2021 Lexus IS Reviews: IS350 F Sport & IS300

2 min read

The sharply wrinkled sheetmetal and wrinkled headlights give the Lexus IS 2021 an aggressive look that will make it stand out from the crowd of sports sedans. Lexus claims to have focused on bold designs and a clear driving experience with redesigned models — but not all new — to better compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3 series, and Genesis G70. The IS can be owned with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a gutsier V-6, the latter available with a performance-enhancing feature that will help satisfy driving enthusiasts and put IS back in the hunt among its more agile competitors. Inside, the driver and passenger are treated to a cabin lined with choices, but the passenger space is comfortable; Other beginner luxury cars offer a fresher environment. Expect IS 2021 to appear in lexus showrooms this fall.

What’s New for 2021?The updated IS enters 2021 with updated interior and exterior styles, improved driving dynamics, improved driver assistance features, and a modernized infotainment system.

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Engine, Transmission and Performance

The 2021 IS engine options brought in from the 2020 model are unchanged and include a 2.0-liter turbocharged 241 hp four-cylinder engine on the IS300 and a 311 hp V-6 on the IS350. We’ve never been a fan of four cylinders in the IS300 test before, because its blunt character doesn’t match the car’s athletic chassis. Ordering the V-6 allows the IS to shine, and for 2021 this is the only way to get into the F Sport model, which delivers many performance improvements such as limited slip rear differentials, staggered 19-inch wheels, and optional adaptive suspension. Lexus claims to have redesigned the IS suspension for 2021, but we don’t yet have the opportunity to trial the new model. The last time we tested the ALL-wheel-drive IS350 F Sport, we recorded a fast time of 5.5 seconds from zero to 60 mph — no better than the average for this fast class.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

While not nearly as spacious or deluxe as Lexus’s flagship LS sedan, the compact IS still offers a premium experience. Power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start are all standard features while a power sunroof and leather upholstery are optional. Although changes to the cabin are minimal, a discerning eye will notice relocated cupholders, round air vents near the door panels, and an infotainment system that’s been moved closer to the edge of the dashboard. We expect the IS’s interior space to be unchanged from the cramped 2020 model, so don’t expect tons of space for family or cargo.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The results of hit-and-run tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) have not been made public. Lexus continues to offer a range of standard driver assistance features as standard in the IS range, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Lexus says the sensor system has been upgraded by 2021 to improve detection of pedestrians and cyclists in low light conditions. Key security features include:

  • Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane departure alerts with the help of lane maintenance
  • Standard adaptive roaming controls

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

IS has comprehensive coverage highlighted by the best powertrain warranty. The first year of scheduled maintenance is included at no cost.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
  • Free scheduled maintenance covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles

Pricing and Which to Buy

We recommend the full-monty IS350 F Sport with rear-wheel drive. The F Sport package not only offers a more aggressive exterior style, but also comes with a unique 19-inch wheel with larger rear tires, cold air intake system, limited slip rear differential, F Sport exhaust, and sport seats with heat and ventilation. We’ll also choose an optional Dynamic Handling package that also includes an adaptive suspension system.

Lexus IS300 Price : Start At $ 40.025
Lexus IS350 F Sport Price: Start At $ 43.925

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