Weekly Treasure: The Only Wagon Lexus Ever Made

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The 2002 Lexus IS 300 SportCross is a bit of an oddball.

The first-generation Lexus IS was rather unusual for the luxury brand. Instead of introducing a big and conservative sedan, Lexus did the exact opposite by bringing a rebadged Toyota Altezza to the US. It was the first time Lexus sold a sports sedan in this market, launching for the 2001 model year. Almost immediately it attracted buyers who understood the car's uniqueness and cool factor. But it wasn't until the 2000 model year that the wagon variant arrive. Again, it wasn't typical Lexus.

The IS 300 SportCross, like the sedan, came powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six engine rated at 215 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic. A six-speed manual arrived for the next model year but it was only for the sedan.

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The CrossSport's cool styling combined with RWD, an excellent chassis, and wonderful engine made it an instant hit with the enthusiast wagon crowd. The sedan continued to win over buyers as well, especially those who understood its JDM foundation. Never before had Lexus seriously attempted to challenge the likes of the BMW 3 Series, which had a wagon variant of its own at the time. The IS didn't make a serious dent in 3 Series sales, but it proved Lexus had begun to get a better reading of the US market and the enthusiast driving community.

Interestingly, both IS body styles were officially listed as a subcompact sedan/wagon in the US despite there being sufficient interior volume to be classified as a compact. The EPA made its decision based on the rear seat's subcompact class interior dimensions. Crash test results were also excellent with a maximum five-star rating.

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When it came time for the second-generation IS, not only did Lexus make the sedan larger and less sporty/more conservative, but it also ditched the wagon. It's never built another one and probably never will. The first-gen IS ended production in 2005, making the earliest examples over 20 years old. Finding a SportCross can be somewhat difficult to find because they were built in fewer numbers, though there's one currently up for auction on Cars and Bids.

This 2002 example has decently low mileage for its age (92,500 miles) but has been involved in a few accidents. Everything has since been repaired though there is wear and tear inside and out. The auction concludes on December 1 and the highest bid is currently just under $7,000.

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Source Credits: Cars And Bids

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