Used 2003 Lexus IS 300 Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 Lexus Is-300 - Consumer Reviews

2003 Lexus IS 300

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126 Total Reviews

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Reliable
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Reliable
on

Vehicle

2003 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Love the car. Bought it with 15K on it and it's got just over 80K now. Sporty, handles great, looks great but most of all it's reliable. In 65K miles of driving, I have had to do squat to the car other than oil and change the tires. Obvious normal maintenance but still haven't needed brakes, belts are getting ready but no mechanical problems at all. Especially the A/C - works like a champ and still freezes me out.


Favorite Features

Love the turning radius.


Suggested Improvements

Change the camber on the tires. Stock angle wears the inside of all 4 quickly. Obviously it helps with handling but I don't race it, so no need.


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Understand what you're buying
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By 03is300
on

Vehicle

2003 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Note: I am a car guy, I'm not even 30 and this is my seventh car (not an idiot, just an enthusiast with a few extra nickels to burn on car payments), this is not a worthless review where I talk about how I don't like the cupholders or the color..... Aside from a few minor issues, this vehicle is a great choice, especially now that the prices have dropped dramatically. This is not your grandfather's lexus, it does not ride like its on rails and a lot of the 'luxury' options are simply not included with this model. Previous vehicle: 2005 Audi A4 with every option imaginable, the two are not comparable on any level beyond purchase price. Overall a fantastic car, just understand what ur buying


Favorite Features

This vehicle moves- I bought the 5 speed man trans, 1st is sluggish but you'll get to 80 by the time you're near the end of 3rd gear. One of my friends runs his own shop and another is a master mechanic at a lexus dealership and I have mechanical knowledge myself, anyone who knows cars will tell you Toyotas are bulletproof if maintained, especially this I-6 engine. Again, the term is 'bulletproof.' If the car has been maintained, you will get sick of it long before it dies. Keep with the maintainence schedule and you'll get 175k-200k easy out of it. That is not an exageration; if you don't beat it to death, it will literally run forever. I saw one online for sale w 224k mi.


Suggested Improvements

Things to mindful of: 1) this is not a family car, the back seat is very tight and really only seats 2. 2)there is CONSIDERABLE oversteer, especially at highway speeds. It will take time to get used to, trust me. You move the wheel an inch and you'll be in a guard rail. No joke. 3) road noise is nearly comparable to a jeep wrangler. This vehicle was lexus's attempt to appeal to the younger masses, I'm 26 and I wish it was quieter. 4) if you're in a cold climate (im in the northeast), be ready to deal with a less-than-agreeable gearbox when she's warming up (manual trans). Shifting is notchy and somewhat difficult for the first few minutes, but once its warm, you're good to go.


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Bought it used, but it still had zero problems!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By gpokhare
on

Vehicle

2003 Lexus IS 300 E-Shift 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)


Review

Bought it w/ 120,000 KMs and as a rebuilt title. Amazingly fun car to drive in the summer, and is extremely reliable. In 2 years owning it, outside of having to change the brake pad and battery, I only had to come in to the shop for oil changes and tire changes. However, the car is not good for heavy winter driving. Because its RWD and fairly light, you have to be extremely careful when driving it in heavy snow roads as it tends to slide. The stock stereo is unbelievable. I tried a 2014 BMW this year, and the stereo on that didn't even match the 03 Lexus IS stereo. Also, this car's safety features protected me very well when I was t-boned by another car. I would highly recommend this car.


Favorite Features

- Stereo - RWD acceleration picks up quickly - Safety - Reliable and rarely had any issues outside of maintenance (despite me driving a rebuilt title) - The handling is amazing - very tight turns - Its a looker, especially from the back


Suggested Improvements

- Winter driving is not that good - the car tends to slide, even with heavy winter tires on, so you'll have to drive carefully - Takes premium gas - cost me about $60-70 to fill up a tank (in Toronto, Canada) - Really bad at going up inclines - engine would audibly strain, and it drove much slower than other cars in that same setting - At least in my car, heating up the engine during the Canadian winter took about 6-10 minutes. If I did not heat up the engine and tried to drive, the engine would sometimes stall


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A Great Replacement
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By astro403
on

Vehicle

2003 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Decided it was time to upgrade from my 1999 Honda Prelude but was a little skeptical at first. I loved that car. Great handling, good power, unbelieveable reliability, the list goes on. After I bought the IS, all my skepticism was put to rest. Love the handling (although I had to get used to RWD again) performance, sexy styling and yes, even gas mileage. My IS gets about the same as my prelude. And we're talking about a 3.0L V6 compared to a 2.2L 4 banger. I was impressed. Traction is OK in the snow. Living up in Canada you need winter tires, but even with them and with both trac. control and snow mode on, the wheels still slip quite easily, but if you pay attention like you should, you'll be fine.


Favorite Features

Love the styling the best. Best stock rims out there. Good combination of luxury and performance. The dash is great. Unique and functional. If you want solid performance with some luxury then the IS is for you.


Suggested Improvements

The transmission with the MT needs work (when you shift from 1st-2nd-3rd you hear a "clunking" sound). It's the only flaw I notice, but talking to dealers and other IS owners, it doesn't have impact on reliability or performance. You just have to learn to shift a little differently and it goes away.


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Lexus did it again!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By CMac
on

Vehicle

2003 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

I just bought this car about 6 months ago, and I haven't regretted it for a second. It's reliable, but still plenty of fun to drive. It handles curves extremely well at 60 mph+. Surprisingly, it handled very well in rain and snow, even though it only had highway tires on it. Traction could be better, but snow tires should remedy any slippage problems. No small feat considering we're talking about Salt Lake City winters. It accelerates well considering it only has 215 bhp. I have gotten plenty of looks and compliments on the car. Road noise is minimal, it's actually possible to carry on a conversation without yelling to be heard. The E-shift system is nice, but somewhat hard to use in a turn.


Favorite Features

Excellent handling and traction, intensa blue pearl paint, 17-inch alloy wheels (some of the best looking stock wheels out there), great sound system, exterior styling, aluminum pedals, 4 door sedan sensibility, quiet cabin, ergonomic cabin controls, hide-away navigation system, Lexus reliability.


Suggested Improvements

The cupholder located underneath the armrest doesn't make much sense, anything bigger than a 12 oz. soda can isn't going to fit under there unless you put the armrest up. Rear legroom is ok, but a little more wouldn't hurt. Same goes for the trunk. Painted brake calipers, I had to do that myself.


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