2020 Lexus IS 300

What’s new

  • New Blackline Edition debuts with exclusive wheels and black/indigo trim
  • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2013

Pros & Cons

  • Ride quality is smooth and comfortable on bumpy roads
  • Cabin is well-isolated from noise
  • Offers more features for the money compared to German alternatives
  • Handling capabilities don't create much driver excitement
  • V6 power is comparable to smaller turbo engines but isn't as efficient
  • Optional Remote Touch infotainment system is distracting to use
MSRP Starting at
$38,560

Save as much as $5,268
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2020 Lexus IS 300 Review

Like a wall-mounted landline, the Lexus IS 300 is badly in need of an update. The luxury sport sedan debuted its third generation for the 2013 model year with very good ride comfort and a starting price that undercut German rivals. That much is still true today, but in other areas the IS 300 has grown stale in a class that is rapidly adding challengers with an eye toward modern performance and convenience.

At the top of the list is the IS 300's technology — or lack thereof. A 7-inch screen comes standard and buyers can opt up to a 10.3-inch screen with navigation, but it's packaged with a mouse-like controller that is clumsy to operate through the menu interfaces. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available. There are other drawbacks, including tight interior dimensions and small cargo space, that are easier to overlook. But it's difficult to recommend outdated tech in a competitive class of luxury cars.

The IS 300 can compete with the BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes of the world. Drivers will feel pampered with top-notch interior quality and fit and finish that seems to block out the rest of the world. Without much-needed updates in some critical areas, however, never mind the Germans. Lexus is quickly losing ground to offerings from Volvo, Genesis and even Acura.

Edmunds’ Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team

Our verdict

7.2 / 10
Lexus makes an admirable case for a value-based luxury sport sedan with its entry-level IS 300, offering adventurous styling at a better starting price than German rivals. It even has an injection of driving personality. Unfortunately a clumsy infotainment controller and too-tight ergonomics hold it back. Times have changed since this IS generation debuted for 2013 and the car feels stuck in time.

How does it drive?

7.0
The turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides sufficient oomph to the IS 300. Its brakes stop the car from 60 mph on par with other luxury sport compacts and the steering offers direct response.

But beyond those metrics, the IS 300 struggles to put it all together. There's an all-around lack of feel -- from the brakes, steering and tires -- that fails to deliver a clear picture of what the car is doing. The transmission needs to be in Sport mode to deliver responsive shifts, and even then, downshifts take too long. On paper the IS 300 brings strong performance to the table. In practice it's best to stick to roads that don't challenge the chassis too much.

How comfortable is it?

8.0
As you'd expect from a Lexus, the ride quality and interior serenity are top notch in the IS 300. The sedan combines solid body control with smooth compliance at all the right times, without the marshmallowy float indicative of an overly soft suspension. Great attention went into sound proofing the cabin and the engine sounds refined compared with competitors.

A heated steering wheel and seats get up to temperature quickly and the seats are comfortable and supportive. The lumbar support is positioned too high, though, and becomes irksome after a few hours behind the wheel. F Sport models provide additional side bolstering and a noticeably harsher ride from the taut suspension.

How’s the interior?

6.5
Interior comfort is nearly overshadowed by the IS 300's tight dimensions, which can overcomplicate a simple act like turning the steering wheel without rubbing up against your knee. The wide center console leaves little room to maneuver, and the wheel does not have much tilt and telescoping range. Armrests are comfortable, and there's a padded surface to rest your hand while using the infotainment joystick.

Headroom is limited in the rear and the transmission tunnel makes for an uncomfortable middle seat. The car's low height and sloping roofline also force passengers to dip inside, and huge rear pillars create blind spots that call for the optional parking sensors and rearview camera.

How’s the tech?

6.5
Lexus poses quite a dilemna with its infotainment controller, which makes moving through the on-board menus a clumsy endeavor. Worse, the IS 300 still does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Instead, owners can connect with Siri Eyes Free, or opt for Lexus Enform Remote and access certain functions of their vehicle through smartphones, smartwatches and Amazon Alexa devices. But it's a major oversight on a modern luxury car.

Otherwise, the IS 300 has strong voice recognition technology and comes standard with advanced safety like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. But with an interface stuck in the Stone Age, it's time for an overnight update.

How’s the storage?

7.5
Tightness in the cabin continues around to the rear trunk as well. Cargo space is on the small side for this class, at 10.8 cubic feet. You also have to bend over to slide your bags in because the top of the trunk is inset compared with the bottom. Small item storage is limited, with two small cupholders up front and two more hidden in a rear fold-out armrest tray.

