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The Lexus IS 300 SportCross Was an Exciting, Sporty, Rear-Wheel-Drive Wagon

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

When you're thinking of automakers that have made cool, sporty station wagons, you probably think of the obvious ones. Audi. BMW. Mercedes. Subaru. But what about ... Lexus? It's true: Lexus made a sporty, rear-wheel-drive station wagon in the early 2000s, although you've probably long forgotten about it.

Lexus' wagon was called the IS 300 SportCross, and it was based on the 2001-2005 Lexus IS sedan -- the IS that many enthusiasts consider to be the best one due to its small size, sharp handling and tunable 6-cylinder engine. But the IS 300 SportCross was no sedan. It was unashamedly a station wagon, with slightly unusual yet surprisingly handsome station-wagon lines. Naturally, being a rear-wheel-drive Lexus station wagon, about nine of them were sold.

A few more details: Although the Lexus IS 300 sedan came out in 2001, the IS 300 SportCross didn't debut until the following year, 2002, which is the same year Lexus started offering the IS 300 with a 5-speed manual transmission. Only one problem: They never mated the manual transmission to the SportCross -- but everything else was roughly the same, including the attractive lines, rear-wheel-drive layout and surprisingly potent 215-horsepower 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. Fuel economy was even fairly reasonable at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Unfortunately, when it came time to redesign the IS, the SportCross didn't make the transition, and it's never returned again. But if you have your heart set on the unusual Lexus wagon, there are still a few SportCrosses out there, including nine currently listed on Autotrader with an average price of roughly $8,300.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Lexus IS 300 SportCross Was an Exciting, Sporty, Rear-Wheel-Drive Wagon - Autotrader