2009 Lexus IS 350 Review

Used IS 350 for sale
List Price Estimate:$6,574 - $12,509
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Smooth and swift V6, comfortable ride, capable handling, top-notch interior quality.
  • Cramped backseat, less engaging to drive than other sport sedans, no manual transmission.

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 is worth a close look if you value style, comfort and refinement over all-out sportiness.

Vehicle overview

When it comes to resources, we suspect a lot of other luxury automakers are envious of Lexus. While most brands have just one entry-level sedan to their name, Lexus has two, the ES 350 and the IS series. This double-barreled approach allows Lexus to have the right car for everyone. The ES is the comfortable luxury cruiser while the IS 250 and IS 350 are meant to be sharply honed sport sedans. The 2009 Lexus IS 350's strikingly taut styling, sporty interior and powerful 306-horsepower V6 complement its rear-wheel-drive layout. In other words, the 2009 Lexus IS 350 has what sport-sedan shoppers are looking for.

At least, that's how it appears on paper. However, driving the IS 350 may be something of a letdown from the dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast's perspective. The 3.5-liter V6 is unquestionably a highlight, providing smooth yet thrilling acceleration at the drop of your right foot. Unfortunately, the only available transmission is an automatic, and it's a slow-shifting one at that. Moreover, while the IS 350's steering is accurate, it's notably uncommunicative. Handling limits are quite high, but the brake pedal doesn't inspire confidence with its long travel and soft feel. On the whole, it seems that Lexus was aiming for a slightly less sporty demographic with this car, namely buyers who want the aesthetics and track numbers of a sport sedan along with the compliant ride and coddling interior of a luxury sedan.

If that sounds appealing to you, then the IS 350 hits the bull's-eye. The quality of the interior materials is excellent, noise levels are Lexus-low and the IS 350's aggressively styled exterior belies its supple suspension tuning. As a sharp-looking compact luxury sedan with a world-class motor and a sporty flavor, the IS 350 is an unqualified success. Just know that you may be disappointed if you expect this Lexus to give a BMW 3 Series sedan or an Infiniti G35 a run for its money when the going gets twisty.

2009 Lexus IS 350 models

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 compact luxury sport sedan is available in a single trim level. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather seating, power front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control and a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Optional features (mostly offered through packages) include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a memory function for the driver and passenger seats, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a power rear sunshade, 18-inch wheels and rain-sensing wipers. Also available are a navigation system, a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, adaptive cruise control, park assist and a sport-tuned suspension. A sport suspension package dubbed the X Package features a firmer suspension calibration, 18-inch wheels, sport-biased tires and aluminum pedals.

2009 Highlights

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 receives a handful of minor tweaks, including subtle interior and exterior styling changes, a more advanced stability control system, slightly revised suspension tuning and a two-tone interior option.

Performance & mpg

The rear-wheel-drive 2009 Lexus IS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 306 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The IS 350 accelerates with the tenacity of a dedicated sports car, as the 0-60 sprint requires just 5.6 seconds. Although the transmission offers quick manual-style gearchanges, it doesn't match revs on downshifts like some rival automatics do.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard on the 2009 Lexus IS 350. Optional is a pre-collision system (PCS) that comes packaged with adaptive cruise control. The PCS uses a radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. If the computer determines that a collision is unavoidable, it pre-emptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and initializes brake assist so increased braking can be applied the instant the brake pedal is pressed.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the IS 350 earned a perfect "Good" rating for its performance in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. In government crash testing, the IS 350 earned four stars (out of a possible five) for both frontal crash protection and rear-passenger side-impact protection. Its front-passenger side-impact protection received a five-star rating.

Driving

The 2009 Lexus IS 350's creamy-smooth V6 hurtles you toward the horizon at the slightest provocation. It's just a shame that such a brilliant engine is stuck with the IS 350's slow-witted automatic transmission and relatively uncommunicative steering. The car's handling capabilities are formidable, but the IS 350 is not nearly as engaging to drive as segment benchmarks like the BMW 335i and the Infiniti G35. The Lexus does offer an impressively compliant ride, however. Should the standard chassis setup seem too soft, you can opt for the X Package, which includes a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch summer tires.

Interior

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 boasts a finely wrought interior, with top-notch materials and an attractively sporty design. Fit and finish is generally excellent. Lexus also offers one of the best electronics interfaces in the business, with easy-to-use controls all around. The optional navigation system and accompanying touchscreen are particularly user-friendly.

Most compact sport sedans aren't generous with rear-seat legroom, and this is particularly true of the IS 350. Adults or even large children may not be happy in the rear seat on long road trips -- especially with a taller driver up front. Don't let the IS 350's four doors fool you; in terms of interior space, it's more akin to a luxury coupe.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Lexus IS 350.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.38 out of 5 stars
It's a rocket
mathiase70,04/18/2009
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I have owned the is350 for 14 days approx... Ok it's a fun car to drive, the paddle shifters are a bit slow, faster on the 335i beemer twin turbo. I test drove these vehicles, CTS, ISF, IS350, BMW335i, Audi S4, C 63 AMG. Like them all. Ended up with IS350 and it's a good practical choice. Fuel economy is above average, comfort is good. Fit n finish this car is an excellent value, picked up the 09' for 7k less than asking price, car is fully loaded, plus 3m invisible shield, tint, nav. No question about it, great value, fit n finish is...? Well let's just say it's a Lexus.
5 out of 5 stars
Hard to beat the whole package
subdsgnr,05/01/2012
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This car is the best I've ever owned overall. The only thing I would trade would be a BMW sport suspension, but it's not worth all the frustration I've had with my 535i ($20k more than the IS!). I've had both the 250 and 350. I stuck with the IS350 because I value the acceleration, but the IS250 is really great and sporty with good mileage. The rear wheel drive platform has very precise steering with a firm suspension that still soaks up bumps pretty well. If you like a cushy, quiet ride, go with the ES. BMW, Acura, and Infiniti don't hold a candle to the overall combination of performance, reliability, and dealer experience. There is no better service department than that of Lexus.
5 out of 5 stars
Wow
lexuslover,11/02/2008
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Never thought that I would get a Lexus over a Bmw or Mercedes. Bmw has always ruled the market, but after driving the Lexus i have to ask why? The Lexus is EVERYTHING and more than the Bmw 335i and almost 12k less-loaded out. Performance is excellent, it's quiet, all the controls are where they should be - it's perfect. I would totally recommend this car if you are looking at a performance-luxury small sedan.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Great power, great comfort
Brandon Polk,11/24/2008
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Bought the 2009 Lexus IS 350 after considering the Infiniti G35, Acura TL, and Nissan Maxima. Loved the quick, agile Lexus and the smooth powertrain. Exterior is a beauty in the Tungston Pearl (silver). Interior has all the comfort of a luxury car with lots of performance and power. I never was much of a driving enthusiast but this car has me looking for windy roads to have some fun. I was on the verge of getting the new Acura but felt the Lexus was more fun to drive.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Lexus IS 350

Used 2009 Lexus IS 350 Overview

The Used 2009 Lexus IS 350 is offered in the following submodels: IS 350 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A). The Used 2009 Lexus IS 350 comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Lexus IS 350 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's a good price on a Used 2009 Lexus IS 350?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 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) 2009 Lexus IS 350 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned 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 Used 2009 Lexus IS 350.

Can't find a used 2009 Lexus IS 350s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus IS 350 for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,922.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 3 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $21,349.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus IS 350 for sale - 4 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $21,327.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.

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