demand dictates. After researching ownership costs on the IS, I decided it was way too expensive. Those staggered tires on the 350 run almost $300 a wheel and barely last 15K, and the brakes don't last that long either. Plus the vehicle stability in the IS took the fun out of the car (you probably couldn't get crazy in a 250 but a 350 was made for running Angeles Forest or Malibu on weekends ;) )

    So ultimately I choose the TL which is clearly the best bang for the buck (TSX owners might dispute this). I was able to go well below invoice and in SoCal some people have been able to get $31500 with the protection package (not including TTL).

    When I first got the TL I was upset. My Contour SVT was a hoot to drive and it actually rode pretty smooth. The TL seemed firm and harsh just driving it home. I figured I spent $35K on a luxury brand I wanted to drop my kid image and be more adult - thereby avoiding the melted tires and gas guzzling rabbit starts. After reading up at I realized the TL is probably the sportiest of the 3 choices you have listed. Yes it is a big beast of a car (compared to my little SVT), but it hauls.

    If you're looking for economy get the TSX.
    If you're looking for best bang for the buck and a great sports sedan get the TL.
    If you're in love with the IS interior just drop the $ and get the IS already.

    When Acura redoes the TSX in '08 and TL in '09 the values of the old models will of course drop a little more, but right not since they're more aged they are much better values.

    If I'm sick of my TL in 2 years I could always sell it and only be down about $6k - not bad for having fun every morning.

    Now if I could just find a way to clear out the 91 & 605 freeways :P
  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    Perhaps, you should take bus...
    Save your money to build your networth first.
    Think about fancy cars later in your life.

    PS:You won't get noticed or followed if you drive either TL or TSX on 91 or 605 freeways.
  • meateatermeateater Posts: 123
    Perhaps, you should take bus...
    Save your money to build your networth first.
    Think about fancy cars later in your life.

    Sage advice. Especially when one has to consider the added cost of premium fuel into the buying decision. That confirms you can't afford these cars!

    What did you learn, or not learn, in college?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    the personal comments, folks. We're here to compare these three vehicles, not make snide remarks to other posters. Thanks.
  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    Thanks, Host.

    I don't drive either TL or TSX.

    Things learned from college.
    1. 1+1=3
    2. 80/20
    3. Before 50, you exchange life with money
    After 50, you exchange money with life.

    Hope these help
  • darballman1darballman1 Posts: 55
    $ 200. ABOVE MSRP ? Where did you shop ? I have THREE dealers quoting me at least $ 2400. UNDER MSRP. (I live in Orange County, CA.) That brings the IS right in line with the TL. I am still grappling with my decision between the two. I currently own a 97 TL and just love it. BTW, I have a quote for a TL w/o NAV, including protection pkg. for $ 29700. + tl.
  • richey02hgrichey02hg Posts: 69
    darballman, those are sweet deals. so that quote for the IS is 29,700 too? what packages are included on the IS?
    which dealers are u going to in OC? im in the irvine area so luckily dont have to deal with the 91 :)

    and i dont understand someones comment up there, do u want someone to follow your car? i didnt get that one

    and the reason asked about the premium fuel thing (which no one has still answered) was because that makes the TSX like 8k cheaper than the IS overall, although Im guessing its between the TL and the IS since the TSX will be outdated in a year

  • nave13nave13 Posts: 6
    if under 30K. look to an 04 or 05 TL.
    new TSX 06...way hot. blue tooth, xm...way sweet. even if they redesign the tsx. the body style is still pretty sweet. great leg room in back and probably just as many toys as the TL.
  • meateatermeateater Posts: 123
    the premium fuel thing

    Yes - the TL requires premium fuel (or at least 91 octane - if you can find it - premium on the east coast is 93 octane)but so does any performance car with a hitech V6. But you'll see better mileage from the premium fuel, and better performance. I get 32 mpg highway - higher than what the sticker said! - and I'll push it over 90 now and then. So for the extra $20 a month for premium fuel I'd say its a non-issue really. Plus gas stations never run out of it during those crunch times.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,112
    Sunoco offers four grades, including the (as you mention) east coast rare 91 octane. The station I go to most consistently prices their 93 below the Sunoco 91 a mile down the road. But not tonight! I saved .02/gallon at Sunoco! Was a time when that 30 cent savings would have bought something. Like a gallon of gas!!! I'm old. :cry:

