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Lexus IS 300 SportCross



  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I'll nod to your response, J, because I know from experience that big companies by routine do weird things and fail to explain them to the field.

    OTOH, all of the above items turned out to be false! Not every dealership emphasizes the same strict adherence to published data, unfortunately.

    The problem with the SX is that there are rarely available examples to shop, so you kind of have to take someone's word for it, or do an awful lot of checking around!
  • JPhamJPham Posts: 148
    Yep, they don't make very many of them at all ... last time I check it was something like 20 going to 50+ dealers in the western US in the next month.
    We have a CPO'd one sitting in the lot gathering dust right now.
  • Thanks for all the enthusiasm and continued input. I'm still waiting for my car to be delivered from Florida to Virginia. It's been almost two weeks now, and I keep getting a new due date every other day. I've taken off work three times since last Friday, and still no car. The good news is that I sold my old car the day my new one was supposed to arrive. When it didn't, the dealership offered to pick up the tab on a rental. When it didn't arrive on the second due date, they continued to pick up the tab. They also offered to have it delivered on a flatbed truck to my front door. I had to turn that one down because I would have had to fill out the loan papers before seeing the car, which I feel at this point, is a fragment of someone's imagination. Wish me luck!
  • saz1861saz1861 Posts: 26
    I went to a Lexus dealership in PA two weeks ago and was told that the Sportcross was a special edition, the salesperson had not seen one in a year and that they are not made anymore. It is nice to know they are available. Is it difficult to get a dealership to order one? How is the handling in bad weather with the all season tires? Is it significantly better to change to snow tires each winter?
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I wanted the best handling in summer and winter so I got a set of winter tires and wheels. Well worth the money. I have found all season tires to be a compromise for all seasons. I prefer the better braking and overall stick provided by the summer tires. Winter tires also preform much better than allseason tires in snow and ice.
  • saz - According to, the Sportcross is continuing for the 2004 model year. Try to find a dealer that will order you one. Many of the dealers I talked to didn't like ordering cars but some were more receptive to the idea.
  • Thanks for the responses. I called Lexus Customer Service and asked them for an approximate time frame for ordering a vehicle, 3 months, so I am going to go look in a few weeks and see what they have on the lot or order one then.
    J. Mess, you said you also have another set of wheels with your snow tires, is there a reason? What brands of tire do you use winter and summer? I'm trying to factor all information into the price?
    Can anyone tell me the measurements of the cargo area with the seats up; width, length and height. My wife uses a wheelchair and I would like to figure out if it can fit folded and standing up without putting the seats down. It obviously won't fit lying down.
    I'm also going to try and drive one of these wagons if I can find one. I drove the IS sedan and am basing my desire to own a Sportcross on that test drive. If anyone can offer opinions on the differences, please do. Thanks to those who have/will respond.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    The "summer" performance tires that you can get on the SportCross are really bad in snow and ice. I knew this when I bought the car and always run snow tires on my cars anyway. So I have some 16" LM22 Bridgestone Blizzaks on some aftermarket alloy wheels. I find having the tires mounted on spare wheels make it easy to swap tires and wheels as the weather changes. I don't like to run snow tires if there isn't any chance of snow or ice. So I change tires accordingly.

    I think the chair will have to be folded and you should really test it out before you buy a car to see if it will fit. The trunk area in the sportcross with the sliding cover closed is actually slightly smaller than the trunk in the sedan but minus the hinges. The folding rear seats are split about 1/3 on driver side and 2/3rd on passenger side.

    I have a friend who has a very light weight chair that he sticks in the back seat of his M3 coupe. He removes one wheel, then folds it up. Seems to work really well for him.
  • Hello again. I finally picked up my SportCross Saturday before last! The dealership had just pulled it up out front, all waxed and shiny. I had to drive from Richmond to Alexandria (about 100 miles), but it was worth the trip and the wait. I've always had to buy whatever was on the lot, so it was nice to be able to get exactly the color and options that I wanted. I even got the graphite polished alloys for free. They were supposed to swap them out with another car they had on the lot, but I'm pretty sure they sold it before mine arrived.

