The 2005 Lexus IS300 has a hip and aggressive exterior style, a luxurious interior, and a comfortable ride that keeps road noise low. The SportCross wagon adds practicality to the mix, while the E-Shift gears even more toward sport enthusiasts with the addition of manual controls on the steering wheel to complement the five-speed automatic transmission.
The Lexus IS300 debuted in 2001 to compete with European sport sedans. The SportCross wagon model came out later that same model year. In 2002, Lexus added the option of a five-speed manual transmission to the sedan.
Plentiful standard features in the 2005 IS300 include front side airbags, air-conditioning, heated mirrors, keyless entry, foglights, a CD changer, and alloy wheels. Vehicle Skid Control, a navigation system, and several leather packages remain optional.
Body Styles: compact sedan, wagon
Engines: 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Lexus IS300, Lexus IS300 E-Shift, Lexus IS300 SportCross
The 2005 IS300 carries over from 2004 relatively unchanged. The only difference concerns the cancellation of the limited-slip rear differential in the manual transmission.
One of the most successful aspects of the 2005 IS300 is the well-designed, sporty exterior. Short front and rear overhangs and smoked gray surrounds on the headlights, taillights, and foglights give it a distinctive look. Its wheels push out toward the corners of the car, and its low prow features a bulge down the center of the hood and creased lines flowing down to the chrome-ringed grille.
Built on a 105.1-inch wheelbase, the sedan and wagon models measure 176.6 inches long overall. All models come standard with five-spoke, 17-inch wheels, with 11-spoke and graphite-polished wheels available as optional upgrades. The SportCross model features slightly wider tires and rims.
The interior of the 2005 IS300 suggests a cockpit, with watch-style instrumentation, drilled aluminum pedals, and a chrome shifter ball. Graphite-colored plastics and machined metallic surfaces set a sporty, high-tech theme. The vents and pods for audio and climate controls drop down from the center of the dash to the console. Climate and audio controls get accented in bright silver and black trim, and the center dash has a storage compartment with a lid.
Standard equipment includes automatic climate control, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, and a cassette/six-CD stereo. The sedan has a pass-thru section from the rear seat to the 10.1-cubic-foot trunk. With its 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded, the SportCross offers 21.8 cubic feet of cargo space and includes a tonneau cover and cargo-area ?false floor.?
Optional upgrades include several leather packages with leather and Alcantara trim, eight-way power front seats with two-position driver’s seat memory, and a HomeLink universal transceiver. Other upgrades include a navigation system that retracts into the dash, a power tilt/slide moonroof, heated front seats (with any of the leather packages), and wood switch plates.
Performance & Handling
The 2005 Lexus IS300 gets power from a three-liter, inline six-cylinder engine that generates 215 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque. The engine uses continuously variable valve timing to produce maximum power and acceleration. Transmission options for this engine include the standard five-speed automatic and five-speed manual. The E-Shift automatic transmission has steering-wheel controls that permit the driver to manually change gears. The SportCross model comes only with an automatic transmission. The sedan with the manual transmission marks the quickest of the models, capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Lexus reports that the automatic-transmission sedan reaches 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. The SportCross moves only slightly slower, achieving 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. All three models complete the quarter mile in less than 16 seconds. All-wheel independent suspension resists body roll in corners and front-end dive under hard braking, while the speed-sensitive, power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering provides precise control with excellent feedback.
Safety elements that come standard with all 2005 IS300 cars include anti-lock disc brakes, auto-dimming mirrors, and side-impact and side curtain airbags for the front passengers. Lexus offers stability control on the automatic-transmission models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the IS300 at five stars for driver and passenger protection in side-impact crash tests. The IS300 also earns a perfect, five-star rollover rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus IS300: 16/23 mpg city/highway
- Great driving dynamics
- Competitive pricing
- Sport-oriented interior design
You Won't Like
- Not much storage space
- Cramped rear seating
A sporty car with a strong performance foundation.
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