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Lexus IS 300



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    bigfur... The two nearest Lexus dealers to me have beautiful showrooms. Quiet and comfortable. Free coffee, soda pop, etc.

    Consumer Reports, JD Powers, etc. all give Lexus, overall, and IS300, in particular, high marks for reliability and ownership costs. IS300 has done very well in crash tests (NHTSA and IIHS).

    Stop by dealership. Take one for a thorough test drive! If you like it, negotiate hard. IS300 sales have been soft.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    for a used one for the price range we need. Soon as i get a chance ill go look at one. Wish i could read the salespersons mind when jump out of a truck with a work jacket on!
  • Anyone remember how much their 30K mile tune up cost them?

    On that note, since the is300 is so reliable, is it even worth my money to buy extended warranty from the Lexus dealer or at all? (I might be buying a 2001 Lexus from a private party)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    bigfur... Lexus dealers also sell used/certified pre-owned IS300s. Check 'em out.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kolya3... I've yet to see a 3rd party extended warranty (really a service contract) that was really worth it. Devil in the details. Deductibles, how they pay, how soon they'll pay, etc. Not to mention whether the company will even be around in a few years.

    I bought one for my '04 thru Lexus, but I use my IS300 for business and thus the cost was tax deductible. Kind of like insurance peace of mind. Rather pay up front now at time of purchase, and borrow the money thru Lexus financial at a low interest rate, then worry later or think about an expensive 3rd party one loaded with loopholes and exceptions. At least with Lexus' own I know (with some certainty) that they'll still be there in 7 years. And they'll honor their own warranty at all their dealers. No hassles.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,320
    The Lexus CPO warranty is the best out there.. 3 years from when you buy the car, up to 100,000 total vehicle miles.. no deductibles. The downside: Used IS300 prices at the dealer seem a little stiff.. The one time I looked at them, they seemed eager to bargain, though.



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kyfdx... Keep in mind that there are two different things.

    1. Lexus offers an extended warranty for new cars. Comes in different terms (e.g., years and mileage). While this is normally done at time of sale, you can delay the purchase of this. Many marques, like BMW, do NOT offer this on their new cars.

    2. Lexus offers a certified pre-owned (CPO) program for their used cars. Most marques off this, too.

    Both work a bit alike, but they are different.

    I have (1) for my '04 IS300. A bit pricey, but gives me peace of mind. I used to own a CPO BMW. CPO programs are a great way, really the best way, to buy a used car.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Was looking over Toyota and Lexus press releases on sales data. In November, 2003 , Lexus sold 23,105 vehicles. Only 10,657 (46%) were cars; 12,448 (54%) were SUVs. (ES330 was almost 54% of all cars and 25% of all vehicles sold.)

    Compared that to...

    December 2002: Lexus sold 24,845 vehicles: 13,409 (54%) cars and 11,436 SUVs (46%).

    April 2003: Lexus sold 21,277 vehicles: 10,233 (48%) cars and 11,044 (52%) SUVs.

    July 2003: Lexus sold 22,399 vehicles: 10,963 (49%) cars and 11,436 (51%) SUVs.

    August 2003: Lexus sold 26,410 vehicles: 12,371 (47%) cars and 14,039 (53%) SUVs.

    October 2003: Lexus sold 22,465 vehicles: 11,400 (51%) cars and 11,065 (49%) SUVs. (ES330 was 51% of all cars sold and 26% of total vehicles sold.)

    Notice how SUV sales have held up but, except for 10/03, cars sales have either fallen or are essentially flat.

    IS300 numbers are so poor that Lexus doesn't release data on it. They only release data in their press releases for vehicles that show a significant increase. Lexus' press releases had nothing on IS300 for sales in 12/02, 4/03, 7/03, 8/03, 10/03, and 11/03. These are all the recent press releases on the web site.

    Wonder if Toyota/Lexus is cutting production? Doesn't seem like they are doing any advertising or marketing to push the IS300. Bet their dealers are willing to deal to move '04s?!?

    In CY 2002, ES300 sales comprised 48% of all car sales and 31% of total sales.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    The RX & ES are what is essentially keeping them afloat!

    Luckily they were able to make the IS essentaily as a re-badge (of the altezza w/ the 3.0L I6 from the GS) so they didn't have to invest really in anything except a marketing campaign & some research. They make such a good profit from cars like the RX & ES (both on the camry platform) that they can afford to try things out like the IS300. Hopefully they see room for improvement in the car and that there still is a market for it (which there is).

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    nyccarguy... You wrote, "They make such a good profit from cars like the RX & ES (both on the Camry platform) that they can afford to try things out like the IS300. Hopefully they see room for improvement in the car and that there still is a market for it (which there is)."

    Completely concur. Too bad they aren't trying anything out on IS300. Where is AWD option for the snow belt? The IS200 for the street rodder and modifier crowd? Why no supercharger & 6-speed for the IS300 to better compete with the 330i or G35?

