2006 Lexus IS 250 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Lexus IS 250 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lexus IS 250 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 204 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Lexus IS 250

  • The IS 250 is an advanced and refined entry-luxury sedan, but if you're looking for maximum sport sedan performance, test-drive the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35 before making a buying decision.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Capable handling, highly refined, class-leading interior quality, advanced safety technology, optional all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Horsepower is adequate at best, lacks passion and performance of German alternatives, limited rear-seat space.

  • What's New for 2006

    For 2006, Lexus debuts the all-new IS 250. Replacing the previous IS 300, the IS 250 brings forth new powertrains, more features and a higher-quality cabin.

Full 2006 Lexus IS 250 Review

What's New for 2006

For 2006, Lexus debuts the all-new IS 250. Replacing the previous IS 300, the IS 250 brings forth new powertrains, more features and a higher-quality cabin.


Since 2001, the Lexus IS 300 has taken on the BMW 3 Series with marginal success. Although it never really lit up the sales charts, the rear-wheel-drive IS 300 has earned a small but loyal -- and young -- following. When it came time to create the second generation of the IS, Lexus had to design a sedan with expanded appeal that wouldn't disenfranchise the kids. A tall order, but one the IS 250 meets with commendable success. The 2006 Lexus IS 250 sedan is bigger and more luxurious than the car it replaces. Buyers can choose between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, and a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic.

Since Lexus already had an excellent rear-drive platform in its recently redesigned GS, it became the starting point for the new IS. By carving out 4.7 inches of the GS's wheelbase and lopping off 4.4 inches of front and rear overhang, Lexus had the basic structure of the new IS. The GS's double-wishbone front and independent multilink rear suspension moves intact to the IS and is retuned for the new application. The IS 300's straight six has been replaced by a new 2.5-liter V6 engine that features VVT-i variable valve timing and makes 204 horsepower. Also coming from the GS is the suite of electronic technologies --traction control, stability control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist -- that Lexus groups together as the "Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management" (VDIM for acronym lovers). VDIM is optional on the IS 250.

Behind the wheel, the IS 250 is all about comfort and coddling, offering the sort of gentle driving experience Lexus is known for while trailing the 3 Series in terms of athleticism. For those more interested in a luxury car than a sport sedan, though, the capable Lexus represents a worthwhile choice, offering a plush interior, refined drivetrain and exquisite assembly quality.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The IS 250 comes in just one trim level. The standard features list includes keyless entry and ignition, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power doors and windows, cruise control, leather seating, a moonroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 13-speaker premium audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Optional is a 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system that delivers 5.1 multichannel playback. Other notable options include 18-inch wheels, 10-way power seats, a navigation system, heated/ventilated seats, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (which allows drivers to set a preferred interval between the IS and traffic ahead), rear park assist, rain-sensing wipers, corner-adaptive headlamps, Bluetooth connectivity and bi-HID headlights.

Powertrains and Performance

Under the IS 250's hood is a 2.5-liter V6. Lexus rates it at 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm with 185 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. The IS 250 is rear-drive but Lexus also offers an all-wheel-drive version. The latter comes with the six-speed automatic only.


Safety equipment includes front and rear side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist, and stability control. An optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) -- packaged with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control -- uses a millimeter-wave radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. If the computer determines that a collision is unavoidable it preemptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and pre-initializes BrakeAssist so increased braking is applied the instant the brake pedal is depressed. In crash tests, the IS earned a "Good" rating (the best possible) for its performance in IIHS frontal offset and side-impact testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The new IS 250 features impressive interior materials, an attractive cabin design and plenty of luxury amenities. Everything from the soft-touch dash and door panels to the supple leather seats exudes high quality. Rear seating isn't as comfortable as we'd like, which surprised us given the IS 250's growth from the old IS 300 days. The answer lies in the wheelbase, which is 1.2 inches shorter than the new BMW 3 Series and offers minimal rear legroom. If you regularly carry adults -- or even large children -- in the rear seat you might consider the Audi A4 or Infiniti G35.

