The Lexus IS 200t is the brand's most affordable competitor to rear-wheel-drive luxury sedans such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Like its German opponents, the IS 200t uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in place of a traditional six, though it's not as quick as other cars in this segment.
In terms of handling, the Lexus IS 200t is not quite as sharp as its rivals, but in every other respect it's very competitive. Its styling is a definite high point, and we love the IS 200t's comfortable ride and high-quality cabin. We're not terribly fond of Lexus' overly complicated infotainment system, but aside from that, it's hard to fault the IS 200t. If you're looking for a cruiser rather than a hardcore sport sedan, it's a solid choice.
Current Lexus IS 200t
The Lexus IS 200t is sold in a single trim level with modest equipment levels (by luxury car standards, at least). The IS 200t includes LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and a 10-speaker audio system. The IS 200t comes standard with a full suite of driver assistance aids, including collision detection with automatic braking, lane departure intervention and adaptive cruise control. But if you want genuine leather or navigation or a backup camera, you'll need to delve into the options list. While you're there, check out the F-Sport package, which upgrades the IS 200t with a sport-tuned suspension, unique seats, and sportier-looking trim inside and out.
Power for the Lexus IS 200t comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Output is similar to that of most competitors with similarly sized engines. We clocked a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.8 seconds, which is reasonably quick but well behind the competition. In real-world driving, though, the engine feels stronger than our measured zero-to-60 time would suggest, plus it sounds more refined than the BMW's turbo-four.
Out on the open road, the Lexus IS 200t favors refinement over performance. The ride is impressively smooth and quiet. We found the seats comfortable, though longer stints can take a toll on the lower back. Handling is not really the IS 200t's strong suit, though. The steering lacks feel, and grip in long sweeping turns is lower than we expect from a car in this class. The brake pedal feels stiff and has a short travel, and stopping distances (117 feet from 60 mph) are longer than average, a surprise considering its sticky tires.
The IS 200t's cabin is tight on space, with a wide transmission tunnel and center console that gives the front seats a claustrophobic feel. The rear seat lacks legroom, and the center position is shy on headroom. Awkward ergonomics are another problem, with the mouselike Remote Touch infotainment controller (which we find too distracting to use safely while driving) and cupholders that seem to have been fitted as afterthoughts. The trunk is small, and though the rear seats do fold down, they don't fold down flat. On the plus side, the quality of the cabin is first-rate. The materials are beautiful, especially the leatherwork on the steering wheel and seats, and assembly quality is impeccable.
Used Lexus IS 200t Models
The IS 200t joined Lexus' IS lineup in 2016 as the entry-level model, replacing the V6-powered IS 250. For 2017, the IS 200t received styling changes to the front and rear fascias, some interior tweaks and a larger infotainment screen
Read the most recent 2017 Lexus IS 200t review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lexus IS 200t page.