    I think this is one of the best looking cars on the road, hands down. I get plenty of curious looks and I have yet to see another one on the road. There is one in our parking garage at work, and that's one of the reasons I bought one. I kept seeing it everyday and the obsession took over.

    Saz, I'm not sure where you're located (climate), but the all-season tires work pretty well for me. I did test drive a 2002 with summer tires, and it seemed to have a little more grip, but I don't drive like a maniac, so it's a good compromise for me. I have yet to try them in snow, obviously, but if it's deeper than my low-rider clearance, I'll just stay home all day and build a fire and drink some Scotch.

    As for you getting a new one, I was ready to order one myself. Then they had their end-of-model-year sale with 2.9 financing. So I e-mailed every dealer between Baltimore and Raleigh (about nine dealerships) and found one who was willing to do a search for me. I paid a transport fee (I won't say how much, but it was worth it) and the car arrived in about two weeks. Be persistent with your closest dealer, though. My local dealer didn't contact me until after I had paid the transport fee to the other dealer. I told them that they missed out on a very easy sale.

    Good luck getting yours. If you need to get a better judgement on the cargo area, see if you can find a used one ( near enough for you to go look at. I drove 100 miles to test drive a used one and measure the cargo area. I even took suitcases with me to make sure they fit. The guys were pretty pissed when I wouldn't deal with them, but it's always fun to harass used car dealers, especially really bad ones.

    I'll keep reading these posts, in case I can help you out in any way.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Congratulations on finally taking delivery! We appreciate hearing the details... and look forward to hearing more about your ownership experience. Happy motoring! ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • It's me again. Still in the planning stages for the Lexus. When I went on tire rack they seemed to offer the snow tires for this vehicle in 16" so I guess I would need to buy a set of rims also if I get the 17" summer tires. I live in the Philly area and snow and ice is a problem for about 3 months a year. Any comments on performance and snows vs. all season appreciated. Are there any performance tires that people use on the Sportcross that have a bit more tread wear life than the stock 17" tires? I am looking for the Sportcross to test drive. Nearest used car is about 85 miles away. I am waiting a bit to get dealers quotes because I figure negotiating room this soon into a model year is difficult. Has anyone ordered one from a dealer? What was the wait and dealer experience? How was the pricing? I would be willing to come with cash in hand if that is what it takes. Any other considerations someone may have concerning purchasing a new Sportcross would be appreciated.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I went with 16" for my snows. The narrower the tire the better in snow and ice.

    There are a lot of choices for tires. Almost all of them will last longer than the OEM Bridgestone RE040s. I didn't wait for my stock tires to wear out. I have already replaced them with GoodYear F1s on some different wheels. So now I have 3 sets of wheels and tires for my car. It seems like I am never happy unless I have 3 sets.

    I think one the key price drivers for the 03s was the $1000 factory to dealer incentive. With the 04s that doesn't exist yet. You should still be able to get real close to invoice even if you order the car.
  • You have to have snows for the SC. I live in Toronto and worked some 16" wheels and tires into the deal. Its absolutely mandatory in the NE. Even with TRAC, VSC, LSD and snows its still a wee bit scary every now and again.

    Other than that love the car. I just realized that my alignment is off and both my fronts are pooched. How long do you guys figure it would take to wear the inside treads right down (flat). I am thinking that it should have been noticed in my last service in August (2000kms ago). I may go after the dealership on it.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    The dealer techs don't generally measure tire tread depth with a depth gauge. They just eyeball the tires. If they don't look at the inside edges carefully they won't notice they are wearing out faster than the rest of the tires.

    If your car was grossly out of alignment you could eat the tires up in 2000 KM but you should notice something has changed in the way the car drives. Most people would figure you hit something. The service folks will review your service records to see what the techs have noted for tire wear. I would ask for the specific tread depth measurements on the inside, middle, outside of the tires. The point being if they don't measure how do they know. Most of them couldn't tell you what the tread depth even is for a new tire so how can they say a tire has 70% of the tread left?

    The more KMs you have on the car the harder it will be to get them to replace them. My car had 6,000 miles when I first discovered the wear problem.

