2020 Lexus IS 350
MSRP Range: $42,180 - $46,710

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2020 Lexus IS 350 Review

Pros
  • Smooth V6 power
  • Advanced driver aids work well
Cons
  • Optional Remote Touch infotainment system is distracting to use
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration
  • Handling capabilities don't create much driver excitement
  • A tighter back seat than those of rivals
What's new
  • A new Blackline edition debuts with dark cosmetic treatments
  • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2013

For 2020, the IS 350 returns mostly unchanged. It gains a new Blackline edition that adds a number of dark exterior and interior styling elements. Otherwise, this IS generation has been around since the 2013 model year. It's meant to be the sporty small luxury sedan in Lexus' lineup, at least compared to the ES 350. But the reality is that the two have pretty similar performance. In general, the IS 350's dated design keeps it from being a truly compelling pick for a small luxury sedan.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best

Our verdict

6.9 / 10
This generation IS has been around since 2013. And for each new luxury sedan that comes out, the IS 350's flaws become more apparent. It has middling fuel economy and, at least in F-Sport guise, an overly firm ride quality. The clunky infotainment interface is particularly grating when you consider how many rivals offer more user-friendly systems. Build quality is still top-notch, but overall the IS 350 is outclassed by the Genesis G70, Mercedes C-Class and Volvo S60.

How does it drive?

7.0
At our test track, our test IS 350 was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. That's OK but significantly slower than rival sedans with six-cylinder engines — a BMW M340i rips to 60 mph in just 4 seconds, for example. The IS 350's power isn't always right at your disposal either since the eight-speed automatic can be slow to shift whether you're using automatic mode or the paddle shifters.

The IS 350 F Sport handles quick directional changes well, but longer sweeping corners reveal a lack of front tire grip. The steering is also noticeably vague. The braking performance is average. In our panic-stop test, we recorded a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet. In routine use, the brakes are smooth and easy to use.

How comfortable is it?

7.0
We suspect the Lexus IS might be a bit more comfortable in standard form, but our F-Sport version came up a short in this area. The ride is stiff, with both small and large bumps easily making their way into the cabin. A sporty suspension and short tire sidewalls make this problem evident over all kinds of surfaces. The seats are decently comfortable for long drives and have sufficient bolstering to keep you in place during cornering.

There were no squeaks or rattles from interior panels in our test car, but there was quite a bit of road noise especially at highway speeds. We do like the climate control system. It cools and heats the cabin well. Heating or cooling the front seats is quick and effective.

How’s the interior?

6.5
While most of the cabin's controls are easy to spot and reach, the clunky controller for the infotainment screen puts a damper on the experience. As for interior space, the wide center console leaves little room to maneuver, and the steering wheel does not have much tilt-and-telescoping range. The armrests are nicely padded but positioned a little awkwardly, so some of our test drivers couldn't really take advantage of them.

Headroom is limited in the rear, and the transmission tunnel makes the middle rear-seat spot uncomfortable. Forward visibility is excellent, but the sloping roofline forces passengers to dip inside, and the thick rear roof pillars create blind spots that make it necessary to opt for the available blind-spot monitoring system.

How’s the tech?

6.0
Lexus' infotainment controller is a dated system. Moving through the onboard menus is a clumsy endeavor that can pull your attention away from the road. The IS still does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility — a major oversight on a modern luxury car. Instead, owners can connect with Siri Eyes Free, or opt for Lexus Enform Remote and access certain vehicle functions through their smartphones.

Voice controls are useful thanks to a well-laid-out menu of commands, but there isn't any use of natural language. Standard safety tech such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control work well, as do options including blind-spot monitoring, and rear-cross traffic alert. But overall this system needs a big update.

How’s the storage?

7.0
Cargo space is on the small side for this class. Folding down the rear seatbacks creates a step above the trunk floor, which makes loading long or big items less convenient. The opening to the trunk is shaped in such a way that requires a bit more bending to load bags in. In-cabin storage for small personal items is limited, leaving you with few options for your stuff.

For family duty, the IS 350 has four hidden yet easily accessible LATCH anchors and three handy upper tethers to make installing a child's safety seat easy. But you'll have to duck a bit to install them since the rear roofline dips down a bit, and space for bulky rear-facing seats is lacking.

How economical is it?

6.0
The IS 350 F Sport gets an EPA estimate of 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway), which is on the lower side of average for vehicle with an upgraded engine in this class. On our 115-mile mixed-driving evaluation route, our test car returned 23 mpg, which is also below what we'd expect and could indicate that matching the EPA's estimates could be a little difficult.

Is it a good value?

7.0
As we've come to expect from Lexus, the IS 350's interior is very well built with nice materials. You get a decent amount of features too. But the reality is that the competition is just better. Our test vehicle cost $50,940. For that money you could get a well-equipped Mercedes A-Class or a BMW 3 Series — both of which are more fuel-efficient and include more modern user interfaces.

Lexus offers a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which is comparable to others, and its six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain coverage is a bit better than average for the segment. Roadside assistance is included for four years/50,000 miles, and your first two scheduled maintenance services are free.

Wildcard

7.5
The IS 350 F Sport falls behind class leaders when it comes to all-around fun. Poor driver engagement, vague steering, and a lack of front-end grip mean a less thrilling drive around curvy roads. The styling is distinctive, but Lexus' big front grille design continues to be an acquired taste.

Which IS 350 does Edmunds recommend?

