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I heard there were some '02 Manuals at JM Lexus so I went by after work and took a test drive...

Dark Tails (on darker colors, not on the yellow, silver or white) - I like them. They make a subtle but definite difference.
New Grill - another definite improvement. The darker color better matches the lower grill and gives the front a much more aggresive look.
Armrest - I like it. My arm fell onto it like it had always been there. I just think it's wierd that it leaves that comparment half open
New Interior - VERY nice. One of the best improvements. The dark gray plastic has been changed to a black rubbery plastic. I think it makes a HUGE difference in the upscale-ness of the interior. The chrome speaker ring is nice too, helps breakup some of the solid color on the door. The Leather/Escaine package now gets the piping from last year's Premium package. I have no opinion on that. The auto dimming / compass mirror is a nice addition.

As for the Manual: It makes the car so much more fun (You can break the rear end loose without dropping to L!).
Except for the lack of a shift knob (!), it was a nice shifter. The clutch had a weird return spring/clunk at the top of the pedal, but it didn't seem to have anything to do with the clutch - just the pedal. But it was easy and smooth. I regularly drive a Miata with short throws and a hipo clutch, so I'm not the best person to gauge the feel compared to mere mortal cars.
But I have no complaints. The gearing was nice too. Makes me hate my automatic now.

The handling changes were subtle but are there. The steering is a bit tighter and the body seems to roll just a bit less. I got to throw the car around some nice curves and it felt very good. Again, just a bit tighter everywhere, but I could feel it when I got back in my car afterwards. That handling change, plus the 5-speed will make a big difference in my autox times next year!

What I want to see for '03:

225/45 on 17x7.5 wheels - I'd like these all around (they're on the back of the SportCross), standard for the Manual and optional for the Auto. After all, the 3 Series has 17x8's on the Sport Package.
CD-Text Support on the Stereo - this is a small thing, but it would be nice. I'm not even asking for MP3 support yet!
Included or at least Pre-Paid Maintenance - especially for leased vehicles.

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: webmaster ]
 

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This is why one should NEVER buy the first-model-year of a car. Invariably, the second year offers lots of tweaks and upgrades leaving us "pioneers" salivating with envy.
By the way, the "never buy the first-model-year advice" is easy to give, but hard to implement, especially if you love cars! There's nothing like the feeling of being "the first" on the road with that new model.
 

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awesome! i can't wait until tomorrow, i won't be able to sleep tonight.

[Long Quote Removed...]

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: webmaster ]
 

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Originally posted by Leader:
This is why one should NEVER buy the first-model-year of a car. Invariably, the second year offers lots of tweaks and upgrades leaving us "pioneers" salivating with envy.
By the way, the "never buy the first-model-year advice" is easy to give, but hard to implement, especially if you love cars! There's nothing like the feeling of being "the first" on the road with that new model.
Being 'the first' has its shortcomings......


Never buy first-year model?? Hey! That's what I'm doing right now, and you're also correct that it's VERY VERY difficult to implement.....
 

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Originally posted by webmaster:


What I want to see for '03:

225/45 on 17x7.5 wheels - I'd like these all around (they're on the back of the SportCross), standard for the Manual and optional for the Auto. After all, the 3 Series has 17x8's on the Sport Package.
CD-Text Support on the Stereo - this is a small thing, but it would be nice. I'm not even asking for MP3 support yet!
Included or at least Pre-Paid Maintenance - especially for leased vehicles.

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: webmaster ]
I strongly suspect that they'll upgrade to a more powerful and more efficient engine for the '03 to keep up with the competition ......
 

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I completely agree w/the assessment of webmaster.

The 5 speed will allow the driver to be more connected to the driving experience. However, if you're going to own an automatic car, then the "manumatic" aka e-shift is probably as good as it gets.

My prior car was a 5 speed Maxima SE and that car was fun to drive, but after our second child, the wife was just tired of shifting and watching the kids at the same time. It comes down to how a 5 speed fits into your life.

If I was still actively autocrossing and didn't have my other family commitments, I'd jump on a 5 speed in a heartbeat. But as it is now, the "manumatic" is as good as it gets for me.

BTW I still row the gears in MY car - '94 Toyota pickup 4x4 w/extra cab; 5 speed.
 

