2017 Lexus GS 200t

2017 Lexus GS 200t Review

The 2017 GS 200t is a multitalented and relatively affordable luxury sedan.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Edmunds
Edmunds Editor

The 2017 GS 200t is the entry-level version of the Lexus GS range. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine gives up some performance in the name of fuel economy and a lower cost of entry, but this is still an attractive, sophisticated and comfortable luxury sedan that's light on its feet.

The current generation of the Lexus GS first appeared as a 2013 model. We tested a 2013 GS 350 for a full year and came away impressed by its well-appointed and accommodating interior, engaging handling and smooth ride. But the GS 350's base price was just out of reach for some, so last year Lexus introduced a lower-cost GS 200t version that uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of the venerable 3.5-liter V6.

This engine makes 241 horsepower instead of 311 horsepower, but it also achieves 26 mpg combined instead of the V6's 23 mpg. Those with a heavy right foot are sure to be underwhelmed by the 200t's acceleration, but more relaxed drivers probably won't care.

The best part is the 200t base model costs thousands less (when new) than the cheapest GS 350. From 20 paces away they look identical, and the 200t doesn't feel stripped of the usual GS goodness. Its 17-inch wheels and simulated leather tires still look attractive, and missing standard features such as ventilated seats, a rear sunshade and automatic wipers aren't deal breakers.



what's new

The 2017 Lexus GS 200t now comes standard with a suite of driver safety aids that were optional last year. These include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with mitigation and automatic high-beam control.

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Those considering the 2017 Lexus 200t should focus their attention on the base model. There's real value in the 200t as long as you don't add many options. It lacks some of the features found in the more expensive GS 350, but it's still very well equipped. It doesn't cost much to upgrade the standard 17-inch wheels and tires to the more attractive 18s, and you can choose all-season or three-season "summer" performance tires. The optional F Sport package has some desirable features, but you'll need to decide if it's worth it given that the main appeal of the 200t is value.

trim levels & features

In keeping with its mission as the entry-level rung of the GS lineup, the GS 200t is powered by an economical 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of the GS 350's more powerful V6. Only available in rear-wheel drive, the 200t comes in a single trim level.

The 200t base sends its power out through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it rolls on 17-inch wheels and performance tires. Other standard fare includes LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, and power-folding, heated mirrors. Inside, you'll find simulated leather, a sunroof, power-adjustable and heated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, and an automatic climate control system, Bluetooth, the Remote Touch infotainment interface, a navigation system, voice controls, smartphone app integration, a 12.3-inch display screen and a 12-speaker sound system. A broad range of driver safety aids (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the Lexus Safety System+ suite of advanced active safety features) are also included.

Heated and ventilated front seats, automatic wipers and a power rear sunshade are optional by way of the Premium package, and the available 18-inch wheel upgrade offers a same-cost choice between all-season and stickier three-season summer performance tires.

The optional F Sport package ups the ante on the handling front by adding 19-inch, staggered-width wheels and summer performance tires, a sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension, bigger front brakes, more aggressive front and rear bumper and grille styling, and a rear trunklid spoiler. Inside you'll find leather upholstery, power sport seats, all of the Premium Package content and different interior trim pieces.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test and an extended yearlong test of the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport with the F Sport package (3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: The GS 200t and its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed transmission didn't exist when this test was conducted. But the car itself and its features and options are largely identical, apart from one or two upgrades such as LED headlights. Except for these factors our initial findings remain broadly applicable to this year's GS 200t.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.5 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.0 / 5.0
Driver aids5.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The Lexus GS 200t is nimble and moves out nicely, but it's also effortlessly smooth and poised. Acceleration is adequate but far from exhilarating.

acceleration

We've only tested the 3.5-liter V6 in the GS. For that engine, we measured a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds. We have not tested a 200t, but Lexus estimates a 0-60 mph time of 7.0 seconds, which should translate to adequate, but far from exhilarating, performance.

braking

edmunds rating
The GS' firm and sure brake pedal tends toward jumpy, but you'll readily get used to it. The car tends to exhibit some nosedive during harder stops, and our measured panic-stop distance from 60 mph is about average for premium sedans with summer-rated tires.

steering

edmunds rating
The GS cruises arrow-straight on the open road, and it feels nimble when going around turns.

handling

edmunds rating
In F Sport trim, the GS drives like a much smaller and lighter car. It feels nimble and delivers impressive cornering response, but there's also a good deal of grip and overall stability.

drivability

We have not yet evaluated the 200t's turbo engine and eight-speed transmission. In our test of the related IS 200t sedan (which has the same engine and transmission), we noted that the eight-speed automatic transmission's shifting can feel languid at times.

