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Übercargeek
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As has become our custom here at my.IS, we bring you the latest updates and information from Consumer Reports' twice-yearly (April Auto Issue and November New Car Preview) issues devoted solely to automotive consumer and reliability information.

The Compact Sports Sedans Vehicle Ratings and Vehicle Profile are a replay of what we reported back in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f42/consumer-reports-lexus-november-2009-a-404626/">November 2009</A>, as are the Safety Ratings from <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f42/consumer-reports-lexus-april-2009-a-386201/">April 2009</A>.

Among their Reliable Used Cars, Consumer Reports recommends the 2001 Lexus IS300 in the $6,000-$8,000 price range, the 2002 Lexus IS300 in the $8,000-$10,000 price range, the 2003 Lexus IS300 in the $10,000-$12,000 price range, the 2004 Lexus IS300 in the $12,000-$14,000 price range, the 2005 Lexus IS300 in the $14,000-$16,000 price range, the 2006 through 2008 Lexus IS250/350 in the $24,000-$30,000 price range, and the 2009 Lexus IS250/350 in the $30,000 and up price range.

In stark contrast to the mostly status quo reported above, the CR Reliability Ratings for the Lexus IS have seen the most profound changes in memory. We fully expected to see the 2003 model year fall off the chart, but were quite surprised to see that, after years of Insufficient Data for the 2005 IS300, a high enough number of their owners replied to Consumer Reports surveys that there is finally sufficient information to document its reliability and weak spots. Another unexpected change is the separation of IS250 RWD and IS350 on the Reliability charts. Presumably, an insufficient number of IS250 AWD and IS F owners responded for CR to create a database, and the 2009 IS350 column is also full of Insufficient Data asterisks.

Here, then, are the latest Reliability Ratings for the Lexus IS from the 2004 to 2009 model years (except the 2009 IS 350):

<B>RELIABILITY HISTORY</B>
<P><B>Engine, major</B> <I>(Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain)</I>
Average for 2006 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for 2007 IS 250 RWD
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Engine, minor</B> <I>(Oil leaks, timing belt, accessory belts, engine mounts, engine knock or ping)</I>
Better than Average for 2004 IS300, 2008 IS250 RWD and 2007-2008 IS350
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Engine Cooling</B> <I>(Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating)</I>
Better than Average for 2004
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Transmission, major</B> <I>(Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, premature clutch replacement)</I>
Much Better than Average
<P><B>Transmission, minor</B> <I>(Gear selector and linkage, coolers and lines, rough shifting, slipping transmission, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, hydraulics [clutch master or slave cylinder])</I>
Much Worse than Average for 2005
Better than Average for 2006 IS350
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Drive System</B> <I>(Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, wheel bearings, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, stability control, electrical failure)</I>
Better than Average for 2007 and 2009 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Fuel System</B> <I>(Check-engine light, sensors [includes O2 or oxygen sensor], emission control devices [includes EGR], engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation)</I>
Worse than Average for 2006-2007 IS250 RWD and 2007 IS350
Average for 2006 IS350
Better than Average for 2008 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Electrical</B> <I>(Alternator, starter, battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure)</I>
Better than Average for 2005
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Climate system</B> <I>(Blower [fan] motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heating system, automatic climate system, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure)</I>
Worse than Average for 2006 IS350
Average for 2006 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for 2007 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Suspension</B> <I>(Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage [includes rack & pinion], power steering, wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension)</I>
Average for 2006 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for 2004 IS300, 2006 IS350 and 2007-2008 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Brakes</B> <I>(Premature wear, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, master cylinder, calipers, antilock system [ABS], parking brake, brake failure)</I>
Much Worse than Average for 2006-2007 IS250 RWD and 2006 IS350
Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Paint/Trim</B> <I>(Paint [fading, chalking, cracking or peeling], loose exterior trim or moldings, rust)</I>
Much Worse than Average for 2005
Average for 2006 IS350
Much Better than Average for 2007 IS350 and 2009 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Body Integrity</B> <I>(Squeaks or rattles, seals and/or weather-stripping, air or water leaks, loose interior trim and moldings, wind noise)</I>
Average for 2006-2007 IS350 and 2007 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for 2005
Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Body Hardware</B> <I>(Windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls[movement and temperature], seat belts, sunroof, convertible top, glass defects)</I>
Average for 2004
Much Better than Average for 2007-2008 IS250 RWD and 2008 IS350
Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Power Equipment and Accessories</B> <I>(Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, alarm or security system)</I>
Average for 2009 IS250 RWD
Much Better than Average for 2008 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for all others
<P><B>Audio system</B> <I>(Audio system, entertainment system, navigation system, backup camera/sensors, communications system [OnStar, Bluetooth, etc])</I>
Much Worse than Average for 2006 IS250 RWD
Worse than Average for 2006 IS350 and 2009 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for 2008 IS250 RWD
Average for all others
<P><B>OVERALL USED CAR VERDICTS</B>
Much Better than Average for 2004-2005 IS300 and 2008 IS250 RWD
Better than Average for 2006-2008 IS350
Average for 2006, 2007 and 2009 IS250 RWD
<P><B>NEW-CAR PREDICTION</B>
Better than Average

Jruhi4 Commentary: Normally, I just post the Consumer Reports results and let them speak for themselves, but, while the belated appearance of 2005 IS300 reliability ratings is a welcome development, color me skeptical about its precipitous increase in the number of Minor Transmission and Paint/Trim issues and complaints versus the virtually identical 2004. Historically, a given vehicle's final year in production is usually when it's at its most reliable and trouble-free, after years of having all the bugs and issues resolved at the factory level. Could a small sampling skewed by a stray lemon or two affected the accuracy of the first-ever 2005 results?
 

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Could a small sampling skewed by a stray lemon or two affected the accuracy of the first-ever 2005 results?
I sure hope so. Do you know what sample size, generally, is required to include the results from the CR surveys?
 

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Übercargeek
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Discussion Starter #3
I sure hope so. Do you know what sample size, generally, is required to include the results from the CR surveys?
That's an excellent question. I've never seen or read anywhere what their cutoff number is (or what proportion of a given model year's total run of a particular model they consider a reliable sample) at which point they decide whether or not they have sufficient data.
 

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Dr. JDM
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9,332 Posts
I always thought they pretty much gave up with the 2005, omitting LSD, SportDesign and going back to pretty much chrome taillamps and lighter dark chrome headlamps. 2004 was the best.
 
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