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    IS also require 91 or higher fuel. I fuel mine up at Sam's club. For IS, I can go at least 400 miles per tank(75% freeway). The engine/tranny is silk smooth. For fun, I paddle shifted on my way home.
  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    Hi richey02hg:
    I have people drove beside me at stop lights to check-out my IS and tail-gated me on the road.
    I even have co-worker bought his wife from home to check-out my IS. The new IS is styled by Toyota R&D center who also did the latest SC430.
    To me, this car is better styled than TL or TSX.
    I was decideing between G35 coupe and IS. I went for IS due to it got four doors(kids friendly)
  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    Toyota "French" R&D center. Sorry, missed "French" keyword.
  • from_flfrom_fl Posts: 113
    I will tade my IS with next generation TL or TSX if they are styled by Pininfarina... :D
  • darballman1darballman1 Posts: 55
    Richey02, here are some of the quotes I received; all included the premium + pkg.(perforated leather seats, heated &ventilated front seats, cargo net, trunk mat, and wheel locks. w/18" wheels.

    Westminister Lexus: $ 31,687.
    Longo Lexus: $ 31, 623.
    Glendale Lexus: $ 31,500.

    Hope that helps. If you wait until the summer (end of), I have been told "off the record" that the IS line will be even closer to invoice.
  • richey02hgrichey02hg Posts: 69
    thanks for letting me know, if you are still searching in a few months I"ll let you know what tustin lexus and mission viejo lexus quote

    i still cant believe the thing you said earlier, you got a TL quote for under 30 k? the invoice on kbb is 31k about. Was it an older TL?

    also, just curious about the IS, do you basically have to pick one of the packages? because on the website it seems like you either get the premium package or the navigation system? is the KBB invoice price based on the IS without any packages or with the premium package? because it seems required on the IS website
  • darballman1darballman1 Posts: 55

    No, a brand new TL. But, who knows, once one get in the dealership. One of the dealerships who quoted me that price was South Bay Acura, which has not had some good reports from other Acura buyers. (Bait and switch, according to be fair, I haven't dealt w/them)

    All I could find, w/the IS250, if I wanted just the basic , was at least the premium pkg. w/o NAV. Everyone quoted me an IS w/premium....18" wheels, and so on. The KBB price, I think is w/o the prem. pkg.
  • dr_gdr_g Posts: 21
    I shopped 3 Lexus dealers including Cerritos Lexus. Neither dealership was willing to move from their price even when I told them I was consider a G35 or a TL. In comparison Infiniti and Acura dealerships were willing to play ball to make a sale. Maybe last month's sales number might have changed the Lexus' dealership's attitude. I shopped dealers in Riverside, OC, and LA county and regionality didn't seem to help.

    With regards to needing premium fuel, both the IS and TL could run on lower grades, if it were an emergency, but I wouldn't make it a habit. The cars are designed for having a higher compression ratio and running a lower octane under higher revs could cause chamber damage. If regular gas was $0.90 then I could see where premium gas would be an issue since assuming it's $0.20 more that would about at least 15% more in price. With gas in SoCal running over $3.50 the extra for premium is a diminished issue in my eyes. Better driving habits and proper car maintenance would play a better role in fuel costs (nice to know I have my TPMS on my TL :) )

