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Well, how updated … This appearance is already two years old: the restyled car debuted at the Beijing Auto Show back in April 2016. And now, two years later, he returned!

True, lightweight: if before you could choose between the IS 200t, IS 250, and the IS 300h hybrid, now only the new IS 300 is available. Now it has a two-liter turbo-four, an eight-speed “automatic” and rear-wheel drive. There are no other options. Also, we have a forum for discussion Lexus IS 300.

In 1998, IS became the first Lexus, which, contrary to tradition, began to be sold in Europe earlier than in the USA.

And, in principle, it was made from a different test: the Japanese decipher the name of the model as “intellectual sport”, and this is closer to the European automobile school than to the American one.

The very first Lexus IS was known in Japan as the Toyota Altezza and was produced with both rear and all-wheel drive. Moreover, two years later, a stylish version of the SportCross debuted, which became the first (and so far the last) passenger wagon of the Lexus brand!

Lexus IS
Lexus IS

This car was distinguished by a distinctly sporty design and marked the beginning of the fashion for lamps with transparent glass and separate lighting elements: the tuning studio called them Altezza Lights.

In 2005, the second generation IS relied on comfort and began to look more representative, although not so bright. The station wagon disappeared from the model range, not finding enough fans, but a convertible and even a charged version of the IS F sedan with a five-liter V8 appeared.

The current, third-generation IS has been produced since 2013: now only a sedan with gasoline engines remained in the lineup, but without a V8 – only with “V4” and V6.

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When developing the “third” IS, the Japanese focused on increasing the rigidity of the body, for which the number of laser welding points was significantly increased and, in addition, the gluing of parts was applied to it.

Compared to the second generation, a new stabilizer appeared in the front double-wishbone suspension, and in the rear multi-link, the kinematics of the levers were revised and the shock absorber was removed from the spring, which at the same time made it possible to increase the volume of the trunk.

The predatory appearance of the IS was slightly tweaked with light touches: the huge radiator grille has become one-piece and is no longer horizontally divided, and the air intakes in the front bumper have increased in size.

lexus is

New headlights have appeared – compared to the previous wave-shaped ones, their design has become much simpler and stricter, but these upwardly curved inner corners reduce the intensity of passions. But there are running lights, traditional for “Lexus”, and the very juice – long lamps with three V-shaped diode elements.

I like the famously upturned sill line and nice rims. It’s a shame that we’re testing the “regular” version, not the F Sport – it’s adorned with additional aerodynamic elements and looks damn menacing. There are no complaints about the interior design familiar from the RC coupe at all – it is cozy, like in all Lexus.

The quality of finishing materials is certainly at its best, light skin is dense and thick just enough to look reliable and not cause sad thoughts about imminent wear.

Already in the basic configuration, there are heated front seats, steering wheel, outside mirrors, and windshield in the wiper rest area, Bluetooth support, an AUX connector, and two USB ports. Also in the “base”, there is a cool leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and electrically adjustable in two planes.

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More? Electrically adjustable and power-folding mirrors, LED optics, music with 10 speakers (for an extra charge – Mark Levinson Premium Surround System, which has five more speakers), water-repellent coating of the front door windows, and other nice things. In general, the owner of the Lexus IS, even in the initial configuration, will not feel deprived, and this is a significant advantage over German competitors, who even have a steering wheel and seats in their “base” that you cannot look without tears. True, I did not think that there are Lexuses without a rearview camera … The seats in the IS are good, I was not satisfied with only a short pillow, but this is a familiar Japanese feature.

Lexus claims the new IS boasts best-in-class second-row legroom. It is difficult to say whether this is so, but here it is certainly not closer than in the “Germans” – a fact. A simple instrument panel with real arrows and scales is perfectly readable, there are many interesting details on the multi-tiered console and the tunnel that you want to look at and touch – for example, the expensive touch metal temperature control strips. This isn’t some cheap black plastic!

The multimedia system here is controlled by the touchpad and, although it is usually customary to scold him, I like it. The touch panel is really convenient, another thing is that the interface design is already outdated and seems too confused. Landing in a sporty low, the steering wheel also stands upright, but the long-legged does not have enough range of adjustment for reach.

Other disadvantages include non-fixed paddle shifters, which simply have no right to exist. And also – the cup holders have taken too far back: to take the bottle, you have to twist your hand, and if you put your smartphone there, you won’t see the traffic situation on its screen while driving.

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The dynamics of the IS 300 is quite decent, although the sedan desperately opposes acceleration with a pedal to the floor: the responses of both the engine and the gearbox (especially) are emphatically unhurried and do not cause any desire to fuss. The range of maximum torque is quite wide: the car accelerates well at city speeds and behaves well when driving at a fast pace on the motorway.

There is a standard set of auxiliary electronics: anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake force distribution (EBD), emergency braking assistance (BAS), traction control (TRC), directional stability control (VSC), and Hill Start Assist (US). Thanks to the proprietary vehicle dynamics integrated management system (VDIM), all systems are controlled by one electronic unit.

Also a video review on the lexus is 350 from CarBuzz:

It is worth noting good noise insulation – the cabin is quiet, and only the engine stands out from the monotonous rustle of tires. The brake drive is informative, the efficiency does not raise questions. Overall, the IS 300 is perfectly balanced. What are the Japanese betting on? Traditionally, a pleasant set of options is already in the “base”, reliability, and favorable prices. If you don’t need diesel and four-wheel drive, the IS is a great entry ticket to the Lexus world.

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By Vinceslav

Journalist, writer. I write articles and reviews on equipment such as cars, computers, games. Worked for 6 years in the auto and auto parts business. And all my life I have been engaged in computer technology.

One thought on “Lexus IS 300 test drive”
  1. […] However, from the driver’s seat, UX is not perceived as a crossover. You sit closer to the ground, as if in an ordinary hatchback. Lexus is indeed noticeably shorter than the competition, with the shortest base and the smallest width. As a result, it is the closest here, which is especially noticeable in the back row. Visibility is slightly worse due to the smaller glazing area. And the trunk is miniature. Also, we can offer test drive Lexus is300. […]

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