2014 Lexus IS 250 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale and well-built interior
  • communicative steering
  • smooth ride.
  • V6 engine's lackluster power and fuel economy
  • not as sporty as it looks
  • finicky electronics interface.
List Price Range
$18,489 - $23,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A welcome redesign provides the 2014 Lexus IS 250 with class-leading build quality and benchmark steering feel. But it still trails its German competitors in pulse-quickening performance.

Vehicle overview

Since its introduction, the Lexus IS 250 luxury sport sedan has played second fiddle to its European counterparts. In past reviews, we found it to be a likable car but criticized it for its meager rear seating accommodations, merely adequate V6 engine and busy, small-car ride. For the redesigned 2014 IS 250, Lexus is aiming to address at least a few of these shortcomings.

This year, Lexus lengthened the IS 250's wheelbase, and that has freed up a bit more interior room, particularly rear-seat legroom. Another benefit of pushing the front and rear wheels farther apart is a more stable and comfortable ride quality. Even with the increased emphasis on comfort, the IS remains Lexus' sport-oriented entry-level luxury car, as Lexus is happy to sell the ES 350 to buyers who favor a plush ride above all else. To that end, the IS is still rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and the driver's feel of the car through the steering wheel is now one of the best in this segment.

In keeping with the trend of electronic devices proliferating among luxury automobiles, the 2014 IS 250 sees its share of upgrades. Lexus has added its optional, computer mouselike Remote Touch electronics interface to the IS this year, for instance. There are also new safety features, including lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.

Unfortunately, one area Lexus left fundamentally unchanged for 2014 is the IS 250's powertrain. The six-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic are smooth and quiet, but the recent increase and success of equally potent turbocharged four-cylinder engines in other sedans has made the aging Lexus engine seem weak and inefficient in comparison. Add in underwhelming handling and braking performance, and there's no denying that the IS 250 falls short of what its sporty styling promises.

As before, comfort, luxury and outright refinement take priority over performance and headlines on the 2014 Lexus IS 250. This car will please Lexus loyalists, but if you're not devoted to the brand, you owe it to yourself to shop around. Our favorite in this class remains the 2014 BMW 3 Series given its multitude of talents. Other desirable entry luxury sport sedan picks include the Audi A4, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q50 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

2014 Lexus IS 250 models

The 2014 Lexus IS 250 is a compact luxury sedan offered in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive trim levels. The IS 350 is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the IS 250 is generous and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, foglamps, heated mirrors, 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), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are the Safety Connect telematics system, a 7-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice commands and an eight-speaker sound system with in-dash CD changer, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and dual iPod/USB interfaces.

The IS 250 AWD adds all-wheel drive and heated front seats.

The Navigation System package adds a navigation system, Lexus' Remote Touch electronics interface, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phonebook downloading and Lexus Enform enhanced telematics (with smartphone app integration, including Bing, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio). A 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system can be added to the navigation system.

A Premium package adds LED headlamps and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury package bundles the Premium package with automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming side mirrors, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and driver memory settings.

The F Sport package includes LED headlamps, 18-inch wheels (with available summer tires), special exterior and interior styling details, a sport-tuned suspension, an intake sound generator (enhances the sound of the V6 engine), heated sport seats and LFA supercar-inspired instrumentation.

Individual options include 18-inch wheels, headlamp washers for the AWD model, front and rear parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system and adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision brake-priming system.

2014 Highlights

For 2014, the Lexus IS 250 has been fully redesigned. Highlights include new exterior and interior styling, increased rear-seat room and trunk space, revised suspension and steering tuning, and new safety features.

Performance & mpg

The 2014 Lexus IS 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission, and buyers can choose between rear- and all-wheel-drive variants.

In Edmunds testing, a rear-wheel-drive IS 250 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, a tepid time for this segment. Lexus-estimated fuel economy stands at 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/30 mpg highway) with rear-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive version rates 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city/27 mpg highway). Rivals with turbocharged four-cylinders surpass the IS 250 in acceleration and fuel mileage.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and dual rear-seat side airbags. Also included is Safety Connect, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle locator and an emergency assistance button.

A rearview camera is available or packaged with the optional Navigation System package, and front and rear parking sensors are a stand-alone option. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is part of the Luxury package, or you can buy it à la carte. Other stand-alone options include a lane-departure warning system and radar-based adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system that utilizes warnings followed by brake-system priming and seatbelt tightening to lessen the severity of a crash.

In Edmunds brake testing, an IS 250 F Sport with 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is long for its class. In government crash tests the 2014 Lexus IS 250 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 250 a rating of "Good" in moderate overlap front and side tests.

Driving

The 2014 Lexus IS 250's longer wheelbase and new suspension design have paid big dividends in terms of ride comfort. It's no mistake that the IS now rides more like its larger sedan sibling, the GS, and that's a good thing. Overall, the newest IS 250 presents a far more comfortable and quiet ride that will serve commuters and road trippers well. That said, that just-right ride quality is diminished with the firmer-riding F Sport package that should be sampled prior to ordering.

On curvy roads, the IS 250 is more of a mixed bag. Steering feel and effort levels are appropriate and unexpectedly excellent. In contrast to previous years, the IS feels more alive through its steering wheel than a BMW 3 Series. But the sum of these improved qualities is largely a letdown. Even with the F Sport's taut suspension and summer tires, the IS 250 lacks the true handling prowess and high dynamic limits we expect of a sport sedan.

