2017 Lexus IS 350
- Quiet and well-equipped cabin
- Ride quality remains smooth on bumpy pavement
- V6 engine's enthusiastic and refined power delivery
- Optional Remote Touch interface can frustrate
- Handling capabilities do little to create driver excitement
- Trunk area on the small side
2017 Lexus IS 350 pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which IS 350 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3.5 / 5
The 2017 IS 350 sits at the top of the automaker's entry-level IS luxury sedan lineup. It cedes sport-sedan ground to others in the segment, but its robust V6 power, high-quality interior trimmings and surprisingly smooth ride still make for a satisfying sedan.
The IS 350, the current generation of which was introduced in 2014, has yet to receive a significant overhaul outside of the addition of an modestly warmed-up F Sport trim level. Nevertheless, its combination of comfort and refinement continues to propel it to relevance today. The IS 350 was never the most outwardly sporting handler, though any flavor of IS 350 — F Sport or otherwise — is certainly competent on a back road. But more than anything, the IS delivers a thoroughly quiet, comfortable and luxurious small luxury sedan experience with a V6 that out-punches similarly priced German four-cylinder rivals.
That the IS 350 is available with all-wheel drive broadens the sedan's appeal for those who live where things often get slick, though AWD models give up two gears in the transmission to rear-wheel-drive variants. Oddly enough, the potent IS F variant hasn't been reprised in this generation of the Lexus IS, and its absence stands out as an obvious gap in the lineup.
2017 Lexus IS 350 configurations
The 2017 Lexus IS 350 is available in one trim level, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel-drive models get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive variants have a six-speed auto. No manual transmission is available. The sole trim level on offer has a solid complement of standard equipment including keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, premium vinyl upholstery (NuLuxe in Lexus-speak), a 10-speaker, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Optional features are primarily clustered in packages, with a handful of items available as stand-alone options. The big-ticket package is the Luxury package, which bundles together a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, automatic wipers, leather seats with memory function and wood cabin trim. The rearview camera is available separately. There is also a Mark Levinson premium audio package, a navigation package and two other smaller packages.
An F Sport package is available on IS 350 and IS 200t models (reviewed separately), but only the IS 350's F Sport variant receives continuously variable dampers. It is intended to improve handling acuity without adversely affecting the ride quality. This package furthermore includes unique exterior and cabin trim, summer or all-season tires on 18-inch wheels, heated seats with unique trim and higher-friction brake pads.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full tests of the 2014 Lexus IS 350 (3.5L 6-cyl.; 8-speed automatic) and 2016 Lexus IS 200t (2.0L 4-cyl. turbo; 8-speed automatic).
NOTE: Since these tests were conducted, the current IS 350 has received just revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's IS 350.
Noise & vibration4.5
Ease of use2.5
Getting in/getting out3.0
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite IS 350 safety features:
- Pre-Collision System
- Detects and attempts to avoid front collisions by applying the brakes to assist the driver and reduce the speed of impact.
- Lane Departure Alert
- Alerts the driver when it detects that the car is deviating close to lane markings.
- Intelligent High Beam
- Automatically turns the high beams on or off depending on whether it detects oncoming traffic.
The life of a sport sedan isn't easy, what with a never-ending procession of new competitors offering livelier performance, sharper handling and the latest gee-whiz features. The 2017 Lexus IS 350 manages to hold its own against this onslaught, however, thanks to its gutsy V6 engine, upscale interior and unexpectedly civilized ride quality.
While the compact IS 350 may be outmatched by other sport sedan competitors in terms of all-out performance potential, it still manages to be entertaining on a winding back road. The fact that its smooth, powerful V6 can go head-to-head with the turbocharged four-cylinder engines under the hoods of its comparably priced German rivals adds to its sporting mdash; if not downright sporty mdash; demeanor.
The availability of all-wheel drive also makes the IS 350 attractive in parts of the country where driving conditions can quickly turn ugly during certain times of the year. EPA fuel economy estimates are decent, ranging from 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway) with standard rear-wheel drive to 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway) when equipped with all-wheel drive.
While mechanical changes are few for 2017, there are tweaks that keep the Lexus IS competitive: fresher front and rear styling, bright LED headlights, and a host of new safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
Though there are two other Lexus IS models (the turbocharged four-cylinder IS 200t and the less powerful IS 300), once you settle on buying an IS 350 the major decision-making is done: There is only one trim level to choose from. While this standard model comes fairly well-equipped, it does lack a few significant amenities you might expect in a car in this price range.
You won't find genuine leather upholstery and wood trim, power seat memory settings, heated steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors or a rearview camera. All of those come bundled in the Luxury option package. On the electronics front, options include a navigation system and a Mark Levinson premium audio system. The F Sport package brings distinctive styling touches inside and out along with summer (or all-season) tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension designed to improve both handling and ride quality and beefier brake pads.
Making all those upgrades even more enjoyable are the IS 350's quiet passenger cabin and a smooth ride that manages to give the space a sense of calm assuredness. Downsides here include the infotainment system's awkward haptic joystick interface and cupholders that seem like an afterthought. The small rear doors can make entering and exiting a challenge for larger passengers, as can the limited legroom when they finally settle inside. Trunk space is also in short supply.
On the road, Lexus IS 350 is fun to drive. The strong V6 provides plenty of power and the handling is respectable. Steering feel and braking distances both fall short of the class leaders, however.
All things considered though, this is still a strong choice among compact sport sedans. Let Edmunds help find the right 2017 Lexus IS 350 for you.
2017 Lexus IS 350 Overview
The 2017 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).
What do people think of the 2017 Lexus IS 350?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Lexus IS 350 and all its trim types. 0 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 2017 IS 350.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Lexus IS 350 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 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.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 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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