If you've been wanting a roomier IS sedan with a high-end interior, the revamped 2014 Lexus IS 350 is right up your alley. It's less convincing as a sport sedan, however, and more demanding drivers will likely prefer its European rivals.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Lexus IS 350 Sedan
No Video Content
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Lexus IS 350 is redesigned. Highlights include assertive new styling, a larger, gorgeously crafted interior and a longer equipment list.
The Lexus IS 350 is the compact sport sedan entry from a brand known for its ultra-refined luxury sedans and high reliability ratings. It does battle with some very popular European-brand sedans that have elevated consumers' expectations in the entry-level luxury sedan class. From our standpoint, strong acceleration, solid fuel economy, sporty handling and luxurious accommodations are all baseline requirements for a six-cylinder compact luxury sedan in 2014. Last year's IS 350 was certainly quick, but its interior was cramped and, apart from its speed, it wasn't especially memorable to drive. The redesigned 2014 Lexus IS 350 features notable upgrades, including a new interior with richer materials, a bigger backseat and a longer equipment list.
The 2014 IS 350's overhaul starts with provocative new sheet metal (the new IS wears the brand's audacious double-spindle grille design better than the larger sedans) and a stiff new structure similar in design to the larger, more expensive midsize GS 350's. Those more robust underpinnings made it easier for Lexus engineers to tune the IS for a comfortable ride. In addition, the 2014 model's longer wheelbase has allowed the company to carve out more room for passengers. Equally striking is the investment Lexus made in the interior furnishings. The quality of the materials and the overall attention to detail is as impressive as anything you'll see in this class. We're not as enthusiastic about the newly available Remote Touch mouse-style infotainment interface, however, as it's distracting to operate while on the move.
There's little doubt that the 2014 Lexus IS 350's increased size and feature content makes it a better luxury car, but as in past years, we find it less successful as a sport sedan. Despite the undeniably stout performance from its carryover 3.5-liter V6, superb steering that equals or betters its vaunted German rivals and the available F Sport package that brings more aggressive styling and a sport-tuned suspension, the IS 350 still lands on the luxury end of the sport sedan spectrum. Our biggest criticism has to do with the handling: Even with the F Sport treatment, the IS simply isn't very engaging to drive around turns. Its automatic transmission's slow shift response in manual mode doesn't help either.
Of course, if you're just looking for an elegant entry-luxury sedan to drive to work, you might not care that the 2014 Lexus IS 350 isn't as thrilling on a back road as the best-selling 2014 BMW 3 Series, which we consider the leader of this class, or the similarly athletic Audi A4. This is a segment rich with choices, though, and we advise consumers to try all these sedans, along with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti Q50, before making a decision.
No Video Content
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Lexus IS 350 is a compact luxury sedan available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment for the 2014 IS 350 includes 17-inch wheels with all-season tires, HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights and brake lights, heated side mirrors, moonroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (heated for the IS 350 AWD), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a 60/40 folding rear seat with armrest.
A new Safety Connect telematics system comes with the standard eight-speaker sound system, delivering weather and traffic information (when in metro areas) free of charge via the audio system's HD radio. Also standard for all IS 350 models are a 7-inch color display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice recognition for most infotainment operations, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connections.
The first of the 2014 IS 350's three option groups is a Premium package that includes LED headlights and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury package adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, perforated leather upholstery, wood trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and driver-seat memory.
Atop the option-group food chain is the F Sport package. Available for the first time for both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the IS 350, F Sport brings LED headlamps; a full-mesh treatment for the grille and revised front bumper; 18-inch wheels (with either summer or all-season tires); sport-tuned suspension; upgraded brake pads; multi-adjustable sport seats, perforated leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob; a special sport-oriented adaptive instrument cluster; and aluminum trim for the pedals and door scuff plates. On rear-drive models, the package also includes an adaptive suspension and a more aggressive Sport S+ setting for the drive mode selector. Variable-ratio steering can be added as a stand-alone option on rear-drive IS 350s equipped with both the F Sport package and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (via the Luxury package).
The Navigation package incorporates the Remote Touch mouse-type controller for the entire infotainment suite, plus a navigation system. This package also provides a rearview camera, real-time traffic information, automatic phonebook download for Bluetooth phones and Enform enhanced telematics with smartphone app integration (including Bing, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio). An upgraded 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system can be bundled with the navigation system.
