2014 Lexus IS 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful and refined V6
  • superbly crafted interior with top-quality materials and supportive seats
  • precise steering.
  • Handling isn't very sharp, even with the F Sport package
  • mouse-based infotainment interface is distracting to use.
List Price Range
$19,997 - $28,994

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Edmunds' Expert Review

If you've been wanting a roomier IS sedan with a high-end interior, the revamped 2014 Lexus IS 350 is right up your alley. It's less convincing as a sport sedan, however, and more demanding drivers will likely prefer its European rivals.

Vehicle overview

The Lexus IS 350 is the compact sport sedan entry from a brand known for its ultra-refined luxury sedans and high reliability ratings. It does battle with some very popular European-brand sedans that have elevated consumers' expectations in the entry-level luxury sedan class. From our standpoint, strong acceleration, solid fuel economy, sporty handling and luxurious accommodations are all baseline requirements for a six-cylinder compact luxury sedan in 2014. Last year's IS 350 was certainly quick, but its interior was cramped and, apart from its speed, it wasn't especially memorable to drive. The redesigned 2014 Lexus IS 350 features notable upgrades, including a new interior with richer materials, a bigger backseat and a longer equipment list.

The 2014 IS 350's overhaul starts with provocative new sheet metal (the new IS wears the brand's audacious double-spindle grille design better than the larger sedans) and a stiff new structure similar in design to the larger, more expensive midsize GS 350's. Those more robust underpinnings made it easier for Lexus engineers to tune the IS for a comfortable ride. In addition, the 2014 model's longer wheelbase has allowed the company to carve out more room for passengers. Equally striking is the investment Lexus made in the interior furnishings. The quality of the materials and the overall attention to detail is as impressive as anything you'll see in this class. We're not as enthusiastic about the newly available Remote Touch mouse-style infotainment interface, however, as it's distracting to operate while on the move.

There's little doubt that the 2014 Lexus IS 350's increased size and feature content makes it a better luxury car, but as in past years, we find it less successful as a sport sedan. Despite the undeniably stout performance from its carryover 3.5-liter V6, superb steering that equals or betters its vaunted German rivals and the available F Sport package that brings more aggressive styling and a sport-tuned suspension, the IS 350 still lands on the luxury end of the sport sedan spectrum. Our biggest criticism has to do with the handling: Even with the F Sport treatment, the IS simply isn't very engaging to drive around turns. Its automatic transmission's slow shift response in manual mode doesn't help either.

Of course, if you're just looking for an elegant entry-luxury sedan to drive to work, you might not care that the 2014 Lexus IS 350 isn't as thrilling on a back road as the best-selling 2014 BMW 3 Series, which we consider the leader of this class, or the similarly athletic Audi A4. This is a segment rich with choices, though, and we advise consumers to try all these sedans, along with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti Q50, before making a decision.

2014 Lexus IS 350 models

The 2014 Lexus IS 350 is a compact luxury sedan available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Standard equipment for the 2014 IS 350 includes 17-inch wheels with all-season tires, HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights and brake lights, heated side mirrors, moonroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (heated for the IS 350 AWD), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a 60/40 folding rear seat with armrest.

A new Safety Connect telematics system comes with the standard eight-speaker sound system, delivering weather and traffic information (when in metro areas) free of charge via the audio system's HD radio. Also standard for all IS 350 models are a 7-inch color display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice recognition for most infotainment operations, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connections.

The first of the 2014 IS 350's three option groups is a Premium package that includes LED headlights and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury package adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, perforated leather upholstery, wood trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and driver-seat memory.

Atop the option-group food chain is the F Sport package. Available for the first time for both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the IS 350, F Sport brings LED headlamps; a full-mesh treatment for the grille and revised front bumper; 18-inch wheels (with either summer or all-season tires); sport-tuned suspension; upgraded brake pads; multi-adjustable sport seats, perforated leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob; a special sport-oriented adaptive instrument cluster; and aluminum trim for the pedals and door scuff plates. On rear-drive models, the package also includes an adaptive suspension and a more aggressive Sport S+ setting for the drive mode selector. Variable-ratio steering can be added as a stand-alone option on rear-drive IS 350s equipped with both the F Sport package and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (via the Luxury package).

The Navigation package incorporates the Remote Touch mouse-type controller for the entire infotainment suite, plus a navigation system. This package also provides a rearview camera, real-time traffic information, automatic phonebook download for Bluetooth phones and Enform enhanced telematics with smartphone app integration (including Bing, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio). An upgraded 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system can be bundled with the navigation system.

Additional stand-alone options for the 2014 IS 350 include a rearview camera (for models without the navigation system), 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control (bundled with a pre-collision system), a lane departure warning system, and front and rear parking sensors.

