The redone 2021 Lexus IS 300 and IS 350 get a spherical of applause merely for the truth that a market stays for honest-to-goodness sports activities sedans. With the gross sales rush to all issues SUV, this as soon as red-hot phase has light into the background. That’s to not recommend the IS isn’t with out rivals, nevertheless — there are lots, and so they embody worthy opponents just like the Acura TLX, BMW 3 Collection, Genesis G70 and Infiniti Q50.
Associated: 2021 Lexus IS 350 Evaluate: Refocused however Not Rejuvenated
Recent from a makeover, the newest Lexus IS has a slinkier exterior to match lengthy overdue inside enhancements. Spoiler alert: There’s no Distant Contact controller joystick that made the infotainment system within the earlier IS an train in hair-pulling frustration. Nevertheless, Lexus has opted for refinement versus complete reinvention with regards to the 2021 IS lineup general.
Do the adjustments go far sufficient? Does the IS show a match for the competitors in base format, or is the added firepower within the IS 350 definitely worth the increased price ticket? Be sure you observe the above hyperlink for our Aaron Bragman’s full overview of the 2021 Lexus IS. For those who’d like a brief recap — and don’t thoughts extra spoilers — then maintain studying.
Issues We Like
1. Head-Turning Exterior
In relation to making an entrance, a sports activities sedan nonetheless has the legs on even essentially the most come-hither SUV. This holds true with the 2021 Lexus IS, which options redesigned headlights, LED taillights that stretch throughout the whole rear of the automobile and barely wider fenders. We’re followers of the elective 19-inch matte-black alloys that include the IS 350 F Sport’s Dynamic Dealing with Bundle (although we’re much less excited in regards to the rear spoiler that comes alongside for the experience). Nonetheless, in a world of me-too SUVs, Lexus has completed a great job making the IS sedan stand out.
2. Improved Infotainment Controls
A second of silence for the departure of the Distant Contact controller that plagued (ahem, we imply graced) the earlier IS sedan. OK, now pop the champagne and let’s social gathering! The previous mouselike setup is supplanted by an 8-inch touchscreen that’s positioned nearer to the driving force and, in base format, measures 1 inch wider than earlier than (a ten.3-inch display was beforehand elective and stays so for the 2021 mannequin 12 months). Granted, a fingertip-touch management pad remains to be lurking between the driving force and entrance passenger seat, however the touchscreen controls make utilizing it elective.
3. Powertrain Decisions
You’re nonetheless spoiled for selection with regards to mixing and matching engines, transmissions and drive wheels. Each the IS 300 and IS 350 may be had in rear- or all-wheel-drive format. A 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the usual engine, whereas the IS 350 is motivated by a 311-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Curiously, if you need the IS 300 with AWD, it comes with a detuned 260-hp model of the three.5-liter V-6.
4. Premium Driving Manners
The Lexus IS is likely to be a fun-loving sports activities sedan, although it certain spoils the driving force with luxurious driving manners. The suspension soaks up bumps and delivers a experience that takes the sting out of day by day commutes or hours-long highway journeys. Its dealing with is equally exact and properly behaved.
5. Spacious Trunk
You purchased a sports activities sedan, so which means packing gentle in your subsequent trip — besides that’s fortunately not the case with the IS sedan. Granted, the whole trunk quantity measures rather less than 11 cubic ft, area is extremely usable and roomier than the numbers recommend. For those who want extra space, the rear seats fold flat to create further.
6. F Sport Tweaks Customary on IS 350
The unhealthy information is that the IS 300 F Sport is gone in 2021. The excellent news is that this entertaining look package deal is now normal on each IS 350, irrespective of in the event you select rear- or all-wheel drive. The F Sport modifications embody 19-inch wheels and extra aggressive-looking exterior adjustments, comparable to bigger entrance air intakes and a extra pronounced rear diffuser.
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Issues We Don’t
1. Wants Extra Horsepower
There’s no hiding that the IS feels a bit outgunned with regards to sheer horsepower. Punch the fuel pedal within the front-drive IS 350 and also you’ll want a Lexus-estimated 5.6 seconds to dash from 0-60 mph, whereas the IS 300 takes 6.9 seconds for that run. That’s not unhealthy, however rivals are noticeably faster.
2. Inside Is Higher, Not Greatest
We’re thrilled Lexus lastly added a touchscreen to the IS sedan. We’re much less enamored of the haphazard dimension and placement of many dash-mounted buttons, to not point out a digital gauge cluster we famous is beginning to look “needlessly gimmicky.”
3. Cramped Cabin
You’re not shopping for a small sports activities sedan just like the Lexus IS since you crave acres of inside area and rear legroom. Granted, we are able to’t use an SUV-scale yardstick when measuring inside room and luxury of the IS vary, however the cabin does really feel slim and area within the again is simply so-so for 2 adults.
4. Extra Energy Means (Heaps) Extra Cash
It gained’t come as a shock that the extra highly effective IS 350 comes at a premium over the much less punchy IS 300. That’s how these items work; you pay for these added ponies. But when every part was tallied up, our IS 350 tester stickered for greater than $55,000; that’s a $15,000 leap over the entry-level IS 300. The value pits the IS 350 in opposition to opponents that provide extra energy, extra space or a mix of the 2.
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