2012 Lexus IS Review
The 2012 Lexus IS has a high-end cabin and sporty exterior, but test drivers say if you want a car that drives like a true sports sedan, you should look at other upscale midsize cars.
In a class filled with sporty, fun-to-drive cars, reviewers say the 2012 Lexus IS falls short of other upscale midsize cars. Although it looks sporty, they say its acceleration and handling don’t match its looks. Since test drivers find the IS 250’s engine weak, they suggest buyers upgrade to the IS 350 since it’s more powerful.
On the inside, the Lexus IS is a tight squeeze. It has a cramped back seat, little headroom and a small trunk. If you frequently have passengers in your back seat, test drivers suggest checking out rivals. On the other hand, reviewers love the high-end materials used throughout the cabin, as well as the high-tech electronics, which they think are mostly easy to use.
Reviewers like that the 2012 Lexus IS comes in so many different configurations. There’s the base IS 250 sedan, the more powerful 350 sedan, the IS 250 hardtop convertible coupe and 350 hardtop convertible coupe. On IS sedans, Lexus even offers optional all-wheel drive, which will appeal to shoppers who live in a harsher climate.
If you’re shopping for an upscale midsize car with lots of room for your family and friends, this is not the car for you. But if you’re in the market for a stylish, upscale car with an interior that surrounds you with luxury, the Lexus IS is worth a test drive.
Other Cars to Consider
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a good competitor to the Lexus IS. Although not offered in a convertible model, it is available as a sedan and coupe, similar to the Lexus IS. The C300’s V6 engine is more powerful than the IS 250’s V6, but the C350’s V6 is slightly less powerful than the IS 350’s V6. Reviewers like that the C-Class provides good acceleration around town and on the highway.
In the upscale midsize car class, the Infiniti G is also a good car to consider. Its sedan, coupe and convertible body styles will also appeal to a range of buyers. Test drivers like the Infiniti G because they say it balances fun and luxury without being too soft or too hardcore. Its base V6 is also more powerful than the IS’ base six-cylinder engine, and reviewers like the G’s sharp handling.
Lexus IS: The Details
The 2012 Lexus IS comes in four different models. There are two sedans: the IS 250 and IS 350. There are also two hardtop convertible coupe models: the IS 250 C and IS 350 C. The high-performance Lexus IS F sedan is reviewed separately. The Lexus IS was refreshed in 2011 and sees no major changes for the 2012 model year. See the full list of 2012 Lexus IS specs.
- "These premium compacts impress for their design, features, and materials. They also benefit from Lexus' kid-gloves customer service. However, they're not quite alluring enough alternatives to the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class." -- Consumer Guide
- "On either side of the comfort/performance scale, the … Lexus IS 250 remains a second-stringer among star athletes." -- Edmunds
- "As expected, the IS convertible features Lexus fit and finish and, somewhat less appealingly, Lexus dynamics." -- Car and Driver