Premium compact car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door convertible
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,500 – $34,600*


2007 Lexus IS


2007 Lexus IS


2007 Lexus IS


2006 Lexus IS

Pros:
  • Acceleration (IS 350)
  • Control layout and materials
  • Quietness
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (IS 250)
  • Cargo room
  • Back-seat passenger room and comfort

The original IS 300 was basically an upgraded Japanese-market Toyota, but its premium-compact replacements impress as true-Lexus in design, features, and materials. Overall, these fun-to-drive compacts aren’t quite alluring enough to qualify as alternatives to the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G35–especially in rear-passenger room and comfort. Strong resale values mean used-car prices will be significantly higher than some competitors.

Overview

Lexus redesigned its sporty compact sedan for 2006. The new IS borrowed its basic architecture and styling cues from Lexus’ larger GS sedans. Compared to the 2001-05 IS 300, the 2006s were 3.5 inches longer overall and 3 inches wider, on wheelbases that measured 2.4 inches longer.

Two rear-drive models and an all-wheel-drive version were offered; the slow-selling wagon was dropped. The 2006 IS 250 and IS 250 AWD held a 204-horsepower V6 engine, while the IS 350 had a 306-horsepower V6. A six-speed manual transmission was standard for the rear-drive IS 250. Available for the rear-drive IS 250 and standard for other models was a six-speed automatic with manual operation from a shift gate or steering wheel paddles.

All IS models came with antilock braking, antiskid/traction control, front torso side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, and front knee airbags. Also standard were keyless ignition, an in-dash CD changer, tire-pressure monitor, and 17-inch wheels. Available options included 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, sunroof, leather/wood interior trim, and heated/cooled power seats.

An optional voice-activated navigation system included a rearview TV camera and wireless cell phone link. Rear obstacle detection and steering-linked bi-xenon headlights were also available; so was adaptive cruise control, designed to maintain a set following distance. Another new IS option was Lexus’ Pre-Collision System, designed to automatically cinch seatbelts and apply brakes if an unavoidable crash was detected. Lexus’ IS duo competed against the Acura TSX, BMW 3-Series, and Infiniti G35.

Yearly Updates

2007 IS
A newly available X Package for rear-drive models included a sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, front lip spoiler, and lighted door scuff plates. The IS 350 could get Lexus’ Pre-Collision Safety System.
2008 IS
The IS F made its debut featuring a 416-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. Please see Consumer Guide’s IS F review for more details. The rest of this lineup of premium compact cars was largely unchanged.
2009 IS
The 2009 Lexus IS received slightly freshened styling and revised suspension tuning.
2010 IS
A four-seat convertible with a power-retractable hardtop was added to the IS roster for 2010, offered as the IS 250C and the IS 350C. Please see Consumer Guide’s IS C review for more details.
2011 IS
The 2011 Lexus IS sedan gets freshened styling and a new model, the all-wheel-drive IS 350.
2012 IS
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Lexus IS.
2013 IS
The 2013 Lexus IS was unchanged.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

In rear-drive form, Lexus’ IS 250 held a 204-horsepower V6 engine, with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A 306-horsepower V6 went into the IS 350. Available for the rear-drive IS 250 and standard for the AWD and rear-drive IS 350 was a six-speed automatic, offering manual gear changes via a shift gate or steering-wheel paddles. An all-wheel-drive version of the IS 350 sedan was introduced for 2011.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 204
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
18/26
21/29
dohc V62
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/210
Engine HP 306
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 277
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

18/25

1. IS 250. EPA-estimated fuel economy with AWD is 20/26. 2. IS 350. EPA-estimated fuel economy with AWD is 18/25. EPA note: MPG figures shown for IS 250 and IS 350 are for 2008 models. That year, the Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for previous years.

Road Test

Acceleration varies with the model. IS 250s feel sleepy on takeoff, strained up steep grades, and shy on midrange passing power, despite a responsive and silky automatic transmission. By contrast, the IS 350 is strong in all situations. Lexus said an IS 250 could reach 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, versus 8.3 for the 250 AWD and a swift 5.6 seconds for the IS 350. A test IS 350 beat that figure by 0.1 second.

Fuel economy is about on par for the class. A test IS 250 averaged 20.7 mpg in city/highway driving, while an AWD version managed 23.3 mpg in mostly highway runs. All engines require premium-grade fuel.

Ride comfort closely matches class rivals, marred only by slight wheel thump on washboard surfaces and mild float over large crests at speed. The optional sport suspension and 18-inch tires detract slightly from comfort.

