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Should I get a used Lexus IS 300 or 350?

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September 29, 2011 12:07:07 AM

Hey guys so long story short my car got totaled in an accident back in August. I was waiting at a red light and this lady rear ended me outta nowhere. Anyway her insurance company is gonna cut me a check for around $3,000 and I have about $8,000 of my own saved up. I'm looking to get a used Lexus because my cousin is a mechanic at a Lexus dealership and he'd be able to service it for free.

I can either spend around $10k on a used IS 300 or use that as a down payment for a IS 350. The 350 would be around $20k total, so I'd be paying it off for another 3 years or so. The 350 is nicer but I'm only working a part time job right now; it'd probably be smarter to just go with the 300 right?

More about : lexus 300 350

September 29, 2011 12:59:04 AM

Myself I'd take the IS 300 but thats because I love the 2JZ engine. If you want to modify you can make crazy power out of it. The IS 350 is nicer cosmetically and the interior is better. Now The IS350 does have around 80hp more stock though. Now I know the IS300 is a reliable car, I know a couple who have owned them and they have been good vehicles. The IS350 I have no experience with but they do get good ratings and it is a toyota so it should be dependable. I think this decision is tough for someone else to make for you because I know that I get pretty emotional about vehicles that I buy. You need to take both out and see which one you get excited about driving again.
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September 30, 2011 8:00:55 PM

Ya the 350 is definitely nicer looking but I'm 23 so I don't really want anything too fancy unless I can really afford it. I think the 300 is a better option for now until I'm rolling in the dough. How many years do you think I can get out of a 2004ish 300 with about 116k miles on it? Also, I have no knowledge with modding and stuff is it pretty easy to do?
September 30, 2011 8:57:43 PM

from personal experience, yes the 350 has a nicer interior and exterior, but inside it feels a little cramped especially in the back, the 300 is a nice car and vary reliable not to mension nimble.
September 30, 2011 11:54:15 PM

It depends on how it was driven for how long it will last, just like all cars. At that mileage you should make sure the timing belt has been done. If not I suggest getting the cam seals done as well because they can start to leak around that time. Also I'd look at the waterpump, changing the transmission fluid and the brake fluid. Those cars have good engines, one of my favorites actually, and I know the manual trans is rock solid in them. The automatic I haven't dealt with at all. If that car has been cared for and you maintain it properly then there should be a lot of life left in it. Are you planning on keeping it stock?
October 1, 2011 12:00:05 AM

Well the thing is I don't know a thing about modifying cars and I don't want to spend a ton of money on it. What are some things I can do to it to make it look a little better and go a little faster? I think my cousin should be able to handle all the timing belt, water pump etc as far as that stuff goes...
October 1, 2011 12:11:09 AM

pcnut88 said:
Hey guys so long story short my car got totaled in an accident back in August. I was waiting at a red light and this lady rear ended me outta nowhere. Anyway her insurance company is gonna cut me a check for around $3,000 and I have about $8,000 of my own saved up. I'm looking to get a used Lexus because my cousin is a mechanic at a Lexus dealership and he'd be able to service it for free.

I can either spend around $10k on a used IS 300 or use that as a down payment for a IS 350. The 350 would be around $20k total, so I'd be paying it off for another 3 years or so. The 350 is nicer but I'm only working a part time job right now; it'd probably be smarter to just go with the 300 right?


It is for sure smarter to go with the IS-300. If I read the specifications correctly, the 300 outputs 230hp with a 6-speed tranny. That will give you all the power you need for passing and going through your turns. The IS-350 does have about 80hp more, but you get no extra gears, the rpm it gives you the horsepower is higher also, so the ratio of the gears is likely the same, meaning your initial acceleration may not be as big of an improvement as you might think, it if there was an extra gear that put out more torque at 1st, then you would notice a much more significant difference. So the difference in torque won't be a "Worlds" difference. It will just eat more gas.

