3rd Jan 2007, 03:19

For those still reading this topic, I bought an IS200 three years ago and wrote it off so I KNOW about the consequences. When I did crash it was an icey day and I was going around a corner which also had an incline. I will also admit that I was going too fast and accelerating hard too.

The trouble tends to be due to the sheer fact that you don't feel as if you're doing the speed you are. Nail it up the gears and you'll be doing 75mph in third without even realising you've got another three gears left to play with.

Since wrecking my first one I've bought another IS200 Sport. I will give this advice..

1) USE SNOW MODE in greasy / wintery / icey conditions. It seems to slow the response on the throttle and stops the tail popping out on corners - this is what happened to me and the TRC (Traction Control) couldn't save the car due to the ice on the road, despite me correcting the slide.

2) CHECK the tyres. Yes, it does eat tyres. Don't be like the muppet in the Lexus garage I recently went to - change the REAR tyres regularly (he swore blind it was a front wheel drive until the mechanic got it on the rolling road). It wasn't until last winter when I noticed a complete lack of control on corners that I found there to be hardly any tread on the tyres. Get them checked every 6 months or so - these will save you in the long run!

3) Slow the chuff down! Yes, it does need about 30 more bhp, but it already has around 155bhp and a 0-60 of around 8 seconds. If you whip through the 6-speed gear box to fast then you will wheelspin.

3rd Jan 2007, 10:49

Well done on a good response above. You appreciate a good car which is being a little different. As mentioned elsewhere, most rear wheel drive cars could spin if in the wrong conditions. Good grief, I even managed it on a couple of occassions in my first car - a Volvo 340 1.4!!! I learned some lessons with that and have had to tame myself recently in a BMW 330 worried that the same could happen again. Therefore, in comparison with both cars, power is not the important factor. The original reviewer could have had dud tyres!!! You can't drive a rear wheel drive car the same as a front wheel drive one - especially in corners!

4th Jul 2007, 19:16

My 2003yr IS200SE and have experienced similar problems with loss of traction.

The car lost grip whilst I was half way through an exit on a roundabout, whilst the conditions were wet. I certainly wasn't playing the boy racer and over accelerating on the bend.

Whilst I had no problem correcting the slide, and in fact enjoy the driver input, the loss of traction was totally unexpected at such low speed, and would cause me great concern if it were to happen again.

This car is exceptional in every way I can think of, so it pains me to say that I and others do not feel safe with its handling.

In relation to previous comments about loss of traction on straights; I have also felt the loss of traction momentarily, but only in wet conditions.

Would a limited slip diff help? Answers on a post card.

25th Sep 2007, 18:17


I have just bought an IS 200 SE auto 51 plate, so far I am over the moon with he car and the fact that it is a rear wheel drive never worried me, until now.

I live in Oldham and get snow every year so I will be definitely using the snow button and will be able to post back the results.

9th Nov 2007, 04:42

Hey hey hey, you all seem so negative about your Lexus. Cheer up, I am only 18 and I've bought an is200 sport model, they're wicked cars, leather and sat nav, come on you cant go wrong - if you don't know how to drive one, don't buy one...

22nd Nov 2007, 02:25

I bought a new IS200 Sport in August 05. So far, I've had the front discs replaced twice and the discs skimmed once, all due to unexplained warping, admittedly all under warranty.

I see from comments from a few years ago that similar problems have been experienced. Is there anybody else experiencing such problems?

10th Jan 2009, 17:14

Owner of 52 plate IS200 Sport for 14 months. Great car, but a back end drift resulted in a spin coming off a roundabout, my wife feels the car is unsafe, still love it to bits myself. 57,000 miles on clock, been driving 20 years, plenty experience with RWD, feel as if trc does not engage, any feedback please?

11th Jul 2010, 06:52

I have a Toyota Altezza, which is the Japanese version of the Lexus IS200. It produces 200bhp from the standard 4 cylinder 2 litre Yamaha tuned engine, and is a dream to drive. I enjoy pushing it to the limit in tight turns, but have never felt it was unsafe.

It is very easy to get the back end drifting on damp or greasy roads, just like any other powerful RWD car, and it demands respect. In dry conditions it will out corner just about anything, and has very predictable handling.

It is not suitable for novice drivers or those who don't like to find the limits of their vehicle. I have been driving for 40 years, and owned many sporty cars. I bought the Altezza because it represents the best blend of performance, reliability, comfort and practicality. Nothing has ever gone wrong with it.

26th Nov 2010, 04:27

Owned an IS200 Sport for 7 years without a single issue other than service items.

Agree that handling can be tricky when accelerating hard through corners, but I've never been genuinely surprised. My advice - keep your foot in and learn to drift if you absolutely have to drive it to the limit.

Performance in snow is ridiculous, I can't pull away in 2 inches on flat ground. Will be trying winter tyres this year.

23rd Mar 2013, 23:58

I skidded with mine yesterday in snow going at a dead speed, which absolutely terrified me. This car seems to lose traction with the slightest amount of snow, and I ended up leaving it some 15 minutes away from where I live, and the area is not hilly at all. It gives me a headache in snow, and the traction control does seem to be ineffective. Nice car all round, but just that issue.

27th Mar 2013, 09:35

It's because the IS200 Sport is really designed to go more sideways than normal, and unlike a BMW etc, this car ain't very wide or heavy, so it can lose the back end a lot easier. If you want to help to stop this, either just put a bit of weight in the boot, or do what I'm doing, which is giving the back-end more traction by fitting rear spacers, lower springs and stiffer bushes, and 225 45zr 17 tyres, which will help loads.

6th May 2015, 12:19

I have had 4 Lexus is200, currently have 3, chopped one to pieces for spares. I have a 99, a 2000 and a 2004. I drive mine around with the traction control OFF to save on rear pads, all have the standard wheels with standard tyre size, 215-45/17 but Avon tyres, good but not overly pricey. The 2004 sits lower on the back than the other 2. At no time in 7 years driving of these cars everyday have I had the back randomly jump out in any road condition. These cars weigh 1.7 tonnes and only have 158 horses, it's hard enough to get the ass end out even when trying to, they are very underpowered for their weight. It's as simple as if you can't control a rear wheel drive car, don't buy one. These are excellent cars with great handling even with the traction control OFF, hence why I've got so many.

16th Jan 2017, 00:28

These are great cars, all the stuff about the rear stepping out is from drivers who have no idea how to drive a rear wheel drive car and probably have no mechanical knowledge of how car chassis/tyres work.

Try driving a 7 litre 1970 Mustang in the wet, then you will know what the rear stepping out means, or a mk1 Escort with cross ply tyres; driver's today generally haven't got a clue and rely too much on electronic driver aids.