The Lexus IS300 was one of the most popular Japanese cars to be released in the early 2000s and remains an icon to this day. Since the Lexus IS300 was released over twenty years ago, it has accumulated massive aftermarket attention. From performance modifications to aftermarket cosmetics, the amount of Lexus IS300 aftermarket support is dizzying. While the IS300 is a capable car in nearly every aspect, its performance is somewhat betrayed by its looks. The first gen IS300 isn’t a bad-looking car by any extent of the imagination, but there isn’t anything exciting about its appearance either. That’s where Lexus IS300 body kits enter the picture.
Body kits are a good way to add some additional aggression to the appearance of your IS300. In most cases, IS300 body kits include a front bumper, rear bumper, and side skirts, but some kits come with even more aesthetic components. Since the IS is such a beloved car in the JDM and tuner scene at large, there are quite a few quality kits to choose from. This guide is meant to help you narrow down the choices and find the kit that best suits your needs.
Lexus IS300 Bodykit Considerations
When choosing a body kit for the Lexus IS300, there are a number of things that you’ll have to consider first before pulling the trigger. Before we go any further, it is important to remember that not all IS300 body kits are created equal. That is most important to consider when it comes to build quality. Beyond build materials, the kit’s fitment, pairing with the rest of your IS’ modifications, and price are also important considerations to keep in mind.
In general, IS300 body kits can be split up into authentic and replica body kits. The former tends to be more expensive but also superior in terms of quality. The real difference comes in terms of material choice. More often than not, high-quality, authentic IS300 body kits are made from some type of polyurethane or polyurethane composite. Cheaper replica Lexus IS300 body kit options tend to be built from fiberglass, which is less expensive to manufacture but a lot less durable and flexible.
Polyurethane is a far superior material for a body kit. It is flexible and doesn’t splinter in the same way that fiberglass does. That is perfect for IS300 owners that are slammed on coilovers and have minimal clearance between the bumpers and the ground. Instead of splintering, polyurethane components will flex with whatever material they come into contact with, to a degree at least.
Budget IS300 body kits tend to be made out of fiberglass. Fiberglass is an inexpensive material to work with, which keeps the cost of production down. However, fiberglass is the most rigid of the most common materials used to construct body kits. Fiberglass kits do not fair well if they get damaged, as they tend to crack in unsightly ways. However, they are relatively easy to repair if the damage is minimal.
Another popular build material for IS300 body kits is fiber reinforced polyurethane, often referred to as PFRP. PFRP combines the best of both worlds between fiberglass and polyurethane. The fiberglass keeps the components light and strong, while the polyurethane allows the parts to flex. Most high-quality IS300 kits are made from fiber reinforced polyurethane due to those superior characteristics.
Durability is especially important to consider if your IS300 is lowered on either springs or coilovers. Fiberglass kits do not hold up well at all if they make contact with the ground. While polyurethane kits flex and bend when under stress, fiberglass kits splinter, ruining them permanently. Therefore, if you drive a lowered IS300, your best bet is a polyurethane kit.
Another aspect that you’ll need to consider is your wheel and tire setup. While most body kits will look decent with a stock IS300 wheel and tire setup, others will look strange due to a large wheel well overhang. Generally speaking, IS300 body kits, and most other body kits in general, are designed with more aggressive fitment in mind. Once again, that varies on a kit-by-kit basis.
Some widebody kits feature large over-fenders that were designed for angle kits and beefy tires. Sometimes, widebody fenders extend over the factory fenders by more than 70mm. For that reason, it is important to make sure that your wheel, tire, and suspension setup are all in agreement with the kit that you choose to prevent rolling around with goofy-looking fitment.
Unfortunately, there are very few Lexus IS300 body kits that will fit perfectly out of the box. That goes for both high-quality and budget options. With that being said, higher-quality kits tend to be constructed and designed with a bit more care. That means that you won’t have to make as many modifications to the parts to have them work with your IS.
There is a caveat to that as well, though. Most of the more expensive authentic IS300 body kits are built in Japan. That tends to bode well for build quality. However, most of the Japanese kits were designed with the Japan-spec Altezza model in mind. As a result, modifications are required to make them work with US-spec IS300s.
In order for most kits designed for the Altezza to fit US SXE10 models, modifications have to be made to the front and rear crash beams. There are a couple of options to make it work. Some IS300 owners remove the crash bars altogether. We don’t recommend this, as it compromises structural integrity in the event of a crash. Alternatively, the US IS300 crash bars can be shaved down to provide some additional clearance for the bumpers. Another option is to install JDM Altezza crash bars on a US car, which also solves the issue completely.
