The Lexus IS has long been an anomaly—a mainstream Lexus that would rather wake you up than lull you to sleep. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe SportCross is the even more fun wagon, but will its price prove it to be what IS?
I think it’s safe to say that cars like yesterday’s 1985 BMW 528 really put the class in classic. It’s getting to the point where you rarely see the E28 edition of the 5 Series on the road much anymore, while catching a glimpse of an earlier E12 model is akin to sighting Sasquatch in the wine aisle at your local Trader Joe’s.
That rarity and allure went along way toward swaying yesterday’s vote, and in the end that Bimmer’s $3,500 asking came away with a satisfying 67 percent Nice Price win. That was perhaps even more impressive in light of the detriments of its wonky bumper rubber and chunky monkey wheels.
BMW was the obvious target when Toyota introduced the Lexus IS model in the U.S. at the turn of the last century. It was albeit the 3 series rather than the 5 that the IS held in its sights. The model offered a Bimmer-esque DOHC inline six, compact dimensions wrapped in crisp, aggressive bodywork, and, unique for the upscale marque in this size class, a rear-wheel drive platform. The company’s Camry-based and just slightly larger ES series catered to people who once bought Buicks and considered Olive Garden to be fine dining. The IS was positioned more for the sushi and sake crowd.
Here we have a 2002 Lexus IS300 SportCross, the latter part of that name indicating that it is one of the even more desirable five-door models. Its hatchback wagon style was denoted by an extended roofline ending in an aggressively racked backlight. That provided a modicum of utility but not at the cost of masking the car’s sporting intentions.
BMW currently sells a 4-Series model in a similar form, which has the unfortunate name of Gran Coupe. Lexus however, dropped the wagon version of its IS after its initial five model year run.
I should note that while Gran Coupe is an incredibly stupid name for a five-door hatch (yes, I’m of the religion that coupes are two-doors only) at least we didn’t get Toyota’s JDM name for the IS here in America. Back in the land of J-Pop the IS SportCross went by the handle “Altezza Gita” which apparently is Italian for Height Trip.” Dufuq dat?
This SportCross rocks 152,000 miles and what looks to be Millennium Silver Metallic paint over a beige, leather interior. It comes with some desirable kit including Nav, bun warmers in the seats, and a limited slip diff out back. The mill is a 3-litre 2JZ-GE inline six, which was good for what ails ya to the tune of 212 horsepower and 209 lb ft of torque. Behind that sits an A650E five-speed automatic and before you get your—or anyone else’s—panties in a bunch over this being a slusher, know that they all came that way. If it makes you feel any better, the instrument cluster on this generation IS is Jack Nicholson cool, even if the gear indicator does read bass-ackwards.
Aesthetically, the car appears to be un-dicked-with outside of some modestly dark tinting film on the windows. The seller claims that it’s some 3M brand that he says is the best. The ad also notes that the car is mechanically sound and all the lights and bells are lighting and belling. Maintenance records are available to peruse upon request as well.
It’s not all warm hugs from mom and chocolate milk however. The ad notes some curb rash on the wheels and a scrape on the left-rear door, while the interior looks like it could stand a serious cleaning.
Look, I’m not kidding folks, if you’re trying to get money for your car, clean that bad boy out! I get all jazzed when I see those wonderful triangular vacuum patterns in car carpets, and I want you to jazz me when I’m considering your car. Dirt, trash, and your junk strewn all around in the pics means my wallet stays shut. Also, specifically for this seller, what’s up with that red wire under the passenger side dash? Why didn’t you tuck that up or at least Photoshop it out?
Okay, enough of a rant, let’s get to brass tacks. The asking price for this luscious Lexus is $6,999, and that includes a clean title and registration with a month before renewal. What do you think, is that a price that should have a new owner registering it in their name soon?
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