2021 Lexus RC 300

MSRP range: $42,220 - $48,865
MSRP$43,245
Edmunds suggests you pay$38,830

What Should I Pay

2021 Lexus RC 300 Review

  • Excellent interior craftsmanship
  • Quiet interior on the highway
  • Overall performance comes up short against rivals
  • Infotainment interface is difficult to operate
  • Back seats are small even for children
  • Offers less cargo room than competitors
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert now standard
  • New limited-production Black Line Special Edition model
  • Part of the first RC generation introduced for 2015

A small luxury coupe, the 2021 Lexus RC 300 offers sporty looks and a choice of two powertrains: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder with rear-wheel drive or a 3.5-liter V6 with all-wheel drive. Both are competent but lack power compared to class rivals and leave the RC feeling less sporty than it looks. Fortunately, the Lexus RC lineup also includes the more powerful RC 350 and RC F. We review those models separately on Edmunds.

As for the RC 300, it's best for stylish cruising. Inside, the RC has impeccable craftsmanship, with excellent materials and build quality all around. The ride is smooth and quiet, too. Want to know more? Check out the categories of our Expert Rating below to get our in-depth evaluation on the 2021 RC 300.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
Smooth manners and a solid interior help the Lexus RC 300 make a great first impression. This is a nice-looking luxury coupe that gets the job done. But shortcomings with interior space, storage options, fuel economy, and entertainment features make it difficult to recommend over the competition.
The RC is a satisfactory driver. It's slower than most luxury coupes, with a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds. But the steering wheel delivers pleasing feedback from the road and the front tires. It keeps straight and stable on the freeway, and it doesn't require correction when you turn into a corner.

We tested the RC 300 F Sport with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Performance-oriented summer tires allow the RC to maintain high speeds through corners. Thanks to the car's stable nature, you'll end up going down twisty roads more quickly than you'd expect. But the overall vibe you'll get is that of a competent cruiser rather than a sport coupe.
Space limitations aside, the RC provides the refinement and quietness expected from a luxury brand. The large side bolsters on the F Sport's seats help keep you in place while cornering. The non-adjustable bolsters aren't so large that they make the seats uncomfortable, but larger occupants might feel a bit tight. The cushions are firm, but we experienced little fatigue on long drives.

The F Sport's adaptive dampers excellently balance softness with control over the 19-inch wheels. You only notice road imperfections when you should. Switching into the sport settings creates appreciable differences in ride quality. The RC is best suited to the default setting.
The RC is one of the larger luxury coupes in the segment, but it has the smallest interior. We struggle to think of whom the rear seats would serve. Even small children will find the lack of rear legroom a problem. As with many coupes, the RC's long doors can be an issue in tight parking lots.

It takes a while to get used to the layout of the center stack's organization and use of multiple types of inputs — both physical and touch-sensitive — but it makes sense after practice. The touchpad that controls the entertainment system requires too much attention from the driver.
The optional Mark Levinson stereo sounds fantastic. The optional 10.3-inch infotainment screen looks good, too. Alas, the software is awkward to operate and behind the curve in terms of features. What's worse, you can't use many functions while moving. You're better off using your phone through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The adaptive cruise control manages speed without needing much driver input. Unfortunately, it doesn't work under 25 mph, so it's ineffective during the most frustrating parts of the commute. You also have to be ready on the brake pedal for when traffic slows and the system stops working.
Even for a coupe, the RC has tight storage space. The trunk can handle little more than the necessities of a weekend getaway, and the interior has few solutions for large bottles as well as bags and backpacks. You'll find larger and more accommodating interiors and trunks in competitors.
With an EPA combined rating of 25 mpg, the rear-wheel-drive RC 300 has one of the lower fuel economy estimates of its four-cylinder competitive class. Adding all-wheel drive and the required V6 engine drops that figure further. Competitors with similar or greater power achieve better mpg. We averaged 21 mpg overall in our test car.
The RC boasts meticulous attention to detail. The interior panel gaps are uniform, and the absence of squeaks and rattles provides a sense of quality assembly. Some plastic materials, especially the panel that surrounds the center clock and air vents, look slightly out of place.

