2021 Lexus IS 300

MSRP range: $39,050 - $41,050
(4)
MSRP$41,465
Edmunds suggests you pay
Based on nearby sales up through June 7th
$37,747

What Should I Pay
4 for sale near you

2021 Lexus IS 300 Review

  • Smooth and comfortable ride on bumpy roads
  • Cabin is well isolated from noise
  • Offers more features for the money than German rivals
  • Subpar fuel economy with all-wheel-drive powertrain
  • Rear seats can be a tight fit for adults
  • Revised infotainment system
  • Styling updates to front and rear fascias
  • Changes to chassis and suspension for improved handling
  • F Sport package no longer available
  • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2014

Over the past few years, the Lexus IS 300 has had the potential to be an intriguing pick for a small luxury sedan. It cost less than its German rivals yet offered more features and similar levels of comfort and quality. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the IS 300 also suffered from a lack of driving refinement, a distracting-to-use technology interface and a small cabin.

Hoping for a better result, Lexus is hitting a soft reset with the 2021 Lexus IS 300. The exterior is only lightly refreshed, but there are substantial changes underneath and inside that seek to solve the IS 300's most pressing problems. Additional reinforcements and welds increase body rigidity, which Lexus says improves handling and steering response among other benefits. Some suspension components are lighter than before, which reduces unsprung mass and should translate to a more comfortable ride.

Inside, Lexus has replaced the distracting-to-use mouse-like controller with a touchpad controller. This new system eliminates the on-screen cursor that made the prior Lexus system difficult to use. Touchscreen functionality and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also newly available too. The rest of the interior is pretty much unchanged.

Is the 2021 IS 300 better than before? Most certainly. We don't expect the IS 300 will zoom up to the top of our small luxury sedan rankings, but it could be worth a look if value is a priority.

Which IS 300 does Edmunds recommend?

We recommend sticking with the base IS 300 RWD unless you need the extra traction of all-wheel drive. The turbocharged four-cylinder is more economical than the V6 and is nearly as powerful. None of the options is prohibitively expensive, but if you only have a little wiggle room in your budget, the Comfort package is a must-have. The Mark Levinson audio system is a close second.

Lexus IS 300 models

The 2021 Lexus IS 300 is a small luxury sedan available in two trim levels: IS 300 RWD and IS 300 AWD. The two are identically equipped, with one difference that's somewhat self-explanatory: The former is rear-wheel-drive and the latter is all-wheel-drive. Strangely, each uses a unique powertrain. The RWD model is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The IS 300 AWD uses a 3.5-liter V6 (260 hp, 236 lb-ft) and a six-speed automatic.

IS 300
The IS 300 comes standard with:

  • 18-inch wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Auto-dimming mirrors
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic transmission
  • Heated front seats (AWD only)
  • Simulated leather upholstery
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • 10-speaker audio system
  • Satellite radio
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Two USB ports
  • Wi-Fi hotspot

The IS 300 is also equipped with a set of advanced safety features, many of which are optional on rivals. These include:

  • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Lexus and the car in front)
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)

Packages and stand-alone options for the IS 300 include:

  • Comfort package
    • Sunroof
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Navigation package
    • 10.3-inch touchscreen
    • Navigation system
  • Mark Levinson Premium Audio package
    • Navigation package
    • 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system
    • Aluminum control knobs
  • Upgraded headlights
  • Sunroof
  • Automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with little or no driver intervention)
  • 360-degree camera system (gives you a top-down view of the IS 300 and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
Latest Lexus News from Edmunds
The Redesigned 2022 Lexus NX 350 Finally Gets a Touchscreen
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Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2021 Lexus IS 300.

Average user rating: 4.5 stars
4 total reviews
5 star reviews: 75%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 25%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%

Trending topics in reviews

    Most helpful consumer reviews

    5/5 stars, Great car!
    Marty Carpenter,
    4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
    Great car - Apple play only works when plugged in (via Bluetooth would be nice)!
    5/5 stars, Excellent
    Gene Kojie,
    4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
    Very Excellent Ride
    5/5 stars, Great car at an affordable price
    Rgantman,
    4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
    I love my red seats and red trim in silver Lexus
    3/5 stars, Smooth ride but…
    Jennifer Dale,
    4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
    I got the base model on a lease deal after trading in my VW GTI 6 speed and so far I miss my GTI. A few cons I’ve found so far is the stock radio, lack of cup holders in the back, and the waste of money features like auto bright head lights. When are we gonna come far enough in technology to put it all in one touch screen for climate, radio, etc…preferably not big screen sticking up in the middle of the dash?!? For the amount this car cost it can at least come with a decent radio and speaker set up…even Honda is bringing Bose to their new civics. I love the daylight running lights but I don’t like that they have to go off when you make a turn…can’t we design them to stay on and have the signal..??? I feel like this car could be made sharper by redesign of the lights themselves. A good car should have the minimum of leather seats, quality radio sound and comfortable seats. Cant say I’m totally pleased with this car…wheel wells could be designed to look a little more mean and wider set at the back too. It’s a little meh…for the price :/


