1999 Lexus IS 200 Sport from UK and Ireland - Comments

13th Aug 2001, 11:54

Hello! I have an IS200S auto & have been driving a while now. After putting new tyres on the car (Yokahama's) the car was lethal for the first 500 miles. Yes, I know they have a protective covering on them etc.. but did display identical reactions to others. It now handles really well, but I won't take it into your average bend past 80mph, I just don't trust it! I was thinking of getting the IS200 Sport instead - but am dubious about it now! I agree it needs more power - I really feel gutted that in the UK we get such an underpowered version - where as in Japan (for those who don't know) where it's branded the Toyota Altezza they get up to a 280bhp version!! What a swizz!!

4th Sep 2001, 04:17

I can't believe all these comments about instability. How the hell can you lose control at 20mph or 25mph unless you have no idea how to drive? People these days are just too used to FWD.

Losing it at 60mph on snow. This is easy to do in any RWD car, especially if you have an LSD.

I have driven plenty of miles in an IS200, usually pretty fast. Have never experienced any problems.

15th Dec 2001, 18:40

I also find it impossible to understand how these cars are "stepping out" at low speeds, and as for doing it at 60mph in snow... well what can I say.

I've had three IS200 SPORTS, and not had any of these problems, and I drove them all hard. I work in Germany where the winters are severe, and I admit the car struggles in the snow, but never stepped out; this would only happen on a sudden down change or applying power too suddenly. I have even driven my latest one with a supercharger fitted to Bavaria in the snow, and with 230 HP it still handles well...

So... is it the car or the driver I say.

10th May 2004, 08:14

I have been driving a long time and in different countries and my dream came true when just last weekend a friend picked me up in his IS200. I'll tell you what that was one hell of an experience. I took it through all its paces and it came out on top pretty much every time. However there was times when I thought I could feel the back start to kick out, but having read the other comments I doubt that's what it was because I'm assuming that 110mph the car would have done complete 360s.

The funny thing is that I have experienced the whole "kick out" issue when driving in rain in an Mercedes E230. As you know, they too are rear wheel drives. I remember putting my foot down and the back just kicked out and I found myself sliding sideways. This was whilist doing only about 50mph. Luckily there was no oncoming traffic, but it's something I'll never forget.

12th Oct 2004, 08:04

The Lexus IS200 is a fine car, enough said. The only two things that are negative about it are:

Slightly cramped interior (like a Mazda Xedos 6)

A thirsty 2.0i 6cyl engine (29mpg on average)

Faultless.

Escort or Nova owners should not be let loose on such a quality car.

24th Dec 2004, 05:48

Dec 24th 2004.

Just got my IS200 Sport on a 51 plate. Looking forward to driving it however now concerned about some of these reviews!! Correct me if I am wrong however isn't the Sport the only one with the LSD? As far as I am aware the IS200se and standard IS200 do not have this?

Maybe that is the issue?

I have a five year old boy and my wife is expecting her second, can anyone convince me that I have made a good decision? Concerned now!!

25th Jan 2005, 11:56

I've had my Lexus IS 200 SE Auto for 20 months (it's a 2001 reg), and have only one problem: it seems to have almost zero grip in snow. Even the slightest incline seems to defeat it when it's snowing. The Snow Button appears to have no effect whatsoever. I've even had it slide down the drive overnight! It has good/new Bridgestones on it. Any ideas anybody before I part ex for a 4WD?

3rd May 2006, 13:29

I agree with the original post. I work for Ford Motor Company, but drive a Lexus Sport. I recently wrote off a Lexus is200 SE. I was only doing 50 mph, and I hit some hailstones on a dead straight road, the car just went berserk.

I put it down to the conditions, but I replaced the car with an is200 sport, and it felt great to drive to be honest, until my first high speed corner in slight rain. The back end kicked right out, traction control hadn't come on, the car just kicked out. I was doing about 60mph around a roundabout and accelerated out of the bend, the shift in weight caused the rear end to slide out, not enough for me to lose it, but enough to worry about the characteristics of this model.

My advice is take care in the wet, it's not worth crashing what is normally a perfect car.

24th Jun 2006, 03:16

I think everyone who is experiencing problems with the rear end kicking out should do the following before complaining:

1: Tire geometry

2: Shock absorbers

3: Take a drivers course.

I am a Norwegian track drivers instructor and have driven the IS200 a lot. The IS200 DOES kick the rear out in damp conditions, but not more than any other RWD car. I becomes quite clear where most of the problems is when people, quote: "step on it in the middle of the bend" etc.

In defense of the drivers experiencing problems, I have actually driven one is200 who kicked out dangerously fast, but after checking it, it proved put that the shocks where shot, especially in the rear..

4th Jul 2006, 07:14

It is a common fault with the IS200's to have bad wheel alignment. Some are fine with no problems, while some are death traps.

If you plan on buying one, check the tyres for uneven tread.

2nd Dec 2006, 10:56

I drive an IS and it is a relatively powerful rear wheel drive car. Rear wheel drive cars will all kick the rear out if the driver does not know what they are doing, or if the road surface does not provide predictable grip. I have experienced this kicking out, but it only happens when the road is deceptively slippy e.g. diesel on the road, or if I try to make it happen. I've read the comments and people say they haven't experienced this with other rear wheel drive cars - perhaps so, but ask yourself, what were these RWD cars? 60bhp escorts? The IS is supposed to be a driver's car, occasionally in a RWD even a good driver will find themselves unexpectedly a little sideways. Being able to get it back divides us. What we have to ask ourselves is are we a driver or not? If it frightens you - I suggest you test drive an avensis. This article saddens me, it seems the IS is going down the same road as the 3 Series. Bought to be seen in - not to be used properly.

7th Dec 2006, 20:23

In relation to the original comment - firstly I am surprised, given the gutless performance from the IS200, that it is possible to cause the rear to slide in normal conditions. Secondly, by a BMW 3 series or an Audi A4!