"I first fell for this car when it came out and it was the first to have those round rear lights! I thought it had a handsome profile and clean sharp details like the drive Shift ball being silver and cool pedals!
My first car was a '89 CRX new-it lasted me 13 years(bought it in "88)! I decided I should update and thought this car would be equally worthy! It has met my expectations. When a car is mostly built in Japan I notice a LONG life, just like my first car.
Last SMOG check the people couldn't believe it "passed as if it was a brand new car!"
Car seats are kinda tricky in this car but not really that difficult. It's been an awesome car for the last 10-11 years now! Wow! Totally recommend it. Tight steering. Easy to park in the city. "Zippy" is the best description for this car!
Great car for Day to Day and Long Trips down I-5!"
"I bought my IS new in 2002. 128,000 miles later, get this. I still have my original brake pads, original battery, original clutch (5 speed). I stopped taking the car to the dealer a while ago ($50 oil changes, c'mon). I still admire this vehicle when I'm walking towards it and especially after I had just washed/waxed it. Only drawback that I have to baby it to get 25mpg. premium fuel also."
"Over ten years and I'm getting tired of it and want a new car.
The Sportcross fits everything I need to carry, it handles like nothing else I've test driven and, with the exception of one oxygen sensor, has been fault free.
I can't find a replacement that's not a downgrade and I'm getting really fed up."
"I bought my IS-300 9 years ago as a certified pre-owned Lexus, with 45K miles on it. I had only 3 notable service issues with the car over 9 years. Two of these repairs were covered by the extended warranty and the third was a 120K mile shape-up (brakes, timing belt, a sensor, struts/shocks).
I bought a new car - as I needed something bigger - but miss driving the IS-300 every day. When I sold it - the engine still ran like the day I got it and it loved to purr, accelerate, and corner."
"i bought this car at 95,xxx for 10k$ in great condition. i have driven it year round summer and winter,and taken it all over the united states. 40,000 miles later the only money i have had to put into the car was for oil changes/reg maintenance and tires. my only concern with the vehicle is the RWD. the is300 is not very good in snow."
"Great car owned it for 11 years and will never give it up. It's a great car to modify. It's looks like a Japanese anime car. Drive is jittery and restless which fits the cars driving personality. Never had any serious issues in 11 years and still have the same brakes on it! Very reliable and styling is better than the obtuse current model. I never liked the new IS."
"I love my 2002 IS300. I bought it used in 05 with about 42k miles on it. Nearly 130k now and it really runs great! I've had no MAJOR issues with this vehicle! Just small things like the hood latch, etc.
A couple complaints:
Minor: the cup holder is tiny and actually comes out (which always wedges on to the cup).
Moderate: The low profile tires look kinda cool but are big candidates for flats. I've had a few.
Major: I'm from Chicago and this is NOT a very good winter car. Light + Rear Wheel Drive = control issues. I try everything: snow setting, huge bags of gravel, etc and it's still quite bad in the snow.
Overall, very pleased. NOT ONE ISSUE with engine, starter, exhaust, transmission, fuel system, cooling system, etc. Just minor wear and tear.
Try to avoid the Lexus dealer. A simple one axle break job (rotors and pads) is a staggerign $600. I told them no thanks and got it done for less but best avoid them altogether unless its a very specific part you need."
"I bought my 2005 is300 in '08(used with only 21k miles) after searching for over a year for the right one. They are hard to find but it was the only car that I ever test drove that felt just right and I am very, very, very picky about how a car drives and this one passed this test for me everytime I test drove it (5 times). I owned the car and truly enjoyed it for a year and a half before a job loss forced me to sell it at 33k miles. I planned on keeping this car for 10 years and regret that the plan changed. I am driving my old 94Celica that I kept just in case I lost my job, which ended up being a blessing (it stayed parked in the garage when I owned the IS300 of course) One thing, I do not miss the high insurance of the is300, its rated as one of the most expensive sedans cost-wise to insure and my driving record and credit is flawless. I paid $95/month full coverage and other cars would have been $45/mo. I hope to own another well cared for is300 well cared in the future if I need a spare car for commuting. I need a crossover type car to tote yard supplies, bicycles, etc.
The car is the best driving vehicle I've ever owned.I wished the gas mileage was a little better at times and the lack of a folding rear seat was missed when I occasionally needed it. The engine, transmission and suspension were superb. The radio was also suprisingly distortion free and powerful sounding for a 6speaker system. Tires can be expensive for this vehicle and with a Z rating will usually last only 25k miles with moderate driving habits, and it's hard to be just moderately drive it as it always begs to have some fun. I miss you my charcoal is300"
"The IS300 is without a doubt a unique car that will keep looking good and performing great for a long time to come.
