The Lexus IS four-door has seating for 5, turbocharged engines, and gives a alternative between rear- and all-wheel drive. The sporty sedan has horse-jockey proportions, crisp dealing with, and a excessive degree of total refinement and craftsmanship.
The chassis and powertrains have been carried over from the yr prior, however for 2021 Lexus has refreshed its exterior styling and up to date the IS interior with a brand new touchscreen show.
The least costly IS stays the IS300, the numbers denoting a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that churns out 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s able to 6.9-second 0-60 mph instances. An 8-speed automated is standard, as is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optionally available.
For extra oomph, a 3.5-liter V-6 comes standard within the IS350. The 2 further cylinders convey output to 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. With an 8-speed automated and rear-wheel drive, an IS350 arrives at 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
Gas economic system is up barely with the redesign, checking in at an EPA-rated 21 metropolis, 31 freeway, 25 mixed for a rear-wheel-drive IS300. Rear-drive IS350 fashions quaff fuel at a fee of 20/28/23 mpg. Including all-wheel drive to the V-6 additional drops fuel economic system to 19/26/22 mpg.
Each IS will get a greater assortment of standard safety (*32*) this yr, with the record together with automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, energetic lane management, automated excessive beams, and new for 2021, blind-spot screens with rear cross-traffic alert. Non-compulsory gear features a surround-view digital camera system and parking sensors that work in tandem with the automated braking system in case a driver inches somewhat too shut to a different car when pulling right into a spot.
The IIHS continues to be ready to finish their testing, in order that they haven’t but issued the IS a safety score. What we all know to date is that the IS has aced the 5 crash assessments the institute has managed to finish. The NHTSA awarded the IS a five-star total score.
Lexus retains it easy with the IS. The bottom mannequin is called the IS300, distinguished by the turbo-4 underneath the hood. It begins at $40,025 after vacation spot and contains standard facilities like an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, artificial leather-based upholstery, dual-zone local weather management, power-adjustable entrance seats, 18-inch wheels, and LED lights.
The one different trim is the V-6-powered IS350 F Sport, which prices $43,925 to begin. In comparison with the standard 300 mannequin, the 350 provides 19-inch wheels, heated and cooled entrance seats, a heated steering wheel, and distinctive F Sport trim in and out.
The IS adopts a racier, extra sculpted look in comparison with final yr’s car. That is most obvious from profile view, the place the door skins have been scalloped and the haunches look contemporary off a season of vigorous biking.
The entrance and rear ends are extra good-looking and extra resolved than the previous car. Designers swapped the previous headlights for a slimmer and extra engaging pair.
The rear finish stitches collectively the taillights with a skinny, horizontal illuminated piece, giving the impression of a single full-width taillight.
The IS’s redesigned interior retains all of the hallmark Lexus traits: high quality supplies, impeccable construct high quality, and good design. That design was made even higher this yr with the infotainment updates. Previously, the display sat in a recessed portion of the dashboard nearer the windshield than the passengers. It was managed through a cumbersome joystick mounted on the middle console. This yr, the joystick was dumped for a touchpad, whereas the display moved half a foot nearer to the driving force and advanced to supply haptic functionality. This single replace goes a great distance in addressing our greatest gripe with the IS.
Each the IS300 and IS350 present eight inches of touchscreen as standard, however a ten.3-inch unit is accessible as an improve. The larger display will get navigation and some different functionalities not discovered on the smaller display. The larger display can also be required for the superb Mark Levinson audio system. It prices over $2,500 for the display and the sound system, however we are saying go forward and splurge; the concert-quality sound is value it.
The IS is essentially the most sporting Lexus, so the seats aren’t fairly as mushy and welcoming as these in, say, an RX350. However they’re energy adjusted at each price level and, with the fitting packing containers checked, can warmth and funky as effectively. We discovered they struck a pleasant stability between conventional Lexus consolation and the cosy firmness anticipated of a correct sport sedan.
The again seat is like that of any small, rear-drive sedan: small. The IS has 32 inches of rear leg room, and adults will want persistence to take a seat again there various minutes.
It’s an identical story within the trunk, the place 10.8 cubic toes of cargo area is accessible. The seatbacks fold all the way down to broaden obtainable area when just one or two passengers are aboard.
The IS appears to be like the a part of a sporty sedan. With extra refinement and energy, it may extra simply match its rivals.
The turbo-4 swells with good energy off the road, and it’s refined. Nonetheless, we’d take the three.5-liter V-6. Its 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque ship extra forceful thrust and achieve this in a clean, linear method; there isn’t a sudden onslaught of torque like a turbocharged engine, however somewhat it is available in a delicate wave that rises and crests a lot additional up the tachometer. It’s no rival for the twin-turbo V-6s present in different automobiles within the class, however its refinement can’t be missed.
Each flavors of IS supply a laudable trip, with an easygoing but agile suspension that may shrug off bumps in addition to it may possibly sling round corners. Even with 19-inch wheels, harsh impacts don’t intrude into the cabin. A number of drive modes can tailor the IS to prioritize dealing with or softness.
A Dynamic Dealing with Package deal is unique to F Sport fashions and is a should for anybody who prioritizes dealing with. It provides, amongst different issues, an adaptive suspension, a limited-slip differential, and a Sport Plus mode. The web sum of those (*32*) noticeably sharpen the F Sport’s dealing with chops, giving drivers extra confidence with which to assault backroads.
The 2021 Lexus IS is a lovely compact luxurious sedan for any driver in search of an excellent stability between trip and dealing with. We’d decide the IS350 for its slick dynamics and clean efficiency.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Automotive Connection
– 2021 Lexus IS –
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