Outside of crash bar modifications, some budget kits might also require additional modifications to fit properly. Sometimes the outer lips of the bumpers will extend too far. That requires a bit of shaving to make them fit properly.
Obviously, price is another big consideration. As we previously covered, authentic kits are the more expensive option. They not only carry brand recognition but are also built from higher-quality materials. They also tend to have better fitment overall. While authentic kits are obviously the better option if you can afford one, there is also a number of quality budget aftermarket options available as well.
For high-quality, name-brand options, expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $1,500-$2,000 for a full three-piece IS300 body kit. Some lower-tier fiberglass kits run closer to the $800-$1,500 range. Generally speaking, if you are debating on whether it is worth it to shell out for a nicer kit out of the gate, it generally is. While some people have a lot of luck with budget body kits, they are far more likely to get damaged to the point where you have to get at least one new piece. You’ll likely save in the long run by getting a nice polyurethane kit from the jump.
Best Lexus IS300 Body Kits
As we covered above, there are quite a few considerations that go into picking out the right body kit for your IS300. That isn’t even considering the fact that body kits are an inherently subjective modification. While the best performance modifications are ranked by power gains, body kits are unique to your own tastes and preferences. Some people might want a loud and lavish kit for their IS300 drift build. Others might want an understated, near-stock look for their IS300 build.
Ultimately, we aren’t here to tell you which style kit will look the best on your IS300. Instead, we’ll lay out some of the most popular and well-put-together IS300 body kits and allow you to choose for yourself. Here are our top picks for the best Lexus IS300 body kits.
VERTEX Lexus IS300 Body Kit
Purchase Here: vividracing.com
VERTEX is hands down the best-known manufacturer when it comes to aftermarket Lexus cosmetic mods and body kits. Based in Japan, VERTEX has built their reputation on quality and proper fitment. For that reason, the VERTEX kit is one of the most expensive kits available for the IS300. With that being said, there’s truly no rival if you are looking for a kit that will hold up in the long run while also providing timeless looks.
Compared to many of the other kits on this list, the VERTEX Lexus IS300 body kit is relatively understated. The VERTEX kit was designed with the Japanese Altezza’s styling in mind, and doesn’t stray too far away from the IS300’s factory bodylines. It is a three-piece IS300 body kit that comes with a front bumper, a pair of side skirts, and a larger and more aggressive rear bumper.
Due to the fact that the kit was designed for Japanese-spec cars, some modifications are required for the VERTEX kit to fit a USDM IS300. The front crash bar will need to be removed or modified to allow the front bumper to fit. Additionally, the rear skirt will only fit on a short JDM rear bumper. However, you can modify the mould of the skirt itself to wrap around the longer USDM rear bumper.
The VERTEX Lexus IS300 body kit is our go-to pick if you are looking for an understated option that provides a bit of extra aggression without going overboard. While the kit isn’t cheap, fantastic build quality and longevity are what you’re paying for.
C-West Lexus IS300 Body Kit
Purchase Here: myjapandirect.com
Like VERTEX, C-West is one of the most reputable companies in the world when it comes to JDM cosmetic parts. They are well-known across the world, with their kits appearing on some of the most iconic drift cars in history. Their Lexus IS300 body kit is considered to be one of the best in terms of both appearance and quality.
Like the VERTEX kit, the C-West Lexus IS300 body kit is also rather subtle. The front bumper features two side inlets and a wide central bumper opening. That allows for additional airflow to a front-mount intercooler if your IS is turbocharged. The C-West side skirts are also a bit more pronounced than the VERTEX side skirts. A portion of the C-West skirts extend up the front wheel well. The rear bumper has a unique indent with two trapezoidal accents that might be hit or miss for some people. The C-West IS300 kit is also a three-piece kit. It comes complete with a front bumper, a pair of side skirts, and a rear bumper.
As with most of the other high-quality, authentic Lexus IS300 body kits on this list, the C-West kit is made from pultruded fiber reinforced polymer. In other words, the kit is made from a combination of fiberglass and polymer. PFRP keeps the parts lightweight and flexible. Due to the high-quality materials, the C-West IS300 body kit is a good option for IS owners who are running lower-than-stock ride height.
As to be expected from a Japanese body kit, the C-West was designed with the Altezza in mind. As a result, modifications will have to be made to the front crash bar to run the front bumper.
ChargeSpeed Lexus IS300 Body Kit
Purchase Here: chargespeedusa.com
ChargeSpeed is another name that carries some substantial weight in the aftermarket cosmetic mod department. Competing with the likes of VERTEX and C-West, ChargeSpeed is not quite as well known, but that doesn’t subtract from the quality of their parts. Since ChargeSpeed’s inception in 1986, they have been specializing in JDM cosmetic modifications, giving them plenty of credibility. Their IS300 kit is a popular option for those looking for a different look from the common options listed above.