    Features & Specs

    Base MSRP
    $39,050
    MPG & Fuel
    21 City / 31 Hwy / 25 Combined
    Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal. capacity
    Seating
    5 seats
    Drivetrain
    Type: rear wheel drive
    Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
    Engine
    Inline 4 cylinder
    Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5200 rpm
    Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1650 rpm
    Basic Warranty
    4 yr./ 50000 mi.
    Dimensions
    Length: 185.4 in. / Height: 56.5 in. / Width: 72.4 in.
    Curb Weight: 3715 lbs.
    Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 10.8 cu.ft.

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    At a Glance:
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    • $39,000starting MSRP

    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 Beams
    Switches between high and low beams automatically by using cues from a camera that helps detect when other vehicles are present.

    NHTSA Overall Rating

    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

    Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
    Side Crash RatingRating
    OverallNot Rated
    Side Barrier RatingRating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
    Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
    RolloverRating
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.5%



    Lexus IS 300 vs. the competition

    2021 Lexus IS 300

    2021 Lexus IS 300

    2021 BMW 3 Series

    2021 BMW 3 Series

    Lexus IS 300 vs. BMW 3 Series

    The BMW 3 Series has consistently been a luxury sport sedan benchmark, but the newest version has left us a bit wanting. It performs well — the base 430i turns in a 0-60 mph time of just 5.6 seconds — but the ride is choppy and the tech features are a little underwhelming in practice. That said, a somewhat compromised 3 Series is still a better pick than the IS 300 in most respects.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & BMW 3 Series features 

    Lexus IS 300 vs. Acura TLX

    The IS 300's toughest competition comes in the form of the Acura TLX. Both sedans are less expensive than their German rivals and are more generously equipped, and they also meet expectations for the luxury class. The Acura has a more comprehensive set of features than the Lexus, and its larger size affords more passenger room.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & Acura TLX features 

    Lexus IS 300 vs. Audi A4

    The Audi A4 proves that you don't always have to pay extra to get the best. Though it lacks a few features compared to the base IS 300, every A4 comes with all-wheel drive and a more attractive starting price than the 3 Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This Audi also excels in the areas of passenger comfort, driving refinement and interior design.

    Compare Lexus IS 300 & Audi A4 features 

    2021 Lexus IS 300 First Impressions

    What is the IS 300?

    The Lexus IS 300 is one of the most intriguing small luxury sedans out there — it costs less than its German rivals yet offers more features and similar levels of comfort and quality. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the IS 300's lack of driving refinement, distracting-to-use technology interface, and small cabin keep it from running near the front of the pack.

    The automaker is hitting a soft reset with the 2021 Lexus IS 300. The exterior has a new look with slim headlights, full-width taillights and redesigned rocker panels. Though it's still the same car underneath, the 2021 IS seeks to solve the most pressing problems. Among the changes are structural and suspension revisions, which should improve feel from behind the wheel, and a much-needed rethink of the infotainment system.

    2021 Lexus IS 300 - Front 3/4
    2021 Lexus IS 300
    What's under the IS 300's hood?

    The rear-wheel-drive IS 300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is the same powertrain as before. While it makes good power, the IS 300 is ultimately a bit slower than rivals in an all-out drag race.

    Lexus offers all-wheel drive (AWD) on the IS 300, though selecting AWD swaps the turbocharged engine for a non-turbocharged V6 producing 260 hp and 236 lb-ft. It also has a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the eight-speed transmission.

    Acceleration is similar, but you will notice a drop in fuel economy with the IS 300 AWD. We expect the 2021 model to have similar figures to the 2020 car, which the EPA estimates gets 24 mpg combined for RWD and 21 mpg for AWD.

