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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone-

I am new to the forum because I am trying to get an idea of everyones thoughts on the IS300 Lexus (first gen). I plan on selling my 2001 Honda Prelude and buying a used IS300, preferably 2003 and newer. I was just trying to find out what people thought of it who own it, any problems with it, maintenance, likes/dislikes etc. I obviously have a Honda now which is not that expensive to maintain but would love to get a luxury car but still not have to dig a huge hole in my pocket. So far I have heard that this car is fairly similar in maintenance costs as the Honda, I am sure a little more money but not ridiculous or anything. I am not trying to be cheap or anything but i again I do not want to burn a hole in my pocket buying something that will cost a lot to upkeep. Thanks so much!

P.S. I am really excited because I really want to get one of these cars! ;)
 

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Having only owned the car for one week the biggest complaints I've heard of in these forums so far are.

1. Questionable Interior Quality
2. 30 Inches of rear legroom makes back seats useless to adults
3. Bad Fuel Economy (18-20MPG)
4. Underpowered in Today's car market where a Accord Coupe makes more power then a S2000

Other then those minor issues I think it's a significant upgrade from your Prelude. RWD>FWD + The IS is much more classy and has a timeless design. I don't think you should worry about reliability, these motors seem to be bulletproof as long as you keep up with regular stuff like fluids and timing belt.

Seriously the only thing people warned me about before buying the car was that the CD player Jams, That's it!
 

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Disadvantages, ^^^What he said.
The back seat doesnt fold down. It just has a ski pass. to small for a lawn chair ;)
Noisy calipers. Because its a new design called floating calipers. It creaks and makes noises when turning and going over speed bumps slowly.

Advantages, you can buy your car parts from Toyota and pay their prices, not lexus' prices. :)
 

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Maintenance will be more expensive than on a Honda (assuming you go to the dealer) but the car will run fine for years with just regularly scheduled maintenance.

and yes......gas mileage does blow.
 

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Gas mileage wasn't too bad stock. Once you modify it, MPG does pretty much out the window :(

Rear seat leg room isn't the best, the interior is pretty quiet in my opinion. Even at highway speeds with my 3" piping to a 3" magnaflow exhaust. Back seat doesn't fold down, which isn't an issue with my car since I don't use it to haul anything larger than a suitcase which fits fine in the trunk.

I've used my car on a road trip to and from Atlanta(about 3 1/2 -4hrs) with 4 guys, 6ft or taller. And it went pretty smoothly. That was when it was stock but slammed on Tein SS's.

But since you drive a prelude right now, it'll be a big jump up in size(interior and exterior wise).

I say go for it. And if you plan to mod it, there's a pretty good backing with aftermarket parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the responses. Well considering I have no leg room AT ALL in the prelude now having even a few more inches would seem like a luxury. As for fuel economy my Prelude gets about 27 highway and 23-24 backroads so that will be a little bit of a change. As for high gas prices, I already pay those because my car requires premium as well. Also my trunk is very small now too so again having a few more inches to spare will be like an upgrade as well. And I like the part where you can buy parts from Toyota :) way cheaper I am sure. As for some things I get done, like breaks, oil, general fluid changes etc my hubby is very handy so usually I pay cheaper than a dealer anyway because I don't go to the dealer, I just buy what I need and hand it over to him. So if you ever hear of a manual, with preferably less than 50k miles on it and not really anything modded (I would prefer something leaning more towards stock just because I would like to do all that stuff myself) please feel free to PM me! Also my fav colors in order are: That dark blue, Gray and then Black or White Thanks!! ;)
 

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2005 White IS300 5 Speed for sale in Stafford, VA.

Still in the market by private seller. Check my ad in autotrader. Punch 22556 in the zipcode to see my IS for sale.


