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Discussion Starter #1
I was a little surprised to see that the parts of the car that are not normally visible are less "finished" than the rest of the car.

For instance, underneath the rear license plate the trunk lid has spot welds showing. I guess they figured they could save a couple cents here and there by not "buffing"/finishing the bodywork in places that will normally be covered up.

Also, when I moved my rear armrest to the front, I found that the armrest material was stiched nicely except around the screw holes which are normally covered by the edges of the seat. The "hidden" holes looked really crude - like someone just yanked out some of the fabric with a pair of pliers. Unless you remove the armrest, you would never notice this. Other older cars I have modified or "inspected" tended to have consistent fit/finish even on parts that you don't normally see. It just seems that the IS300 is "rough" in the parts "behind the scenes".

Maybe this sort of cost cutting is typical on all new cars these days.
 

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That's really interesting TEG.

I've been reading everyone's posts for a long time now and I'm assuming that the IS300 is the first real "luxury" type car you all have owned (most of you, anyway).

What I'm really getting at is; does it "feel" like a $32,000+ car? It's hard for me to be more specific, cuz I've never had the opportunity to drive anything from Lexus/BMW/Mercedes, etc. Is there a noticable difference (aside from styling) that sets it apart from the average Toyota/Honda/Chrysler, etc?

Thanks in advance,
J


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Perception IS Reality
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well the drivetrain is pretty much directly from the GS300. It is much more smooth and quiet than what you would expect from a $15K-$20K car.

The stereo and HID lights are definately touches that say this is a $25K+ automobile.

The sound the doors make when they close also says that this car is "above average".

The remote entry, and "security chip in the key" are new to me, but I guess some lesser cars (like Chrysler Minivans for example) are now coming with these.

The interior materials, switches, levers, gnobs, etc, etc don't seem to be much different than on cars like a Camry.
 

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Old BMWs like previous gen 325s and 328s had crap interiors, yet were magnificently engineered, so you can't judge car's by the interior. Like the E36 BMWs the IS targets, the IS drivetrain and chassis are excellent, better to cut costs in the interior than in the mechanicals.
 

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TEG: some questions on your armrest change

1. How long did it take you - was this a lot of work?

2. Do you think the hole could be filled with something other than a sub without looking like crap?

Thanks

[From TEG: I will post a complete story soon once I get my pictures scanned in. Stay tuned... ]


[This message has been edited by TEG (edited October 12, 2000).]
 

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Originally posted by Almost There:
What I'm really getting at is; does it "feel" like a $32,000+ car? It's hard for me to be more specific, cuz I've never had the opportunity to drive anything from Lexus/BMW/Mercedes, etc. Is there a noticable difference (aside from styling) that sets it apart from the average Toyota/Honda/Chrysler, etc?

When I first test drove the IS I went to a Nissan/Lexus dealer. I drove a '00 loaded Maxima SE (I was coming out of a '92 Max so it seemed logical to test a new one) that listed at 29K. I was not impressed with the Max - my feeling was that it was not really any better than my '92. Then I walked across to the Lexus store. When I drove the IS I was blown away by the style - in and out - and the transmission and handling. Leagues above the fwd Maxima. So, yes, for 5K more (27 vs 32), I feel that I got a car that was signicifantly better.
 

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Good point ckolsen.

Porsches don;t have extravagant interiors. The boxster's interior isn't at all, but porsche makes terrific sports cars. No doubt about that.
 

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Thanks for your help guys.

I guess I really need to test drive one to really know what your talking about. Problem is, I know that if I do, I'll be taking it home right then and there. It's already killin' me to have to wait this long. I spend way more time reading this board than I need to. It's just too damn addicting!!

You people really need to be more boring, or less cool. I'm supposed to have a life here, OK??



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Actually, the manual isn't as important to me as some of the other planned options (nav, memory seats, etc.), but then again, A LOT depends on that test drive!!

(OOPS, sorry for going OT, TEG. I'll be more careful in the future. To get back on track, I have noticed some "strange cost saving methods" in my Eagle Vision, but then again, it's no Lexus. Could just be a new car thing like you said. Maybe they picked up the idea from the US car makers. If so, hope they don't get any more ideas!)

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I traded in a BMW 328is for the IS300. In my opinion, BMW had less stylish interior but all the materials used -- leather, plastic, vinyl, carpet -- were superior.
Originally posted by ckolsen:
Old BMWs like previous gen 325s and 328s had crap interiors, yet were magnificently engineered, so you can't judge car's by the interior. Like the E36 BMWs the IS targets, the IS drivetrain and chassis are excellent, better to cut costs in the interior than in the mechanicals.
 

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Originally posted by TEG:
I was a little surprised to see that the parts of the car that are not normally visible are less "finished" than the rest of the car....

Maybe this sort of cost cutting is typical on all new cars these days.
Not only typical, but an art form exceptionally mastered by Toyota.

Take a real close look at a comparable vehicle made a long time ago. Aside from technological advancements in materials and manufacturing, chances are that any individual component will be closer to blueprint on-the-whole and better finished than their modern counterparts (all relative to the quality norm of the period in reference). But the early vehicle will run considerably worse.

The entire point of modern production engineering is to attain goals at a minimum of cost, aesthetics be damned especially when it won't matter-to/be-seen-by the consumer. That means enforcing tolerances only where it matters and polishing only where it'll be perceived by the typical consumer. When done right, it does not conflict at all with the usual goals of structural soundness, durability, performance, or perceived quality.

Toyota products represent the epitome of this art. Take comparable Toyota and Honda vehicles. Disassemble working (not cosmetic) parts off of both and usually the Honda parts will look and feel much better on-the-whole. But both cars run similarly, with even a bit of a durability edge going to the Toyota vehicle. So you tell me who's makin'-the-dough/got-margin-to-work-with/got captital-to-expand.

Toyota started off as a fabric manufacturer. They're the most rational (read corporate) of decision makers, and this has paid off quite well for them. Their products feature arguably the best price-to-performance (performance in not just the speed sense, but quality, durability, high-value and so forth) ratio. When soul is required in a product, they acquire the right tools (N. Katayama) to do the job.

Honda was born because Soichiro loved racing. It's boardroom is still dominated by ex-enthusiasts. Does honda have to build buzzy high-output-per-displacement engines? No, bigger engines are not necessarily more expensive (see CL-S V6 vs S2K I4). But HO gets the old racing blood flowing.

(In comparison, pure race vehicles are built cost-be-damned. Niche builders such as Ferrari and Rolls Royce come close to cost-be-damned, so every part off these vehicles are pretty much museum-worthy. And that's why there's still appreciation for them, despite the fact that for the same amount of money, any large automaker utilizing their superior modern production engineering, can beat their pants off. But then again, these niche markets are so small that applying the whole 9-yards of thorough modern production engineering will result in a net loss. If everyone was willing to buy $100K vehicles, that'd be another matter.)
 
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