Despite Lexus’ focus on crossovers and SUVs, the company does still make sport sedans. Next to the brand’s family haulers, you’ll find the compact IS, a greatly styled four-door that’s been heavily refreshed for 2021.
I say “heavily refreshed” because while the IS engine options are for the most part the same as before, there is a fantastic chance when it comes to the sheet metal. In short, the IS looks great. I never thought I’d end up liking Lexus‘ very big grille, but it really works on the IS. There’s a nice kick toward the rear when you view the car in profile, which makes an emphasis on the wider hips. The fact that the LED running lights span almost the whole width of the trunk help with that wide stance, too.
The IS platform is the same, but Lexus’ engineers made a number of changes to the suspension components and increased the rigidity of the body for better overall handling, and it works. The steering responds very quickly to any inputs and is nice and heavy. This car feels nimble in a way that is new for the IS.
The powertrains, though, haven’t changed, and this is also where things get a bit confusing. The base IS 300 uses a 2.0-liter turbo I4 with 241 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The IS 300 AWD gets an aspirated 3.5-liter V6 with 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, however, it downgrades to a six-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the IS 350 gets a more powerful version of the same 3.5-liter V6 with 311 hp and 280 lb-ft. The IS 350 RWD features the eight-speed auto and the IS 350 AWD features the six-speed auto.
The six-speed transmission in the IS 300 AWD is quite slow to respond and doesn’t encourage sporty driving. The transmission cannot downshift while braking for a corner, even on the IS’ Sport Plus drive setting. Paddles on the steering wheel solve that problem, however, the shifts are not quick. The engine is very strong and offers linear power delivery, and the chassis is quite good, too, however, the transmission really prevents the IS 300 from being very entertaining.
Fuel economy is not here with IS 300, with the all-wheel-drive version only estimated to return 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg together. The turbocharged IS 300 RWD, on the other hand, returns 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined.
The Lexus IS 300 is great for highways, with quite supportive seats, an very quiet cabin, and a robust suite of driving aids. The adaptive standard cruise control has full-speed coverage, which is pretty nice, but you really can’t combine it with lane-keeping assist for easier driving on highways like you can in a BMW 3 Series or even a Mercedes-Benz CLA.
We hope that this article has been a good introduction for you to get to know the amazing Lexus IS 300.
With our easy and fast leasing process, you can be driving your new Lexus IS 300 in just a few days. Talk to us today about the best deals in town!
VIP Auto Lease 1204 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10305 (718) 477-7888 https://viplease.com/