Lexus IS200

Hey there,

I am looking for a reliable daily and some option for some mods and tuning. Car should has as stock a good basic to start with. Am thinking for '90-'00 Japanese cars. Cars like the IS200. Does anyone has experience with owning/working on these cars? Or for other cars that should take in consider?


Ya, got a turbo IS200. It shares Mark X and Verossa suspension parts, LSD swappable with Supra and the 1G-FE sounds nice.

I’d recommend importing the Altezza for the 3S-GE if you want to mod the engine, not that it’s particularly easy either as the engine ECU is linked to the main ECU so any dodgy readings makes other stuff act up.

ik you said Japanese but have you considered anything from the Rover group?

I drove a 1997 Honda Accord and it was l, although reliable and easy to operate, really, really dull and sluggish. Avoid that. Lower-spec Hondas do not keep what the sporty brand image promises. Top-end models like Euro R or Type R are a totally different world but too uncomfortable for my daily commuting. Tuning naturally aspirated cars isnt very effective, so going for a turbocharged car would be the best if power counts.
After my beloved sleeper S-Class (AMG with stock fenders and without badges) got crashed recently, I am now looking for a hybrid Lexus to soup up. But that would be the weirdo choice to make a LS450h a track tool, but… I think I can not resist. Lexus is however impressing me with its build quality and reliability, so I would not stop you from considering an IS.

Depending where you are, rust on them is a common thing by now and easiness of getting a 1G vs 3S changes a bit.

That said they’re a pretty good bet by all accounts despite the IS200 being a bit pish running costs wise vs performance, the 1G was getting on by the time that car came out but as mentioned above, there’s a fair following for them so plenty of things can be done. Both the auto and manual are really nice.

Everyone will have a decent idea that they’re solid reliability wise but personal experience of the 1G backs up that it’s near unkillable. A friend owned one that he got for £700 and it was caned mercilessly, everywhere, from cold, near to no maintenance and was still going strong perfectly healthy when he got rid, purely because the fuel economy was crap - I wonder why?!

Hey man I love Rovers as much as the next guy but he said he wanted reliable - even their best wasn’t consistent enough to be considered properly reliable.


ik ive only ever owned one car and thats my current one… but my little Rover 100 Ascot SE is decently reliable apart from the usual servicing stuff that is common for a 54000 mile car… also Some of the Smaller rovers (200, 400, 600, acclaim (triumph) and the metro) were very reliable, also if you keep them in good nick and care for them… even a slightly unreliable car can go ages without missing a beat… it kinda saddens me to see that even now, nearly 15 years since Rover bit the dust, their name is still being dragged through the mud by people who just think that everything that came out of Cowley, Canley, Solihull and Longbridge is just rusty, unreliable horrible piles of scrap when in reality , the truth is often that if you keep the car and treat it like the complex and delicate machine that they tend to be, Mechanical reliability tends to not be an issue

Well in comparison to a car never skipping a beat despite being abused for 140,000 miles (see: my first IS200), it’s pretty unreliable to need to baby it and still have it fall apart.

1 Like
  1. I dont baby my little rover… i driver her quite hard for a 22 year old lil city car…
    2 . I dont see how servicing a car when it needs it and keeping it well maintained is babying in the slightest, thats just being a responsible car owner
    3 if you are set on something japanese , why not go with the heavily Honda based
    Rover 600, which are as reliable as they come and if you get the 2 liter turbo T series engined one, pretty quick too

“if you’re set on something Japanese why not go with the heavily Honda based Rover 600”

He can get a Honda then instead of the 600, stop trying to force people to buy something from BL just cause YOU like them to death. Adam said that Rovers aren’t reliable no matter how hard they tried, which pretty much shows that a Rover is far from optimal

can you not get snippy about it, i was suggesting it not giving orders, you are just getting worked up and snippy over a mere suggestion. im not FORCING anyone to do anything

Looking at the T-series, apparently it had too much torque for its motor and had to be limited. The IS200’s gearbox is known for being relatively weak, but it can still take twice what the 1G-FE puts out reliably.

You clearly are trying to make him get a Rover cause all you’re fucking suggesting are stuff from BL, giving what you think are the pros of getting one, without ever mentioning cons.

yeah the big issue with the T , especially its turbo variant is that it did mangle gearboxes when they tested it before they restricted the torque curve but its still got a decent power and torque figure even with the restrictions. The gearbox in question was the honda designed PG-1 gearbox btw

My point being that he wants to mod and tune it, and upgrading a gearbox is very expensive with no direct gain.

if mods are what you want… a honda engined 600, the honda engines were either of the honda F engine family , specifically the F18A and F20Z1 or hondas 2.3 liter H23A3. im not sure as to hoe modifiable the honda engines specified would be but better than the gearbox munching T or The headgasket shredding K Series rover could offer. Also apparently the F engines from honda can be found with VTEC and a DOHC head but only on the accord and not in europe

A Honda F engine ended up being the power for the Honda S2000 (F20C) which is an godly engine. Still don’t know how well the gearbox holds up.

well… im no honda nerd but surely if an F engine powered the s2000 surely parts can be interchanged to make the F engine in the rover a bit more lively?i would be surprised if no parts could be interswitched… im gunna stop posting before any forum-ettiquate police start whining at me

They could be but it uses things like (I think) titanium valves and things to rev to 9k. NA tuning is never particularly cheap.

eh well twas just a thought and a suggestion. I will always stand up in favour of a rover product even if it has a honda engine under its bonnet… i still suggest getting a rover 600, they are quite a bit nicer to look at and be in than their accord sister…

Dear lord, OK, I will be more direct this time.

@Human89845524 Please stop with the constant BL comparisons and stuff man, as you can see people are finding it tiresome. I had hoped I’d got in early with a gentler reply but appears not.

As I say, love Rovers, but you have to take the view that if they were all perfect people wouldn’t have shat on them quite so much. The T series is a strong engine sure, but not a reliable one - they have head gasket issues as much as the K series, it just manifests differently. Yes, it produced too much beef for the PG1 but that was another usual Rover thing, the PG1 should never have been fitted to the turbo cars especially, it was just the “we have this lying around let’s use it” mentality they had with things.

People looking at Japanese stuff tend to want a car where they don’t need to constantly worry about head gaskets (lol, bad example), gearboxes, electrical issues, bad cooling systems - all of which were common things to Rovers right up til the end, even the much loved 75 was such a patchy thing despite being considered grand for a Rover.

To get back to the original point - as long as you go with the stereotypical Japanese stuff, you’re probably gonna have a good time, IS200 or otherwise. There aren’t many other routes to go with as much choice if your priority is reliability, and being a good base to start on with a massive array of mods at your disposal.