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How is the Lexus IS300?

by jamisrider / August 9, 2007 4:04 PM PDT

Hi, im currently in the market for a new car, and have been looking into the Lexus Is 300. i was just wondering how this car is, and if some one has it how do they like driving it? Also i would plan to through in some extra stuff into it(turbo, exhaust, intake...). So is this the type of car where i could do that too? Also is there any noted problems with this car that i should look for when looking at the car? Thanks.

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re: Lexus IS350
by wcunning CNET staff / August 10, 2007 8:58 AM PDT

Hi, there isn't an IS300 any more. The Lexus IS series comes in a 250 or a 350. I drove both, and found the IS350 to be a very good value. The engine is fast and very responsive. From a performance standpoint, though, the big drawback is that it only comes in an automatic. You can get a manual in the IS250. The automatic in the IS350 is pretty good, probably the smartest automatic I've used. It gives you fast launches when you want them and is pretty good about downshifting when needed.

As for aftermarket tuning equipment, I don't think there's much of use you can do to this car.

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by Dan Filice / August 12, 2007 2:04 AM PDT
In reply to: re: Lexus IS350

Agreed. In addition, my good friend bought the IS350 "sport" edition with 18" wheels, etc. At 310hp this thing screams and handles beautifully! I'd definitely take this over a BMW. I understand the interest in adding turbo, exhaust, etc., but why screw up a beautiful car? I did all this to a used Honda and had fun, but the Lexus is so balanced and powerful without all this stuff that adds questionable performance and adds things that add unreliability and most importantly, voids the warranty. I believe the "sport" edition of the Lexus has a performance suspesion and wheel package and it has a great, smooth power band.

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by bevillan / August 13, 2007 12:31 AM PDT

I own a 2004 IS300 and I really like it. The handling is superb, interior build is better than most in the same class (BMW 325i and Infinity G35), and I have not had any problems with it yet. If you want to put aftermarket parts into it, buy a used IS300 instead of a new IS250 or 350.

I have driven both my IS300 and the IS250 (loaner). The 250 has a much more refined interior than my car but it is much heavier so acceleration is slower. Performance wise the 250 is lacking compared to the 300 but if you want a nice interior, get a 250.

The automatic tranny in mine doesn't lag behind when I want to punch it like some automatics do (the one in the Acura TL lags alot). Also, the IS300 has an inline 6 cylinder engine whereas the new 250 and 350 have V6's. I prefer the inline 6.

The 350 is a sweet car, but it is pretty expensive. IS250's where I live are going for ~$34,000 without navigation and the 350s are going for over $42,000 easily. I wouldn't call that a bargain like another poster did. You can get a used 2003-2005 IS300 for about $27,000.

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2004 IS300
by neetadivine / June 20, 2008 2:41 AM PDT
In reply to: IS300

I must concur with you with regards to buying a used IS300 instead of a new IS250 or 350. I personally do not like the body style of the newer models. The front of it looks hot and the back looks smooshed in...

I have a 2004 IS300 with 41,000 miles on it that I love. I have seen the same make and model for sale at $22,900.

However, my lease expires in February 2009 and I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with regards to buyout options. I really want my payments to be lower by purchasing my leased vehicle. However, if I do purchase it, the car will be seven (8) years old when I am done. Do you think it is worth it to buy out at $13,200 or should I get another vehicle?

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Realiable And Fun
by dkamat2 / August 13, 2007 11:15 AM PDT

I bought my 2002 IS 300 new 5 years ago and I have been very happy. The car is nearing 70,000 miles and still accelerates and brakes without much effort not to mention the precise steering! I got the car detailed recently and I fall in love with it every time I see it. This car truly shines above and beyond my good friend's BMW 5 series which is similarly aged but sadly prone to small mechanical problems every couple weeks. I take my IS300 for service when needed and everything from windshield wipers to brake rotors operate without problems. The unique aspect of the car comes from its design which really stands out. The new IS250 and IS350 are great cars no doubt, but seem to conform to that new Lexus-like design which blends in with every other Lexus on the road. The IS300 really turns heads and stands apart. This basically means that even if you keep your car for the coming years, the design of the car will never become obsolete.
INTERIOR: You must be warned that if you are looking for the leather clad, plush, wood trimmed interior Lexus is known for, then this is not your type of car. The car is built with great workmanship, but the IS300 is a sports sedan. The seats are only leather trimmed on the sides and the steering wheel is leather as well. The console is very functional and to the point and lacks the luxurious digital age air conditioning functions and so forth (everything is controlled through sturdy feeling high quality plastics and buttons). However, the interior still pulls off a very high quality attractive look. Overall this is a VERY Comfortable interior without any doubt.


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by bevillan / August 15, 2007 12:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Realiable And Fun

The IS300 has superb handling. And yeah the interior isn't what I'd call 'luxurious' like say the GS or the LS has, but it is still better than the stock interior of the BMW 3 Series and the Infinity G35 (the older generation at least).

Also, the seats, steering wheel, and e-brake bellows are leather. The seats are not some buttery leather but some other kind of leather (I forget the official term). They seem to be pretty durable though. I clean/condition my seats every 3 months or so to keep them looking nice.

My IS300 definitely turns heads even with the 250/350 on the road. I like the more angular design of the IS300 than the streamlined one of the 250/350.

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lexus is200/300
by theis200driver / December 12, 2009 5:51 AM PST
In reply to: Realiable And Fun

Hi there i have an is200 and i would agree with you about the interiour on the bmw,it's not as nice as the is200/300 also the clocks you can't beat that. i worked for bmw as a mechanic and i was replacing interior door hands and steering wheels door panels etc..... due to them peeling 6 months after the car was bought and had to replace steering colums on a brand new BMW and the list goes on. So hint the saying (Bend My Wallet) if you dont have a motor plan you are really screwed.

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Uh, no...
by make_or_break / June 30, 2008 9:09 PM PDT
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