comfort

edmunds rating
Though the GS is a sport sedan, it doesn't abandon comfort in the pursuit of achieving that title. The optional F Sport seats are comfy, the ride is smooth, and the cabin is generally quiet and well ventilated.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The optional F Sport seats are a highlight: sufficiently bolstered for sporty driving but still comfortable and easy to get out of. The seat bottoms deliver excellent thigh support, though some did find them a bit flat. And they're heated and ventilated.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
An adaptive variable suspension system helps the F Sport split the difference between sport sedan and proper Lexus. The ride is generally smooth and controlled with little harshness on rough roads.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
A bit of road noise emanates from the large (and optional) summer performance tires, but it stops short of being bothersome. And there's precious little wind noise, even at elevated highway speeds.

climate control

edmunds rating
Dual-zone climate controls are prominently located, clearly marked and easy to understand. The air vents put out a nice volume of air, and rear passengers have a pair of their own. The F Sport package adds heated and ventilated seats, and a heated steering wheel is optional.

interior

edmunds rating
The 2017 GS 200t is blessed with a fairly roomy and comfortable interior that oozes quality and refinement. There's very little to complain about apart from one thing: the unique but awkward mouse-style interface that controls the entertainment and navigation system.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The majority of the GS' switches, buttons and knobs are easy to use and understand without cracking open the owner's manual. But there is one prominent sore spot that takes points off: the mouse-style infotainment system controller. It's novel but demands too much attention.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
There's a lot to like in this category. The doors open wide, the sills are narrow, and as sedans go, the seats are comfortably high. It's generally very easy to get in or out without the need to stoop or do deep knee bends.

driving position

edmunds rating
Numerous seat adjustments and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with a fairly generous adjustment range made it easy for a wide variety of drivers to settle in comfortably at the controls with a clear view out over the hood.

roominess

edmunds rating
The GS 200t is a sizable car, with an interior to match. Up front you'll find lots of hip-, head- and legroom as well as shoulder room. The story is much the same in the backseat, too, unless you and the person seated directly ahead are both quite tall.

visibility

edmunds rating
Generous glass area gives the GS excellent forward and side visibility, and the rear three-quarter blind spot is minimal because of the carefully sculpted rear roof pillar. Front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera take care of the rest. Fantastic high-beam headlights on the open road, too.

quality

edmunds rating
Everything you touch in the Lexus GS 200t looks and feels high-quality and purpose-built. The important pieces such as the steering wheel, the shifter and even the knee side of the center console offer extra padding and quality leather.

utility

edmunds rating
The GS' trunk is usefully shaped and quite big, but you may not like it if you're the sort who folds down the rear seats to carry larger items now and then — the GS can't do that. The interior provides a reasonable but not memorable amount of storage, and it plays well with most child safety seats.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Has a useful glovebox, two cupholders ahead of the shifter and a medium-sized center console that opens wide. Front door pockets are decent-sized, but they won't hold a water bottle. Rear door pockets are small, but they will accept a bottle. The rear center armrest has a storage bin and cupholders.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The trunk is quite spacious because it is wide near the mouth, deep along the floor and accessible through a broad opening. Hidden hinges won't crush bags. Thing is, the rear seatbacks do not fold down to expand the space except for a slender ski pass-through that seems like a consolation prize.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Has two pairs of LATCH anchors at the bottom and three top-tether anchors along the top. Bottom LATCH anchors are tightly recessed between the seat cushions, though. Rear legroom is generous enough for most rear-facing seats to fit, but tall front occupants might still have to scoot up some.

technology

edmunds rating
This year the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver aids is now standard. The 200t's complementary audio and navigation system uses an older iteration of the GS 350's software, but phone-pairing and the voice controls still measure up. We're still not fans of the audio and navigation controller.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The Mark Levinson sound system sounds great, and it has simple and effective volume and tune knobs. Higher audio functions and the navigation system require the use of a quirky interface that's not that easy to use without diverting attention away from driving.

smartphone integration

The GS 200t's system uses the same software found in our older 2013 GS 350. In that car, Bluetooth phone pairing was a simple process. USB smartphone access was a simple matter of plug and play, but we had trouble getting album artwork to display consistently.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The previously optional Lexus Safety System+ is now standard. It includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent high-beam control, and lane departure warning with mitigation. Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert is standard, too.

voice control

The GS 200t's system uses the same software found in our older 2013 GS 350, in which successful voice activation required deliberate speech and a specific command structure. Those with an iPhone have the option of holding the voice button longer to directly engage Siri on their phone instead.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.