    As a last resort, if the inside edge has some rubber left, you could have the tires remounted so the inside edge is now the outside.
  • I just spoke with a Lexus customer service rep today. Basically, I whined about there being no 2004 SportXes to test drive. (I'm planning to test a 2002 tomorrow). He said:
    1. Dealer allocations are low. In the entire southeast, only three are allotted.
    2. I'll have to order one, but may not get it. They have to have enough orders to justify production.
    3. No changes for 2004.
    4. I asked how it made sense for the company to offer a car that they apparently have no intention of marketing, building or selling. "It's just a special car, ma'am."
    5. He said to "work with my dealer" to get a car. I mentioned that I'd already spoken with four of them, and they seemed completely unconcerned with selling me a car. He said I had to sound serious. (I was.)

    Business must be great for Lexus that they can basically blow off potential customers. I noticed some of the same complaints about Lexus dealers on this board. I know they're a luxury dealer, but why do I have to beg them to sell me a car?

    Can anyone suggest a dealer in the Atlanta area who will actually talk to me? My husband wants an SUV (which we don't need and I don't want), and the SportsX with its cargo space may make him happy. Also can anyone who owns one of these fabled vehicles give me an idea of what it's like?

    Thanks ya'll.
  • I live in the North Eastern region of the States. I had to drive 76 miles to go to the closest lexus dealership.

    After reading reviews and message boards about the SportCross, I decided that this is the car I want.

    I have test drove a BMW 325i wagon and VW Passat Wagon. I have had two BMWs, 325is and 325i, so i was really close in purchasing the BMW wagon. Although BMW makes great performance machines, they are too expensive to maintain. VW seems to have yet to figure out how to keep cars on road instead of in the repair shops.

    So I went to the lexus dealship...

    When I got to the dealership, it was as predicted from reading this board how the sales rep would respond to the request of a SportsCross. First the sales rep. said, "SportsCross didn't do well in 2003 so they discontinued it." I was shocked to hear that since we all know a 2004 model coming out. I figure the sales rep. would know this much.

    Anyway, I told her that there'll a 2004 coming out. She had to go talk to the sales manager to find out the truth. Then she came back with statistics showing how many are produced for the North Eastern Region (meaning from Virginia to Maine) for both IS300 and IS300 SportCross.

    Well, only 8 (eight) are being allocated to the North Eastern Region!!!! I think 2 black, 4 silvers, and 2 of another color I don't remember.

    She says I would have to order one because the dealership won't get it.

    Since I could not test drive SportsCross, I decided to test drive the IS300 Sedan that matches as closely as possible to the SportCross. I loved the way the Sedan drove with the E-shift. Interior is awesome! From the reviews, many have said that the SportsCross performs even better than the Sedans at cornering due to better weight distribution.

    After the test drive, I knew that the SportsCross is the wagon that I wanted.

    I was able to put a $1000 deposit down for a black 2004 SportCross. BUT I will have to wait 2-3 months before the car arrives!

    Although I wish that Lexus would do a better job in marketing and keeping dealerships supplied with the SportsCross, I am sort of glad they have done a bad job. This makes the car even more special since I have never even seen one on the road. I know it's crazy of me to order a car that I have never seen or drive, but I think it will be worth losing the $1000 non-refundable deposit to have the chance to get the best wagon out there. Hey, as long as it drives like the IS300 or better, I will be very happy! and it's a wagon?? very crazy.

    Anyway, for those of you interested in the SportCross, I'd say that you will have to just test drive the Sedan version. Then take the chance of putting down the deposit and order one. Because you just don't know when Lexus will really discontinue this model as all Lexus sales reps. claims all the time.

    Yeah, it's weird that I was the pusher and the sales rep. was the reluctant one. But I did still get the SportsCross at a decent price of $31,500. I really wanted to cut it down to $30,000, but I wanted it, wanted it badly! hehe.

    Anyway, I hope to get the car soon.

