The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Lexus would prefer to keep the car, but life’s realities have flipped that notion on its ear. Could this remarkably low mileage IS300’s price also have you flipping out?
Finding a seven-passenger vehicle with a V8 engine isn’t all that hard these days. The problem is, almost all of those are of the tall, tippy SUV variety. Those are usually a pain to park and you can almost never get that center section of the roof washed in the driveway since the thing is just too dang tall.
If you want a V8 engine and a more compact station wagon body style, your options are going to be far more limited. In the case of yesterday’s 1998 Volvo V90, that limitation was overcome by the seller actually playing matchmaker to the car and a GM Vortec V8. One could easily believe the seller’s assertion that the result was “amusing.”
What was apparently less amusing was the Volvo’s $13,900 asking price. That seemed to reflect a good bit of the expense the seller incurred in doing the V8 conversion, but as we all know, that’s not how any of this works. While the Volvo was applauded in concept, its price tag couldn’t raise so much as a sympathy clap and it fell in a smothering 92 percent No Dice loss.
As we move on from yesterday’s Volvo, there remains that lingering sense that a small wagon is the most sensible sort of car imaginable. Of course, not everyone needs three rows of seats. And surely there are ways to make a wagon a performance machine other than with the addition of a huge, thirsty V8 engine. If you feel that cloying sense that there must be a car out there that doesn’t sacrifice performance for wagon utility and style, then let me introduce you to this 2004 Lexus IS300 SportCross.
Um yes, SportCross. OK, I agree it’s kind of a dumb name, and it doesn’t make any sense either in the Lexus lexicon or as a descriptor of the car. Still, that’s what they gave us to work with.
Lexus introduced the IS300 in the U.S. market all the way back in 1999. The wagon body style, with its steeply angled rear hatch and doubled cargo capacity (21 cubic feet versus the sedan’s meager 10) arrived a year later. For reasons known only to the bean counters at Lexus, the SportCross would come in automatic transmission form only. Cue sad trombone.
It’s unlikely that the auto-only option was the reason for the SportCross’s woeful sales but, whatever the case, Lexus managed to move a mere 3,000 over the course of the 2002 through 2005 model years. The body style was abandoned completely with the IS300’s redesign the following year.
That’s all preamble to get you set up for this 2004 Lexus IS300 SportCross having that goofy name and sporting the factory five-speed automatic behind its 2JZ-GE six-cylinder engine. Those are minor issues anyway, when you consider that the car has only 74,000 miles on it and that the 2JZ as installed in this model pumps a healthy 217 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque through that automatic.
There’s lots more to like here too. The bodywork, in Black Onyx, looks to be in excellent shape. The headlamp covers show no evidence of yellowing, and the smoked taillamp covers appear to be equally unweathered. The car has been denuded of its badges save for the capital L in the grille, and it rides on black-painted aftermarket alloys.
Stepping inside, we find even more black. The cabin is brightened by some brushed metal and chrome trim but is otherwise a goth tween’s dream. Dark as it all may be, everything looks to be in serviceable shape here. And why wouldn’t it? After all, it’s a Lexus and it’s only done 74k.
The ad notes newish tires and a timing belt job at 22k which, well… WTF? Regardless, at least that’s not something to keep you up at night. Also noted are the replacement of a bad passenger door-lock actuator and a freshening of the fluids, which make this Lexus ready to rock and/or roll.
The seller asks $9,800 for the car and prefaces the ad by averring that the sale is forced by a change in a work situation. As might be expected, the seller is not interested in meeting any low-ballers, so put your penny jar back up on the shelf.
However, to help someone with real cash we have to decide if that $9,800 asking is a sweet spot for this appreciably sweet IS300. What do you think, does this SportCross come across as worth that much? Or, for that much asking, would you let the seller keep it?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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