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All I know is that I'm pumped for September 04'. That's when my lease runs out and I can go onto the Latest and Greatest IS that Lexus has to offer. But until that day, I will love my 01' IS and quit trying to compare it to the new models.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Originally posted by dude:
I strongly suspect that they'll upgrade to a more powerful and more efficient engine for the '03 to keep up with the competition ......
Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. More power! (And while I do actually want that, I didn't find the car lacking to where it was a major issue...)
 

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Well;Iam in the same boat as you Risk,but I do not have any regrets being a first year buyer. I do miss manual, but the family comes first.
Originally posted by Risk3233:
I completely agree w/the assessment of webmaster.

The 5 speed will allow the driver to be more connected to the driving experience. However, if you're going to own an automatic car, then the "manumatic" aka e-shift is probably as good as it gets.

My prior car was a 5 speed Maxima SE and that car was fun to drive, but after our second child, the wife was just tired of shifting and watching the kids at the same time. It comes down to how a 5 speed fits into your life.

If I was still actively autocrossing and didn't have my other family commitments, I'd jump on a 5 speed in a heartbeat. But as it is now, the "manumatic" is as good as it gets for me.

BTW I still row the gears in MY car - '94 Toyota pickup 4x4 w/extra cab; 5 speed.
 

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I absolutely have no regrets. I LOVE my car. It fits my needs perfectly. It's sporty enough to satisfy me, can take my entire family and all our stuff and is FUN to drive. My wife likes the manueverability and pep of the car and likes the fact that it can turn on a dime in shopping center parking lots.

Hey, if I need to haul something serious, I just use my truck.
 

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It would be very stupid and costly for us, the '01 owners to switch to the '02. Come on guys, all they did was tweak a few things. Everyone is raving about the new '02 but it's the same friggin' car. Why not wait for a power change or engine upgrade or a total redesign which you know is coming sooner rather than later.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Originally posted by GQGreek:
It would be very stupid and costly for us, the '01 owners to switch to the '02. Come on guys, all they did was tweak a few things. Everyone is raving about the new '02 but it's the same friggin' car. Why not wait for a power change or engine upgrade or a total redesign which you know is coming sooner rather than later.
I never said it was smart, but I really want a manual. The other improvements are secondary.
 

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I don't regret buying the '01 IS300.

The '02s have a few subtle differences, but nothing to warrant trading in for one.

Regarding the Dark Tails -- I still like the chrome version better. The black plastic does not look that good (now if it were black chrome, that would be a different story)

Regarding the Grill -- I think a lot of us has upgraded to the TRD/L-tuned version.

Regarding the Armrest -- Although an armrest would be nice, I don't really miss it (my last car did not have an armrest either).

Regarding the Manual Version -- I would have purchased an automatic anyways (you'd understand if you drove in Los Angeles traffic every day).

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: soulstalker ]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't want anyone to think I regret my purchase, I loved the car since the day I first saw it. But knowing that a manual was coming, the one I have now is just a "place-holder".


I'm well aware that I represent a very small portion of enthusiasts (willing to lose money to trade to a manual) and we represent a small portion of IS owner's to begin with!
 

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Back about a year ago when people on this board bragged about their new IS, I almost ended up buying one, but managed to control myself not to and wait for the '02......I ended up visiting my local Lexus dealer once every 2 weeks or so just so that I can take the demo car out for a spin.......Those were the difficult times.

However, seeing the upgrades they've done to the '02, I was quite delighted since those were the things I wanted in the first place....auto-dimmed mirrors, arm-rest, mono-toned dash. However, a few more pleasant surprises: full leather (which actually looked nice), and VSC!!

I think I've made the right choice by waiting an extra year!!! (Waited since 1998, the initial launch in Asia)

Just my thoughts.....
 

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How much difference is there between the manual & automatic version in terms of the suspension set ups. I'ver heard the manual transmission version has a firmer set up than the automatic one. Is it a subtle difference or is it a lot firmer in the ride?

Thanks!
 

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My regrets over buying a 2001 IS300 won't really kick in until I start seeing 4 door BMW M3 SMG2's around... That and the Mazda Rx8. Until then I can still feel fairly smug.
 
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