And the thing is, if Money IS an issue then Power SHOULDN'T be an issue, because if you accelerate like crazy, you'll be chewing a lot of gas which defeats the purpose of having a bit of a weaker engine. 230hp is plenty of power.
October 1, 2011 12:21:17 AM

There are lots of thing to do for it to look better. Myself I'm a sucker for a white car that's lowered with gold BBS wheels. As for performance its a 2JZ engine so there are endless possibilities. If it were my car I'd cut out the cat, offset the O2 sensor and put a nice cat back exhaust on it. Now it most likely will not pass an emissions test with that done though. The catalytic is probably getting plugged at that mileage so I would expect you to see a bit of power increase and better fuel mileage from it. One thing to remember is with new intakes and exhausts you will never see close to the claimed power increase that they advertise. Research the parts as well, I've seen power losses from cold air intakes even. Also remember that once you start to mod a car it can get addictive and expensive. When I bought my pulsar GTI-R I think I ate craft dinner for a year to be able to pay for all the parts. Well worth it until I wrecked it.
October 1, 2011 12:31:28 AM

One more thing. Whenever I get a new car I go through cardomain to see what other mods people have done for ideas. As well if you do put different wheels on it remember that unsprung mass has an affect on handling and power.
Bigger wheels = more weight which means slower accelerating and worse fuel economy.
October 1, 2011 12:33:09 AM

That sounds complicated, I think I'll keep it stock lol. Thanks for the help though! :D 
October 1, 2011 12:49:18 AM

It's not as bad as it sounds. You'll have fun with that car. Is it a manual transmission?
October 1, 2011 1:41:48 AM

wip99gt said:
One more thing. Whenever I get a new car I go through cardomain to see what other mods people have done for ideas. As well if you do put different wheels on it remember that unsprung mass has an affect on handling and power.
Bigger wheels = more weight which means slower accelerating and worse fuel economy.


Once you have enough torque on a rear-wheel drive, wheels that are too small will blow-out if you floor it due to no grip.
October 1, 2011 5:23:36 PM

True but I doubt OP is slapping a turbo in his car. The car does come with 215/45 r17 tires stock which should be plenty for traction at stock. There are also the lightweight wheels that can be installed for the best of both worlds like BBS race wheels which would look awesome on an IS300. I was just trying to point something out that a lot of people don't think about. I see too many idiots get nice sports sedans and ruin them by slapping 20" chrome wheels on them.
October 1, 2011 7:16:51 PM

Speaking of cars (sports sedans), what car do you have? Just wondering. And my car has 18'' rims I believe, I just don't remember, haven't changed them in LONG time. I'm thinking about getting 17'' rims for a softer ride though, because every single pothole is a nightmare for me that it might mess up my subwoofer. Not sure why, even though its designed for it.
October 1, 2011 8:34:30 PM

I have a '05 CTS, '70 Impala, '08 Dodge 4500, and hopefully a '80 Datsun 280Z soon that I want to do an SR20DET swap on. Going down to a 17" wheel will soften the ride but have you looked in to different tires? If you do drop down to 17" make sure they fit over the brakes.
October 1, 2011 9:06:01 PM

Yeah I've looked into different tires, and I've tried a few over the course of a few years and its fine for me, but every little pothole isn't cushioned enough and I don't want my sub damaged. The 18'' are great for better handling/performance, but the 17'' will be fine and should soften it up enough to be a bit smoother, because some of the roads I go on aren't the highest of quality. And I have a BMW 540i '03 (Im pretty sure). Its got some Dinan modifications that up the hp to around 320-330, Not sure if it qualifies as a sports sedan, but I love it, Im not giving it up until I purchase a new 3 or 5 series-F10 body style, because I hated the E60.
October 1, 2011 9:21:32 PM