2014 Highlights

For 2014, the Lexus IS 350 is redesigned. Highlights include assertive new styling, a larger, gorgeously crafted interior and a longer equipment list.

Performance & mpg

The 2014 Lexus IS 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 generating 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for rear-wheel-drive models, and a six-speed automatic is used for all-wheel-drive cars. Either transmission gets steering-wheel paddle shifters to enable manual shifting when desired.

In Edmunds.com acceleration testing, a rear-wheel-drive IS 350 ran from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. This level of performance is about average for its class, but more vitally, it trails its BMW and Infiniti rivals by about a half-second.

The EPA estimates the rear-wheel-drive IS 350 will deliver 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/28 mpg highway). On Edmunds' highway-biased 120-mile evaluation loop, we earned 26 mpg. The all-wheel-drive IS 350 is rated at 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city/26 mpg highway).


The 2014 Lexus IS 350's standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and dual rear-seat side airbags. In Edmunds testing, an IS 350 required 123 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is an average distance for this class of car with all-season tires.

Safety Connect, the brand's onboard automatic safety and security service, incorporates collision notification, stolen-vehicle locator and roadside assistance from a cellular connection with a response center. Optional safety upgrades include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, and a lane-departure warning system. The optional adaptive cruise control brings a pre-collision warning system that can initiate automatic braking and prepare other safety equipment to help mitigate crash severity.

In government crash tests the 2014 Lexus IS 350 earned a rating of five stars overall with four stars in front crash tests, five stars in side crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety gave the 2014 IS 350 a rating of "Good" in moderate overlap front and side tests.


The 2014 Lexus IS 350's 3.5-liter V6 is unchanged from last year, save for the addition of an intake sound generator that gives the engine a particularly satisfying note when you're accelerating hard. This is a potent engine with noticeably smooth power delivery, and most buyers will be quite happy with the IS 350's straight-line performance. The new eight-speed automatic transmission is highly effective and practically invisible in normal driving.

One particular delight is the IS 350's well-tuned steering. While matching a BMW 3 Series in precision, the Lexus actually surpasses the BMW's steering in its feedback and tactility. However, ride quality was the overriding priority in this redesign and certainly ride comfort has improved almost to the level of the larger Lexus GS sedan. And although the Lexus is steady and secure going around turns, it still isn't as athletic or as fun to drive as the BMW. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because when you're just commuting to the office, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 is a convincing and enjoyable luxury sedan. The available F Sport package is a reasonable option for those who want a bit more performance potential without sacrificing everyday comfort.


The 2014 Lexus IS 350's redesigned interior increases the car's luxury quotient and addresses a major fault in the previous-generation IS 350: a small, hard-to-access backseat. The additional 1.6 inches of rear-seat legroom is immediately noticeable, and adults will have an easier time getting in and out. The rear seat also folds in a 60/40 split, a convenience the previous IS 350 never offered. Trunk capacity is 13.8 cubic feet, which is above average for this class.

Interior fit and finish was never a problem for the old IS, but the 2014 model brings upgrades to the brand's already high standard. The upper dashboard armrests, steering wheel, and even the sides of the center console (where knees tend to rub) are swathed in dense, high-quality padding. The front seats are brilliantly supportive yet supple, but those with larger frames might feel slightly snug.

The new dashboard and center console design is attractive and contemporary, and enhances the interior's feeling of spaciousness. The audio and climate controls are set at an angle to minimize sun glare, and the high-quality buttons and knobs are easy to use.

