First used Lexus on a budget?

Smychavo

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Lemme be more specific here,
This'll be the first car that I could call my own. I've driven around in a Grand Caravan, two generations of Camries (I4 XLE, and a new XSE Hybrid), a Ram 1500 truck, and thanks to a relative, I got to drive around in a new 740i, all without any issue. I'm out on my own financially speaking, and my folks tend to have the people movers. It'd be cool to have something relatively unique, and fun to drive in the lineup, with a low price of entry. What'd be good options around $10k or so? I'll prolly be keeping it for a good while, so I wanna make this count, and I would greatly appreciate the input of those that've been in this enthusiast circle significantly longer than I have.
 

Will1991

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What are you looking for? Fuel economy, space, performance?
For more fuel efficiency, I would look into the CT200h
For something more, perhaps the IS250.
 

Smychavo

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What are you looking for? Fuel economy, space, performance?
For more fuel efficiency, I would look into the CT200h
For something more, perhaps the IS250.
Let's say performance. I like the idea of having a car I could learn alot from as far as driving is concerned.
 

Will1991

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In your market, and I think you’re young, I would go for the IS250.

It’s not as fast as the 350, but things are going to break down and with the cheaper 250 it’s going to be easier to pay.
If you also want to do some maintenance yourself and some track days, it’s going to be cheaper and easier to fix it (learning by yourself can be expensive).
 

Smychavo

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In your market, and I think you’re young, I would go for the IS250.

It’s not as fast as the 350, but things are going to break down and with the cheaper 250 it’s going to be easier to pay.
If you also want to do some maintenance yourself and some track days, it’s going to be cheaper and easier to fix it (learning by yourself can be expensive).
Yeah, you're right about the young part lmao😅
Alrighty! 250, what model year would be ideal? Looks like anything after 2011 gets a considerable price jump.
 

Will1991

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I would try to get one with a manual gearbox and would look into a well maintained interior, we all have been there, so you’re going to want to change something in the exterior to “make it more you”.

If it was me, and 10k were my budget, I would try to find something for 8k (don’t know if it’s possible, I’m from Europe so I’m not aware how expensive they’re around there) and spend the other 2k in suspensions upgrades, you will be amazed how much the car feel can change and start to learn.
 

Smychavo

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Preliminary Autotempest listings seem to show manual 250's averaging $15k or so around the states. I won't be buying anytime soon, so I really appreciate the recommendation! As for suspension upgrades, what's there to choose from? :0
 

Will1991

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Wow, that’s around what they’re asking in here, wasn’t expecting that!

There is a lot to choose from, you can make small upgrades like new coils, shocks, bushings, sway bars, etc… Even a new set of bushings can make a difference (specially on older used cars)!

And all of this, you need to know what you want, you can’t have it all (comfort, performance), there is always some sort of trade off.

You can go with bags (air suspension) but it’s expensive and usually you loose on the performance side.

But the best to learn are adjustable coil overs, if you got the tools and space at home you can change all the tiny details (almost like GranTurismo) and feel what that changes.

A car can be a money pit, and if you want to learn my best advice is to try and save some bucks at the beginning.
 

Smychavo

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Wow, that’s around what they’re asking in here, wasn’t expecting that!

There is a lot to choose from, you can make small upgrades like new coils, shocks, bushings, sway bars, etc… Even a new set of bushings can make a difference (specially on older used cars)!

And all of this, you need to know what you want, you can’t have it all (comfort, performance), there is always some sort of trade off.

You can go with bags (air suspension) but it’s expensive and usually you loose on the performance side.

But the best to learn are adjustable coil overs, if you got the tools and space at home you can change all the tiny details (almost like GranTurismo) and feel what that changes.

A car can be a money pit, and if you want to learn my best advice is to try and save some bucks at the beginning.
I'll keep that in mind, really appreciate it!
As far as aftermarket is concerned, are there any go-to manufactures for Lexus or is it all just pick and choose?
One other thing, it seems alot of listings Autotempest is picking up are actually automatic 250s, even with the transmission type filter on. There's only a handful of actual manuals in there, and they all look quite beat up for the price, and model year. Suppose in time others will put up better examples, but yikes.
 
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Levi

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I too have been and am looking at IS XE10 Sportcross and IS XE20 220d or 250 with 6 speed manual. Price just does not go down anymore, and the "cheap" ones are beat up with many previous owners. IS is now considered a youngtimer. In Europe IS XE30 hybrid is a better buy if you have +15k budget.
 