It's proven to be way more reliable than the german competitors and probably performs at 95% of a bmw. Reliability means a lot. The car handles like nothing I've ever driven. It's very smooth and scary fast when you want it to be. Braking is awesome too, stops really quick and securely. Since day one I've said this car needs a 6th gear with the manual because on the highway at 75-80 mph the car is revving at about 3500 rpm in 5th gear. I guess in a way it's cool though because at that rpm you have power on reserve instantly if you need to pass anyone. The back seat is tiny at best, so don't plan on this 4-door being a 4 passenger tranport often. The front seats are comfy and std stereo system is great. As far as winter in CT goes, I bought some blizzaks and made it through everything, just need to know how to drive a bit and not freak out when the tail slides out.
Lexus service is getting WAY too expensive for the routine stuff, so BMW's free maintenance is looking pretty attractive. With the new IS250 and 350 here, the IS300 loses out in styling, but you just can't go wrong picking up a certified pre-owned one. I hope to keep mine for a long time."
"By far the most reliable luxusry car I have had (comparing with BMW, Jaguar, Volvo, Audi). Regular maintenance is expensive if you take it to the dealership, but I have not had anything start to wear out until I hit the 180k mile mark @ 10 years old. Materials used in the IS300 are much more luxurious and of higher quality than the current IS 250/350 models offer.
It feels just as fast and fun to drive as a BMW, although if you look at the specs it is actually a slower 0-60 time.
It is very nimble and small enough to make driving in heavy traffic easy.
Does well in the snow, I have taken it all over the colorado mountains in winter and have never had any problems.
Only downside is if your over 6'2" tall. I am 5'10" and my head is only an inch from the ceiling."
Cons: "The back seat is a little on the small side."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I began checking this car out the second year they were sold in the US (2002) and I loved it, but at the time I was a college student making 0 dollars and couldn't afford one. A few years later I ran across a pristine model that had been owned (for some reason) since new by a little old couple that really only used the car to travel to see their relatives in NV during the summer. The car had extremely low miles and was in perfect shape except for a couple rock chips on the hood.
The car is bullet proof Toyota reliability and is just so much more fun to drive than most anything I've owned in the past. Plus some simple mods and the motor is now doing well over 250HP before even thinking of adding a turbo or really breaking open the motor. The I6 used to be the Supra motor and was built tough.
This car is a sporty sleeper thanks to the Lexus badge on it. No one out of the know would ever even look at this car twice until it blows by them. The shine of this car is in the drive. Take it to your favorite twistys and you'll never want to leave. It comfortably seats 4 if not over 6 feet in back and still returns 28 MGP on the highway if you keep your foot out of it."
"I bought this car in 2006 and have loved driving it for five years. The drive quality is top notch and rivals the sporty driving profile of a BMW 3 Series, but for much cheaper. The 215hp engine gives it plenty of power for how light the car is. The RWD is a major advantage over FWD sport sedans like the Acura TL because you don't get any torque steer. Also, with the I-6 engine, you get a ton of low end torque which really helps accelerating from a complete stop. Standard HID headlights are great too
The seats are comfortable and give you plenty of room in the front (I'm 5'11 and fit in fine). The backseat is very cramped though, so this is not a good family car.
The quality of the leather is good. It is almost 8 years old and no cracking, tearing, or noticeable fading of the leather (I do clean/condition it at least twice a year though).
The stock premium stereo has good sound quality, but lacks thumping bass like newer premium stereos have. The backlights behind my stereo unit are spotty though. I had a grouping of buttons that had the backlight flicker for a while and now doesn't turn on, but they were not heaving used buttons.
As long as you perform the scheduled maintenance (find a good 3rd party mechanic), it will run great and a long time. This is one of Lexus's most reliable cars according to consumer reports.
A great aspect of this car is that it still turns heads after 8 years. The styling is somewhat unique and they are rare to find on the road."
Cons: "fuel GPM could be better for light small engine 26"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car because even with the miles on it, it is still just so solid in feel. Its a well built car with quality put into every part in it, except the radio but everyone of these cars has had it replaced by now. Even the factory shocks are original and only now are they STARTING to show that there getting a little lose."
"This is the perfect drivers car for balance between power, braking, handling, and all around feel. I have beaten on this car since day one and it never complains or breaks, it just happily does everything you ask of it. Best car for any money, period!"