Finally, there's the matter of the IS 250's V6 engine. It's smooth, but acceleration is definitely lacking compared with most other base-engine competitors. The 102-hp jump to the more powerful Lexus IS 350 costs little in terms of fuel economy and nets a noticeable improvement in throttle response and acceleration.

Interior

The 2014 Lexus IS 250 has as nice an interior as you'll find in this segment in terms of quality and aesthetics. Supple leather and handsome wood and metallic accents are lavished throughout, and even the quality of the plastics is hard to fault with. As expected of a Lexus, fit and finish is excellent as well.

Basic controls throughout the cabin are intuitive and easy to use. However, Lexus' Remote Touch controller for the optional infotainment systems is a good idea that needs more refinement. The mouselike controller and on-screen cursor are very familiar in a PC computer sort of way. But placing the cursor is difficult and if you've incorrectly clicked, there's no convenient hard "back" button. Further, because all of the icons are the same dull colors, differentiating among them without serious eyes-off-road time is difficult.

One immediately noticeable benefit to the 2014 IS's newly elongated wheelbase is improved rear-seat comfort and access. Once the chief complaint of the compact sedan, the IS 250's backseat is now on par with its main competitors. The trunk can hold a maximum of 13.8 cubic feet of luggage, which is above average for cars in this class.

The F Sport package's new motorized-pod instrument panel (borrowed from the LFA) is a nifty parlor trick that adds only marginal utility and information.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2014 Lexus IS 250.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

great fun car to drive
impaciente,07/20/2013
The car is fantastic. Many improvements compared to the previous model, which in my opinion was not bad at all. In the driving department, in my humble opinion, is a lot better than the current 3 series, specially in the sports mode. Interior comforts and the IT in the car are tip top compared to the europeans. Quality building is typical Lexus and from a design point of view is very innovative (untyplical lexus.... and I would say untypical BMW, MB Audi). I love the exterior styling, though this is a matter of likes.
What a Great Car!
redskins5926,09/03/2013
I have been driving my IS250 F-Sport exactly two months now. This car has been a thrill! For those who like to speed or head to the track frequently, you would benefit from the extra power of the 350. For everyone else, the 250 is plenty of power. This car has tight and nicely weighted steering. Fuel economy is incredible, I average 24-25 mpg with 60% city driving. The driving dynamics are very comparable to the E90 BMW 3-series (2006-2011). The current F30 BMW 3-series does not feel as sporty. As for the exterior styling, it does grow on you. I remember thinking how ugly the car looked when I saw the first press photos, but now I think it is one of the best-looking cars I've seen!
My new ride
RMG,11/15/2015
4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A)
Drive a BMW, then drive this car. As a former BMW driver, I loved my beemer....but this car is eye-catching, sporty looking and I know it will be far more reliable. With the repairs made on the BMW, I could have bought another car. After 100K miles, for starters, I had suspension parts and engine coils fail to the tune of $4K. I traded it in with $7K in repairs looming (steering fluid and oil leaK). The Lexus is sporty, elegant, well appointed. I bought it with only 7K miles....drives like a dream and even has an optional sport mode. Only concern is that the paint will not hold up like the beemer. Chips easily (not me, previous owner). In contrast, the BMW looked mint when I traded it in for $3K with 180K miles. The car should have been worth more but was on it's last legs. BMW needs its owners to be mechanics to afford repairs after 100K miles. November 2016 update: I continue to love my 2014 Lexus IS250. Still a great car, no issues. I have somehow put 20K miles on it this year. As for maintenance, because this was a certified Lexus, all the maintenance has been at no charge. The only quirky thing I will mention is that you need to change your oil every 10K miles, which is fine. However, the maintenance light comes on every 5K miles to trigger wheel rotation and fluid check. Because my car's front tires are a different size from my back tires, this particular maintenance does not make sense and it is annoying to have that maintenance warning come on. Anyway, still a great car. Also, I recently checked how much this car would cost today, and I seem to have gotten a really good deal since they are still asking around the same price that I paid for my year and model last year. Maybe this is because the AWD is now only available in the IS350 which is a more expensive car.
My 4th IS 250 and Love Them!
TC,06/02/2017
4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A)
This car is a good compromise between sporty and sedan. It is probably best for a person not planning to carry kids around, but could be done. I get compliments from strangers all the time. The new 200t that replaces the IS is longer and not quite as sporty in my opinion. I am going to buy the one I have at the end of the lease and run the wheels off!

Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
204 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
204 hp @ 6400 rpm
See all Used 2014 Lexus IS 250 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.7%
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
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2014 Lexus IS 250

Used 2014 Lexus IS 250 Overview

The Used 2014 Lexus IS 250 is offered in the following submodels: IS 250 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2014 Lexus IS 250?

Price comparisons for Used 2014 Lexus IS 250 trim styles:

  • The Used 2014 Lexus IS 250 Base is priced between $18,489 and$23,900 with odometer readings between 45585 and111951 miles.

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Which used 2014 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) 2014 Lexus IS 250 for sale near. There are currently 12 used and CPO 2014 IS 250s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $18,489 and mileage as low as 45585 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 2014 Lexus IS 250.

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Find a used Lexus IS 250 for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,009.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $16,730.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus IS 250 for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $12,053.

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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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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