ISO Lexus IS 300 SportCross wagon

I live in the SF Bay area and test drove one of these the other day. Fell in love. Only problem was it was about 5k out of my budget. Was asking almost $9000! Anyone know a good place to look for these or are they as rare and expensive as the sales guy said? Thanks in advance!!


If your budget is $4000.00 then you do not need to be looking at luxury vehicles at all. They always have higher repair costs than mainstream family vehicles. Some also require premium fuel.

Edit: Edmunds site says premium fuel is required.


Agreed. But I was under the impression that these were lasting cars and not
that difficult or costly to maintain. I’m used to driving volkswagon and I
think this would be easier?
I should have mentioned that I’m looking for 2001-2004.

Make that 2002 - 2004. They weren’t around in 2001.

When it comes to vehicles that are 14 to 17 years old past reputations mean nothing. Only the current condition and what a mechanic finds during an inspection ( usually around 100 to 150 dollars ).

Your statement about this Lexus being easier to drive is curious, what does that mean?

Easier and cheaper to maintain than my nightmare 99 vw gti is what I meant. My friend knows cars and he said that model and years are a solid bet for longevity. I want to find one I can afford.

I owned one, sold it about 2 years ago. Generally an easy car to own, fast and handles well, with some good space in the rear hatch area. I loved it but my wife thought it was too small (it was pretty tight inside) and too easy to get speeding tickets. Since it was her car, and she was right, we sold it and bought something else. Yes, it’s a Lexus, but really almost every part was a Toyota part. The engine is very smooth and strong. We had issues with keeping it aligned. It seemed very easy to get screwed up on the terrible roads in the Bay area. If it was the car I drove we’d still own it, but it wasn’t.

Pretty poor gas mileage, too.

Then your friend should know that any used vehicle of that age is a gamble. If this is to be a daily driver you really need to think this over. Did you see where Wentwest says poor gas mileage and it needs premium fuel.

They are some on auto trader now all for over 8k. This seems weird because
the same year RX’s are much cheaper and they are 4wd.

@wentwest I thought it was a blast to drive and I picture myself putting a
mattress in the cargo area for long trips. So that’s why I want this car.
I agree the gas mileage looks pretty bad and I wouldn’t enjoy buying
premium gas.

I was already aware of the poor mileage and premium fuel. My inquiry is in
regards to purchase price.

My inquiry is in regards to purchase price - and specifically if there are places I had not thought to look where I might be able to find one in good shape than I can afford. As opposed to the one almost in my price range with the mileage rolled back that the tweaker on craigslist is trying to sell. :slight_smile:

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All I can tell you is that cars are cheaper in the Midwest and Texas than in California. IS300 SportCross is not a common car and probably a terrible car to own in snow country. If you find one in the Midwest you have to ask what it was doing every winter. In Texas they have freshwater floods and salt water floods, so that’s a pretty sketchy situation for a 15 year old car.

Mine had about 97,000 miles and I sold it for $8,000.

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I have an 02 sportcross - they are great cars, and very dependable. Inline 6 is smooth as silk, and has full torque @ 3800 rpm. They were made from 02-05 and they only made about 3100 total. They are hard to find, but not impossible. As far as price - not sure. I bought mine 2 1/2 years ago with 110,000 miles on it for 5,900. Never wrecked, and had Limited slip differential (LSD) which is also hard to find. Make sure it was not wrecked, and maintenance has been performed ( timing belt and so on ) fun car! As far as alignment issues I have never had any.


They are pretty rare. Not many were sold, and they were only around for a few years. With average to a little less than average miles, in central VA, they tend to go for around $6k-$6.5k, private party sales, with retail prices being closer to $7500. I could easily see prices around $9k in San Francisco.


@chelt - As you’re seeing, you’ve picked the wrong car to love, given your budget. Pick another car. How about a Mazda3? Much more affordable, but still fun to drive.

Good to see that texases also see’s that this is not the vehicle someone with a $4000.00 budget should be looking at.

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That’s not true. My wifes Lexus ES350 is basically the same vehicle as the Camry. Maintenance costs are exactly the same.


The IS 300 was a pretty unique vehicle and the SportCross ones even more exclusive. The rear-drive IS 300 had an engine unique to early modern Lexus cars, the inline 3-liter six. The team at Lexus kept the Supra theme alive after it was discontinued in Japan in 2002 via the IS 300 cars. They are a cult classic and all IS 300s (mostly sedans) are relatively sought after and much loved by owners. Kinsha’s love is easy to detect in the comment above. There are so few sportwagons I imagine if the owner knows what he/she has they want a premium for it. If the shape of the car is what is blowing your skirt up consider an Acura TLX wagon. Way more made, more recently, and less sought after. It’s funny you bring this up today. I just did a report on the all-new Supra concept and the inline six is a big part of the story.

Lexus also put that 6 in the SC300 and GS300, I believe. Nice engine.