Additional stand-alone options for the 2014 IS 350 include a rearview camera (for models without the navigation system), 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control (bundled with a pre-collision system), a lane departure warning system, and front and rear parking sensors.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Lexus IS 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 generating 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for rear-wheel-drive models, and a six-speed automatic is used for all-wheel-drive cars. Either transmission gets steering-wheel paddle shifters to enable manual shifting when desired.
In Edmunds.com acceleration testing, a rear-wheel-drive IS 350 ran from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. This level of performance is about average for its class, but more vitally, it trails its BMW and Infiniti rivals by about a half-second.
The EPA estimates the rear-wheel-drive IS 350 will deliver 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/28 mpg highway). On Edmunds' highway-biased 120-mile evaluation loop, we earned 26 mpg. The all-wheel-drive IS 350 is rated at 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city/26 mpg highway).
The 2014 Lexus IS 350's standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and dual rear-seat side airbags. In Edmunds testing, an IS 350 required 123 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is an average distance for this class of car with all-season tires.
Safety Connect, the brand's onboard automatic safety and security service, incorporates collision notification, stolen-vehicle locator and roadside assistance from a cellular connection with a response center. Optional safety upgrades include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, and a lane-departure warning system. The optional adaptive cruise control brings a pre-collision warning system that can initiate automatic braking and prepare other safety equipment to help mitigate crash severity.
In government crash tests the 2014 Lexus IS 350 earned a rating of five stars overall with four stars in front crash tests, five stars in side crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety gave the 2014 IS 350 a rating of "Good" in moderate overlap front and side tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Lexus IS 350's redesigned interior increases the car's luxury quotient and addresses a major fault in the previous-generation IS 350: a small, hard-to-access backseat. The additional 1.6 inches of rear-seat legroom is immediately noticeable, and adults will have an easier time getting in and out. The rear seat also folds in a 60/40 split, a convenience the previous IS 350 never offered. Trunk capacity is 13.8 cubic feet, which is above average for this class.
Interior fit and finish was never a problem for the old IS, but the 2014 model brings upgrades to the brand's already high standard. The upper dashboard armrests, steering wheel, and even the sides of the center console (where knees tend to rub) are swathed in dense, high-quality padding. The front seats are brilliantly supportive yet supple, but those with larger frames might feel slightly snug.
The new dashboard and center console design is attractive and contemporary, and enhances the interior's feeling of spaciousness. The audio and climate controls are set at an angle to minimize sun glare, and the high-quality buttons and knobs are easy to use.
The 2014 IS 350's one interior foible is the Remote Touch control interface. Inspired by a computer mouse, this controller is the primary method for making audio and navigation selections in models with the optional Navigation package. Although the 7-inch display is sharp, cursor control with the Remote Touch controller is wobbly, particularly when you're on the move. Making matters worse is the lack of a hard "back" button and the fact that all the icons are the same color. Fortunately, the IS 350 has standard voice recognition for many infotainment functions and the navigation system expands on that. Bottom line, voice control is a vital redundancy here.
The 2014 Lexus IS 350's 3.5-liter V6 is unchanged from last year, save for the addition of an intake sound generator that gives the engine a particularly satisfying note when you're accelerating hard. This is a potent engine with noticeably smooth power delivery, and most buyers will be quite happy with the IS 350's straight-line performance. The new eight-speed automatic transmission is highly effective and practically invisible in normal driving.
One particular delight is the IS 350's well-tuned steering. While matching a BMW 3 Series in precision, the Lexus actually surpasses the BMW's steering in its feedback and tactility. However, ride quality was the overriding priority in this redesign and certainly ride comfort has improved almost to the level of the larger Lexus GS sedan. And although the Lexus is steady and secure going around turns, it still isn't as athletic or as fun to drive as the BMW. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because when you're just commuting to the office, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 is a convincing and enjoyable luxury sedan. The available F Sport package is a reasonable option for those who want a bit more performance potential without sacrificing everyday comfort.