Driving Impressions

The IS 250 cruises along freeways like the luxury car it is. Acceleration is adequate for this class of car. The manual transmission allows one to wring out a bit more speed but overall the automatic is a better choice. The ride is controlled but soft, and its silent cabin, devoid of any noise, harshness or vibration, is a portrait of tranquility. On twisting roads this smallest of Lexus sedans is comfortable, reassuring and competent.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Bmw 3 is better than

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6M)

Cons: Frequent exhaust leaks, headers leak, 6spd transmission is garbage (Lexus dosnt make 6 spds no more), transmission sounds like marbles, rust is a very big problem on this car from top to bottom. People say BMWs cost more than Lexus to maintain NOT true. Lexus will drain your pockets. Pros: Performance for small V6 2.5L is impressive, excellent handling, interior quality is much better than BMW, looks better than a BMW and most cars in its class. Overall I would stick to a BMW 3 series, for some reason the Lexus rust very easy causing expensive exhaust leaks that occur frequently. GO GERMAN they don't rust like Japanese cars!!!!! AND BMW has better Transmissions than IS250

The most reliable

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

I've had this car since it first came out and all I can say is Toyota still lives up to their reliability. They truly built this car with pride and honor. I've driven this card hard and yet she still gets on going and going. Unlike my Mercedes, I didn't have to dump money just to keep her going, and when I did have a major problem; Lexus took care of it. Lexus fixed my misfire at idle (piston rings) for free. That's an easy $2000 job. Who would do that? My car value also holds it's value pretty good in comparison to other luxury like Infiniti and BMW

Solid car...

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

My IS250 is nice luxury car. Smooth ride, not the fastest, but has just enough punch when I need it. Overall good experience.

Buy a warranty!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

This car is the "dog" of the fleet, not quick. Not for a person over 6' or fat. The best performance upgrade for this car is an IS350. I recommend an AWD model so you don't have issues with the staggered tires and rotating them. The driver's side foot well bump by the gas pedal is annoying. My car has had floor mats, steering column, sensor failures, exhaust pipe hole, most recently the CSP for the engine issues. $10,000 worth of issues were covered under warranty or recall. In 4 years of ownership I have only paid for typical scheduled maintenance including tires, spark plugs, and oil changes all done myself. I have paid for no out of pocket repairs in 4 years of ownership.

Excellent car with minor drawbacks

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

Overall, this is an excellent vehicle. It has excellent exterior design and looks sporty yet refined. The interior is fairly comfortable for a small to average sized person. It's a very smooth and quiet ride and is very fun to drive. The 250 model lacks in power, but is surprisingly fuel efficient getting 24MPG in town and 31MPG on the highway. Mine has the navigation unit and I'm not crazy about it since the stereo and climate control are all part of it meaning you can't see your radio settings, navigation screen and climate settings all at the same time. My only other complaint is a common one. The materials they used on the dash make it high susceptible to scratching, chipping & fading.

Pursuit of barely average

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

Have approximately 60,000 miles on car bought new from Lexus dealer in 2006. Tires have never held pressure, always have to refill tires every month or so. Original tires had to be replaced after only 15,000 miles. Lexus was no help - claimed OEM tires were "high performance" tires. Now on 3rd set of tires. Overall build quality does not measure up to quality in Lexus models further up the food chain. Have owned 2 earlier Lexus models, this will be my last. Bought a used 2006 Infiniti M35X that now has over 130,000 miles on it with zero problems - I'm switching to Infiniti!

Talk About The 2006 IS 250

2006 Lexus IS 250 Discussions See all Started By

drive after all. I am not sure howvever how the IS 250 withtout the VDIM would perform, it still has other safety systems I believe. I am curious. The one thing I hate about my IS is a lack of sun vi...

It is almost the beggining of August, I know there has to be some buzz about the 2007 is250/350 comming out. I was woundering if there is going to be a difference, and if the 2007 will bring the pri?...

"2006 IS pricing is here 2006 IS 250(BASE MODEL)$26,585-MANUEL-RWD . $27,955 AUTOMATIC-E-SHIFT-RWD $29,905 AUTOMATITIC-E-SHIFT-ALL WHEEL DRIVE...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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