Smychavo

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I too have been and am looking at IS XE10 Sportcross and IS XE20 220d or 250 with 6 speed manual. Price just does not go down anymore, and the "cheap" ones are beat up with many previous owners. IS is now considered a youngtimer. In Europe IS XE30 hybrid is a better buy if you have +15k budget.
Unfortunately with how few there seem to be in manual, the next best bet would be a 250 with the auto. I'm in the NA market so I don't think we even get the hybrid.
 

ssun30

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IS250 is just too weak. A 4 cylinder Camry or a BMW 320i is faster. It didn't make a lot of sense since its main role was for displacement tax in Asia. Usually a weak RWD car could be enjoyable as long as it's light, but IS250 definitely isn't.

If you don't mind FWD the XV40 ES350 is a much better buy. The fastest FWD car of its time and still among the fastest even today. The 2GR-FE is much lower maintenance than 4GR-FSE and has similar fuel economy. And that generation was based on Camry not Avalon so it's not too big for maneuvering in city. Steering is effortless unless you like German-style stiff steering. Some good tires are good enough to make ES350 enjoyable for leisure driving. You can mod the IS250 as much as you want but it won't become a track car so might as well go for the powerful and sensible option.
 

Smychavo

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IS250 is just too weak. A 4 cylinder Camry or a BMW 320i is faster. It didn't make a lot of sense since its main role was for displacement tax in Asia. Usually a weak RWD car could be enjoyable as long as it's light, but IS250 definitely isn't.

If you don't mind FWD the XV40 ES350 is a much better buy. The fastest FWD car of its time and still among the fastest even today. The 2GR-FE is much lower maintenance than 4GR-FSE and has similar fuel economy. And that generation was based on Camry not Avalon so it's not too big for maneuvering in city. Steering is effortless unless you like German-style stiff steering. Some good tires are good enough to make ES350 enjoyable for leisure driving. You can mod the IS250 as much as you want but it won't become a track car so might as well go for the powerful and sensible option.
Hmm, at the moment, outright speed isn't of importance to me unless you mean to say the 2.5 V6 in the 250 is sluggish to the point of being un-drivable under any reasonable circumstance on the road. I'm not looking for it to be an outright track car. I would *like* to have a car that acts as a learning platform for me in learning some performance driving, a gateway, essentially within Lexus. Having something RWD and fairly compact sounds enticing. If you don't mind my asking then, what about an SC, or a GS for that matter? I see their buy in for similar amounts to an automatic IS.
 
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Get a first generation IS300.

Manual, 2JZ, great handling, gorgeous and timeless styling, top-notch quality, and in some cases it had a limited-slip differential as well. Go hunting for some cars. This would be the best option for you.

Also the cool factor that this has is above everything else bar the only car that is tied to this is the 3-Series of the same time period.
 

Smychavo

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I might be bias but if you take your time the car you are looking for is the 3GS. Probably the most timeless car in lexus line up IMO. Looks great when tastefully moded. Performance is great loved it so much have owned 3.
I'll say I've seen a couple of 3GSes, they look so nice when they're really well maintained. Prolly my favorite of the crop so far. Thouugh I haven't seen as many ES or older ISes around, so I'm a bit biased myself to be honest.
Lots of neat suggestions though! All very tempting to consider.
 

bogglo

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I'll say I've seen a couple of 3GSes, they look so nice when they're really well maintained. Prolly my favorite of the crop so far. Thouugh I haven't seen as many ES or older ISes around, so I'm a bit biased myself to be honest.
Lots of neat suggestions though! All very tempting to consider.
For some strange reason it's hard to find a good IS at a reasonable price. Peronally have never been interested in the ES. The only ES have owned is a 97 ES 300 it is fún to drive surprisingly and handles well due to it being light weight. It came with premium sound system and honestly that's the most crispy sounding system have heard in any lexus.
 

Smychavo

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For some strange reason it's hard to find a good IS at a reasonable price. Peronally have never been interested in the ES. The only ES have owned is a 97 ES 300 it is fún to drive surprisingly and handles well due to it being light weight. It came with premium sound system and honestly that's the most crispy sounding system have heard in any lexus.
The pricing's exceedingly similar to each other from what I've seen between the GS, IS, and ES on the NA used market for similar model years. I understand that parts, maintenance, among all the other things I'll need to worry about will end up being very dependent on the model I'll end up with. ES is seemingly the cheapest to maintain, but I'm not sure how that holds up relative to the GS or IS for that matter.