2010 Lexus IS 250 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Compliant ride, high-quality cabin materials, available all-wheel drive, capable handling.
  • Cramped backseat, low on headroom, lackluster engine, suspension too soft to be considered a sport sedan.
List Price Range
$7,699 - $12,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Lexus IS 250 is a well-built entry-level luxury car with attractive styling and solid reliability -- just don't expect much practicality or power.

Vehicle overview

The 2010 Lexus IS 250 is a luxury sport-looking sedan. Its tidy dimensions and slinky wedge profile indicate a sporty, athletic car -- ditto on its handsome wheels, available manual transmission and standard V6 engine. Yet dip below the surface and you'll discover a typical Lexus that places its priority on comfort and luxury. For those who want all the trappings of a sport sedan but don't need or want the firm ride, taut handling and rapid acceleration that goes along with it, the IS 250 should be right up their alley.

The IS has been around for several years now, but it's aging gracefully. For 2010, Lexus adds a few welcome electronics features to the window sticker. The company's new Safety Connect telematics service provides added peace of mind with its automatic collision reporting, stolen vehicle locator and emergency on-call service. The stereo, meanwhile, has two new additional means of attaching your personal music device -- Bluetooth streaming and a USB audio port. For IS 250s equipped with the navigation system, real-time traffic, weather and other information is now included along with enhanced voice-recognition software.

Outside of the electronics realm, however, the 2010 IS 250 carries over with the usual mixed results. Its 204-horsepower V6 engine is still underpowered, though it achieves excellent fuel economy. Among entry-level luxury sedans, the IS most certainly offers the least amount of usable interior space. With a cramped backseat and limited headroom, it's best suited for singles or childless couples who could buy a coupe but would prefer the convenience of two extra doors. On the upside, Lexus' reputation for outstanding interior quality is well maintained in the IS.

Of course, the 250 isn't the only IS flavor. The more powerful IS 350 and hypersonically more powerful IS F are available, while IS 250 C and IS 350 C hardtop convertibles should be appealing for folks who need to brighten their lives with a little sunshine.

Yet there is some serious competition beyond the Lexus IS lineup -- especially if you need more space. On the comfort side of the spectrum, the Acura TL, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes C-Class and Volkswagen CC are excellent alternatives. For those who want a real sport sedan, the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G37 are go-to choices. Overall, we'd likely recommend these over the beauty-is-skin-deep 2010 Lexus IS 250.

2010 Lexus IS 250 models

The 2010 Lexus IS 250 is a compact luxury sedan available in RWD and AWD trim levels, each of which corresponds to drivetrain. The more powerful IS 350 and the IS 250 C convertible are reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the IS 250 includes 17-inch wheels, foglamps, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (includes two-way lumbar control), leather upholstery, an auto-dimming mirror, the Safety Connect telematics system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity as well as a 13-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack, USB audio jack (includes iPod interface) and satellite radio. The IS 250 AWD adds all-wheel drive and heated front seats.

Options on both models include adaptive HID headlamps, headlamp washers, an automatic parking system and adaptive cruise control (requires an automatic transmission and includes the Lexus Pre-Collision system). The navigation system, beyond the obvious, adds Bluetooth phonebook downloading, a rearview camera, voice commands, real-time traffic and other information and Lexus Enform enhanced telematics features. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system can be added to the navigation system.

The Luxury package adds the HID headlamps, auto-dimming outside mirrors, automatic wipers, a power rear sunshade, driver and front-passenger memory functions and a power-adjustable steering wheel. On the AWD model, this package includes cooled seats, while the RWD model gains 18-inch wheels, perforated leather upholstery, wood trim and heated and cooled seats. Other than the wheels, these latter features are available on the RWD model as part of the Premium Plus package.

Also optional on the RWD model is a Sport package, which adds 18-inch wheels, summer tires, sport suspension, sport pedals and much of the Luxury package equipment. A wealth of Lexus F-Sport performance accessories are also available.

2010 Highlights

The Lexus IS 250 gains a host of standard electronic features for 2010, while the optional navigation system has been upgraded as well.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Lexus IS 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 204 hp and 185 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and it can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, while all-wheel drive is available and only attached to the auto. At our test track, a manual-equipped IS 250 went from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 7.5 seconds -- by comparison, the Audi A4's turbocharged four-cylinder does the same sprint in 6.4 seconds.

Estimated fuel economy with rear-wheel drive and the automatic is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. The manual returns 18/26/21, while all-wheel drive gets 20/26/22.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and Safety Connect. The latter is a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance button. Optional is the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that comes packaged with adaptive cruise control. It determines when an accident is unavoidable and pre-emptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and initializes brake assist.