The IS 350 is only available in a single trim level, which leaves you deciding what options to add. Since the IS 350 represents the more powerful choice to the IS 300, there's a good chance that these shoppers are more performance-focused. For that reason, we suggest adding the F Sport package for sharper handling and sportier styling touches.

Lexus IS 350 models

The 2020 Lexus IS 350 is a five-passenger small luxury sedan that tops the IS lineup. It's only available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (311 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque). It can be paired with rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission or all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic.

Standard features highlights include LED headlights, a sunroof, simulated leather upholstery (NuLuxe), a 7-inch color display, and an eight-speaker sound system. The IS 350 AWD also comes with heated front seats. Standard driver assistance technology includes lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and a forward collision warning system with automatic braking.

The IS 350 offers a handful of option packages. You can boost the car's luxury and convenience features with the Comfort and Premium packages. The Navigation package replaces the standard infotainment control dial with Lexus' Remote Touch joystick-type controller, a bigger screen and a navigation system. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system can be added to this package.

For those who want to dial up the sporting factor, there's the F Sport package with revised styling, different wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential (RWD only), and a few other upgrades. For strict aesthetics, you can opt for the new Blackline package that adds dark exterior and interior trim elements.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2020 Lexus IS 350.

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    Used Years for Lexus IS 350

    Features & Specs

    F SPORT 4dr Sedan features & specs
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan
    3.5L 6cyl 8A
    MSRP$45,375
    MPG 20 city / 28 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission8-speed shiftable automatic
    HorsepowerN/A
    See all for sale
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD features & specs
    F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD
    3.5L 6cyl 6A
    MSRP$46,710
    MPG 19 city / 26 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$44,345
    MPG 19 city / 26 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
    HorsepowerN/A
    See all for sale
    4dr Sedan features & specs
    4dr Sedan
    3.5L 6cyl 8A
    MSRP$42,180
    MPG 20 city / 28 hwy
    SeatingSeats 5
    Transmission8-speed shiftable automatic
    HorsepowerN/A
    See all for sale
    See all 2020 Lexus IS 350 features & specs
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    Features
    Available in:
    Available Colors
    Exterior Colors
    Avaliable in

    Safety

    Our experts’ favorite IS 350 safety features:

    Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
    Monitors lane markings, warns you 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 350 vs. the competition

    Lexus IS 350 vs. Audi A4

    The Audi A4 is our top-rated pick in its class, with little to fault. It's far more engaging to drive than the Lexus IS, with sharp steering and sporty handling. It doesn't pack as much power, but most drivers should find the A4 adequate enough not to spend more for the sportier S4. The trade-off is that the A4's stiffer ride quality isn't as smooth as the IS 350's.

    Compare Lexus IS 350 & Audi A4 features

    Lexus IS 350 vs. Volvo S60

    The recently redesigned Volvo S60 is a joy to drive, and its Scandinavian design sets it apart from other sedans from Germany and Japan. We give it high marks for interior quality, Volvo's focus on safety, comfortable seats and strong overall performance. The infotainment system may take some getting used to, and the optional sport suspension could be too stiff for some, but otherwise the S60 is a commendable alternative.

    Compare Lexus IS 350 & Volvo S60 features

    Lexus IS 350 vs. BMW 3 Series

    BMW essentially invented the luxury sport sedan class with the 3 Series, but the latest redesign wasn't enough to claim the top spot. Compared to the IS 350, the 3 Series has a higher ceiling for performance and offers more available technology features. But you'll probably end up paying more for the 3 Series.

    Compare Lexus IS 350 & BMW 3 Series features

    FAQ

    Is the Lexus IS 350 a good car?

    The Edmunds experts tested the 2020 IS 350 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 6.9 out of 10. You probably care about Lexus IS 350 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the IS 350 gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg to 23 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 350 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 350. Learn more

    What's new in the 2020 Lexus IS 350?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Lexus IS 350:

    • A new Blackline edition debuts with dark cosmetic treatments
    • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2013
    Learn more

    Is the Lexus IS 350 reliable?

    To determine whether the Lexus IS 350 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the IS 350. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the IS 350's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

    Is the 2020 Lexus IS 350 a good car?

    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2020 Lexus IS 350 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2020 IS 350 and gave it a 6.9 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2020 IS 350 is a good car for you. Learn more

    How much should I pay for a 2020 Lexus IS 350?

    The least-expensive 2020 Lexus IS 350 is the 2020 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $42,180.

    Other versions include:

    • F SPORT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A) which starts at $45,375
    • F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $46,710
    • 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $44,345
    • 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A) which starts at $42,180
    Learn more

    What are the different models of Lexus IS 350?

    If you're interested in the Lexus IS 350, the next question is, which IS 350 model is right for you? IS 350 variants include F SPORT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A), F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A). For a full list of IS 350 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2020 Lexus IS 350

    2020 Lexus IS 350 Overview

    The 2020 Lexus IS 350 is offered in the following submodels: IS 350 Sedan. Available styles include F SPORT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A), F SPORT 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A).

    What do people think of the 2020 Lexus IS 350?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 Lexus IS 350 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 350.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 Lexus IS 350 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 IS 350 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 350?

    Which 2020 Lexus IS 350s 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 350 for sale near. There are currently 10 new 2020 IS 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $48,780 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 350.

    Can't find a new 2020 Lexus IS 350s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Lexus IS 350 for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $15,542.

    Find a new Lexus for sale - 2 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $20,550.

    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 350?

    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