2014 Lexus IS
It’s been a few years since we logged some quality seat time with a Lexus IS. Long the sportiest Lexus sedan, the IS has at times wowed us and disappointed us. While it has managed to bring in some younger buyers, it remains a bit of a black sheep to traditional Lexus clientele. Something the all-new 2014 edition hopes to correct.
It certainly looks like an up-to-date Lexus, borrowing the spindle grille and much of the sharper exterior treatment of the larger GS. That includes LED front accents and angular bodylines that sweep across the new, lengthened chassis. F-Sport trim brings the usual touch ups, including unique rear cladding, front fascia, and an even more aggressive grille insert.
Interior layout also follows in step with the GS, although ever sportier, with a modern, yet simplistic control scheme, plus nearly unmatched Lexus comfort. Once deficient rear seat knee-room grows nearly 3 inches. Again, the F-Sport adds upgrades like badging, aluminum pedals, and a driver-focused digital gauge cluster, borrowed from the LFA.
Engines are carry-overs from the current-gen IS; 2.5 and 3.5 liter V-6’s making 204 and 306 horsepower. So while power feels similar, both a revised steering gear and front/rear suspension setups make far better use of it.
And while the IS comes alive on the track, it’s no sleeper on the street, all without the harsh ride of the hot-rod IS-F. With an eager right foot, even at lower speeds the IS is ready to play. Back-off the throttle and you’ll cruise with Lexus-like refinement.
Starting around $36,000, the 2014 Lexus IS arrives before summer.
Engine: 2.5 and 3.5 liter V-6
Horsepower: 204 and 306
Price: Starting around $36,000