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Shoppers in the market for a small luxury sedan with eye-catching style, a host of standard features and all-wheel-drive versatility might want to check out the 2017 Lexus IS 300. The IS series is the Lexus entry-level sedan lineup, but that doesn’t mean the IS 300 is short on appeal. It maintains the nameplate's reputation for quality, comfort and reliability while remaining a relatively affordable choice for buyers on a budget.
Refreshed for 2017, the IS 300 gets such updates as LED headlights, revamped front and rear bumpers and a more aggressive-looking grille. Interior changes are few but include a restyled center console, some revision to the controls, and a larger display for the available navigation system. Perhaps the biggest change is that the formerly optional Lexus Safety System+ package is now standard equipment, providing such driver aids as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning with steering assist.
Power for the IS 300 comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It drives all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters. Fuel economy for the 2017 IS 300 is EPA-rated at 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway).
The IS 300 is styled like a sport sedan, and it can be fun to drive, but its forte really is delivering a smooth, quiet ride, whether hitting the open road or running errands around town. Acceleration is acceptable but lags a bit behind most competitors, and handling is more tuned for comfort than performance. Buyers looking for firmer suspension and a bit more cornering prowess might want to consider adding the F Sport package.
Inside, the IS 300 boasts a modern, attractive design highlighted by quality materials and a wealth of standard or available comfort and convenience items. Cabin space is not abundant, however. Front seat occupants may find the wide center console intrusive, and those in back won’t find as much legroom as in many rival models.
There's only one trim level, but the IS 300 comes well-equipped with standard keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a premium sound system. A number of packages and standalone options allow buyers to add technology and luxury appointments as they see fit. And then there's the F Sport package, with such performance goodies as larger wheels and tires, stiffer sport-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find the 2017 Lexus IS 300 that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.