Thanks for the responses. Well considering I have no leg room AT ALL in the prelude now having even a few more inches would seem like a luxury. As for fuel economy my Prelude gets about 27 highway and 23-24 backroads so that will be a little bit of a change. As for high gas prices, I already pay those because my car requires premium as well. Also my trunk is very small now too so again having a few more inches to spare will be like an upgrade as well. And I like the part where you can buy parts from Toyota :) way cheaper I am sure. As for some things I get done, like breaks, oil, general fluid changes etc my hubby is very handy so usually I pay cheaper than a dealer anyway because I don't go to the dealer, I just buy what I need and hand it over to him. So if you ever hear of a manual, with preferably less than 50k miles on it and not really anything modded (I would prefer something leaning more towards stock just because I would like to do all that stuff myself) please feel free to PM me! Also my fav colors in order are: That dark blue, Gray and then Black or White Thanks!! ;)
 

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Hey were you a member on preludeonline by any chance? I traded a 1998 Prelude Type SH in on my IS300 and I am very happy! I miss the Prelude sometimes, mostly because of the extremely tight handling, the 5 speed (I went with an e-shift IS300), and of course the 7,600 rpm blasts through VTEC. Fully modded I got the speedo up past 155 several times!

Anyway, I decided to switch mostly due to lifestyle changes, i.e. I wanted four doors and a bigger trunk while still having a classy and sporty car. You'll see about the same fuel economy as the Prelude so no issues there. I generally got 28-29 mpg in the Lude, 27-28 in the IS300. Town driving gives about 23 in both cars, but of course your mileage may vary as many members on here report crappy mileage.

The IS300 is a lot higher quality car than the Prelude. Whereas my Lude felt light and fragile, the Lexus is built like a tank. Even washing the car I can tell there is a lot better build quality. Parts would flex on my Prelude as I washed them and the paint always felt thin like the metal was just barely covered (I had a diamond white pearl btw). Not so with an IS300.

Most important thing is driving, and you will absolutely fall in love with the 2JZ coming from a Honda 4. No buzzy rough 4 cylinder growl here, just smooth torque and an amazing sound. Also the drive by wire throttle gives you a lot of snap, you'll probably not want to leave loose objects on the dash because they will always end up flying at your face. Handling in the IS300 is great, and not that different from the Prelude except with a little less feel. I do notice the steering in the IS is extremely weighted and precise, between that and the strong throttle reponse it really feels sporty. It's not light and tossable like the Lude but you'll love taking it around corners and it's a million times better to live with when it comes to normal mundane driving.

Insurance when I lived in Colorado was only about $40 higher for 6 months of premiums. Now that I live in Florida I pay $150 a month as a 24 year old w/ no tickets. I'm really hoping that drops in a couple months when I turn 25 because IMHO a 7 year old car shouldn't cost this much. If you can afford it, you'll love having an IS300 over a Prelude!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I will definitely take a look at your car!!

As for PreludeOnline I think I was on it once or twice but only to look, I was actually on MD Prelude Club a lot before it ended. I am a huge nerd lol :) but I am so glad someone on here can tell me what it is like to go from a Prelude to a IS300. Yeah I have two dogs now and having a 4-door to put a crate in would be so much more convenient instead of having them run around inside my car and make me want to kill someone. Like I said before I am used to alright gas mileage, premium gas prices and all that jazz. Right now I pay about $100 a month for 9 months for the Prelude and I am 22 with nothing on my record so I feel like if it were to go up it wouldn't be too bad. I will also have a nice down payment for the IS300 when I would sell my Prelude because it is almost paid off. I guess the only thing that really concerned me like I said before was maintenance. I recently had my timing belt replaced on the Lude and it was about 700-800 (I can't remember exactly). I mean small things like oil, and stuff I can get done but looking at big things like that is it somewhere around the same price? Thanks for all the help, I know I will miss my Prelude when she is gone, I really enjoyed that car a lot :p Anyway I am glad I joined this forum and I am looking for all the useful information everyone has ;)
 

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Having only owned the car for one week the biggest complaints I've heard of in these forums so far are.

1. Questionable Interior Quality
2. 30 Inches of rear legroom makes back seats useless to adults
3. Bad Fuel Economy (18-20MPG)
4. Underpowered in Today's car market where a Accord Coupe makes more power then a S2000

Other then those minor issues I think it's a significant upgrade from your Prelude. RWD>FWD + The IS is much more classy and has a timeless design. I don't think you should worry about reliability, these motors seem to be bulletproof as long as you keep up with regular stuff like fluids and timing belt.

Seriously the only thing people warned me about before buying the car was that the CD player Jams, That's it!
Sorry, but I must disagree.

1) Interior quality, to me, is tha shiznit, why? Because right now, in San Diego, the weather is acting really wierd, colder than usual at night. So when I head to my car, it's a cold walk, but when I get in, WOW, it feels like it's warm due to the suede/leather combo. I highly suggest this classic interior of suede/leather over all leather (which was a factory add on, stock is suede/leather). Also, when hot, after a basketball game in the park, when you sweat in leather, you tend to slide off and it shows. With the suede, it basically covers it.

