"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."