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Lexus IS 300



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Just came back from the Tire installer. Put about 40 miles on the Pilot Alpin PA2s. Seemed to ride and handle nicely on drive pavement. Can't wait to see how they do in snow, slush, rain, and ice.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Finished "reading" The Lexus Story, the big coffee table book put out by Lexus, by Jonathan Mahler (Melcher Media, 2004). (Bought it at Borders.)

    First thing I noticed is that there wasn't much about the IS. (Though there wasn't much about the ES or GS. Mostly about the early history and the LS, SC, & RX.)

    Was nice to see a photo of the IS instrument cluster as the first photo. Then nothing until a huge action photo of a bright yellow IS zooming down a county road on pages 198-199. Then just three more photos, including 2 of Team Lexus. The entire IS text is on pages 200-201 plus a small mention on page 218 about the IS in Europe:

    "The best-selling Lexus in Europe is the IS 200, a smaller-displacement version of the American IS."

    Book posits that the primary purpose of the IS was to bring in a new type Lexus buyer, esp. a younger one, as by 2000 average buyer age had stablized at about 50 and were weak in the coveted 35-45 age range, and to bring the concept of driving excitement back to Lexus, which had come to mean rather sedate luxury in the minds of buyers.

    As with most things IS, book falls into the dreaded 330i trap:

    "With a powerful inline 6 beneath the hood and Formula 1-inspired gear shifters on the steering wheel, the IS 300 was judged a worthy challenger to the BMW 330i."

    Book at least honest to say:

    "The sport sedan hasn't knocked the 3 Series off its perch atop its class, but it has garnered a devoted following."
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    After reading the following, I don't feel so bad about Lexus' maintenance schedule. We still have the 30 day initial inspection and 5,000 mile oil changes.

    Technical Editor Mike Miller has some fascinating comments in the February 2005 issue of Bimmer magazine. As Mike points out in his article on manual transmission and differential fluid changes:

    Pre-"free" "recommended" maintenance intervals:
    - 1,200 mile break-in service
    - oil changes every 3,000 miles
    - automatic transmission fluid and filter change every 15,000 miles
    - manual transmission fluid change every 30,000 miles
    - differential fluid changed every 30,000 miles
    - brake fluid chance annually
    - coolant fluid changed every 2 years

    Post-"free" "recommended" maintenance intervals:
    - No initial break in service (except M)
    - Oil and filter change around 15,000 miles
    - No automatic transmission fluid or filter changes
    - No manual transmisison fluid changes
    - No differential fluid changes
    - brake fluid changed every 2 years
    - coolant fluid changed every 3 years

    He also points out:

    "BMW dealership technicians no long open up gearboxes and differentials for repairs. Instead, the factory fix is to buy a BMW remanufactured gearbox or differential--or automatic transmission-instead."

    "No one knows exactly what BMW's proprietary ATF is, so no one knows if there are viable alternatives. We do know that BMW dealerships charge about $500 for an ATF and filter service, mainly due to the price of the ATF. That's assuming you can get them to do the job, which is often not the case."
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Lexus uses a Torsen LSD in the IS.

    Noticed a very small story in the 12/6/04 issue of Autoweek, actually an obituary:

    "Vernon Gleasman, inventor of the Torsen differential, died Nov. 18 at the age of 92."

    Got me wondering if the fact that the '05 IS300 manual can no longer be had with its Torsen LSD might have been a contributing factor, no matter how small? I love my '04 manual's Torsen LSD! :)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Thought it interesting that in the December 2004 issue of Roundel (BMW CCA) magazine they have a full report on the recent JD Powers APEAL survey results.

    Lexus won overall (910) beating out Porsche (903), Cadillac (902), and BMW (900). And Lexus had 5 top Three finishers.

    "Entry Luxury": Chrysler 300(2005), Acura TL, and (tie) LEXUS IS300 sedan/SportCross & Cadillac CTS.

    Lexus Top 3 "winners": IS300, LS430, RX330, GX470, & LX470.