In Edmunds brake testing, an IS 250 with 18-inch wheels and all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 113 feet.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the IS 250 earned a perfect "Good" rating for its performance in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. In government crash testing, the IS 250 managed four stars (out of a possible five) for both frontal crash protection and rear side-impact protection. Front-passenger side-impact protection received a five-star rating.

Driving

The 2010 Lexus IS 250's high cornering limits make it a capable sport sedan, but its uncommunicative steering and noticeable body roll will leave enthusiasts wanting. The IS 250 isn't all that quick; picking the manual transmission helps to maximize what power there is, but the manual's notchy feel makes the automatic the better choice overall. On the bright side, the IS 250 rides comfortably and the plush cabin is a peaceful place in which to while away the rush hour.

Interior

The IS 250 boasts a finely wrought interior, with top-notch materials and an attractively sporty design. Fit and finish is generally excellent. Lexus also offers one of the best electronics interfaces in the business, with easy-to-use controls all around. The optional navigation system and accompanying touchscreen are particularly user-friendly, though the new iPod interface can be frustrating to use.

Most compact luxury sedans aren't generous with rear-seat legroom, and this is particularly true of the IS 250. Adults or even large children may not be happy in the rear seat on long road trips -- even with average-sized drivers up front. This is not a great candidate for family use, and despite its four doors, its interior space is more akin to what you'd find in a luxury coupe.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Lexus IS 250.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Wonderful experience with my IS lease
gt280,07/19/2013
Let me preface that rather than write a review when I first obtained the car, let me share my experiences toward the end of my 36 month lease. Approaching month 34... * AWD - very amazed and impressed of the handling during freezing rain, snow and icy weather. I’ve driven through actual snow storms and the car handled really well while other cards just spun around or were completely helpless! I felt really confident driving this around in snow! *I drove highway miles averaging 33- 34 mpg using premium fuel! *Dealer provided excellent customer service during my visits for service * I really enjoyed the navigation system - friendly, easy and spot-on
Love it!
DrNate,10/29/2010
What a great car - very smooth ride, fantastic sound system, extremely comfortable. I've run out of superlatives to describe it. Tried the IS 350 for its bigger engine, but the handling was way too stiff and the road noise was annoying, I don't miss the extra hp. The BMW was spirited, but to get everything that came standard with the 250 would have cost another $5K or so.
Great deal for great car
Sean,07/09/2010
Switching from my 07 BMW 328i to the Lexus IS 250 was not an easy choice. BMW has great styling and is a fun car to drive. The issue is more the nickel and dime attitude from BMW. Why are car alarms extra? Plastic seats? Come on BMW. So I am going Japanese and in the end got on a great deal that included all the luxuries. Love the interior (except the old school clock) and comfort. While this is no BMW 328, it does have decent power. I am speeder by nature, so less power when the light turns green is best for me. If I want to floor it, it will move. Why are raters so concerned about 0-60 MPH time. With all the traffic I generally can't confirm the time, plus it's a waste of gas & dangerous
Sleeper Hit
Mr Piccolo,05/05/2010
For me, the real decision was between this and the G37. I really want the G37 performance and styling. But to get the same features the IS250 provides the G37 is at least $5k more at MSRP. No one pays MSRP, but that's huge difference before we even start haggling! Is 100 hp worth $5k? Possibly but that's at least $100/mo more - eep. But I got a screamer of a deal (less than this website shows for invoice) at 2.9%. With only ~220 miles I'm already averaging 26 mpg in the city - pretty good for car not broken in yet. The car looks much better in person than in pictures. Not sold on the rear, but front and side have nice curves. This car is plush, smooth and is just all around awesome

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
204 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
204 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
204 hp @ 6400 rpm
See all Used 2010 Lexus IS 250 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Lexus IS 250

Used 2010 Lexus IS 250 Overview

The Used 2010 Lexus IS 250 is offered in the following submodels: IS 250 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Lexus IS 250?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Lexus IS 250 trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Lexus IS 250 Base is priced between $7,699 and$12,990 with odometer readings between 75509 and135603 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2010 Lexus IS 250s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Lexus IS 250 for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2010 IS 250s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,699 and mileage as low as 75509 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Lexus IS 250.

Can't find a used 2010 Lexus IS 250s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus IS 250 for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,078.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $25,289.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus IS 250 for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,557.

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Should I lease or buy a 2010 Lexus IS 250?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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