|Premium compact car; Built in|
|Good condition price range: $26,400 – $41,400*|
2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport
2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport
2014 Lexus IS
2014 Lexus IS
The 2014 Lexus IS sedan’s redesign helps it keep pace with class rivals. The carryover engines means that the new IS doesn’t leapfrog any of its competitors in terms of performance or fuel economy. However, the added rear seat space is a real plus, and the new safety and infotainment features are welcome as well. IS is definitely worth a look, though be sure to check out the Cadillac ATS, BMW 3-Series Sedan, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well.
The IS 250 was the entry-level version of Lexus’ sporty premium-compact car. Its upmarket sibling was the more-powerful, more-expensive IS 350. Both the IS 250 and IS 350 sedans were redesigned for the 2014 model year. However, the 2013 IS sedan’s companion versions–namely the IS 250C and IS 350C 2-door convertibles and the high-performance IS F sedan–remained on sale as 2014 models, but were not redesigned.
The IS was made in Japan. IS 250 competed against entry-level versions of the Audi A4 (2.0T), BMW 3-Series Sedan (328i), and Cadillac ATS (2.5L, 2.0T). The IS 350’s primary competition consisted of the 335i version of the BMW 3-Series Sedan, 3.6L version of the Cadillac ATS, and C350 Sport version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The redesigned IS received fresh styling, new features, and a longer wheelbase. The new body had a more-aggressive, sculptured look via distinct design touches such as Lexus’s signature “spindle” grille, LED daytime running lights separate from the headlights, and an upswept rocker-panel character line. Overall dimensions weren’t drastically changed, though the wheelbase was stretched by 2.7 inches and overall length grew 3.4 inches. These alterations helped add 1.6 inches in rear-seat legroom.
The 2014 IS 250 and IS 350 were each sold in a single trim level with the choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The “base” model was nicely equipped with standard features such as keyless access and starting, Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link, power sunroof, heated rearview mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and two USB jacks. Heated front seats were standard on AWD models.
Stand-alone options (many of which were new for 2014) included a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation system, front and rear park assist, blind-spot alert with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure alert. The optional navigation system (which could be ordered with or without a Mark Levinson-brand premium sound system) included a rearview camera, HD Radio with complimentary traffic and weather, and Lexus’ Remote Touch control interface and Enform infotainment system.
A Premium Package consisted of twin-projector LED headlamps and heated/ventilated front seats. A Luxury Package included both of those and added blind-spot alert with rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, and a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The Luxury Package required ordering the navigation system or rearview camera.
The F Sport Package offered a broad range of performance-themed equipment. It included twin-projector LED headlamps, sporty interior and exterior trim, multi-function gauge cluster, sport suspension, high-friction brake pads, staggered-width 18-inch wheels in place of 17s, and heated sport seats. Rear-wheel-drive IS 350 F Sport models also included an adaptive suspension system. Likewise, the optional Variable Gear Ratio Steering was restricted to rear-drive IS 350 F Sports.
The IS 250’s 2.5-liter V6 powertrain was largely carried over from the 2013 model, and its horsepower rating was unchanged at 204. Both the RWD and AWD versions of the IS 250 used a 6-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifters; a manual transmission was not offered.
The IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6 engine was also largely carried over from the 2013 model. Horsepower stood pat at 306. The rear-wheel-drive IS 350 used an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the AWD version was equipped with a 6-speed automatic.
The EPA-estimated fuel-economy numbers for the 2014 IS 250 were 21 mpg city/30 highway with rear-wheel drive and 20/27 with AWD. Estimates for the 2014 IS 350 were 19 mpg city/28 highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/26 with AWD.
The 2014 Lexus IS 250 included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Newly available items for 2014 included blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure alert.
This evaluation is based on preview test drives of prototype vehicles.