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.
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.
If you are looking for a fun and good looking vehicle, the IS300 should do it! It attracts a lot of attention. It seems as though all eyes are on the Lexus IS300, rather than the average BMW 3-Series, Mercedes Benz C- Class or Audi A4. 2001 models do not offer the 5 spd manual, DVD or auto-dimming rear view mirrors. If you can do without that, you're set.
I bought the car brand new. It was one of the first available in Southern California. The car now has about 202,000 miles on it, with regular service by the local dealership. The car has never had a single costly repair. There are no squeaks or rattles. Even with such high mileage, I wouldn't hesitate to jump in the car and drive cross country right now. This is truly a worry free car. I've owned cars from Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Saab, Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Toyota, VW and Honda. This Lexus has been the best car I've EVER owned, bar none. Like a fine Swiss watch, it runs forever. And Lexus provides the best car buying experience anywhere in this galaxy.