    A handful of improvements should make the 2021 IS 300 feel a bit sportier than last year's model. Additional reinforcements and welds increase body rigidity, which Lexus says improves handling and steering response, among other benefits. Some suspension components are lighter than before, which reduces unsprung mass and should translate to a more comfortable ride.

    2021 Lexus IS 300 - Profile
    2021 Lexus IS 300
    How's the IS 300's interior?

    Since the 2021 IS 300 is a refresh rather than a redesign, modifications to the interior are relatively minor. The upper portion of the center console is finished in gloss black — rather than the brushed-metal motif of the previous model — and interior trim offerings are revised. Otherwise, the IS cabin features the same driver-centric layout as before.

    The car's dimensions are unchanged, so seating is tight for rear-seat occupants. And a wide center console means that even front-seat passengers can feel quite snug.

    2021 Lexus IS 300 - Front Interior
    2021 Lexus IS 300
    How's the IS 300's tech?

    This IS generation has been stuck with one of the least appealing infotainment systems on the market. Though it featured attractive graphics, the mouse-like controller for navigating the system was imprecise and difficult to use. Lexus has replaced the mouse with a touchpad for 2021. On other Lexus vehicles, such as the RX 350, we've found the new touchpad design to be marginally more intuitive than the mouse.

    In addition, the screen is closer to the driver now and gains touchscreen capability. This is a far bigger step toward improving usability than the touchpad. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is also new for the 2021 IS.

    The IS 300's advanced driving aids receive additional fine-tuning for 2021. The forward collision warning system can now detect pedestrians and bicyclists, and the lane-centering system more accurately identifies lane markers. The previously optional blind-spot monitor is now standard equipment.

    2021 Lexus IS 300 - Dash
    2021 Lexus IS 300
    How's the IS 300's storage?

    Though the compact class doesn't warrant high expectations for storage, the IS still falls short. The trunk offers 10.8 cubic feet of room, which is a few cubes less than most rivals. In-cabin storage is acceptable for front-seat passengers, but rear cubbies are fairly limited. Fitting a car seat into the small back seat through narrow door openings can present a challenge.

    EdmundsEdmunds says

    The 2021 Lexus IS 300 isn't fully redesigned, but a few much-needed tweaks make it more appealing than last year's model. With improved tech and handling, the IS finally has the tools to meet the competition head-on.


    FAQ

    Is the Lexus IS 300 a good car?

    The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 IS 300 both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Lexus IS 300 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the IS 300 gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg to 25 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 2021 Lexus IS 300?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Lexus IS 300:

    • Revised infotainment system
    • Styling updates to front and rear fascias
    • Changes to chassis and suspension for improved handling
    • F Sport package no longer available
    • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2014
    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 2021 Lexus IS 300 a good car?

    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Lexus IS 300 is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 IS 300 is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more

    How much should I pay for a 2021 Lexus IS 300?

    The least-expensive 2021 Lexus IS 300 is the 2021 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 $39,050.

    Other versions include:

    • 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $39,050
    • 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $41,050
    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 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 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 2021 Lexus IS 300

    2021 Lexus IS 300 Overview

    The 2021 Lexus IS 300 is offered in the following submodels: IS 300 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). The 2021 Lexus IS 300 comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2021 Lexus IS 300 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

    What do people think of the 2021 Lexus IS 300?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Lexus IS 300 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2021 IS 300 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. 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 2021 IS 300.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Lexus IS 300 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 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 2021 Lexus IS 300?

    2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

    The 2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $41,465. The average price paid for a new 2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is trending $3,718 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $3,718 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $37,747.

    The average savings for the 2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is 9% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 4 2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburn area.

    Which 2021 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) 2021 Lexus IS 300 for sale near. There are currently 4 new 2021 IS 300s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $43,495 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 2021 Lexus IS 300.

    Can't find a new 2021 Lexus IS 300s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Lexus for sale - 1 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $15,950.

    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.

    What is the MPG of a 2021 Lexus IS 300?

    2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 8-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
    25 compined MPG,
    21 city MPG/31 highway MPG

    2021 Lexus IS 300 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
    22 compined MPG,
    19 city MPG/26 highway MPG

    EPA Est. MPG25
    Transmission8-speed shiftable automatic
    Drive Trainrear wheel drive
    Displacement2.0 L
    Passenger Volume101.0 cu.ft.
    Wheelbase110.2 in.
    Length185.4 in.
    Width72.4 in.
    Height56.5 in.
    Curb Weight3715 lbs.

    Should I lease or buy a 2021 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