Contemporary buyers don’t seem much interested in flashy cars. But they do seem to like vehicles with authority and Lexus IS 300 AWD certainly delivers.
A sporty, upscale sedan with compact dimensions and a big heart, the Lexus IS 300 certainly carries itself with authority. It provides ample power with a solid mix of technology, comfort and convenience features. It can serve as an everyday driver, particularly if you’re still a commuter or your job requires you to be on the road.
While it is a traditional passenger car, it is comfortable on a longer trip, but it is also a nimble and relatively easy to park in an urban area or a crowded suburban commercial area where spaces can be at a premium. It also looks good out on road or sitting in your driveway.
The exterior of the Lexus IS 300 is spare and functional. But it is quite effective. It has a well-designed front fascia and grille, which services nicely to provide space for Lexus’ distinctive badge. The profile is rather austere, and the windshield is laid back to accommodate the roof line, which sweeps down to the wing at the end of the rear deck.
The corners are neatly tailored to accommodate the LED lights used at both the front and the rear of the sedan. The 18-inch, five-spoke wheels complete the exterior appearance of car, which has just enough style in its exterior lines so it will not be dismissed as anonymous.
The interior of the Lexus IS 300 isn’t plush or ostentatious. But the cabin is neatly laid out and the furnishings are first rate with leather and metal accents, giving the interior a polished look, which is enhanced by the two-tone color scheme I thought was most appealing.
The placement of the technology inside the cabin seems almost old fashioned with its rectangular touch screen and upright shifter but it is effective. The instrument cluster is nicely laid out as are the controls on the steering wheel.
In addition, the lighting scheme inside the cabin for nighttime driving also is very helpful. The IS 300 I drove also was equipped with a sunroof, which let natural light into the cabin during daytime driving. The visibility from the driver’s seat also was very good and the car’s second-row seats were relatively comfortable for passengers. In keeping with Lexus tradition, the interior was very quiet.
The Lexus IS 300 is powered by 3.5-liter V-6 that is matched up with a 6-speed automatic transmission as well as a full-time all-wheel-drive system. The car also is equipped with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for those who want to change gear themselves and the selection of drive modes is in the center console. Since the IS 300 is equipped with a V-6 engine, fuel economy is just okay. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the IS 300 AWD a combined rating of 22 mile per gallon, including 19 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The IS 300 is equipped with the Lexus Safety System with pre-collision alert and pedestrian detection front- and side-impact airbags. The car also is equipped with all-speed dynamic cruise control, lane tracking assistance and lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, and parking assistance with automatic braking in the rear.
The IS 300, I drove, also was equipped with a 10-speaker sound system with voice commands as well as Alexa, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also came with navigation, Bluetooth, multimedia display for the touchscreen and satellite radio as well as heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
The driving dynamics on the IS 300 were very good. The steering offered ample feedback while the brakes provided ample stopping power for the V-6 engine delivering 280 horsepower. The car enjoys a favorable power-to-weight ratio that seemingly makes the car light on its feet. The shifts from the 6-speed transmission never seemed to labor or miss a beat as it delivered the engine’s power. The car’s suspension is first rate on all kinds of pavement and the all-wheel-drive system was most responsive. Overall, it’s a car that worked to make driving fun rather than a tedious chore.
2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD specifications:
|Dimension||L: 185.4 inches/W: 72.4 inches/H: 56.7 inches/Wheelbase: 110.2 inches|
|Powertrain||3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and AWD|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||260 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $41,000; As tested: $46,915 including $1,025 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The Lexus IS 300 AWD is perfectly competent vehicle with impressive driving dynamics. Given the brand’s reputation for durability and quality and the relatively modest maintenance expense, you could probably drive this vehicle for years and it would only seem a little bit dated since even the technology on the cars seems built to last. The one drawback is that though it carries a $50,000 price tag. It does not seem to be a luxury car, though it carries an impressive luxury badge.
2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
How fast does the Lexus IS 300 go from 0 to 60 mph?
An IS 300 AWD took 5.7 seconds to scoot from 0 to 60 mph, the same as a 100-pounds-lighter rear-drive IS350. Similarly, the IS 300 AWD’s 14.3-second quarter-mile sprint is but 0.1 second behind that of its lighter and more powerful counterpart.
What are the new features of the 2021 Lexus IS?
In front, the 2021 IS gets a new version of Lexus’ now-familiar spindle grille, with F Sport and regular models wearing different designs. F Sport models also get an air intake at the bottom of the grille to improve brake cooling.
What makes the Lexus IS so special?
The Sasquatch Package comes with 17-inch black high gloss-painted aluminum wheels with a warm alloy beauty ring, high clearance suspension and fender flares, LT315/70R17 mud-terrain tires, Bilstein shock absorbers and a 4.7 final drive ratio with electronic-locking front and rear axle.