If you’ve decided to buy a new vehicle that will focus on feel more than practicality, the compact luxury sports sedan class is a good place to start – with stiff competition from vehicles like the Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Genesis G70 and Cadillac CT4.
Another strong contender in the segment, which I recently had the chance to explore the roads with, is the 2021 Lexus IS 300, a sharp-looking drive that returns in 2021 with some styling updates as well as suspension improvements.
Read on for a full assessment of how Lexus’ offering holds up and rivals a host of very tough competitors.
for your information
Vehicle: 2021 Lexus IS 300
Price tested: $ 49,915; the base price starts around $ 40,000
Best feature: Beautiful design, strong safety features
Evaluation: 4 out of 5 stars
Who will want this vehicle? : Compact luxury sport sedan buyers looking for a vehicle that will turn heads and fun to drive.
Take a look at the 2021 Lexus IS and you will be instantly impressed. It’s beautiful, sleek, low to the ground and head-turning, racing car-style exterior design that is among the best in its class. I had a lot of feedback driving the IS around town, and it was universally positive.
The big grille in your face may be a bit too much for some people, but I loved it, as well as the design of the headlights. It also features 18-inch split five-spoke alloy wheels with all-season tires, rain-sensing wipers, rear spoiler and triple-beam LED headlights.
Moving on inside, the 2021 Lexus IS has extremely comfortable and attractive leather seats, as you would expect from a luxury car. All aspects of the interior are sleek and upscale, and there is a strong overall interior design.
One important thing to note, however, is that the rear seats are very tight and offer limited leg and head room for adults. It is best to leave them for children or short people. Ideally, this vehicle would be used as a two-seater, where you treat the backseat like storage. Like all vehicles in this class, this is definitely not a good choice for families.
The interior also includes 8-way power front seats, and the Comfort Package will give you heated and ventilated front seats, a heated leather steering wheel and a power tilt and slide sunroof.
HOW IS THE ROAD?
The Lexus IS 300 I tested had a 3.5-liter V6 engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and developing 260 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The speed from zero to 60 was decent, in under 6 seconds.
The base engine of the Lexus IS 300 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. From zero to 60 times, climb into the 7 second range with this engine, but fuel economy improves.
RWD is standard on the IS, and AWD is optional. The IS offers drive mode selection (options are ECO, Normal, Sport and Snow) and steering wheel paddle shifters for those who want to control gears.
When you consider the overall driving experience of the IS, it offers a solid performance that drivers will appreciate on a daily basis. You move quickly, turns are smooth, braking is responsive, Sport mode is effective in improving handling, and exterior noise is kept to a minimum.
Is the Lexus IS the fastest or most powerful car in its class? No, it doesn’t, given that it faces strong offers from Benz, BMW, Audi, Cadillac and more.
But it is okay. The Lexus IS doesn’t try to be everything for every buyer. This is not possible, and of course some people will go for the German alternatives. However, the IS delivers strong performance, can still hold its own in the segment, and will continue to attract a loyal fan base among buyers, especially when Toyota’s safety and reliability is factored into the decision-making process.
The centerpiece of Lexus’ technical setup is its Lexus multimedia system, which comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen and the option to upgrade to a 10.3-inch screen. The system features a Lexus 10-speaker premium audio system, with the ability to go even bigger and bolder with a 17-speaker, 1800-watt Mark Levinson premium surround sound system.
The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for phone mirroring, SiriusXM satellite radio and the Lexus IS comes with an optional WiFi connection (3 months included).
The infotainment system’s voice commands worked perfectly for me whether I was changing radio stations or setting my next destination. You can also use the touch controls on the center display, which is a nice addition.
But while improvements have been made over previous versions of the Lexus infotainment control setup, I still don’t find the experience as user-friendly as competing luxury vehicle setups, and more updates are needed. to catch up.
On the plus side, the upgraded audio system is booming and sounds fantastic. Ideal even for music with heavy bass, nothing looks confusing.
Moving on to safety, as usual with Lexus vehicles, there is a lot of positive to be said on this front in the SI. There are plenty of systems in place to keep you safe, and they’re not overly sensitive like some vehicles. You also get strong government security ratings.
Standard features included include the Lexus + 2.5 Safety System, which includes: pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, fully dynamic radar cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning with steering assistance, intelligent high beams and traffic sign assistance. .
You also get: a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, plus auto on / off LED low beam and high beam with daytime running lights. Options include intuitive park assist with automatic braking, rear pedestrian detection and an accurate panoramic view monitor.
Fuel consumption is one area where Lexus stumbles a bit in the segment compared to its rivals.
The official figures for the IS 300 are 19 cities / 26 freeways / 22 combined, and I got an average of 25 mpg when tested in real conditions. Compared to its competitors, these numbers are a bit short. Not a huge difference, so that probably wouldn’t be the deciding factor for potential buyers, but something to keep in mind.
The 2021 Lexus IS 300 I tested was priced at $ 49,915 with all options, and the IS’s base price starts at around $ 40,000. This is a starting price similar to that of some competitors and lower than that of some German competitors.
The 2021 Lexus IS delivers a fun driving experience, and once you add its solid safety features and design prowess, you have an overall quality package for the segment. It’s not the most powerful offering in the category, but it won’t be the deciding factor for all buyers. Definitely worth a visit if you shop in this category.
Matt Myftiu can be contacted by email at [email protected] His past reviews can all be viewed online at autotechreviews.com.