Four hidden yet accessible LATCH anchors and three handy upper tethers make installing a child's seat easy.

How economical is it?

6.5
The IS 300 ranks quite a bit lower than its rivals when it comes to efficiency, with an EPA rating of 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway). The Mercedes-Benz C300 totals 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway) while the BMW 330i achieves 30 mpg combined (26 city/36 highway).

Is it a good value?

8.0
No complaints here when it comes to interior build quality and overall fit and finish. The IS 300 is a well-made luxury sedan, and at a lower base price that its BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals. Value is a strong reason to opt for the IS 300. It takes a fuel economy hit, rated at just 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway) compared to the BMW 330i (26 city/36 highway) and Mercedes C300 (24 city/35 highway).

It also comes with a competitive basic warranty and favorable drivetrain coverage, though BMW covers all regular maintenance for three years while Lexus pays for only the first two jobs.

Wildcard

7.0
Lexus took a shot at making the IS 300 genuinely fun to drive. While the company didn't quite hit a bullseye, it ended up with a good foundation upon which to build. The IS 300 has plenty of performance under the hood, with an aggressive Sport mode and different stages of stability control that allow for some high-speed fun. There is a lack of front end grip and vagueness from the steering through corners. But otherwise the IS 300 is a positive step in the direction of driving excitement.

Which IS 300 does Edmunds recommend?

The greatest strength in the Lexus IS 300 is its value, so focus on bang for your buck. Skip the V6 and opt for an IS 300 RWD. The rear-wheel-drive model is a solid platform and comes in under $40,000 to start. That gets you into a well-built luxury sedan that's even a little fun to drive, with a long list of standard features that won't leave you feeling squeezed.

Lexus IS 300 models

Lexus offers the IS 300 in four available trims: the IS 300 RWD, IS 300 F Sport RWD, IS 300 AWD and IS 300 F Sport AWD. The main differences between them are evident. The IS 300 RWD is rear-wheel-drive and the IS 300 AWD is all-wheel-drive. The F Sport package adds a sport-tuned suspension, a gaping mesh front grille, and seats with additional side bolstering. But while rear-wheel-drive models are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (241 hp, 258 lb-ft), all-wheel-drive models step up to a bigger 3.5-liter V6 (260 hp, 236 lb-ft).

The IS 300 RWD sends its power through an eight-speed automatic transmission that isn't fast but does enhance an already smooth ride. The base model also nets you standard equipment such as dual-zone automatic climate control, two front USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker audio system and a sunroof. Safety is a priority with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. Upgrade to the IS 300 F Sport RWD if 18-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, and the tuned suspension are more your thing.

Upgrading to the IS 300 AWD doesn't add many creature comforts, but there are some changes. It sends its V6 power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the rear-wheel drive's eight-speed. The IS 300 F Sport AWD also gets all-season tires as opposed to summer tires on the RWD trim.

All models can be had with the Comfort package, which includes a power tilt and telescoping steering column, rain-sensing windshield wipers and blind spot monitor. Lexus also offers a Navigation package that adds a 10.3-inch infotainment screen with the frustrating controller, plus one complimentary year of the Lexus Enform Destination Assist concierge that includes directions from a live agent. The real prize is the Mark Levinson package and its phenomenal 15-speaker audio system, though it automatically comes with the Navigation package. The exceptional audio quality may ease the pain of living with the controller.


Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2020 Lexus IS 300.

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    Features & Specs

    F SPORT 4dr Sedan features & specs
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan
    2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A
    MSRP$41,755
    MPG 21 city / 30 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission8-speed shiftable automatic
    Horsepower241 hp @ 5800 rpm
    See all for sale
    4dr Sedan features & specs
    4dr Sedan
    2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A
    MSRP$38,560
    MPG 21 city / 30 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission8-speed shiftable automatic
    Horsepower241 hp @ 5800 rpm
    See all for sale
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD features & specs
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD
    3.5L 6cyl 6A
    MSRP$43,805
    MPG 18 city / 24 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
    HorsepowerN/A
    See all for sale
    4dr Sedan AWD features & specs
    4dr Sedan AWD
    3.5L 6cyl 6A
    MSRP$41,010
    MPG 18 city / 24 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
    HorsepowerN/A
    See all for sale
    See all 2020 Lexus IS 300 features & specs

    Safety

    Our experts’ favorite IS 300 safety features:

    Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
    Monitors lane markings, warns if you are drifting, and can even help steer the vehicle back into the lane of travel.
    Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    Helps drivers maintain a preset distance by adjusting the vehicle's speed in relation to the vehicle directly ahead.
    Intelligent High Beam
    Switches between high and low beams automatically by using cues from a camera that helps detect when other vehicles are present.

