2017 Lexus IS 350 Review
Edmunds expert review
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.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
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
Edmunds expert 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.