In my eyes any BMW is a sports sedan, they just seem to do everything right. My dream car is an E30 M3. It sounds like 17s are the way to go. Have you thought about what type? Myself I like the BBS and Rays Engineering but they are pretty pricy and with the weight of a 540i it's not like you'll really notice the few pounds saved.
October 1, 2011 10:21:01 PM

Well BMW usually gets it right...sadly the 540i E39 isn't one of them. Its an amazing car, very fast, and has amazing handling, but the E39 525, 528, and 530i are much better as far as reliability goes. The M54 engine in the 530i for example is leagues more reliable and dependable then my 540i's is. Infact, I wouldn't mind having a manual 530i w/ an m54 engine, its a solid 230hp. Not to mention its 230 BMW horsepower, meaning it can acheive huge torque at low rpms and be able to consistently deliver unlike many other engines that can deliver a peak HP at under very strict conditions.

I think E39 is by far the best design, with the new F10 right behind. I'm not a fan of anything before that. And yes, I'm going to try.

Let me also just say that HP specs without characteristics of the torque curve to RPM ratios means nothing really. Back before my 540 had any dinan modifications...it was just a stock raw 290hp, I had a friend with a nissan 370z. He claimed his Z had 330hp or something, so we went out on the track. Considering his Z weighed about 800lbs I think lighter then mine and having 40hp more then me, plus an extra gear I believe, I absolutely demolished him in our drag race on the track. My 540i produced way more torque at a fraction of the rpm his did. He has 330hp at 7000rpm, I have my 290hp at just over 5300rpm, not to mention I have over 300lb-ft torque at just under 4000rpm while his makes 270lb-ft at 5200rpm (according to specs). So my point is that horsepower means nothing without torque and rpm ratings.
October 2, 2011 7:14:42 AM

mmm both nice :) 
October 2, 2011 5:24:03 PM

You don't like the E30 M3? Really? Well I guess to each his own now.
I do agreee with the M54 being awesome though. Hell even the M50 can put down serious power. My little bro has a '93 525i with one.
Yeah too many people just see peak hp and think the higher the better. Look at VWs 2 litre FSI engine. Peak hp is around the 200hp mark but the GTI rips because of direct injection and a V/G turbo giving a crazy flat torque curve and peak torque at 1700 rpm.
You also see that with people putting custom exhausts on cars. With my Impala, s/b 350 under the hood, a 3" would have givin me a higher peak hp number but a 2.5" would give me a higher torque at a lower rpm. I went with the 2.5".
October 13, 2011 12:17:46 AM

Hey guys so I ended up with an 02 IS 300. I found the guy on Craigslist and I got a pretty good deal on it. It's still in pretty good shape but the guy did a couple of mods on it. He put some 18" wheels on it, lowered the car, and installed a dvd player where the old stock radio used to be. He had the original springs/radio though. Should I leave the car as is or put the original parts back in? I do kinda like the wheels and the lowered suspension but I don't know how I feel about the radio yet...
October 17, 2011 12:24:50 AM

Get IS-300.
October 21, 2011 12:13:54 AM

The lowering kit is probably a pre engineered kit from aem, enkei, etc so it will most likely be perfectly fine. It will probably slightly increase tire wear but nothing to be concerned about. 18" wheels are a good fit on an IS300 so no problem there. The radio I'd keep because the sound quality will be higher than stock. It sounds like you have a fun car there. Happy driving with it.
October 24, 2011 5:53:51 PM

Ya I kept the wheels and rims but I actually ended up putting the stock radio back because the aftermarket one wasn't very good. The reception on it was pretty bad and the sound quality was shabby. When you tried to listen to a song a few seconds would pass before you could actually hear it so you miss like the first 5 seconds of a song. There were also icons for GPS and a back up camera, none of which worked. The only cool thing about it was the flip out monitor and dvd player, but when I'm driving I don't really have time to watch a movie. I put the factory radio back in and its much better :D 
October 25, 2011 12:10:34 AM

That sucks about the dvd player but at least your happy with the car.
!