2014 Lexus IS 350 packs in more standard features,
such as real-time traffic and weather updates
without a subscription.
Lexus IS sport sedan for 2014 has been redesigned inside
and out, with more interior room and a bolder exterior,
including the easily recognizable large spindle grille.
trim levels are available, with models ranging from the
base IS 250 with a 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V-6 engine
to the IS 350, powered by a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6
with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all
except the IS 350 with front drive, which gets an
F Sport package available for the IS 250 or IS 350
rear-drive models adds 18-inch split-five-spoke wheels,
front sport seats, a special F Sport grille, sport
suspension, unique front fascia, high-friction brake
pads and an LFA supercar-inspired instrument panel.
range from $35,950 for the IS 250 rear-wheel drive to
$41,700 for the IS 350 AWD, which I drove. The F Sport
package is $3,115 for IS 250 RWD and $3,620 for IS 350
IS 350 AWD is EPA rated at 19 mpg in the city and 26 on
the highway, with a combination of 21. I drove mostly
around the neighborhood and on freeways with frequent
stops and managed 20.1 mpg. The drive was smooth and
quiet, with good visibility except for a small area near
the "C" pillar — behind the rear doors.
2014, the IS comes standard with more than $1,400 in
previously optional equipment, including HID headlamps,
paddle shifters, next-generation remote touch interface,
drive mode select, dual-zone climate control, display
audio, 4.2-inch color multi-information display, and
L-shaped LED daytime running lights. There are 10 air
bags as well.
for the first time ever industry-wide, the multimedia
system brings real-time traffic and weather without a
subscription. Still, the base price of the new IS 350 is
2.1 percent lower than that of the model it replaces.
LED daytime running lights were arranged in a sharp
"checkmark" shape under the HID headlamps. An
all-weather package included headlight washers,
windshield deicer, heated steering wheel and enhanced
interior heater (for faster heat output).
"character line" curved from the middle of the
front fender to the integrated rear spoiler; and the
rear fender joined the bumper in a line curved around
the end of the taillights down to the wheel well. The
rocker panels had a curved lip. The taillights had an
Art Deco look, with parallel right-angled accent lines.
interior was inviting, with plush quilted-leather
seating; soft-touch materials on the door panels, dash,
console and armrests; and more curves on the dash and
the IS 350 holds five passengers, I found the rear a
little cramped, with only 32.2 inches of legroom, and
the rear middle seat was narrow and hard with no
legroom. Front legroom was 44.8 inches — maybe the
front passengers would split the difference. The middle
seat did have a tether hook for a child seat.
10-way power adjustable driver’s seat (with lumbar
support) was especially comfortable and easy to
position. The rear seatback easily folded in a 60/40
configuration by lifting a lever at the upper outer
corner to add versatility to the family sedan. The
center console was efficient, with two cupholders
located within easy reach, a USB port and an auxiliary
input under the armrest in a felted cubby, and a small,
flat recessed tray beside the shifter for portable
electronics, coins — or a box of nuggets.
outboard bucket-style seats were equally comfortable,
with two pop-out cupholders on a pull-down armrest in
multi-information display in front of the driver showed
audio, phone and trip information, as well as data from
the Intuitive Parking Assist — an option comprising
sonar sensors on the bumpers to warn the driver when
objects are detected in close proximity
premium audio system included HD radio, Gracenote album
art, and an MP3 player. SiriusXM satellite radio came
with a three-month trial subscription and shared the
screen with Bluetooth media streaming and hands-free
Connect with automatic collision notification,
stolen-vehicle location, emergency-assist button and
enhanced roadside assistance also shared certain
functions on the screen with the optional backup camera.
was an ample trunk, with 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space,
a wide opening, several tie-downs and a first aid kit.
bold, spirited lines of the IS 350 were eye-catching and
exciting, reminding me of a colt kicking up his heels
and darting around.
LEXUS IS 350:
as tested: $46,585
exclude destination charge.