2) NO WAY, thats what I thought about size too. I am a pretty tall guy, 5'11, well tall for an Asian. But I had my 6'1 friend in there and he said "wow, a lot of leg and head room". It's because the whole design of the is300 is the size of a Toyota Corolla but inside, it's the size of the Camry, head/leg room. This is possible because the car is more lowered, so the floors are lower, allowing more head room. Also the trunk and engine bay is small, compact, allowing like the main part of the car to take up about 70% of the space. The back seats are also slightly tilted, so you are kind of lying down and the front seats can decline up/down. So anyone that is like 6'1 or below has enough room, front and back, trust me!

3) Bad fuel economy? That is what I USE TO THINK as well, but I changed the tires and cleaned by fuel injectors and mann it has better gas mileage since I first got it. It does around 19mpg, city, and 22 mpg on highway, for me. I would not say this is good or bad, but this is decent....you cannot really expect the best gas mileage from a 3.0 litre sports car, right? Everything else will make up for the bad fuel economy anyway. I put in $60 (current price $3.81 for premium in San Diego), and that lasts me to as long as 12 days, MAX.

4) You cannot compare this car to the 2008 accord coupe, realistically. 2008 Coupe is a newer car than the IS300, and it is also a coupe. Also market demand for faster engines was in effect, so all the car companies tried to make their cars look nice (such as Honda and Toyota, making their non-luxury models all luxury by adding bigger engines and navigation, such as the Toyota Camry, pushing out 268HP!?). IS300 vs s2000, s2000 is straight sports roadster car with no luxury features <<really, none, but i do take the convertible top as luxury?<<. The is300 is not ALL JUST POWER, it's everytihng mixed into one, that is why I bought the car for once. if you are looking JUST FOR POWER, than the is300 is not on your map.

In no means am I trying to disrespect you abdizzle, but taken that you have only owned the car for a week, if you were to keep it for years and years and years, you will start to learn that this car is classic. I mean I have only owned this car for 3 weeks, myself, and i learned fast WHY this car is really demanding and why Toyota is the best veichle company that ever existed.

Do look out for the common problems though, as stated the cd player jamming. My cd player only skips songs, sometimes, when the cd player is hot (been played for along time could cause it to be hot). Another common problem is the cheap clear coat that was used to paint the is300's (you will notice most or ALL is300's have rock chips in the front bumper/hood), weak clutch (most people have replaced the low clutch life already), and ecu chip (only for 2001's). Most of these problems were also found in the 2001 is300 too, as well.

As for you looking for 2003+, I recommend 2002-2004, because those years came both with manual shift option and LSD option. 2003-2004 came with sport design option. 2001 did not have manual shift but had LSD option, and 2005 had manual but no LSD option. Refer to http://my.is/forums/f52/2001-2005-is300-definitive-changes-list-228212/#post3021264

Enjoy.
 

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More in depth....

-The 2jz-GE engine, when you gas it, when it winds up, it sounds like a spaceship, SERIOUSULY. (Look at Toyota and how they put their antennas on is300's and other cars, look at the headlights and design, Toyota logo, it looks like Alien cars and from outerspace, DON'T THINK IM WIERD FOR SAYING THIS BUT OPEN YOUR EYES!)

-Very nice handling!

-Very smooth and quiet driving, even when I went 143MPH on the freeway (didn't take it up more because i was scared)!

-The fog lights, the antenna, the tail lights, the suede/leather combo, are ALL TIMELESS AND CLASSIC material!

-Get manual tranny! People give you mad respect once they see that Lexus, roll back on a hill, and drag itself back up because they know the manuals were hard to find and lexus only came out with 2 cars that come in manual (other would be the is250 RWD).

Recomendations: 2002-2004, manual shift with LSD (sport design or regular, depends if you like the sport look, but same specifications). Millenium Silver Metallic, Graphite Grey Pearl, and Thundercloud Metallic are the easiest colors to take care of!

Enjoy!
 

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Just be REALLY careful when looking for a great one without all of the mods. I just bought my second IS last month and looked at more than a few hundred nationwide before any of them were worth narrowing down. I found ten that fit the bill, then narrowed it down to the one I got.
 
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