    I will post another message with my full review for the new 2004 model. They added memory power driver seat and converted the nav. tray on the dash into cargo for those units that don't have the nav. system installed.
  • sorry that i keep on saying "SportsCross" instead of the right way "SportCross" in my previous post. for some reason, I keep on wanting to add a "S" behind "Sport". hehe.
  • to "hotinhere"....

    don't trust the sales rep. with spec. and feature information about the sportcross. they really don't know what they are talking about.

    according to the press release on the lexus site on september 1, 2003 for the IS300, they did add some new features of the 2004 sportcross model. these features are also listed on the spec/feature sheet my dealership gave me for the 2004 Sportcross I ordered.

    changes for 2004...
    A maintenance indicator light has been added for 2004.

    New smoked gray surrounds for the headlights, foglights and taillights give IS 300 models a distinctive design highlight for 2004.

    a new two-position memory for the driver's seat to enhance convenience. A security upgrade for 2004 is the new speed-sensitive and shift-linked automatic door lock/unlock feature.
  • For models not equipped with the navigation system, the 2004 IS 300 models feature a new storage compartment with spring-loaded retractable lid.
  • For 2004, the IS 300 sedans offer an optional new-design 17-inch 11-spoke aluminum alloy wheel with a choice of summer or all-season 215/45R17 tires. The IS SportCross offers the optional new-design 17-inch 11-spoke aluminum alloy wheel with 215/45R17 front and 225/45R17 rear summer tires. In addition, a 16-inch all-season tire package is available on the SportCross model.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    and thanks for your very informative notes! We look forward to hearing about all your delivery experience. Happy motoring! ;-)

    Host of Hatchbacks & Wagons
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I would agree if you drive the sedan e-shift you won't feel much difference in the SportCross. The Summer tires are wider in the rear on the SportCross so you have a little more traction in the rear when pushing it hard. Not something most people would notice in day to day driving.

    When the 02s didn't sell well the dealers yelled at Lexus who then pulled the plug on the supply. A lot of dealers had 5 or 6 sitting on the lots. When 03 rolled around there were still some left over 02s so the dealers didn't want more. About the middle of 03 people started figuring out what the cars were and started asking for them. The standard dealer response was the cars were discontinued.

    What gets me is there really aren't that many car models that Lexus sells. So how could any salesrep not know about the 03 or 04 SportCross. It doesn't speak very well for a dealer or Lexus for one of their representative to be so uninformed about the products they sell. You have to be pretty stupid not to have a basic understanding of the product line you sell, or you have to be a good liar to convince customers that Lexus doesn't make the SportCross any more.

    I enjoy how rare the car is. I removed the IS300 badge from the back but left the Lexus emblem on the center of the hatch. People stop and look at the car on a daily basis and scratch their heads trying to figure out what it is.
  • jmess...

    first i want to thank you for posting all these messages on the board. your posts played a major role in my decision making process.

    i am going to remove the IS300 badge as well when i get the car. that's a great idea.

    yeah, it was quite disappointing to hear the misinformed sales rep telling me that they are not making the SportCross anymore. The funny thing is that the Brochure behind the sales rep for the IS300 has pictures and text about the SportCross for 2004.

    The sales reps for lexus certainly need to at least flip through their own brochures and know their own products.

    Anyway, I am trying not to count down the days till I can pick up my car.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    cool, you are going to love your car. My car will be two years old in November and I still enjoy it.

    To take off the IS300 badges just use good quality dental floss and saw through the glue; it is really easy. If it is cold that day, use a hairdryer to warm the glue up.
  • yeah, i was going to ask the dealership to take the badges "IS300" and "Lexus" off. leaving the emblem on. damn, if it's that easy, i will do it myself. will there be any glue residues left from the badges?

    man, i wish i could get the car sooner. the bmw dealship called me and wants to buy my car. they said someone wants to buy my model year. since i went in to check out the bimmer wagon, they knew i had one. they still want my car even though i am buying the lexus instead!

    i brought it in to let them check it out. they are offering me a price higher than i can get trading it in or selling it on my own. the reason is that they have all my service records. my odometer got reset when it broke and replaced by a new one. So that makes the car harder to sell on my own. The BMW dealership's offer is right in between the trade-in value and the private party value according to kelly's blue book.

