Lexus IS Review
The 2014 Lexus IS ranks 2 out of 22 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Lexus IS, as well as reliability and safety data.
While some sport sedans may be more nimble, auto writers say the redesigned 2014 Lexus IS features a comfortable, upscale cabin, refined handling and ample engine power.
The redesigned IS sedan comes standard with a V6 engine that test drivers agree makes sufficient power. A more powerful V6 comes in the Lexus IS 350, which reviewers say makes the IS more engaging to drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, which is praised for its smooth shifts. Rear-wheel drive versions of the IS 350 get an eight-speed automatic, which reviewers say makes better use of the engine’s power. Fuel economy is up to an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low among comparable sport sedans. Test drivers say the IS has refined handling and a comfortable ride, though many write that class leaders like the Cadillac ATS are a bit more athletic. Still, the IS' steering is praised for being well-weighted and providing good feedback.
Reviewers write that the redesigned Lexus IS sedan's cabin is a huge step up from last year's model, and features great build quality and plenty of high-end materials. They report the front seats are comfortable and supportive, and appreciate that the back seats offer plenty of legroom. Reviewers note that the IS' touch-sensitive climate controls work pretty well, though some say the mouse-like Remote Touch system that controls the optional navigation system takes some getting used to. Standard features include Bluetooth, a 7-inch display screen, an eight-speaker stereo and a USB port. Optional features include navigation, a backup camera, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson stereo system, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.
- "While it's a big step up from its predecessor, the IS can't quite match the poise of its top rivals on a circuit. But that doesn't mean Lexus's latest sedan fails to provide a great all-around car for shoppers who want a bold new luxury vehicle with a sporty flair." -- AutoTrader
- "As before, comfort, luxury and outright refinement take priority over performance and headlines on the 2014 Lexus IS 250. This car will please Lexus loyalists, but if you're not devoted to the brand, you owe it to yourself to shop around." -- Edmunds
- "The 2014 Lexus IS is both very good and yet in a few areas it falls just a little short, with the available F-Sport trim acting as a tease as to what the new IS could be." -- MSN Autos
- "I think Lexus has finally built an entry-level sport sedan that's great to look at, wonderful to sit in, and a lot of fun to drive. It's the kind of car that its buyer will enjoy for years to come. But things do get tricky here because the competition is so tough." -- Jalopnik
- "If you happen to be shopping for a compact luxury sedan, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by assuming the IS is just another boring Lexus." -- Left Lane News
Other Cars to Consider
If you're after a sporty car with great handling, reviewers recommend the BMW 3-Series. In addition to its athletic demeanor, the base 320i model gets better fuel economy and starts at a lower price.
Reviewers write that the Audi A4 has a refined ride and handling, as well as a high-quality interior. The A4 also returns better fuel economy than the IS 250, and reviewers say its turbocharged four-cylinder engine gives the A4 plenty of pep.
Details: 2014 Lexus IS
The 2014 Lexus IS is available in sedan and convertible (IS-C) body styles, which seat five and four, respectively. Three trims are offered, ranging from the IS 250 sedan with a 2.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, to the high-performance IS-F sedan with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all models and all-wheel drive is optional on the IS 250 and IS 350 sedan. The Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 sedans have been fully redesigned for 2014, while the convertible IS-C and high-performance IS-F carry over unchanged for 2014.