    All I see is the Millen V8 concept car, a one-off project. Looks like Toyota/Lexus could pull it off in production if they just wanted to. But they don't appear to want to.

    And a V6 in the next platform? That is a huge step backward.

    My fear is they are allowing the IS model to die a slow lingering death that will destroy it in the minds of the market. You only get one first impression. And one lasting impression for a new model. Lexus is blowing it with the IS. Heck, there is next to no advertising or marketing. And in each car test, Lexus always seems to send the wrong IS300 (e.g., ones that have all-season tires when the others have dedicated summer tires).

    Are they trying to kill off a wonderful car???
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Lexus should do better. Long-term costs should go down as Lexus needs to match BMW, MB, Audi, etc. with "free" scheduled maintenance. Pricing should continue to go down. Leather and sunroof should be standard.

    Happened to be looking thru some back issues of Road & Track, trying to find all their long-term test articles for their '01 IS300 automatic. They wrote long-term test articles in 10/00, 3/01, 7/01, 12/01, and the final one in 4/02.

    Their test covered 50,430 miles. Car averaged 21.6 mpg. Used 2,335 gallons of gas and 1 quart of oil. They calculated $6,453 in depreciation. Grand total of $1,000 in routine maintenance/sevice over these miles. Plus $586 for other replacements--which was a single set of new tires. They had no other repair costs. Their 50,000 mile service cost $350. Their total service cost thru first 40,756 miles was $690. The services after 23,350 miles up to 40,756 miles combined for $260. Their first 3 services (up to 20,350 miles) combined to cost $430. Their first service cost $59, which was the total cost of maintenance for the first 13,443 miles.

    Total costs over 50,430 miles was $15,650 which worked out to an average cost per mile of $.31 (less than their $.36 average since 3/96).

    Found the pricing information interesting. Their MY01 MSRP was $34,696. Their MY01 had a base price of $30,500 (incl. $495 destination). They added about every in option: $1,805 lthr/escaine luxury pkg, $1,000 sunroof, $400 chrome wheels, $390 LSD, $390 heated front seats, and $66 trunk mats.

    Compared that same car to MYs 2003 and 2004:

    MY2003: $33,454. $30,805 base automatic + $545 dest + $2,104 options.

    MY2004: $33,454. $30,805 base automatic + $545 dest + $2104 options.

    In both years, the luxury pkg/sunroof are now a ton cheaper. Plus in MY02 they added standard front side curtain airbags and optional VSC (which R&T's car did NOT have).

    MY04 adds automatic door locks, memory seats, and maintenance interval indicator.

    Adding "free" maintenance and adding free standard equipment would significantly increase its price competitiveness, esp. against Acura TSX and Infiniti G35.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    Been said many times that a V6 would totally be a step backwards. All the marketing and advertising support came when the car was first introduced and available only with the E-Shift Automatic transmission. I think Lexus was counting a lot on the "playstation crowd" who knew about the Altezza for years (much like the WRX). Maybe the damage was done at the car's first introduction? I'm sure there were MSRP+ deals going around (esp in SoCal) + the lack of a manual didn't help much once the original hoop-la was over with.

    But the fact that Lexus is planning a second generation IS is a good thing. Even with a V6, there may be more of a model range available.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    For the life of me I simply cannot understand WHY Lexus would ditch an incredibly smooth, I6 cylinder engine for a V6! Most folks say that it is due to the fact that you can get more power out of a V6 than you can an I6. While that may be true, I think that you have to consider the fact that most people that are interested in purchasing a Lexus brand vehicle are into the smoothness aspect of the engines--along with other qualities of a luxury brand that lead to a more quiet vehicle overall.

    I think they're making a mistake by heading in the V6 direction.

    Ron M.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ron_m... Can't say I know of any physical reason why a V6 should have more power, measured in power per cubic inch/centimeter, than an I6. Each can have the latest and greatest in engine design technology (e.g., DOHC, 4 valves, variable valve timing, etc.). Both can be built to decent sizes (say no more than 4.2L or thereabouts).

    There shouldn't be an reason why Toyota/Lexus couldn't make a bigger I6. 3.3L easy. Or 3.5L. 3.8L. 4.0L. 4.2L. Jaguar used to build magnificent 3.8L and 4.2L I6s! Think what a great 4.0 or 4.2L I6 would do for the IS and GS!!!

    I6 is an inherently smooth engine. Creamy smooth power delivery. BMW, MB, Jaguar, and others relied on them extensively for decades and these great engines set these fine marques apart from others.

    V6 has a few advantages. Cheaper to produce, esp. when most of the rest of the 6s made by Toyota are Vs. Post-WW II ravaged Italy pioneered V6s. Also, fits FWD cars better as can be much more easily mounted traversely. Might allow some safety advantages, depending upon crush zones (as it is shorter end to end than the longer inline).

