Susan Frissell, Editor, Womenwithwheels.com
Much has been written and reviewed regarding the three Lexus IS 350 models available for 2021 and 2022. Our test 2021 IS 350 was the 3.5-liter V6 with 311 horsepower. Plenty of power to move this handsome sedan. Our test IS came equipped with the F SPORT features including 10-way Drive and 8-way passenger F SPORT bolstered front heating and ventilated power seats, F SPORT Suspension Tuning, 19-inch Staggered-Width Alloy Wheels with Dark Metallic Finish, Black Geometric Film Interior Trim, F SPORT Exterior styling, F SPORT moveable meter and rear spoiler, amont other goodies.
Whoever said sedans were out of fashion believes only what they read in the press. It would appear that SUVs are all that’s available, but those of us who still enjoying the feel of a handsome, well-powered sedan (consider some of the competition to Lexus IS models, such as Genesis G70). To hear Genesis tell it, they’re tossing their money into sedans, offering G70, G80, G90 alongside their one and only, highly thought of GV80 SUV. Avid car buffs especially covet the beautiful and competent 2021 Lexus IS sedan. Don’t believe what you hear: That sedans are dead. They’re alive and well from several manufactures. The IS’ most faithful competition includes the Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 440, Cadillac CT4, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Volvo S60 T6.
Our IS 350 sedan came equipped with $12,115 worth of installed options. Crazy. The people who would opt for this particular vehicle-decked out the way it is-may not be a deliberate option chooser. Some of it might be negotiable, but once you get accustomed to all the extras, it’s hard to go back.
Some of the options included were not so crazy extras: Navigation, Mark Levinson Audio Package including 17 speakers, 1,800-watt premium surround sound audio system (our personal favorite). It’s packaged in with Destination Assist, Multimedia Display Lexus Enform, Dynamic, 10.3 Touchscreen, Dynamic Voice Command, all with 3-and-10-year warranty included.
The door edge guards are extra precaution in today’s tight parking spaces, affordable at $140. Illuminated door sills are classy but require a vote as they go for $425. The all-weather floor liners ($290) are classy and solid, sure to last a while.
Probably our favorite option and one we definitely would choose is the F SPORT Handling package including 19-inch Matte Black BBS Wheels, Drive Mode Select with Sport (S/S+), Adaptive Variable Suspension, Ash Heated Wood Trimmed steering wheels, interior trim, Carbon Fiber Rear Spoiler.
Updated some for 2020, the IS 350 is distinctively Lexus and although it may not be the most up-to-date styling, it still looks good and stands the test of time. After all, do Lexus drivers, always make their choice of a Lexus vehicle dependent on style? The brand offers so many other desirable things, it’s a no-brainer when bellying up to the counter with your biggggggg check.
A compact executive sport sedan, the IS 350 is based on the non-modular Toyota N platform, shared with the beautiful RC 350 couple.
Worth it? Absolutely.
Lexus continues on the same platform it debuted in 2013. There are small styling and mechanical upgrades that have been made for 2021, creating a better, more competitive IS. The Lexus IS model is Japanese’s most important luxury sedan making the need for a revision important. Especially as they decrease in favor, and production. As mentioned above, the Genesis G70 and Alfa Romeo Giulia have garnered favor and attention for their overall performance, handling and engineering.
What the Lexus IS does well is blending comfort and luxury with sporty performance, a hallmark of sedans in the sport sedan segment. The IS is very comfortable, quiet and classy. It is an easy car to drive, park and handle. The ride is enthusiastic, the interior updated with more comfortable seating. This writer needed to spend a little more time becoming familiar with the trackpad and touchscreen.
The rear seat is a bit tight, however, not a bother for this driver as there aren’t many times she is transporting passengers-or dog-in the back seat. Due to the fastback-like profile of the backend, there is limited headroom in back. Worth sacrificing for the look, though. While the segment may be declining, the competition is still stiff for a handsome, crisp luxury sedan.
Carrying on their now famous HourGlass Honeycombed spindle grille-you either love it or hate it-it is un-mistakenly Lexus. Safety features are aplenty and include Collision Avoidance breaking, Blind Spot Warning, Front and Rear Cross Traffic Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Steering Trace Assist, Full Adaptive Cruise Control with Auto Hold, Automatic High Beam Headlamps, Advanced Safety Package-Sonar Front Rear Part Assist, 360 Bird’s Eye View Camera View and Perimeter Scan.
As expected, airbags are ITHS top safety pick-plus with rear camera. The IS 350s have F-Sport cosmetic treatment. We especially liked the 19.0-inch Matte Black BBS Wheels.
Those of us on a first-name basis with our vehicles definitely have an emotional connection. Although I don’t know it as fact, but the car companies know this is important. It’s about developing a shared experience-going road-tripping, sharing a hobby.
In a past issue of Road and Travel Magazine a survey of 2200 responses uncovered that many of the respondents had some sort of relationship with their vehicles. Ninety-percent sing in their cars, 60 percent talk to their ride, many treat their cars like babies, and even name them!
What is emotional connection and why is it important? Emotional connection is all about developing a shared experience of the world: going on trips, working on projects, partaking in hobbies, finding common ground you can refer back to for years. There’s ease born of these experiences, and they make for the strongest foundation. Think of all the experiences we have that surround our chosen rides? We make many memories together, deck it out the way we want it to look and choose a brand/style that gives a message about what’s important to us. It isn’t just about getting from point A to point B, after all. For some of us, losing a car can be heartbreak, whether it’s through an accident, age or theft. Some folks truly have an emotional attachment. It’s also a big financial commitment. Not surprising.
MSRP: $57,015, delivery $1,025, total $58,040
Engine: 3.5-Liter, V6, 24-valve DI SFI gas, with 311 horsepower/280 lb-ft. torque at 4800 RPM
Transmission: 6-speed Automatic, front-engine, 4-dr. sedan, 5 passenger. AWD, 5 DRIVE MODES: ECO, NORMAL, SPORT, SPORT PLUS AND CUSTOM.
Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
Width: 72.4 in.
Length: 185. 4 in.
Height: 56.5 in.
Weight: 3,787 lbs.
EPA Fuel: 20/28/23 mpg.
Fuel Tank: 17.4 gal.
Models: IS 300, IS 350 F Sport
Installed Options: $12,115
Warranty: 4 yr., 50,000 basic coverage, 8 yr, 70,000-mile powertrain, 8 yr. unlimited mile coverage perforation warranty