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Lexus IS (1999–2005)

Last updated 5 May 2015


The interior is a pleasant place to be, too. The chronograph instruments are nicer to look at than they are to read in a hurry. (If you want an ideal instrument display, buy a Prius II). The chrome gearknob operates the short-throw six-speed gearbox like a classic rifle bolt. And instead of a range of four and six cylinder engines, you get just one: a smooth 155PS two-litre twin belt-cam six. True, you can now also choose a 215PS three-litre IS300, and you can have either engine in the aesthetically challenged Sportcross body. But the essence of the IS200 saloon remains as the original 1998 Motor Show cars. And used values reflect how right that always was.

You also get a lot of kit, and now more in the ‘enhanced specification' from April 2004. Even the base model at a far from unreasonable £18,850 comes with a 6-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual gearbox, 6-disk in-dash CD multiplayer + cassette RDS radio with 6 speakers, climate control, electric windows, electric folding mirrors and a lot more. Some 2.0 litre rep's cars list at more money for much the same goody level. Move up to the SE and you get a lot more, including sports suspension, leather upholstery and new 11 spoke 17" alloy wheels. Automatics come with cruise control. But more important than any of that is the sheer quality of the car. Fit and finish is excellent. Paint perfect. Plastic fantastic. And that as well as the looks is probably why IS200s hold their money so well. You'll be really pushed to find even a high mileage 5 year old SE at auction for less than £8,000. As far as I can see they hang on to their money even better than a BMW 3-Series.

List Price from £31,900
Buy new from £28,802
Contract hire from £298.57 per month

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