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.
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.
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