IS 250 and 350 trail the benchmark BMW 3-Series for handling talents, but corners with little body lean, secure grip, and agile feel. Here too, the optional sport suspension and 18-inch wheels seem to make little difference. Neither does AWD on dry roads. Electric power steering is quick and informative. Strong brakes furnish swift, drama-free stops, but pedal action is slightly grabby.

Coarse-surface tire thrum is noticed, but not intrusive. Wind noise is modest. Lexus’ 2.5-liter V6 gets hoarse at high rpm, but both engines are subdued and relaxed during highway cruising. Wind noise is modest in convertibles, and wind rush isn’t intrusive top down at highway speeds.

Lexus’ usual large, legible gauges are accompanied by handy, intuitive minor controls. Unfortunately, the steering wheel obscures switches on the lower dashboard. The current in-dash navigation screen is more legible than the old IS 300’s smaller pop-up display. As on other Lexus models, it controls many audio and climate functions, but is easier to learn than most navigation systems.

Cabin decor is rich and elegant, with a pleasing mix of soft leather, padded surfaces, and nicely textured plastics.

Rather snug up front, despite an enlarged exterior for 2006, IS sedans offer adult-size leg space, but limited headroom for six-footers. Seats are comfortably shaped and padded. The excellent driving stance is abetted by the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, with optional power adjustment. Body styling limits views to the right rear and directly aft.

Rear space is tight. Headroom is limited and legroom skimpy with front seats pushed fully aft. Narrow door openings and small footwells impede entry/exit. In convertibles, rear-seat room is very snug. Top up, the IS C suffers the usual awkward twist-and-stoop entry common to 2-door cars, and headroom is tight for most adults.

Cargo space fails to impress. Packing is complicated in sedans by a smallish trunk opening, plus intrusion from rear wheel arches and trunklid hinges. The IS C has a reasonably sized trunk for a convertible and holds a decent amount of luggage. But volume drops from 10.8 cubic feet with the top up to just 2.4 with the top down, and the opening to the remaining space is just a narrow slot. Cabin storage on both body styles is just mediocre.

Ratings

Model Tested: Lexus IS 250 w/AWD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 53

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 182.5 70.9 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.8 17.1 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 36.1 44.1 25.9
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 180.1 70.9 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.0 17.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.0 36.9 43.9 30.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 IS 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Floor gets wet from A/C condensation backup due to clogged drain hose. (2006-07)
Audio system
Description: Noise through the audio system when external devices, such as MP3 players, are plugged into accessory outlet for which there is an improved component. (2006-08)
Rear axle noise
Description: Rattle from the rear when going over bumps caused by excessive free play in the parking brakes. (2006-08)
Check-engine light
Description: After starting the engine (model 4GR-FSE) on a vehicle that has been sitting overnight, the check engine light may come on indicating one or more misfiring cylinders, the correction for which was replacement of the valve lash adjusters. (2006)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on indicating an overly rich running engine requiring recalibration of the engine control computer. (2006)

Recall History

2006 IS
Description: Some airbag inflators were produced with insufficient heating agent for proper deployment.
2006 IS
Description: If front seatbelt retractors become locked, they may not release and seatbelt cannot be fastened properly.
2006 IS 250
Description: Accelerator pedal on some vehicles may temporarily become stuck in partially depressed position, and not return to idle position.
2006 IS
Description: A crack may form in two specific fuel pipes located in the engine compartment leading to fuel leakage, increasing risk of fire. Dealers will replace the two involved fuel lines with newly designed lines.
2006 IS
Description: If replacement brake fluid is used that does not contain certain polymers, or that contains only small amounts, a part of the rubber seal located at the rear of the brake master cylinder may become dry and a small amount of brake fluid could slowly leak from the seal into the brake booster. A leak of brake fluid could lead to a change in brake pedal feel and overtime, degradation in braking performance, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the seal with a newly designed one. This service will be performed free of charge.
2006-2009 IS
Description: Due to insufficient tightening of the fuel pressure sensor connected to an engine fuel delivery pipe with nickel phosphorus plating, there is a possibility that, over time, the pressure sensor could loosen. If loosening occurs, fuel could leak past a gasket used in the connection between the sensor and the pipe and through the threaded portion of the sensor. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect for fuel leakage from the threaded portion of the fuel pressure sensor and if a fuel leak is not confirmed, dealers will further tighten the fuel pressure sensor with the proper torque. If a fuel leak is confirmed, the gasket between the sensor and the fuel deliver pipe will be replaced with a new one, and the sensor will be tightened with the proper torque. This service will be performed free of charge.
2006-2012 IS250, IS350, IS250C, IS350C, IS-F
Description: 2006-2012 IS250/IS350, 2010-2012 IS250C/IS350C, and 2008-2011 IS-F have insufficiently torqued wiper-arm fasteners that may become inoperative when blocked by snow.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.