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250 vs 200T vs 350 Reliability

Old 10-09-18, 10:10 AM
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Fantality
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Default 250 vs 200T vs 350 Reliability

Hello folks,

I'm currently trying to pick out a car for my sister to buy. She recently got rear-ended and the car was deemed as totaled by the insurance.

She doesn't drive aggressively so the engine power is not really important here.

She loves the design of IS, especially with the F-Sport package provided red interior and dashboard.

So we know we want the IS with F-Sport... but we don't know which engine to opt for.

Once again, I would like to remind you all the importance of the vehicle's reliability as a whole more than other things such as mpg and power.

From the research I've done, 350 seems to be the most reliable engine of the three.

However, 350 is more expensive than the other variants and since she's not going to be using the power much, it seems like waste spending $5,000 more just for reliability.

But what choice do we have if we want a reliable IS?

250 seems highly susceptible to carbon build up which from the research I've done is an inevitable occurrence with it being more of a problem of when than if.

Since she is planning on owning the car for long term, is 250 basically out of the question at this point?

If so, how is the 200T? I prefer V6's than 4 Cylinder Turbo's but she probably won't feel the difference.

If 200T is reliable, hopefully as reliable as the 350, then it might be the best IS variant for her uses.

For reference, the year she is looking to purchase is 2014 ~ 2016.

Last edited by Fantality; 10-09-18 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 10-09-18, 10:17 AM
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The IS300 AWD comes with the same V6 as the IS350, just tuned for less power. Perhaps that would be a good compromise?
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Old 10-09-18, 10:20 AM
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E46CT
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Avoid 14. Not bad, but not great. 200t is still too new to know. If you want slam dunk reliability, go for 350. The 250 should be fine too. I believe both use port and fuel injection so should help with carbon buildup. But honestly you can't go wrong with any of the three.

If she drives gentle, she should be able to get great fuel mileage (the best) out of the 200t.

the 200t is based off an older toyota engine just modified for turbo use. so the bones itself are proven. I see no reason so far that the 200t should prove less reliable than the others with the exception of the turbo. but the turbo is designed and built in house so it should be pretty stout.

Honestly go with either of the three. she should test drive them to see which character she prefers. But no 2014.. those tend to have problems.
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Old 10-09-18, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by E46CT View Post
Avoid 14. Not bad, but not great. 200t is still too new to know. If you want slam dunk reliability, go for 350. The 250 should be fine too. I believe both use port and fuel injection so should help with carbon buildup. But honestly you can't go wrong with any of the three.

If she drives gentle, she should be able to get great fuel mileage (the best) out of the 200t.

the 200t is based off an older toyota engine just modified for turbo use. so the bones itself are proven. I see no reason so far that the 200t should prove less reliable than the others with the exception of the turbo. but the turbo is designed and built in house so it should be pretty stout.

Honestly go with either of the three. she should test drive them to see which character she prefers. But no 2014.. those tend to have problems.
We test drove both 250 and 200T but she couldn't tell the difference.

Are you saying 250 is a reliable engine? Is the carbon build up problem not as bad as a lot of the people are making it out to be?

Also, why was 200T variant scratched? I don't see it offered with the newer IS.
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Old 10-09-18, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Fantality View Post
Also, why was 200T variant scratched? I don't see it offered with the newer IS.
The IS200t is now rebadged as the IS300 (RWD).
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Old 10-09-18, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Sheddy View Post
The IS200t is now rebadged as the IS300 (RWD).
Oh I see. So was 200T a V6 Turbo? I was under the impression it was V4 and someone told me 300 is V6.

Edit: Nevermind. He said 300 AWD was same engine as 350, which is a V6. So I'm guessing 300 RWD is a V4?
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Old 10-09-18, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Fantality
Oh I see. So was 200T a V6 Turbo? I was under the impression it was V4 and someone told me 300 is V6.

Edit: Nevermind. He said 300 AWD was same engine as 350, which is a V6. So I'm guessing 300 RWD is a V4?
Inline 4. Never seen a V4 configuration before.
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Old 10-09-18, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Fantality View Post
Oh I see. So was 200T a V6 Turbo? I was under the impression it was V4 and someone told me 300 is V6.

Edit: Nevermind. He said 300 AWD was same engine as 350, which is a V6. So I'm guessing 300 RWD is a V4?
It's dependent on the year of the car. I think from 2014-2016 the is300 was the v6 (detuned is350). 2017 and newer is300's are is200T rebadged. The 350 and 250 have only gotten the styling changes.
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Old 10-09-18, 12:00 PM
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IS 300 AWD models have the 3.5-liter V-6.

IS 300 RWD models have the 2.0-liter inline-4. This trim was previously known as the IS 200T in the 2016 and 2017 model years.

If you want the reliability of the larger V-6, but don't want to pay as much, try the IS 300 AWD if it's available in your area. Otherwise I am sure the 200T or 300 RWD would be more reliable than most other options in this segment.
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Old 10-09-18, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Looks like the used market for IS300 is scarce as I can barely find any on autotrader. I will look into 200T.
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Old 10-09-18, 01:17 PM
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I'd say if you want to get the best value out of the car when deciding on which model/trim to choose, get the 350 even though it's pricier. Just my opinion, but I feel paying a little more gives you that additional power and reliability for your sister... especially if she is planning to keep it long term. The additional cost is worth it for what you get. And yes, if you can stay away from it, I suggest not getting a used 2014 model as from numerous threads here, there have been several issues with that year.
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Old 10-09-18, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by unioncorps View Post
I'd say if you want to get the best value out of the car when deciding on which model/trim to choose, get the 350 even though it's pricier. Just my opinion, but I feel paying a little more gives you that additional power and reliability for your sister... especially if she is planning to keep it long term. The additional cost is worth it for what you get. And yes, if you can stay away from it, I suggest not getting a used 2014 model as from numerous threads here, there have been several issues with that year.
Thanks for the input. I was looking at a 2014 350 priced moderately, but I'll pass on it. How would you say 200T performs in terms of long term reliability compared to 350?
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Old 10-09-18, 02:07 PM
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I personally wouldn't be worried about a '14. Mine was a '14 and I didn't have a single issue with it.
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Old 10-09-18, 02:31 PM
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on a used car that old, you're not going to see much of a price jump from 14 to 15 though, if any. no reason to get a 14 in that case. besides, the 15 model got revised interior bits, new subframe, new differential, and other odds and ends. not to mention matured/established production line process.
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Old 10-09-18, 02:40 PM
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Sounds to me like the 16-17 year IS 300 or 18 IS 300 AWD (same engine) is the way to go since that's the same V6 as the 350 just detuned so it makes less power as everyone else stated. This is reliability wise, but the 16-17 200t or 18 IS 300 RWD (same car) should hold up just fine too. I would avoid the 250 personally. To sum it up, the 350 (full power V6), the 300 (detuned V6), then the 200t (4 cylinder turbo), and lastly the 250 (super slow V6) in terms of reliability is your best bet.
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