Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I haven't really been around these parts but I'm planning on getting a new car soon. My old car which is a 2002 Jetta died after about 5 years of my daily driving to school and back. I need a vehicle that will last me another 3 or more years with only basic maintainence I.E. give it an oil change, keep brakes, and other stuff up to spec and go. I'm a poor college student so $$ isn't readily available to sink into something that needs constant or expensive maintainence. Would this car be a good choice for someone like me?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
These cars are generally reliable. You'll see a lot of them for sale with 200-250k miles and they'll say "runs great, AC blows cold".

They're also generally pretty straightforward to work on, but they are highly complex, with lots and lots of different systems. For example, the headlamps can aim themselves based on how heavily the car is loaded. There is an electronic control unit inside the the dashboard that is responsible for climate control. This system communicates over a network, to tell the ECU when to run the A/C compressor. Same control unit requests the blend door to open, the fan to run etc etc.

There's lots of these types of things scattered throughout the car. If they fail, it's hard to diagnose, and OEM parts from Toyota are egregiously expensive. Still lots of them on ebay though... For now.

So, mechanically the cars are really solid and electronically they are quite reliable considering how complex they are, but there is just no such thing as "rock solid" reliability when it comes to electronics.

You pay your money and you take your chances. You could do a lot worse than one of these IS300s...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Compared to your Jetta, Yes.

The amount of maintenance depends on the car you buy, if its been well maintained then very little may need to be done in the future if it has not been maintained then it may take a few grand to get it baselined and you may be chasing gremlins for a while.

If I were a broke college student I would be looking at a low mileage civic or Rav4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,270 Posts
Lexus parts are expensive. IS300 parts are relatively rare. They're reliable cars but they aren't particularly cheap to maintain. They have timing belts too which need periodic replacement.

I agree with lockd, I'd buy a CRV or Rav4 if I was just getting by. A CRV with the 2.4 K engine and 5 speed automatic is pretty much bullet proof. They made so many of them parts are everywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I drove an early crv the other day and was surprised at how much I liked it! I was car shopping for a broke college kid (daughter) and she ended up finding a really nice one owner, low mileage dealer maintained Mazda3 hatchback for $7000. Reliable, 30 MPG and fun to drive, whats not to like?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
The cars are pretty rock solid mechanically. I have had mine for four years and hardly have had to do anything to it. I just replaced the lower control arms, and the A/C has a slow leak.

But I bought my car at a pampered 60k miles, and it is now at 95, most out there will be higher and may have more needs.

A used Civic or something might be a better bet, but these are awfully good cars and more fun.

Having said that, one negative, if on a budget is the car takes premium gas and gets kind of shitty MPG for it's size and performance. High teens to maybe low twenties in town, and mid twenties at best on the highway. Between it taking regular gas and getting 10-12 more mpg my wife's Honda Fit only costs about half as much for fuel.

The IS certainly has more pizzaz and is a more comfortable ride, but the Fit is kind of fun too, and much cheaper to run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,270 Posts
I like the "Fit" too. Owned one for awhile. Just sold it because it was an extra car we weren't driving. If you do a bunch of highway driving, it might be too small but for around town they're great. It never got less than 30 mpg. My IS is in the low 20's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
MPG is an important point for a broke college student.

The IS300 mpg sucks. For what it is, the MPG is just freaking terrible. Expect 19.5 buzzing around town and 22 or 23 on the highway at 70. One time I was on 2-lane state route for several hundred miles going a steady 55 the whole way and managed a personal best of 25. But then, recently, I covered 250 miles on the highway in a little under 2.5 hours (this was in Mexico, of course), and I got 16mpg doing it.

And the IS300 requires premium fuel, too. If you try 87, it'll ping hard a few times - every single time you tip into the throttle.

Not to rant, or anything - but why the hell does a 3.0L, 215hp six cylinder with 9.5:1 compression need premium fuel? Why does it get such crappy fuel economy? The IS300 actually has pretty good aerodynamics, is fairly lightweight, tires aren't that wide... the engine does not have to work hard to move them!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,270 Posts
Our newish CRV gets 30 mpg. The same as the Fit. In a car that weights 3400 lbs, that aint bad. They got there though by using a CVT transmission which is terrible to drive and needs oil changes every 30K miles. I'd take lower fuel economy over CVT any day.

The IS fuel efficiency isn't any worse than any other car with a 3 liter engine weighting 3300 lbs. It's about the same as my WRX was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
The IS fuel efficiency isn't any worse than any other car with a 3 liter engine weighting 3300 lbs. It's about the same as my WRX was.
I'll argue this.

An era-similar early 2000s Maxima with 3.5L six cylinder, non CVT, 50hp more than our IS300, weighing more than our IS, will net an easy 6-7mpg better.

An era-similar early 2000s Corvette, of similar weight, +150hp, +2.7L displacement, way bigger tires easily matches IS300 city mpg and beats the pants off it on the highway.