    Does anyone know if the next platform will have a 6-speed manual? Or SMG? Praying it at least has the former. Don't really care for the latter. And will it have AWD? That would help snow markets.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    nyccarguy... Lack of manual transmission upon introduction was a horrible mistake.

    WRX (and the even more aggressive models from both Subaru and Mitsu) benefitted from AWD and forced induction. Too bad Lexus didn't do the latter. Not sure about the former, but would've made the car stand out in '01 if it had had that, too.

    Would've been interesting to see if the Playstation/tuner/mod crowd would've taken to a USA market IS200 with 6-speed manual. Whey do the Japanese and European get them and we don't?

    Toyota really needed (and still needs!) TRD to have more affordable mods. Have you seen how little they have? And Lexus should work with some reputable tuners to come up with "hotter" cars that can be bought thru dealers. BMW has Dinan, Hartage, Schnitzer, etc. Not to mention billions of aftermarket parts suppliers. (Nissan and Mazda both should do more in same vein.)
  • It definitely seems that Lexus is "killing off" the current IS300. While a nice car, it falls short of the Lexus reputation. I hope this means Lexus will introduce the 2005 redesigned IS350 early, maybe mid-summer 2004 to spark interest. I have seen very little official information regarding the new platform for the 2005. The 2005 Supra (which is supposedly the basis for the 05 IS350) has been kept under wraps. Any news out there? I'd think at least a concept vehicle would be out there. Nissan had the Z concept and XVL (G35 concept) out way ahead of those cars going into production. I want something to drool over :) C'mon Lexus!!!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    The recent car magazines had tons of photos from the recent Tokyo Auto Show. Lot of pictures of the Lexus entry, the LF-S. But this is supposedly a preview of the next GS. The LF-S reportedly rides on 115 inch wheelbase and is 193 inches overall. Will use gasoline V8 plus electric motor for AWD. Conservatively styled. Clean lines. Nothing off-putting.

    There was also an LS-X. More a cross-over vehicle. Part cr, part SUV. A bit like Chrysler Pacifica or Infiniti FX35/45. Very tastefully done. Uses 4.3L V8.

    Toyota trying to introduce Japan to Lexus, which is being launched as a new marque in Japan in 2005.
  • I strongly disagree: IS does not fall short of the Lexus reputation. On the contrary: it is the best vehicle in the Lexus lineup. It offers more to a driver than any other model. It is the most fun, it is the only model with a manual tranny, and the quality is top-notch. Most of loaner ES's and RX's I drove did not feel as tightly built.

    Are you kidding? I feel that IS' combination of refinement, price, and performance make it a unique value. What else is out there? BMW 325 is overpriced and under powered. G35 has a shaky resale value, TL & TSX are FWD which is a no-no for the price. What else can you buy for around $30K to match the IS?

    If you are talking about the Lexus reputation for building luxury barges, you are correct. IS300 is a sport sedan and caters to a different audience.
    Let's put it this way: I would have never bought a Lexus if there was no IS in the lineup.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    IS300 competes against a ton of cars, including most of the following:

    330i RWD
    325i RWD
    MB C-class RWD/AWD
    Jaguar X-type 3.0 AWD
    Jaguar X-type 2.5 AWD
    Audi A4 FWD/AWD
    Infiniti G35 RWD/AWD
    Acura TL FWD
    Acura TSX FWD
    Nissan Maxima/Infiniti I35 FWD
    Cadillac CTS RWD
    Lincoln LS6 RWD
    VW Passat W8 AWD
    VW Passat V6 FWD/AWD
    Volvo S60
    Saab 9-3 FWD
    Subaru WRX AWD
    Subara STi AWD
    Mitsu Evo AWD
    Pontiac GTO RWD

    This is what makes this market so competitive and a huge reason why you have to stand out in order to rise to the top of the sales chart.
  • 330i RWD - Priced much higher
    325i RWD - Priced higher/uderpowered
    MB C-class RWD/AWD - Way overpriced
    Jaguar X-type 3.0 AWD - Ford Mondeo in disguise
    Jaguar X-type 2.5 AWD - see above
    Audi A4 FWD/AWD
    Infiniti G35 RWD/AWD - Shaky Resale
    Acura TL FWD - FWD
    Acura TSX FWD - FWD
    Nissan Maxima/Infiniti I35 FWD- Torque Steer(FWD)
    Cadillac CTS RWD - agree
    Lincoln LS6 RWD - no manual
    VW Passat W8 AWD - overpriced ($41k)
    VW Passat V6 FWD/AWD - shaky quality
    Volvo S60 - underpowered unless you upgrade to R60
    Saab 9-3 FWD - FWD
    Subaru WRX AWD - No name, no luxury
    Subara STi AWD - same as above
    Mitsu Evo AWD - boy racer
    Pontiac GTO RWD - Holden Monaro with poor build quality and generic styling.

  • 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: 4,141
    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 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?

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