Digestible Collectible: 2002 Lexus IS300

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 2002 lexus is300

Car enthusiasts, to outsiders, are an odd bunch. We refer to cars by their model codes or platform names. We take photos of random, interesting cars just because. We argue on forums about the relative merits of various brands of oil. However, we are useful to those outsiders when it comes to advice. Family, friends and co-workers all come to us for recommendations on cars, tires and service. At times, the volume of requests can be overwhelming, but otherwise we appreciate being appreciated.

For example years ago, a good friend once asked me to help him choose between two late-model used cars, a Lexus IS and a BMW 3-series (E46, I think). He’s a car guy, so the advice differed than that I’d give to a non-enthusiast. Simply because he was a BMW fanatic, I told him to get the 3 over the Lexus, because he’d regret not having the roundel years down the road.

Had it been my money, I’d have picked up the Lexus without thinking twice. Late-model BMWs seem to have so many funky and pricey maintenance needs that even paying Lexus dealer prices might be preferable to DIYing a 3er.

This 2002 Lexus IS300 looks to be a fine example, and a somewhat unusual one with a manual transmission and limited-slip differential. The Carfax is clean, though careful inspection is warranted due to the Wisconsin location. The photo may be decieving, too, as the front right fender looks a bit discolored compared to the rest of the car. Its 112,000 miles on the odometer isn’t too bad, considering the reliability record of the wonderfully smooth Toyota 2JZ straight-six.

An oddity I’ve seen while shopping for the IS is the tendency to call the automatic transmission a manual — or occasionally, an manuel. The gated shifter for the slushbox may be throwing some dealership personnel for a loop. Its asking price of $12,000 might be a bit high for this, as the market seems to be in the $8,000-$11,000 range, but there should be room to negotiate.

Funny enough, my BMW-nut friend messaged me tonight as I was writing this. We are now headed to Indiana this weekend to buy a Lexus.

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  • ANTItoyota ANTItoyota on Nov 22, 2015

    This is an example of an ugly piece of TRASH toyota

    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Nov 27, 2015

      Oh look, we have a mentally handicapped visitor here. Welcome to the site.

  • Rjammy Rjammy on Feb 24, 2018

    I bought a 2001 bmw 325. My wife bought a 2002 IS300. For many years, I was smug about my bmw, it was vastly better than the Lexus although I must say the Lexus had a sweet engine. But the bmw became a maintenance nightmare and it’s long gone. We still have the Lexus and I now admit it is the better car. It’s simply bulletproof and very cheap to run. Thinking about restoring it and continuing to keep it as a summer car.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