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Es300 Or Is300?

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Trying to do some research on a car for my sister-in-law.

After her VW broke down again, she was so fed up she had it fixed and drove it to Carmax and told them to cut her a check.

She's been looking at new cars in the $20-25k range. The Mazda 3 is her favorite choice so far. She's also looked at Toyotas (thought it was to cheap feeling) and Subarus (headrest bothered her).

I suggested she look at used CPO Lexus's as an option. I think she could get a LOT more car and still be in her price range. Reliability is a primary concern and Lexus has an outstanding reputation in that area.

Other important considerations are seating postion and visibility. She's petite, about 5'0"-5'1". The seat will need to go high enough for good visibility and have reasonable reach to the pedals without putting her to close to the steering wheel. My wife is similar in size and the best fit we found for her was an Audi A6 Avant, we're now on our third one, a 2002 S6. Audis are great but don't have Lexus reliability.

There are plenty of ES's available a dealerships local to her but no IS's. I'm afraid the ES might be too big for her. How much is the size difference between the two? Is it like a 3 series vs. a 5 series BMW? I haven't seen the two side by side and I can't really tell from the pics in internet ads.

Do either of them come with telescoping steering wheels or adjustable pedals?

Is there a significant difference in fit and finish, options (convenience gadgets), and interior appointments between the two?

What are the differences in driveability and ride? I know the IS is rear wheel drive and is advertised as being sportier.

Any help or advice is appreciated.

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The best way to get the answers to these questions is to swing by a Lexus dealer and drive an IS and an ES. The cars are VERY different, and there are way too many differences to go into here. The cars really won't appeal to the same driver.

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