Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
Expert Reviews 1 of 7
By Rick Popely
May 24, 2001
Vehicle Overview Lexus quickly established itself as a manufacturer of high-quality, reliable luxury cars, but its lineup lacked the emotional appeal of rivals like BMW, which attract buyers with a reputation for performance. Lexus is trying to change that, first with the midsize GS 300/430 sedan and now with the IS 300. The IS 300 gives Lexus a direct rival for the BMW 3 Series. With rear-wheel drive, an inline-six-cylinder engine instead of a V-6 and an emphasis on sporty handling, the IS 300 is a marked departure from the luxury-oriented, front-drive ES 300, a dressed-up version of the Toyota Camry.
Exterior Slanted rear roof pillars give the IS 300 a semi-fastback profile, and there is little front or rear overhang on the sharp-edged body. The overall length of 177 inches puts the compact-size IS 300 in the same ballpark as the 3 Series sedan and about a foot shorter than the ES 300. The standard wheels and tires are 16 inches in diameter, and 17-inchers are optional.
Interior A chronograph-style instrument cluster that Lexus describes as inspired by sport watches mounts three smaller gauges within a large speedometer. However, the gauges are so small they are hard to read. A separate tachometer sits to the left and a fuel gauge to the right. Automatic climate control, a stereo with cassette and CD players, heated outside mirrors and remote keyless entry are standard.
Lexus says the IS 300 holds five, but the three-place rear seat is divided by the driveline tunnel, so two is the practical limit. A pass-through section from the rear seat to the 10-cubic-foot trunk allows carrying long items.
Under the Hood The 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine is the same one used in the larger GS 300 sedan, though it is rated 10 horsepower less at 215 in the IS 300. The engine teams with a five-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel controls that allow manual gear changes. Lexus says it will add a manual transmission in the future. Side-impact airbags for the front seats, antilock brakes and traction control are standard.
Driving Impressions More chiseled styling gives the IS 300 a meaner, hungrier look than the luxury-oriented ES 300. Instead of stressing quietness, luxury and comfort, the IS 300 offers crisper handling, quicker acceleration, and more road and engine noise.
The IS 300 feels more like a BMW than the typical Lexus a sensation that is purely intentional and quite enjoyable.