Regarding a WRX: That car has awd, which always saps mpg. On top of that, it is a fully-engaged awd system (center diff notwithstanding), which is worse than a part-time type arrangement. It is also turbocharged, which always requires a richer A/F mixture (and therefore worse brake-specific fuel consumption) whenever under boost.

IS300s simply do not get competitive mpg.
 

·
Mr. Roo
Joined
·
9,590 Posts
I was gonna say, the biggest deal breaker for me would be the low MPG (20) and requirement of premium fuel. If you want something reliable, cheap to buy and run, easy to work on and maintain, I'd just get a Corolla or something like that. Any basic Japanese car. But anything should be better than a Jetta lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
I'll add my two cents, It might not be the best first car if you are a student with limited budget. Only for prenium fuel comsuption. I've own a Corolla too and it cost three times less driving to work with her than using my IS.

That being said, they aren't costly car to maintain at all, parts are easy to find (the few that may fuck up) beside that, brakes, suspension parts, clutches, radiators everything is in stock and in a reasonnable price margin ( you guys ever own a Subaru? If you think a IS300 is expensive to maintain and repair... do not touch a Baru with a 10 ten foot pole). Back the day I bought mine I was lazy and paid to get the water pump and timing belt kit done 600$ parts and labor. Not bad at all. It still a Toyota in its roots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
If you are willing to pull up your sleeves and do some work on the car they will last a long time. But most 15 year old cars will have some issues. This car will probably last longer than another jetta. But really look at the car you are going to buy. I just bought a salvage is300 three weeks ago with 140k miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
If you are willing to pull up your sleeves and do some work on the car they will last a long time. But most 15 year old cars will have some issues. This car will probably last longer than another jetta. But really look at the car you are going to buy. I just bought a salvage is300 three weeks ago with 140k miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
The IS300 is a great reliable car and the parts are cheap and plentiful. What isn't cheap is labor for maintenance, however that is true for most cars. What will also hurt you if you are on a tight budget and need to drive long distances is the fuel economy.

As for the question on the fuel economy, I think it has something to do with the gearing. My 5MT tach's 3500rpms at 80mph which is insane for a 3.0L I6 imo. The mileage would be much better if it were taching 3000rpms at 80mph.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
As for the question on the fuel economy, I think it has something to do with the gearing. My 5MT tach's 3500rpms at 80mph which is insane for a 3.0L I6 imo. The mileage would be much better if it were taching 3000rpms at 80mph.
Not sure I fully agree with this. The amount of power required to maintain speed is a combination of air resistance, grade resistance (going up a hill vs flat ground) and friction/rolling resistance.

Gearing has no effect on on the air resistance or the grade resistance. It does change friction though, because there is more friction when the engine is running 3500 vs 3000. However, the thermal efficiency and brake-specific fuel consumption will also be different... To make the required power to maintain speed at 3500, your manifold pressure will be lower than it would if were required to make the same power at 3000 - so the engine will be operating at a different point in its efficiency map (similar to a turbo compressor map). This could be an increase OR decrease, depending on engine design particulars.

I suspect our IS300s would gain 1 (or maybe 2) MPG if it were regeared for 3000rpm @ 80mpg. This is based on me losing 1mpg in a Mustang I had a long time ago, after I swapped the OEM 3.27 rear gears for 4.10, which was a BIG change.

I'm swapping from an R154 (0.75:1 high gear) to a T56 with 0.63:1 high gear, which will drop the highway cruise engine speed about 550rpm... So I'll soon find out how the 2J/IS300 MPG responds to a re-gear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Not sure I fully agree with this. The amount of power required to maintain speed is a combination of air resistance, grade resistance (going up a hill vs flat ground) and friction/rolling resistance.

Gearing has no effect on on the air resistance or the grade resistance. It does change friction though, because there is more friction when the engine is running 3500 vs 3000. However, the thermal efficiency and brake-specific fuel consumption will also be different... To make the required power to maintain speed at 3500, your manifold pressure will be lower than it would if were required to make the same power at 3000 - so the engine will be operating at a different point in its efficiency map (similar to a turbo compressor map). This could be an increase OR decrease, depending on engine design particulars.

I suspect our IS300s would gain 1 (or maybe 2) MPG if it were regeared for 3000rpm @ 80mpg. This is based on me losing 1mpg in a Mustang I had a long time ago, after I swapped the OEM 3.27 rear gears for 4.10, which was a BIG change.

I'm swapping from an R154 (0.75:1 high gear) to a T56 with 0.63:1 high gear, which will drop the highway cruise engine speed about 550rpm... So I'll soon find out how the 2J/IS300 MPG responds to a re-gear.
I know what you mean. What I meant by "much better mileage" was +2-3 mpg. Maybe not "much better" lol

I'm thinking the VVTI system is slightly more engaged at the lower rpm which would optimize torque. Did you see any difference with the R154? I believe you should be at 3k @ 80mph with the factory 5MT diff.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top