I have been driving this car since my daughter was 6 months old -- she's now in high school!!! My sister drove it for 2 years prior to me. This is the sportiest, most fun car to drive because the engine has some serious get up and go. The features on the car from 2001 are incredible and make purchasing any other a serious chore! Great stereo, universal garage door opener, ice cold air, power moonroof/seats/windows - etc. This car has everything!!! 154,000 miles and I know it has another 50K miles at least in her. When I finally sell this car, I sell with it many fond, happy, wonderful memories.
I'm 6'4 so I'm not a small guy by any means. So it took some time getting used to getting in and out of when it first became my daily driver. I had no intentions of buying a Lexus when I stepped on the lot and the vehicle I was searching for ( Toyota 4Runner ) was sold the salesman showed me this with 143,000 at the time It was a 1 owner vehicle and the gal who owned it was more than a bit irresponsible of how she maintained the vehicle since she first bought it and it showed after I owned it for the first 6 months. Of course being a brand new vehicle and Toyota taking some time to get the kinks worked out with problems during manufacturing. I invested almost $3000.00 to take care of timing belt,water pump belts,hoses,tune up,valve cover gaskets,new muffler and new throttle assembly let alone the constant sight of the dreaded "check engine light" for numerous emissions issues which was included in the figure noted previously after going to lexus and 3 other shops no one could seem to narrow it down and then it was the stupid charcoal canister which I managed to figured out on my own. Granted I got a pretty good deal at the lexus dealership for it but in the end I gave the manager a piece of my mind for a price that I could have gotten a better deal on it after the $$$$ invested when she became mine..I just threw up my hands and said I'm not sinking another cent into this and I'll sell it. Going on almost a year and all her neglect rectified,I couldn't let go of her...I'll admit,she's a fun car to drive and people still comment on her looks which has seen better days from the paint. Now that I've got a 2nd vehicle as my daily driverI just can't let go of my IS300 I drive her mainly on the weekends or if i have to go out on an errand. My 2 mechanics that did approx 90% of the work said...keep it,you'll have that car for at least another 100,000 miles. And so there she sits,in the garage and I admit,I look forward to jumping in and just taking off with her when the chance comes. And even at now 151,000 She'll stay a part of my family for at least a little longer.
I bought my 01 IS at 160k and have put over 15k miles over the past year. I have taken this thing on 400 mile road trips, through snow, etc. I haven't run into any repairs. I know the timing belt is due at 180k which will run at least $500 which I'm fine with due to it's extremely reliable track record. Drives super smooth, has amazing handling with tight steering- shocking for a 15 year old car with so many miles to handle so nice. If you are thinking about getting one go for it. Smaller back seat, cup holders are lame.
Update October 2016. I still have this IS. Has 190k miles now. All I have been doing is oil changes, tires, etc. Did timing belt and water pump for around $700 but no major repairs needed which is great especially at the age of this car. I have noticed the brakes on this car click and clatter but I;ve been told it is normal and safe. plan to keep it around for a while even after I buy myself a truck.
I liked this car when it debuted in 2001, but couldn't afford it. Some 15 years later I decided to buy one for the fun of it and I love it. I bought an one owner car and have replaced/up-graded many parts (as expected), but I love still this car. It's powerful, quite, sleek and still gets lots of looks/positive comments. It was obviously well built, because the interior/body is in excellent condition (for it's age), plus the engine is adaptable (and much desired) and I really like the rear wheel drive.
Engine adaptability, it still drives like an expense sports sedan (handling), suede interior, sleek exterior, rear wheel drive, inexpensive to repair/alter, etc.
Should have a timing chain verses a timing belt & improve instrument panel view.
Purchased the car with 19,000 miles in 2002 i commute over 100 miles a day to work and back and the car now has 243000 miles on it and has never given me any problems all i have done has chaged the oil and filters still has original timing belt and plugs have them checked often and mechanic states they still look fine this inline six motor is unstoppable my wife drives an 07 is250 and it has been in for repair atleast 5 times and only has 70000 miles the V6 motor in the 250 is no comparison to the inline 6 in the 300, also my car doesnt use one drop of oil and still has the same torquey power as the day i bought i would by another in a heartbeat this is truly a rare gem.