Overall, the ChargeSpeed Lexus IS300 body kit is unquestionably aggressive. The sharp front bumper design with protruding wheel well-mounted air inlets is a menacing sight in any rearview mirror. The gaping central front inlet is perfect for the forced induction crowd. It allows for more than ample airflow to a massive front-mount intercooler. The front bumper also features a unique cutout behind the front wheel well. That certainly makes it stand out from other kit options. Compared to the front bumper, the rear bumper on the ChargeSpeed kit is rounded and understated.
Like all of the other options on this list, the ChargeSpeed IS300 body kit is a three-piece set. Included in the kit is a front bumper, a pair of side skirts, and a rear bumper. Being a high-quality authentic kit, it is also made from light and durable fiber reinforced polymer.
AIT Racing TRD Style Complete Body Kit
Purchase Here: bodykits.com
AIT is well known in the aftermarket community and specializes in creating high-quality and well-fitting body kits for a wide array of JDM cars ranging from STIs to Toyota Tacomas. Their Lexus IS300 body kit is one of their most popular, and with so many out there running them, there are plenty of positive reviews of the kit.
One of the main selling points of the AIT Racing kit is that it is made from fiber-reinforced plastic. Despite being a budget kit, the AIT body kit uses the same materials as the much more expensive options on this list. Like the other kits made from PFRP, the AIT kit allows for a fair bit of flex, meaning that it isn’t going to splinter and crack if it makes contact with the pavement.
While the kit is good quality and often praised in the IS300 community, there are a couple of caveats. Some modifications are required to allow the front bumper to clear the front crash bar. That isn’t unique to the AIT kit, though, and many other kits also require some modifications to fit properly.
While those modifications are common, there are a number of reports that even with crash bar modifications, the AIT kit needs to be shaved and moulded a fair bit to fit properly. Due to the fact that the AIT kit is half, if not a third, of the price of most other IS300 kits, some additional work might be worth it.
Big Duck Club Lexus IS300 Widebody Kit
Purchase Here: bigduckclub.com
At this point, we have covered a couple of IS300 kits that have extended front and rear fenders. However, we haven’t covered any kits that are explicitly designed with over fenders and clearance for angle kits and wide wheel setups. That’s where the Big Duck Club kit comes into play. Compared to the IS300 narrowbody kits on this list, the BDC IS300 widebody kit comes with fenders that extend 75mm over the OEM fender placement, leaving lots of room for activities.
While Big Duck Club doesn’t have the same name recognition as companies like VERTEX and C-West, they have proven to be a trusted manufacturer in the widebody kit world. Big Duck Club produces high-quality fiber-resin constructed kits for cars ranging from BMW E30s to Nissan S14s. The Big Duck Club IS300 widebody kit is seamlessly integrated when compared to other bolt-on over-fender options for the IS300. As a result, it looks much cleaner than the competition.
At $3,200, the BDC kit is far from a budget option. However, that makes sense as it also has the most components of any kit on this list. In total, the BDC IS300 kit comes with a pair of front over-fenders, two front bumper caps, two rear over-fenders, two rear bumper caps, two rear door skin covers, two side skirts, two rear bumper extensions, and a front lip. That’s quite a bit of kit.
Lexus IS300 Body Kit Guide Summary
While the Lexus IS300 is a fantastic car in almost every area, its exterior looks are definitely a low point. Don’t get us wrong, we love the factory bodylines and overall styling. But, in OEM form, the IS300 doesn’t stand out as much as it should in the looks department. Fortunately, you can do something about that in the form of a Lexus IS300 body kit.
Body kits fundamentally change the looks of the IS, making it not only more aggressive but aerodynamic. Choosing a body kit is obviously a very subjective task, as taste is a very important factor in selecting one. IS300 body kits range from utterly ostentatious to subdued and tasteful and it is up to you to decide which style suits you best.
While the appearance angle is subjective, there are some other considerations that should also play a role in the decision-making process. Build material is very important to consider if longevity is a primary concern. Typically, higher-quality IS300 body kits are constructed from polyurethane which flexes when it makes contact with the ground or other objects.
While budget fiberglass options hold up well for some IS300 owners, they tend to crack over time, warranting a replacement. Other factors like the ride height of your IS, how well a given kit fits your car, and the price of the kit should also be at the forefront of your mind.
Ultimately, there are a ton of quality IS300 body kits to choose from, with the most premium being the VERTEX and C-West kits. While the AIT kit is budget focused, it is still built from polyurethane, making it great value for money. For the drifters out there, the Big Duck Club kit will allow for wide-angle kit clearance.