2012 Lexus IS

#6 in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
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2012 Lexus IS Overview

The 2012 Lexus IS has sporty exterior and a high-end cabin, but critics say if you want a car that drives like a true sports sedan, you should look at other upscale midsize cars. 

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See full 2012 Lexus IS specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 in IS 350
  • Rough ride in sedan
  • Cramped back seat
  • Underpowered V6 in IS 250

Notable for 2012

  • No major changes

Lexus IS Rankings and Research

The 2012 Lexus IS ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars category. Currently the Lexus IS has a score of 8.5 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 76 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 8.5
Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.4
Cost to Own: 8.4
Safety: 9.5
Reliability: 4_5

2012 Lexus IS Pictures

2012 Lexus IS Review

By U.S. News Best Cars Staff December 29, 2015

The 2012 Lexus IS has sporty exterior and a high-end cabin, but critics say if you want a car that drives like a true sports sedan, you should look at other upscale midsize cars. 

Reviewers were disappointed with the power provided by the 2012 IS 250’s V6 engine, adding that the IS 250 struggles up hills and lacks sufficient passing power. They preferred the more powerful V6 in the IS 350, which they said is responsive and smooth. The Lexus IS is available in sedan and convertible body styles, and comes with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and rear- or all-wheel drive. The performance-oriented IS F sedan has a V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic. According to the EPA, the 2012 Lexus IS 250 sedan gets 21/30 mpg city/highway, which is on par with the fuel economy of competitors with similar horsepower. The IS 350 sedan is rated at 19/27 mpg. Some reviewers wrote that the IS exhibits lots of body lean during cornering and has numb steering, though others said that it is quite agile. Test drivers noted that the IS’ brakes are strong, but can be grabby. They said the IS sedan rides a little rough compared with its rivals over bumpy roads, but they agreed that the convertible has a softer ride and isn't very athletic.

Critics wrote that the 2012 Lexus IS has excellent cabin build quality, with soft leather and nicely padded surfaces. However, reviewers said headroom is limited for front- and rear-seat occupants, and rear-seat passengers have limited legroom. The Lexus IS has 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is normal for the class. Standard features in the 2012 Lexus IS include proximity key, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a 13-speaker audio system. Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, a rearview camera and a moonroof. Some reviewers found that the available navigation system complicates audio and climate controls. 

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 Infiniti G has great driving dynamics for the class, with planted, agile handling, powerful brakes and precise steering. They also agreed that the G feels composed while riding over bumpy pavement.

Test drivers praised the 2012 Cadillac CTS for its powerful upper-level V6, agile handling and  comfortable ride over uneven roads. Reviewers liked the CTS' fashionable, high-quality interior.

Compare the IS, G and CTS »