2017 Lexus IS 300 Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2017 Lexus IS 300 is one of the more aggressively styled luxury compacts, even if performance isn't a primary focus. But considering its all-wheel drive, well-honed ride, ample features and low noise levels, it's got enough going for it to be a convincing choice.
The IS 300 is the midgrade model introduced just last year, slotting in between the turbocharged IS 200t and range-topping IS 350. The IS 300 gets a slightly detuned version of the 350 model's 3.5-liter V6 engine and comes solely with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. There are some drawbacks, such as lackluster performance and a lack of storage and rear legroom. But overall we think the IS 300 will appeal to many shoppers looking for a small luxury sedan.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Lexus IS 300 is the midlevel model in the IS lineup, between the turbocharged IS 200t and top trim IS 350. There are no actual trim levels, only packages, though the F Sport package adds exterior design elements and more performance-tuned hardware that would certainly alter the character of the IS 300. The IS 300 comes with a detuned version of the 3.5-liter V6 engine (255 horsepower, 236 pound-feet of torque) in the IS 350, plus standard all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment highlights for the IS 300 includes 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth, an 8-inch color display, voice commands and an eight-speaker sound system. Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning system with automatic braking are also standard this year.
A number of packages are available for the IS 300. The smaller ones are the Premium and Premium Plus packages. The former includes heated and ventilated front seats and a rearview camera, and the latter adds automatic wipers, a power-adjustable steering wheel and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Luxury package, which is one we recommend for this IS model, includes all of the above items plus auto-dimming exterior mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel rim and driver-seat memory functions.
The Navigation package replaces the standard infotainment control dial with Lexus' Remote Touch mouse-type controller and adds a navigation system with a larger 10.3-inch display. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system can be specified, but it must include the Navigation package.
Finally, there's the F Sport package for those who want to up the sporting factor of their car. It includes a full-mesh front grille, a revised front bumper, twin-projector LED headlights, staggered-width 18-inch wheels (with either summer or all-season tires), a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brake pads, an intake sound generator that amplifies engine noise during acceleration, heated and ventilated front sport seats with enhanced bolstering, perforated leather trim and a special sport-oriented gauge cluster. Because the IS 300's primary focus isn't performance, the F Sport package seems a little misplaced here.
A few other stand-alone options, in addition to some of the above items, include a power rear sunshade, and remote vehicle control function (door locking and unlocking, cabin ventilation, vehicle finder, etc.) via a smartphone app through the Lexus Enform system.
Noise & vibration4.5
Ease of use2.0
Getting in/getting out3.0
Edmunds expert 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.