"I have had this car since it had 50k. The only thing I have had to do to it was routine maintenance. I did the timing belt, water pump, etc job myself to save money. The only thing I don't like about it is that parts are expensive and to have a shop work on the car is expensive. Other know problems i have heard of are the rear main seals leak and the power steering pumps go out. Overall great car!"
Cons: "Heavy braking from high speeds can wrap rotors."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I put a lot of miles on my car and since 2002, this has been the car of choice! I've had three and just purchased my last one....the following are the versions/mileage:
A. 2002 Sedan - 35k, sold since I wanted Sportcross version
B. 2002 Sportcross - 175k miles with no problems!
C. 2005 Sportcross - 125k miles with no problems!
D. 2003 Sportcross - 45k miles (just purchased!!)"
"overall good vehicle. Only complaint are: price (duh, then why did I buy a lexus?). The center console is really small. And the rear seats don't fold down so it's hard to fit larger items. I have a 2004 (its 2009 as I write this) and I haven't taken the best care of it (not every sched. maint.) but I've NEVER had a problem with it. Only now am I starting to want to take it to the shop (nothing major - just feel like she deserves it). VERY reliable. Not very big though - hard to move an infant carseat in & out easily if you're 5'7" +. I was also a little dissapointed when I found out other 04 models (non luxury brands) had a few extra luxuries I would have expected Lexus to have first (namely: bluetooth & MP3 player). Also, not too great in Snow/slippery weather. The feature that cuts the power to the rear wheels makes it impossible to get out of a slushy parking/driving job. VERY bad. Snow button doesn't help that much either... maybe winter tires would help? (I use high performance all weather)."
"I've had this car for four years. I chose it because of the unique wagon styling - so sexy but functional. My dog prefers it when I put the back seats down - that's pretty easy to do so we do that a lot. I love all of the amenities - CD, sunroof, rear view mirror with the green light so people's lights don't glare on you, front window goes down in touch of a button, radio has a readout, seats are super ergonmic, everything is so gorgeous. i have the faux suede seats and they are pretty good looking so i don't know why people say the interior is cheap - it's just as nice as the bmws I've owned. drawbacks are the tires, which people seem to agree need changing every 20k miles - that's insanely expensive and time consuming. second drawback is the mileage - i can't figure out why i only get 20 mpg when it's such a skinny car. and third, because it's skinny, while the seats are really comfortable, they are not wide. they kind of fit right to your body, which i guess is sporty, but they are by no means spacious. the number one best thing about this car is the way it looks and teh second is the smooth way it drives and handles. highly recommend."
"The main reason I purchased the is300 is for it's sleak sporty look. it defitnetly caught my eye because of that big "L" on the hood, but I guess it's just a status. It's and entry level lexus that provides some sort of afforability. The resale valu is very good, or isn't as good as it should be. I would take this vehicle over any 3 series bmw all day. Other than the expensive maitnance and average resale value this vehicle is nice."
"I have owned 2 Lexus IS300s. The first was a 2005 and then a 2002 I currently drive. I feel safe and confident driving this car. It is not very big on the inside but still comfortable. It does not have folding rear seats so you are limited in what you can do at the home improvement store. The inline 6 cylinder is powerful and very smooth, the automatic transmission shifts wonderfully. The gas mileage is only fair for a fairly light weight car, at best 16-17city and 23-26 hwy w/ premium fuel. I enjoy the confidence of this car"s performance enough to make the gas mileage a minor gripe. I only put 7,000 miles per year on the vehicle. Everything has held up wonderfully on this car, cosmetically and mechanically. No issues found in this 11 year old car, other than a blown rear speaker (ps. I have really enjoyed the factory 6cd sound system)
These make wonderful great used car values for someone that is neither particalar on gas mileage or needing a lot of cargo space. I bought mine for $10,000 2 year ago with 121,000miles and plan on selling in about a year from now for $7000. They keep their value, and toyota can take care of most maintenance and repairs. Great Value!! Very enjoyable to drive!!"
Pros: "fun to drive, quiet, lots of fun to drive, reliabl"
Cons: "too few cup holders, no longer made."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I really like this car. So far besides routine maintenance all I have had to fix is the stereo and the solenoid operating the door lock on the driver's door. The power to weight ratio is surprisingly good for a four door sedan. It is a bit too tightly sprung for my wife's taste but the cornering is superb. After 11 years I can not detect any deterioration in performance. The seats are grippy which causes them to wear faster than slick leather but tires are like that too. It is a trade off. I will have to get new upholstery on the driver's side in another five years or so."