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We took a field trip to our local Lexus dealership for an upclose look at
the new 2004 IS300. There weren't too many new additions or changes to the 2004 lineup, but here's what we found.<P>

Ok, so a lot of us were disapointed that there were no upgrades under the hood this year. No word of the fabled 2 door or convertible yet either. There are, however, some nifty additions to the 2004 lineup and he best part is they are mostly all parts you can retrofit to your own IS if you have a 2001-2003.<P>

First, we take a look at the exterior. The tail lights, headlights and fog lights have the smoked chrome look frm the 2003 Sport Design. Optional 11 spoke wheels (also from the Sport Design) are available. That wraps up all the exterior changes we noticed.<P>

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Now we move to the interior which has several minor changes. The instrument cluster received a silver accent dress up that attempts to breaks up the informational areas. Personally, we liked the all black look. The A/C control rings and door switch plates are now silver instead of the graphite color from previous model years. Silver accents grace the steering wheel logo and a fine silver stitching is visible on the inside of the wheel. These changes are welcome, as the graphite color was neither close enough to black to match, nor light enough to contrast.<P>

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Thank you Lexus! We finally get a stateside available dash storage tray option. No more flat, open lint tray and sunglasses flying off on tight turns! The design is however, very different from the well known JDM dash storage tray with lid. Lexus U.S. instead opted to make the design part of the top A/C vent bezel sitting flush across the top and the inside storage compartment is deep and narrow.<P>

A memory seat option is now available and the buttons were put next to the coin holder slot left of the steering column. But don't get your hopes up previous model year owners, we don't currently foresee a way to retrofit the memory seats without shelling out some bucks for a control module unit. We will definitely work on it though, because hey, memory seats are cool.<P>

Lexus threw out a few new colors in the lineup this year as well. Yet
*another* blue, Indigo Ink Pearl (IIP) was added along with Bluestone Metallic (BSM). IIP is very similar to the 2001 Spectra Blue Mica, a welcome change over the lackluster Intensa Blue Pearl. BSM is a mature, silver-gray blue, seen also on the Lexus RX. Savannah Metallic, however is very much an "old person color", like Beige. Lexus has to appease that narrow over 50 demographic of IS300 buyers, right? Solar Yellow was dropped entirely making you banana boat drivers even more unique.<P>

So, we now look to the future and hope that Lexus engineers will listen to owners and enthusiasts. Rumors are constantly flying left and right and we eagerly await the 2005. Convertible, coupe, V6, V8? Only time will tell!
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