The 2017 Lexus IS 200t is the entry-level compact sedan for Toyota's premium brand. As such, it carries the torch for the Lexus characteristics of quality, reliability, comfort and sporty good looks. Although the IS 200t makes no pretense of equaling the performance of European luxury sport sedans, it does present an affordable alternative that provides a smooth ride, decent handling, and a host of desirable standard features.
For 2017, the IS 200t gets a styling refresh that includes revamped front and rear bumpers, revised taillights and exhaust tips, and a tweaked front grille. Inside, there are changes as well, such as a larger display screen for the navigation system, redesigned trim and new color choices. But probably the biggest news is that the formerly optional Lexus Safety System+ package is now standard equipment, providing such high-tech aids as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning with steering assist.
The IS 200t gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters. Fuel economy for the IS 200t is rated by the EPA at 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway).
On the road, IS 200t's strong suit is its velvety smooth acceleration and comfortable ride. The engine does its job competently and without drama, not thundering off the line but able to provide enough oomph for highway passing. All-out handling ability is not really the car's forte, but with good steering feel and excellent chassis and suspension dynamics, it's still possible to have a bit of cornering fun as long as you don't push the vehicle too hard.
The very quiet cabin boasts a clean, modern design and quality materials. Technology, a Lexus hallmark, is up to date with the latest Enform app suite and an available 10.3-inch display. But interior space lags behind that of some competitors, especially when it comes to rear seat legroom. The people in front may find that the wide center console intrudes on their space to some degree. Trunk capacity is on the small side compared to what you'll find in other cars in this class, but you can increase it by folding down the rear seatbacks.
The IS 200t is well equipped and comes standard with such features as LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and a premium sound system. Although there's only one trim level, buyers can personalize their vehicle with a Premium or Luxury package, as well as a variety of stand-alone options. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find the 2017 Lexus IS 200t that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.