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(2001 model shown)
With an all-new generation of this compact sports sedan and station wagon on the way for 2006, changes for the current model year are modest. Both versions come powered by a 215-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine. The sedan is offered with either a five-speed-automatic transmission with "E-Shift" controls or a five-speed manual, while the SportCross wagon comes only with the automatic gearbox. Four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes, traction control, a sporty suspension and performance tires make the IS 300 fun to drive, especially around the curves. Standard features are plentiful and include front side airbags, air conditioning, heated mirrors, keyless entry, fog lights, a CD changer, and alloy wheels. Vehicle Skid Control, a navigation system, and several leather packages are optional.
2005 Lexus IS 300Enlarge Photo
2002 Lexus IS300 by Bengt Halvorson
A 3-Series beater? Not really. A sharp, spirited alternative? Sure.