The 2014 IS 350's one interior foible is the Remote Touch control interface. Inspired by a computer mouse, this controller is the primary method for making audio and navigation selections in models with the optional Navigation package. Although the 7-inch display is sharp, cursor control with the Remote Touch controller is wobbly, particularly when you're on the move. Making matters worse is the lack of a hard "back" button and the fact that all the icons are the same color. Fortunately, the IS 350 has standard voice recognition for many infotainment functions and the navigation system expands on that. Bottom line, voice control is a vital redundancy here.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2014 Lexus IS 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Awesome blend of sport and luxury.
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I wanted to drive mine for a few months before rating it. My first impressions were nothing but positive, so I thought I would drive it for a bit before advising others. Here are the categories that are important to me: Looks: Exterior: I love the way my IS350 F Sport looks. I've read that it's polarizing, and I think that's pretty accurate. For me, it's perfect. Looks: Interior: I love the interior. This was the main reason I chose Lexus over Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. Since I'm on the inside, I care about that more than the exterior. The mouse takes some time to get used to, but now it's like 2nd nature. I love the way it clicks into position depending on which screen I'm in. It doesn't just free float like a traditional mouse. It knows where each button is on each screen, and gives physical feedback as you toggle. The guages are one of the best features. It's extremely easy to have the info you want clearly visible. Performance: I almost always drive in Sport+ mode. The only time I drive in Normal mode is on the interstate (for the extra gas mileage). In town, it's just too much fun to drive in Sport+ mode to worry about the gas savings. The F Sport in the RWD is the way to go due to the 8 speed transmission. Every gear is so smooth and acceleration is adequate for normal driving. One of my favorite parts of driving in Sport+ mode is the throaty engine sound when the RPM go above 3k. It gives the extra feel to the experience of driving a sports car without having it become obnoxious.
Will not buy another Lexus
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Just traded in my 08 cadillac CTS on this new 2014 IS350 AWD. I have been a GM guy all my life and decided to go with my first import car. I looked at BMW, Audi, Ford Fusion and a few others. If you are looking for a true sport sedan, look else were. This is more luxury than sport. It has a very comfortable interior and perfectly laid out. It does handle great and has very impressive performance. I still think BMW does handle a little better. Audi was a little too stiff riding but had a lush interior. But Lexus fit all my requirements this time. I have only owned it for a couple months, so far, so good. I hope it's reliable as they say. Updated Oct.09/16 Reliability has been OK. Something drained the battery one day, and when taken to the dealer, they had no explanation. This happens to my friends GS350 constantly. The voice activation/navigation is a joke and Lexus should be embarrassed. Lots of road noise for a car of this price. I will be trading this car in for another brand once the warranty is due.
Switched after 4 BMWs and a lot of problems
Mike H,11/15/2016
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
I am a self admitted car guy. I have had no less than 8 cars since 2000 and have either driven BMWs or Volvos. I see a lot of posts about Lexus vs. the BMW. I would ask the BMW owner to specify when they are reviewing their car-is it before or after 50,000 miles. I have had a 3 series, 5 series, 2008 X-5 4.8 L and a 2014 X-3. In 50% of my BMWs, I had major mechanical issues in or around 50,000 miles. Without hestitation, my favorite car was my 2008 X-5. It was fast and luxurious, but after spending 3 days at the dealer for a high pitched transmission whine, I decided not to wait for the full repair bill. I recently picked up a 2014 Lexus IS 350 F sport with 19" wheels. The car is an absolute blast to drive and the interior is amazing. I find the sport+ mode super responsive with an engine that has no lag and keeps giving. What makes me love this car is the reliability. With the BMWs, I was constantly worried about a major repair bill-with the Lexus, which I bought with 39,xxx miles, I feel like the car is just getting warmed up. It's a car that is both reliable and fast and one I can see myself driving for a long time. It clearly is not as fast or tight as a 335, but it's way more reliable.
Great car, with a few exceptions
Tom B,03/02/2017
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I lease a Lexus IS350 with the F-Sport option, and for the past 3 years it has been a lot of fun to drive. I turn mine in this May so I figured I have enough experience with it to write an honest review. First of all, I'm not a race car driver, so I don't much to compare against. But this car feels very sporty to me, has plenty of pickup, good handling, and a snappy suspension. The infotainment system is fantastic. I especially love the 2nd display sitting behind the steering wheel. It's top-notch; plenty of bling and wow factor when you show a friend how the main dial moves over to reveal a 2nd screen. And it's functional, allowing you to do 2 things at once (music + navigation for example). The voice activation is decent enough. I really grew to like the center console "mouse" so if you test drive this car, don't be too put off by it. It grows on you. There is one big negative though, and you should know this before purchasing or leasing. The road noise is excessive. I realize this is a sporty car that sits low to the ground, but that shouldn't be an excuse for having to jack up the volume on your music at 55 MPH on a road that isn't all that old. And yes, this is with the standard tires AND with new replacements. The bottom carriage of the car simply does not have enough insulation to block out what is happening underneath. It wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but I can imagine some people would hate it. If you test drive, make sure to insist driving the car on a highway, preferrably one that hasn't been re-surfaced in the past couple years.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.7%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2014 Lexus IS 350
More About This Model

We'll leave the critical details about the 2014 Lexus IS to your imagination largely because Lexus left them to ours. But yesterday we slid still-disguised F-Sport trim levels of the IS 250 and IS 350 around a wet road course. We also blasted them up a canyon road with impunity. Still, the details didn't materialize.

The impressions, however, did.

What We Know So Far
When it comes to hard facts about the next-generation Lexus IS sedan, here's what we know right now: The new car's wheelbase is longer and it is marginally heavier. How much isn't clear in either case, but based on the improved rear-seat space we'd say the wheelbase is stretched at least 1.5 inches, maybe more given the 3.1-inch chasm between the current IS and the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

Assuming our lip-reading skills are still well tuned, weight will increase about 90 pounds depending on feature content.

