Lexus For 2000
By Carey Russ
On the surface, Lexus looks to be quietly reacting to a record-breaking year with mostly minor changes to existing models. This is no time for competitors to be complacent, as the interesting new IS sports sedan is set for debut in mid-2000.
The most intriguing new model from Lexus, the IS, isn't here yet. But similar cars are being sold in Japan and Europe, and have proved popular with buyers and critics alike. Overseas versions have a 2.0- liter four-cylinder engine, but we'll get a 3.0-liter six with "VVT-i" variable valve timing. Expect a very capable smaller sibling to the fast and luxurious GS series. Like the GS, the IS will be a front-engined, rear-wheel drive car with a serious emphasis on sport.
Even though it had significant changes last year, with an upgraded engine and the availability of the "VSC" stability-control system, the ES300 has not been left alone for 2000. New front styling gives it more presence, and rear styling is new as well. Optional high-intensity discharge headlights enhance both the car's look and the driver's night- time view. When the VSC system is ordered this year, "Brake Assist", a feature that ensures sufficient pedal pressure to activate the ABS system during an emergency, will be included. Interior changes are highlighted by increased genuine wood trim.
The LX 470 premium Lexus sport-utility adds VSC and Brake Assist as standard equipment. There is also a new four-wheel traction control system, and a variety of new interior features.
The LS 400 sedan is the flagship of the Lexus line, and has Brake Assist added to its already-comprehensive list of standard equipment.
GS 400 and GS 300
The performance-luxury GS sedans also have Brake Assist for the new year.
Lexus scored a direct hit in the mid-size luxury SUV segment with the RX 300. It has new color choices for 2000.
SC 400 and SC 300
The SC 400 and SC 300 luxury coupes enter 2000 essentially unchanged.