    BMW's were 5 Series, 7 Series, X5, & Z4, plus Mini Cooper.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Hello, reading this thread i don't see any mention of prone mechanical problems, only comparisons to the 3er. A relative is looking at a rather high mileage 2001 IS 300, are there any major issuses with this specific vehicle ?


    any help apprecicated,

  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    As long as it has been serviced and not abused it should be ok. It is always a good idea to have a car checked out by a good mechanic before you buy it. As with any car with higher miles you need to check out tires, brakes, suspension, exhaust, and shocks. Make sure the fluids (like radiator, brake, transmission, and rear diff) were changed at the proper time. Make sure you understand what the next major scheduled service items are and how much they will cost.


    Mechanically these cars are really solid so I would feel pretty good about buying a used one if it had been well taken care off.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    dl7265... jmess is absolutely right. CR, JDP, IC, etc. have all praised the IS300 for outstanding reliability.


    Key for used car:


    - Have a mechanic look it over and do inspect for any body damage/repairs that might indicate major accident

    - Look over all the service records to make sure all maintenance was done on schedule

    - Run CARFAX report

    - Estimate the way the prior owner(s) drove the car: were they "hard" on it? Tire wear and length of time they got out of a set of tires is one small indicator.

    - If they normally had it serviced at one Lexus dealer, ask the dealer to pull their records and see what all has been done.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Thanks guys for the assistance. Like riez i owned a G20 and a 323i, over 4 years each only had one problem.

    1.g20 radio died was replaced even though warranty was expired.


    2.323i a/c compressor clutch froze after 1000 miles, salesman gave me his 528i to drive while waiting a month on the part from Germany.


    So 1 problem for 48 month i consider pretty good.


  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    dl7265... None of my 3 ISs has had any problems. I've got about 20,000 miles on my '04 sedan. Wife has about 13,000 on her '04 SportCross. And she put about 15,000 on her previous IS300 sedan, the one she traded in for her SportCross. Not a single problem.


    Have you looked into Lexus Certified Pre-owned (CPO)? Adds 3 years of warranty coverage. You pay a bit more but get the peace of mind
  • >>- Run CARFAX report


    Yes. And really look at the Carfax report. If you see the car titled in multiple states that reeks.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    What qualities do you prefer of the is300 over your previous BMW's ?


    Go Sooners :)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    dl7265... I won't even begin to compare my IS300 to my former 540i6.


    The IS300 is more car for the money than the 323i/325i. More standard features and better optional features (LSD). Better warranty. Better reliability. Better dealer sales and service.


    But both are great all around sport sedans.


    If you drive an automatic (my wife does, I don't), the the lack of torque in the 2.5L motor is apparent.


    The biggest failing for the IS is the lack of a BMW-like Sport Pkg.


    A base 325i manual with Sport Pkg is a wonderful car. One I highly recommend. Can't say same for a $35,000 MSRP 325i automatic with Premium Package. That one I'd avoid.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    I concur, $995.00 for a power seat is rediculas.My 3er was a stripper sport model.I did price some new is300 for comparison, can't say i care for 3 packages as apposed to single options.However im sure the typical Lexus customer prefers that.A leather package car was $35,600.00 Yikes....


  • lmmlmm Posts: 70


    Does the 2002 require premium fuel? What's the gas mileage rating for this car.


    I'm looking at buying a private party 2002 for 25K. It only has 13k miles and looks like it has been babied really well.


    Any thoughts on this price?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    Yes.. premium required..


    Gas mileage.. I think rated at 18/23 MPG, but you'll have to ask actual owners for their feedback..


    13K miles is great, but the price is still a little stiff. For that price, you could probably get an '03 from a Lexus dealer and have a CPO warranty that would cover you for 3 years and up to 100K total vehicle mileage.





    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • $25K for a three year old IS? What would a brand new one cost? Last year you could get a new IS with the usual options for $27-28K.
  • lmmlmm Posts: 70
    I've checked private party sales prices and 25k right in there. The low miles is a premium. By the time you buy a new one its at least 34K.


    What have people really paid for a new one including taxes and licensing???
  • lmmlmm Posts: 70
    Follow up.


    I've checked the local dealer CPO stock.


    They have same cars 3x mileage at $26.9K.


    New cars are $34K plus tax.


    So 2002 with 13k miles for $25k seems pretty good deal?????
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    $26.9K at the dealer is an "asking" price.. I'm betting $24K at this time of year for a "selling" price, plus you are getting a warranty..