    NHTSA Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars

    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

    Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
    Side Crash RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Side Barrier RatingRating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
    Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
    RolloverRating
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.5%

    IIHS Rating

    The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

    Side Impact Test
    Good
    Roof Strength Test
    Good
    Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
    IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
    Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

    Lexus IS 300 vs. the competition

    Lexus IS 300 vs. Infiniti Q50

    While the IS 300 likes to dream of being a sport sedan, the Q50 lives it. Its standard engine is a twin-turbo V6 making 300 horsepower, which far exceeds the figures in either IS 300 engine at the same price. It can even be optioned up to 400 hp. While the Q50 isn't perfect, its standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a surprisingly roomy trunk, make easy work of the IS 300's struggles.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & Infiniti Q50 features

    Lexus IS 300 vs. Lexus ES 350

    The ES is traditionally a big, cushy sedan. But its recent redesign surprised us with a more aggressive attitude and relatively nimble handling. Its major advantages over the IS are a spacious cabin and ridiculously soft ride, plus a new platform engineered for modern tastes. It's even priced comparatively, at least until you start adding options. If comfort is high on your list, the ES covers all bases.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & Lexus ES 350 features

    Lexus IS 300 vs. Acura TLX

    The TLX can be a bit bland for our tastes, but it sure makes an effort. There's a lot going on, whether it's A-Spec appearance packages on both four-cylinder and V6 engines, an interior loaded with screens, or a nine-speed transmission with a split personality. But it's the right size and the right price, and it has enough strong points to warrant a look. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Acura TLX.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & Acura TLX features

    FAQ

    Is the Lexus IS 300 a good car?
    The Edmunds experts tested the 2020 IS 300 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.2 out of 10. You probably care about Lexus IS 300 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the IS 300 gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg to 24 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the IS 300 has 10.8 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Lexus IS 300. Learn more
    What's new in the 2020 Lexus IS 300?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Lexus IS 300:

    • New Blackline Edition debuts with exclusive wheels and black/indigo trim
    • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2013
    Learn more
    Is the Lexus IS 300 reliable?
    To determine whether the Lexus IS 300 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the IS 300. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the IS 300's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
    Is the 2020 Lexus IS 300 a good car?
    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2020 Lexus IS 300 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2020 IS 300 and gave it a 7.2 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2020 IS 300 is a good car for you. Learn more
    How much should I pay for a 2020 Lexus IS 300?

    The least-expensive 2020 Lexus IS 300 is the 2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $38,560.

    Other versions include:

    • F SPORT 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $41,755
    • 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $38,560
    • F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $43,805
    • 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $41,010
    Learn more
    What are the different models of Lexus IS 300?
    If you're interested in the Lexus IS 300, the next question is, which IS 300 model is right for you? IS 300 variants include F SPORT 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). For a full list of IS 300 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2020 Lexus IS 300

    2020 Lexus IS 300 Overview

    The 2020 Lexus IS 300 is offered in the following submodels: IS 300 Sedan. Available styles include F SPORT 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

    What do people think of the 2020 Lexus IS 300?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 Lexus IS 300 and all its trim types. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2020 IS 300.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 Lexus IS 300 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 IS 300 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our 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.

    What's a good price for a New 2020 Lexus IS 300?

    2020 Lexus IS 300 F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

    The 2020 Lexus IS 300 F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $45,590. The average price paid for a new 2020 Lexus IS 300 F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) is trending $5,268 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $5,268 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $40,322.

    The average savings for the 2020 Lexus IS 300 F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) is 11.6% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 16 2020 Lexus IS 300 F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.

    2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

    The 2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $45,275. The average price paid for a new 2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) is trending $2,441 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $2,441 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $42,834.

    The average savings for the 2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) is 5.4% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 1 2020 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.

    Which 2020 Lexus IS 300s 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) 2020 Lexus IS 300 for sale near. There are currently 24 new 2020 IS 300s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $45,020 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap 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 2020 Lexus IS 300. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $3,115 on a used or CPO 2020 IS 300 available from a dealership near you.

    Can't find a new 2020 Lexus IS 300s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Lexus IS 300 for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $7,881.

    Find a new Lexus for sale - 11 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $16,447.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 2020 Lexus IS 300?

    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.

    Check out Lexus lease specials