by element118 on Jun 10, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
No doubt there should be a difference upgrading from an eight year vehicle to a newer car! Overall, I am very happy with my current addition of a 2014 IS 350 F Sport, definitely an upgrade from the 2006 IS 350 Sport I previously owned. Here are some observations: I'd give the current '14 IS 350 F Sport car a 9.0, vs. a 7.0, not surprising it has been 8 years in evolution. Plusses for the '14 IS include: very cool LFA-inspired instrumentation (although wish mph could be toggled to "analogue"), heavier, but substantial steering, sport modes incl S+, being able to change vehicle settings (incl door locks), LED lights, super comfortable front seats, more rear seat room, folding rear seats, plus I got F-Sport breaks and the air in-take. I do feel it is much faster (w/8spd transmission), although per rated HP it is not (prob get +5-10HP with the F-Sport air intake). Mark Levinson sound system is better by a small margin; like the USB connectivity, EnTune and Bluetooth radio
Drawbacks vs. the '06 IS 350 incl: lack of ventilated seats - ERROR, no memory seats - ERROR (should be at least 2 sets, at least on driver's side): no sunglass compartment (ok since in did not work properly); console opens only upward and thus awkward vs. sliding backward and opening upward; moonroof operation was much better in '06 IS 350;
by Byron on Nov 14, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
I wanted to drive mine for a few months before rating it. My first impressions were nothing but positive, so I thought I would drive it for a bit before advising others. Here are the categories that are important to me:
Looks: Exterior: I love the way my IS350 F Sport looks. I've read that it's polarizing, and I think that's pretty accurate. For me, it's perfect.
Looks: Interior: I love the interior. This was the main reason I chose Lexus over Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. Since I'm on the inside, I care about that more than the exterior. The mouse takes some time to get used to, but now it's like 2nd nature. I love the way it clicks into position depending on which screen I'm in. It doesn't just free float like a traditional mouse. It knows where each button is on each screen, and gives physical feedback as you toggle. The guages are one of the best features. It's extremely easy to have the info you want clearly visible.
Performance: I almost always drive in Sport+ mode. The only time I drive in Normal mode is on the interstate (for the extra gas mileage). In town, it's just too much fun to drive in Sport+ mode to worry about the gas savings. The F Sport in the RWD is the way to go due to the 8 speed transmission. Every gear is so smooth and acceleration is adequate for normal driving. One of my favorite parts of driving in Sport+ mode is the throaty engine sound when the RPM go above 3k. It gives the extra feel to the experience of driving a sports car without having it become obnoxious.
by kikileon on Nov 9, 2014 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
Great looking outside, definitely! Lots of power. Sadly the interior kills this car: Being a 2014, Lexus really missed the mark, specially for today's modern electronics. Poorly designed are: compass pointer appears to point in the opposite direction. Default on the main screen is not Home; poor map utility; no change holder for coins; cup holder is too narrow for anything other than a small cup; no place to put your phone; radio missing many featured buttons such as Scan button; no memory setting for seats/mirrors; poor turn signal design; poor dash display; radio highs are muffled; mouse does not click so you have to fiddle a lot to get it where you want.
by wasgmguy on Apr 8, 2014 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
Just traded in my 08 cadillac CTS on this new 2014 IS350 AWD.
I have been a GM guy all my life and decided to go with my first import car.
I looked at BMW, Audi, Ford Fusion and a few others.
If you are looking for a true sport sedan, look else were.
This is more luxury than sport. It has a very comfortable interior and perfectly laid out.
It does handle great and has very impressive performance.
I still think BMW does handle a little better.
Audi was a little too stiff riding but had a lush interior.
But Lexus fit all my requirements this time.
I have only owned it for a couple months, so far, so good.
I hope it's reliable as they say.
by bluesteelm3 on Apr 1, 2014 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
I just recently traded my 2011 Lexus IS350 F-Sport for the 2014. I planned on ordering a 2014 IS F, but after test driving the IS350, was pretty much sold. I considered waiting for the RS F, but decided I did not want a coupe. The handling of this car is very similar to my 2006 M3...this car handles turns and seems to grip the road much better than my 2011 IS it drives more like a BMW. The engine sounds incredible and truly proves that despite the luxury, this is a sports car. I ordered the red leather interior (which comes with carbon fiber trim and black accents), and it is absolutely gorgeous. The technology is significantly improved and the interior is much more sleek and refined.
by jmarte on Mar 8, 2014 Vehicle: 2014 Lexus IS 350
The performance is impressive coming from a V6 and it is so comfortable for a small sports car. The interior isn't bad at all it is like being in a modern art museum! The mouse on the dashboard is extremely helpful. I could look up traffic alerts and it automatically changes my route so I don't have to go into heavy traffic. I would prefer this to any Audi.
This is the estimated average annual insurance premium being charged in your state. The premium has been determined based on annual premium data for defined coverages (liability, comprehensive and collision) from a major insurer.
While this information is specific to vehicle make, model, model year and body type, your personal information is not taken into consideration and could greatly alter the actual premium quoted by an insurer. Factors that will affect your rate include your age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and the garaging address of your vehicle.
The Edmunds TCO®
monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Lexus IS 350 Sedan
in VA is: