Hey everyone. I'm new to this forum and am currently in the market to buy a Lexus. I've always wanted a Lexus and I've been in the Toyota family since I learned how to drive.
This would be my first car and I've been doing countless hours of research and have been stressing out trying to select the right car. I've always wanted a manual car and have decided that my next car will 100% be a manual, without a doubt. The market for them in the US isn't really that big so it makes my search that much harder.
I've pretty much narrowed it down to two cars: a Lexus IS250 RWD MT or a Acura TSX FWD MT. Based on the price point, I can get a used one in relatively good condition within my budget. I've done all the pros and cons of both these vehicles and have test driven both in manual and still really want to get a Lexus.
Now here lies my problem. While looking at forums, I've seen a lot of complaints about the IS250 engine AND the manual transmission. It makes me very reluctant to get one based on those facts. It also has a few recalls which I'm not too happy about. I'm kind of at a point right now where I'm saying that I should just get it and either I will love it or I will hate it. Also, I've found a nice used IS250 for a really good deal and can't really find a new generation TSX for that kind of price.
Another one of my worries is that the RWD will be awful in the winter. I live in Illinois so we get pretty bad snow. Although I've read with a good set of winter tires the IS250 is great. Plus, a lot of sports cars are RWD so either way I'd probably deal with it. (Although the TSX is FWD).
Any insight would be helpful, I'm totally lost now when it comes to choosing. I've also considered a BMW 3 series, Acura TL, Infitini and Audi...
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kickin8, have you had any issues related to all those horror stories with the manual transmission and the engine problems? I'm leaning to towards that these problems happen but don't necessarily impact everyone. This is my first manual car so I'm using this as a stepping stone into the manual world and am not too familiar just yet with how manuals "act". Plus I did drive one and I actually preferred it over the manual TSX that was a year newer.
the only complaint I have is the "jar of marbles" noise coming from the clutch (that only happens once in a while). I also have the F SPort quick shifter installed and that solves the "notchiness" when shifting. Also there are members with the F Sport shift **** stated that improves the shifting as well.
feel free to PM me if you want to discuss
HIS: 07' IS250 6MTTungsten Pearl/Black F-Sport Intake / F-Sport Quick Shifter / Aluminum Pedals / ARC Shift****
Linea Corsa Dyna / White Illuminated Door Sills / Canadian IS All Weather Floor Mats
HERS: 07' RX350 AWDMillennium Silver / Gray
Canadian RX All Weather Floor Mats (gone)
FWIW, I used to have a TSX. It was actually very poor in the snow. Not sure why, but it wouldn't go anywhere, so I would not base your purchase on thinking that a TSX will be good in snow. Granted that it was on a set of quality all seasons rather than snow tires, but I always run all seasons and this is the only car that had issues on my barely sloped, mostly flat driveway.
We did enjoy the TSX, but it really went through brakes and the alternator failed earlier than I feel that it should have. It had some random issues like power door locks going out, and the constant rattles were grating to say the least. It's not that it was a bad car, but we didn't feel like it delivered on our expectations. Over the years, it ended up being quite expensive to maintain. It was, however, despite the FWD layout, a very fun car to drive.
My IS250 MT was my first manual. Just giving my personal experience with this:
The manual is fine. Nothing much to complain about since I didn't have much experience with any other stick shifts. I learned how to shift gears on a motorcycle, so I had little experience with a manual before I bought the IS250. I installed a quick shifter a couple months after I bought the car after hearing the reviews of it, and it did improve the shifting feel for the car, even though I had no initial complaints.
It wasn't until I bought an NA Miata years later for daily driving that I realized the feeling of the IS250 manual was a bit lacking. Although it's kind of unfair to compare the IS manual to a Miata, the IS manual is still fun in its own right, especially if it's your first stick shift.
My complaints about it are that it's harder to rev match because the RPM hangs slightly after clutch is disengaged, compared to RPM dropping immediately in my Miata. The other feel that I don't particularly like is that there is a slight lag when you press the accelerator before the engine revs. I never really had the jar of marbles sound that's so well-documented.
I've had my IS for almost 5 years now, and the Miata is the car I'm selling after 2 years, so that should tell you which car I like more.
I had a manual and added an F Sport short shifter to make the throw nicer. That helped but coming from many manual Hondas and Acuras, the Lexus wasn't that great. I wasn't interestd in racing any longer so if that's what you're into I think this car lacks in that dept. it is kinda rare so if you find one you'll be lucky. I don't have any real negative things to day about it but I do agree with what B16 said and try driving the 350 just to see how much more power that one has.