What is the IS 300?
The 2023 Lexus IS 300 is a compact luxury sedan and one of the smallest four-door vehicles in Lexus' expansive lineup. Slotting below the Lexus ES and LS sedans but offering a sportier driving experience than both, the third-generation IS sedan has been on sale since 2014 and benefited from significant updates over the past few years. Changes included revised exterior styling, new in-car tech, and changes to the chassis to improve ride and handling. Because of those recent changes, we don't expect any major updates for 2023, though Lexus could always surprise us.
Currently, Lexus offers the IS in three trim levels: the IS 300, the IS 350 and the V8-powered IS 500 (the latter two vehicles are reviewed separately). The IS 300 is available with rear- or all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel-drive models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The IS 300 with all-wheel drive swaps the turbocharger for two additional cylinders and is powered by a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. It's available with lots of in-car tech and some of the latest driver aids Lexus has to offer.
This Lexus competes in a crowded field, with just about every premium automaker offering a compact sedan. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series are some of the IS 300's strongest rivals, and all three automakers offer slightly smaller and more affordable models too. The Genesis G70 and Alfa Romeo Giulia are also worth checking out. But don't overlook the IS. It's comfortable, well appointed and entertaining from behind the wheel.