    BUT they want it within a week while the lexus i ordered won't be in for another couple of months. i am trying to work out an alternative transportation since i only own one car. i am hoping a friend of mine can lend me a car for a couple of months.

    anyway, i am praying that lexus will make my car fast so that i won't have to trouble my friend too much. i just wish the bmw dealer didn't want it this fast. i really hate to pass up the opportunity b/c i am sure i won't get another great offer for my bmw like this again.

    what would you guys do in this situation? you think the lexus dealership will grant me a loaner?
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    You can clean the remaining glue off with car wax. Most of it will come off with some gentle scraping with you fingernail.

    I think most dealers would have a hard time lending somebody a car for a couple of months. Renting a cheap car or buying a junker that will run for a couple of months are some options. It would pretty much be a trade off between the extra bucks the BMW dealer will give you for the car now vs what it would cost you to have alternative wheels until your SportCross gets here.
  • if i can swing borrowing a car from a friend, i would sell my bmw in a heart beat. i got exactly one week to find a car to borrow. if i were to rent or buy a junker, i think i will just have to keep my bmw junker. oh well. i wish timing was better.

    thanks jmess for all the help and insight.
  • saz1861saz1861 Posts: 26
    Dardenkoa, Where abouts in the NE do you live? I'm in Philly and there are a few dealers close by. Anyway, I understand what you said regarding the test drive. However, I found a used 2002 that is about 60 miles away that I'm going to try to drive this weekend. I really want to check the storage capacity. I drove the Sedan also and was going to try to order one based on that alone and probably will if the car I found is gone. Would you mind listing what options you have for the $31,500 price. The options on the Lexus website are packaged differently than those on Edmunds. Maybe you could also shed some light on that subject. Thanks.
  • I used the car builder on to build my car. this is what i got:

    Base MSRP* $30,805.00
    Delivery, Processing & Handling Fee† $545.00
    Available Packages $1,545.00
      • Leather/Alcantara Trim Value Package with Additional Options
    - Leather/Alcantara Trim Value Package
    - Heated Front Seats
    Accessory Options $194.00
      • Heated Front Seats Included
      • Leather/Alcantara Trim Value Package Included
      • Preferred Accessory Package (includes Cargo Mat, Cargo Net and Wheel Locks) $194.00
    Total MSRP** $33,089.00

    The Leather/Alcantara Trim Value Package with Additional Options includes Leather/Alcantara Trim with 8-way Power Adjustable Driver and Passenger Seats, Homelink System, One-touch Open/Close Moonroof, and Heated Front Seats.

    The Preferred Accessory Package includes Cargo Mat, Cargo Net and Wheel Locks.

    My dealership did not tell me that I got the Preferred Accessory Package. But I know I have Cargo Mat, Cargo Net, and Wheel Locks according to my order form.

    I am in Virginia. I ordered the car from the Richmond Lexus dealership.

    Although I have never seen a Sportcross, the size is similar to the BMW wagon. However, BMW site says the 3-series wagon has cargo volume of 25.7 cubit feet. while the Sportcross' cargo volume is a bit smaller at 21.8 cubic feet.

    I have seen the BMW wagon's cargo area which is not that big. BUT, for me, I was looking for a versatile vehicle rather than cargo space. If you can't find the used Sportcross, check out the BMW wagon 3 series' cargo area.

    VW Passat Wagon's cargo area on the other hand is huge in comparison to BMW. the VW is more of a station wagon than what i'd like to call a "4 door coupe with a hatch".

    BMW stands really close to the Lexus. BUT i chose Lexus over BMW b/c of price and styling. BMW wagons have been looking the same for a long time now.

    BMW does not come with as many standard features as the Lexus. when i priced the bmw to match the lexus, BMW was had a MRSP of $36,000 + for a 2003 model.
  • We don't have that many lexus dealerships in Virginia. There are only 3: Arlington, Norfolk/Va. Beach area, and Richmond. I don't like the traffic in Northern Virginia. It is always a pain driving up there. Norfolk/Va. Beach is too far for me to drive. I was left with Richmond as my only real choice.

    If you have lots of choices, i'd definitely suggest comparison shopping to get the best deal. however, lexus is only producing a small number of sportcross 2004 models for the 4th quarter. if you have your heart set on one, you should move fast. b/c according to my dealership, they are only allocating 8 of these beauties for the 4th quarter in the North Eastern Region (Virginia up to Maine).
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