    Fl, I'm glad to hear you're happy with your IS. My neighbor down the street has a new IS 350 which I was checking out daily before buying my TL. When I sat in the IS and those gauges ran forward and back (when turning on) I was like "wow". I'm not sure if your comment about not getting followed on the 91/605 was directed towards myself or the OP. I've never been one to have a need to have people stare at me - my whole purpose in keeping my car looking mundane even when it's modded to the hilt. Having done police ride alongs when I was a kid I prefer not to attract attention. That being said, it's not keeping the other docs from checking out my car parked in the doctors lot - a nice feeling when some of them are driving $200K+ vehicles :D
  • superspysuperspy Posts: 1
    There are so many messages on here that I decided to reply to the source.
    I purchased a 2006 Acura TSX about a month ago and I love it. I wanted to make a correction, however. There was some confusion because the TL and IS 250 both take 91 octane fuel; the TSX does as well. I get about 25 miles a gallon. The car gives automatic readings of the fuel economy as you are driving and you can actually click on it to average it out. I love the voice activated, blue tooth enabled cell phone system, it is great. I thought about the TL and I just couldn't see spending that much more for a car with worse fuel economy considering the TSX offers so much.
    My very good friend owns a 2003 IS 300 and he is envious of my new car. He keeps trying to trade me but I tell him that I don't want his crappy Lexus. :D
  • tdgtdg Posts: 6
    All of your posts (well, most of your posts) have been very helpful so far. I currently drive the model year Durango ('98) - yeah, ouch. I'm tied of the SUV craze, even though I bought mine for work reasons (I was a surveyor needing 4WD). At any rate, I'm considering the Acura TSX and the IS 250. I'm not concerned with the 2008 design, or power really (If I wanted power, I'd keep my Durango). I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I'm leaning toward the TSX, but I must say, the IS 250 has great lines. Oh yeah, and I don't need navigation, seeing as how I used to make maps for a living. The bottom line is, which car would you be happier driving 4 years from now? Interested in your insight.
  • doggiebusdoggiebus Posts: 11
    I had the same issue (the TSX was the best bang for the buck) and I was getting out of an SUV. I usually keep my cars for six to seven years. I decided on the IS 250. I too don't need the Navigation, but it would be nice. After much research the IS just seemed to be a better match for me. Go on JD Power and do a comparision. The IS 250 comes out with an overall 5 stars and the TSX and TL come out with an overall 3 stars. There is a reason the Acuras didn't get 5 stars????
  • shackl4d23shackl4d23 Posts: 4
    Just some thoughts for you all:

    I work in the car business I can tell you what at IS 250 invoice is. I actually have one from a 250 and 350 in my bag at work. The 250 invoice is for about $27,900. No way will you get a dealer to sell to you for invoive unless you have a connection. I usually can buy for invoice but I am not sure in this case, with the new design. These cars are marked up significantly compared with a G35. I haven't had a chance to look at a TL or TSx invoice yet but will in a couple of months.

    I had thought I wanted a G35. Then I saw the IS. Wanted that for a month an now I just don't know. I test drove the IS, expecting to fall in love with it but didn't. I love the exterior and the seats are really comfortable but I was not impressed with the console and dash. I am 6'2 and the IS cabin felt almost claustrophobic to me. Beautiful but man it was small.

    Haven't driven the TL or TSX yet but starting to like those.

    One thing to keep in mind. Cars, no matter the manufacturer, are depreciating assets, you will lose money. I definitely want something along the line of BMW, Lexus, Acura but believe my money may be better sent getting a 2004 or 2005 TL, TX or GS300. I have a hard time settling on a car as I have been actively looking for 2 years. So I will probably get a used one to hold me over for another few years so that when I am choosing a car, I don't have to be to concerned with pricing myself out of car.

    In the car purchasing world, the smartest thing you can do is buy a used vehicle less than 1 year old. Most cases, you can get these with less than 10k in miles, several thougsand dollars less and the upfront depreciation is already gone. Best of luck.
  • ontopontop Posts: 279
    the smartest thing you can do is buy a used vehicle less than 1 year old

    Do you really believe that? You obviously can't even make up your mind about buying a car, so for you to throw out a blanket statement like that is taken with a grain of salt.

    Go to a car dealer and see what they want for a 1 year old car with less than 10K miles. They don't give em away like you say. I know. I tried. Or you try a private seller but there's no warranty and getting a used expensive car financed by your bank is a PITA with all the back and forth. Plus you NEVER know what the history of the car is (short of a carfax). Why did someone bolt on their car so soon?

    I don't know man. I say do your Edmunds homework, get your lowball suit on, spend a little time at a few dealers, and you'll get a brand new car at a great price. Better financing, better warranty, nice low odometer, no history mystery, and that new car smell! Who wants someone elses farts and hairs and smells in their expensive car? Not me. I'll buy new.
  • johnny420johnny420 Posts: 473
    Go on JD Power and do a comparision. The IS 250 comes out with an overall 5 stars and the TSX and TL come out with an overall 3 stars. There is a reason the Acuras didn't get 5 stars????

    Ah, yes, JD Power, the pentultimate automotive authority. By God, if JDP says one car is better than another, then it must be so!

    I really hope you didn't select your IS based soley on skewed JDP data. Tell me you chose it for the right reasons.
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