    If they are asking $25K, there should be some room to move.. Obviously, they don't "need" the car, if they only put 5K miles per year on it... So, unless they want to make a planter out of it, I'm thinking $22K-$23K is a pretty fair deal all of the way around.. and thats only because of the ultra low miles.





    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • You really need to compare prices before Tax and License. T&L is going to vary a lot by state, so that's not a fair comparison.

    I don't doubt that people are asking that much for used ones. I guess they must sell them to people who don't know what new ones are really going for. The dealer I bought mine from admitted that the two year old CPO car on his lot would cost me more than a brand new one with the same equipment!

    I'm assuming when you say new ones are $34K, that you are talking about MSRP. Last year ISs were selling for $6K under MSRP around here and I can't imagine why they would be doing any better this year. As I said, when I was shopping, typically equipped ISs were going for $27-28K. I ended up getting a lot of options that aren't typically on the lot - Nav ($1800), Graphite wheels ($400), heated seats (S400), spoiler ($250), LSD ($400) and I got mine for $30,700.


    I'm just recommending that you really see what you could get a new one for before buying a used one.
  • lmmlmm Posts: 70
    the private seller car still has warranty. 2 years left on Bumper to Bumper Factory Warranty

    and Power Train Warranty (engine & transmission) until June/2009

    the 25k is firm according to the seller. No matter which price guide I check his price is in the middle.


    I appreciate your feedback.
  • lmmlmm Posts: 70
    You made some good points. I usually havent looked at used cars due to the cost so close to getting new. But I wanted to see what was out there for used cars.


    Yes, I was quoting 34K as MSRP. I havent followed Lexus prices previously and wasnt aware how close to invoice they would go.


    I will definitely take a hard look at new.


  • Actually, last year they were selling at $800 under invoice in May and had dropped to $1300-1500 under invoice by August when I bought. And that wasn't through protracted hardball negotiations. That was just contacting the internet sales departments and getting a quote.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    $1500 under invoice ?MSRP is the name of the game in Dallas.If you can mention your dealer id be glad to take a nice road trip vacation and pocket 5k.



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    lmm... Unless I missed it, seems like you haven't give much info on the car you are looking at, the '02. Is it automatic or manual (there is a 1 mpg highway difference in favor of the manual)? What specific options does it have? What was the original MSRP? Have you run a CarFax and looked over all the service records?


    If I was you, I'd barain hard with a Lexus dealer on the sale of a new one. They might even have an '04 on the lot. You won't pay anything near MSRP if you are a serious buyer with good credit history or paying cash.


    If you buy used, you should try to bargain hard with a Lexus dealer about a CPO model. The advertised price is NOT what you'll pay if you negotiate hard and know your stuff. Advertised used car price is just like MSRP, it is negotiable and only those who lack knowledge pay it.


    My '04 IS300 sedan manual gets about 24-26 mpg on highway at 74 mph using cruise control. All ISs have recommended premium fuel (91 octane).
  • I am looking at a used 2001 is 300 which has 76000 miles. he is asking for 13k. What should i look for in the car.
  • dl7265 - I got mine from Lexus of Cerritos, but most of the dealers around here (Lexus of Mission Viejo, Tustin Lexus, Lexus of Westminister) were about the same.

    Of course, this was last summer. It could be that they overproduced them in 2003 and had to discount heavily to get them off the lots. They may have curtailed production to better match demand and aren't dealing on them any more.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    ok, so you were speaking of summer '03 not summer '04 ? I have seen post where Carsdirect have had pretty good pricing in Cali on differnt model cars to find out they sell at MSRP in Dallas area, so i would not be supprised.


  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    desiyankee... Some things to look for in any used car:


    - Run CARFAX report

    - Ask to see all service records

    - Talk to the servicing dealer and ask to see their records

    - Take it for a very thorough test drive to see how everything sounds and works

    - Have a mechanic look it over

    - Check the tires out carefully (can give you an idea how the owner has treated it), looking for wear, in general, and any odd wear (might be out of alignment or have had air pressure issues)


    Try to get a certified pre-owned (CPO) car from Lexus, so it is under Lexus warranty after the initial warranty period (believe CPO adds 3/50 from the date of CPO purchase)
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