For 2002, Lexus offers a 5-speed manual option to the IS300 model. I jumped at the opportunity to drive one, and I was sold in a heartbeat. The firmer suspension tuning on this model as well as the crisp shifting action of the manual truly make this the enthusiast's choice for a great sport sedan.
I opted for the leather/ecsaine interior trim package, which really helps keep you in place while making turns. The seats themselves are top-notch to begin with, even for tall drivers (I'm 6'02"). The acceleration is just as smooth as the braking and cornering. The auto-leveling standard xenon headlamps are a nice touch too.
Smooth and refined powertrain. Balanced weight distribution makes this car fun to throw into a turn. Interior accessories are decent quality. Stock radio is excellent, with good button positioning. Climate control is amazing.
Not so touchy traction control, although it can easily be turned off. A little more high end power would be appreciated to pull ahead in the horsepower race against its competitors; However, I have not noticed the engine's powerband to have any weak spots.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.