Engines from the two styles are carried over into the new car. That means about 200 horsepower from the 2.5-liter V6 in the IS 250 and about 300 hp from the 3.5-liter V6 in the IS 350. One major upgrade for the IS 350 will be the use of the Aisin-built eight-speed automatic from the company's IS F and LS models. IS 250 styles will continue to use the same six-speed auto. Manual transmissions, it seems, will continue to be as rare as zoomie headers at Lexus.

Body and suspension revisions are minor. Their main goal is to bring more chassis stiffness, ride control latitude and trunk space.

It isn't an all-new IS, but it is a subtly different car on the road.

How the Lexus IS Feels Behind the Wheel
Pound the new 2014 Lexus IS around a wet autocross course like we did and you'll notice it's simply not as lively as the old car. It's not as eager to change directions in many instances, but the longer wheelbase delivers stability in places the current model doesn't. Whether this matters to you probably depends a lot on how often you plan to hammer your IS around a wet autocross course.

But a wet autocross is a less critical dynamic measure than, say, the Nürburgring, where Toyota proves its performance cars. Junichi Furuyama, IS chief engineer, didn't say the new car is slower there, but he admitted as much by saying its time wasn't measured.

Even if this is the case, it's hard to argue with the results on the road. In that environment the car is predictable, stable and still plenty rapid. And that's exactly what Lexus wanted — a sedan that's simple, safe and still enjoyable to drive.

In the new IS there are modest grip limits combined with excellent balance and solid manners at speed. It's what we'd expect from a Lexus sport sedan — good, sanitary fun.

The Real Goal
According to Furuyama, the primary goal with the new car wasn't to make it faster anyway, but rather to produce a machine with immediate response that doesn't compromise comfort.

A stiffer body structure is the primary means to gaining latitude in both arenas, according to Furuyama. Structural improvements include additional spot welds, laser screw welds and about 80 feet of adhesive, which isn't present in the current IS.

The IS's double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspensions are still present. Out back, however, there's a new suspension design borrowed from the larger GS sedan. It separates the previous suspension's concentric spring/damper assembly and places the spring inboard of the damper. This increases the distance between the suspension towers, which produces more trunk space.

A 20 percent increase in front stabilizer bar rigidity aids body control and steering feel, while the addition of active dampers allows more (or less) compliance to compensate in ride quality.

Also high on Furuyama's priority list was a tangible increase in road feel through the steering, as well as improved on-center feedback. What he's achieved isn't quite as clear. Certainly the steering feel is different. It is abundant enough to guide the car sideways between cones, so who are we to complain? There's more weight when Sport Plus mode is engaged, but in Normal mode differences are negligible. There's nothing bad here, but also nothing revolutionary.

The New Eight-Speed Transmission
More gears are nice, but the new eight-speed in the Lexus IS 350 isn't as obedient as it should be in many situations. Upshifts, for example, are still automatic when the shifter is moved to the manual gate and aggressive downshifts are often denied. These are early prototypes, so calibration changes are still possible.

We got lost in its many gear ratios more than once, but that's an adjustment that would come with more seat time. Plus, there are genuine benefits to this many gears. Increased fuel economy and plausibly better acceleration both come to mind.

One interface that is certainly improved is the IS's instrument panel, which is a multimode thin-film transistor display similar to that of the 2012 Lexus LFA. Swap the drive mode from Eco to Normal to Sport Plus and the center-mounted tachometer changes attitudes accordingly.

All the Tech That Would Fit
Unable to resist the pull of acronym alphabet soup, the 2014 Lexus IS offers Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) coupled to Drive Mode Select (DMS).

Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes are chosen via a center-console-mounted knob. The variable-rate dampers change with drive modes, becoming stiffer as more aggressive settings are picked. Steering ratio slows as vehicle speed increases, independent of drive mode. These two features aren't available on the IS 250, where switching to Sport mode changes only the throttle calibration.

New seats are a worthy improvement, providing the ample bolstering that the current car critically lacks. They also place the driver's hip point about 0.75 inch lower in the body, which is sure to be a popular improvement with the long of torso.

More To Come Soon
Much like the power, weight and wheelbase specs on the 2014 Lexus IS, pricing for the new sedan remains a mystery. Expect full details when Lexus officially unveils the IS at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show next month.

Until then, know that this latest IS isn't a ground-breaker, but based on this brief drive it's got both the comfort and dynamic ability to solidly compete.

Even without zoomie headers.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2014 Lexus IS 350 Overview

The Used 2014 Lexus IS 350 is offered in the following submodels: IS 350 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). The Used 2014 Lexus IS 350 comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2014 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 2014 Lexus IS 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2014 Lexus IS 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2014 Lexus IS 350 Base is priced between $19,997 and$28,994 with odometer readings between 57800 and112303 miles.

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Which used 2014 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) 2014 Lexus IS 350 for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2014 IS 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,997 and mileage as low as 57800 miles. 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 2014 Lexus IS 350.

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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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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