Pros - Excellent smooth drive and value for money. Superb comfort and specification.
Cons Mpg not the best. Faster cars available in this class.
The IS was originally sold as the Toyota Altezza in Japan until the introduction of the second generation Lexus IS design.
Lexus IS200 Overview (1999 - 2005)
The Lexus IS series entry-level luxury cars/compact executive cars made by Toyota have been steady sellers, mainly in the UK and Europe. The IS competes with the BMW 3 Series and similar sports saloons.
The first generation was launched in Japan in 1998 as the Toyota Altezza and as the Lexus IS 200 in Europe in 1999 and as the IS300 in the US in 2000.
Its a smart 2.0L executive car with a straight-six cylinder engine and a reputation for a very nice drive. Owners describe superb weight distribution, handling and performance.
The IS 200/300 interior featured special elements unique to this Lexus range including a chrome metal ball shifter, pop-up navigation screen, and chronograph-styled instrument panel. The styling of the rear light clusters have been much applauded and imitated on similar models.
The IS200s 153bhp engine is well known to provide a creamy drive. Other features include superb build quality, sophisticated interior and equipment levels including airbags, multi-CD stereo, six-cylinder engine, six-speed manual gearbox, climate control, electric windows, electric folding mirrors.
Lexus IS insurance groups start at group 12 and rise to group 14.
No car has ever done as well as consistently as Lexus in the JD Power survey results. By 2005 Lexus had won the top honour in the annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey, for the fifth year running. It came top with 848 points out of 1000 for overall satisfaction (the average was 786 points), also topping the quality/reliability and vehicle appeal categories, with 923 and 870 points respectively. In rankings by individual vehicle ranges, however, the Lexus IS200/IS300 came second overall in the individual vehicles although the top vehicle for its class. The study involves mailing questionnaires to a random sample of 90,000 UK car owners. These owners were asked to rate their cars on quality/reliability, vehicle appeal, ownership costs and satisfaction with dealers and servicing. In 2005 Lexus also retained its number one slot in the Dealer Attitude Survey conducted by the National Franchised Dealers Association. Lexus was also named Best Manufacturer in Driver Power report published in Auto Express magazine.
Wheels and tyres
Chassis and body
Front - Ventilated disc
Rear - Solid disc
The IS was completely redesigned for the 2006 model year and was introduced in 2005. The Toyota Altezza name also ceased to be used with the introduction of the Lexus name in Japan. The second generation IS model were shown at the 2005 Geneva Auto Show. In the United Kingdom and Europe two IS models are now sold by Lexus:
IS 250 - 2.5 L V6, 204 hp (152 kW), rear wheel drive
IS 220d - 2.2 L Inline-4, 175 hp (130 kW), diesel engine, rear wheel drive, manual only
The 2007 IS models include two refined new engines on the is 250 and 220d, a petrol and a diesel. The first diesel from Lexus, offered in the IS 220d.
This engine harnesses all the efficiencies and the torque of diesel with the endlessly well-mannered smoothness you would come to expect from a Lexus. A host of features in both the IS 220d and the IS 250 also ensures remarkable all-round strengths.
Both are rear-wheel drive, the IS 220d is available with 6-speed manual transmission. The IS 250 is available in both automatic and 6-speed manual versions powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine. Both models include Smart Entry and Start System, knee airbags, MP3 compatibility and a full range of of innovative and high quality luxury features as standard.