You'll likely pay less to get an RC 300 compared to some rival coupes, and you get some true highlights for the money, such as the sound system and the build quality. But German competitors offer more performance, interior space and fuel economy for your dollar.
It's tough to classify the RC 300 since it straddles the line between a grand tourer and a sport coupe without embodying either particularly well. It gets the job of driving done but doesn't go further. That said, there's enough enjoyment in smoothly cruising around in the RC and simply admiring its design.

Which RC 300 does Edmunds recommend?

We recommend the rear-wheel-drive RC 300 base model. It offers a long list of standard features and safety aids, and can be fitted with most of the RC's options. The F Sport model is appealing, but we advise buyers looking for more performance to check out the RC 350 or the RC F instead.

Lexus RC 300 models

The 2021 Lexus RC 300 comes in two main versions: base and F Sport. Both offer one of two available powertrains. The rear-wheel-drive model is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) that drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive model comes with a 3.5-liter V6 (260 hp, 236 lb-ft) and a six-speed automatic. Feature highlights include:

Base
Starts you out with:

  • LED headlights
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated front seats (with all-wheel drive)
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • 7-inch infotainment display
  • 10-speaker sound system
  • Lexus Enform connectivity services with on-board Wi-Fi

Every RC 300 also comes with:

  • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Lexus and the vehicle in front)
  • Lane keeping assist (steers the RC back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker)
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse)

F Sport
The F Sport is a sportier RC that adds on:

  • Mesh grille and a unique front fascia
  • Unique interior fittings and an upgraded instrument panel
  • Adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers
  • Upgraded brakes
  • Sport front seats

Several other options are available, most bundled into packages such as:

  • Premium package
    • Driver memory settings
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • Power-adjustable steering column
  • Navigation with Mark Levinson Audio package
    • 10.3-inch screen
    • Upgraded voice controls
    • Surround-sound 17-speaker audio system
  • Black line Special Edition
    • Special interior trim and wheels
    • Upgraded LED headlights
    • Zero Halliburton custom luggage

Other stand-alone options include:

  • Limited-slip differential (enhances traction for performance driving; F Sport only)
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Sunroof
  • Upgraded LED headlights
  • Parking sensors
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Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2021 Lexus RC 300.



Features & Specs

Base MSRP
$42,220
MPG & Fuel
21 City / 30 Hwy / 24 Combined
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal. capacity
Seating
4 seats
Drivetrain
Type: rear wheel drive
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Engine
Inline 4 cylinder
Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1650 rpm
Basic Warranty
4 yr./ 50000 mi.
Dimensions
Length: 185.0 in. / Height: 54.9 in. / Width: 72.4 in.
Curb Weight: 3737 lbs.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 10.4 cu.ft.

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At a Glance:
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Safety

Our experts’ favorite RC 300 safety features:

Pre-Collision System
Warns you if a collision is imminent and applies the brakes if you don't act in time.
Blind-Spot/Rear Cross-Traffic Alerts
Lets you know if there's a vehicle in or approaching your blind spot while you're backing out of a parking space.
Lexus Enform Safety Connect
Helps when you need it most with automatic crash notification and roadside assistance.

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 RC 300 vs. the competition

2021 Lexus RC 300

2021 Lexus RC 300

2021 Audi A5

2021 Audi A5

Lexus RC 300 vs. Audi A5

The base Audi A5 is more expensive than the standard RC 300, but we think it's worth it. Audi's interior tech is easier to learn and operate than the RC 300's, and the A5 is more entertaining to drive. It also give you better fuel economy and a roomier back seat.

Compare Lexus RC 300 & Audi A5 features 

Lexus RC 300 vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Like the Audi A5, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is more expensive than the standard Lexus RC 300. But you get a better car, with an interior that is one of our favorites in the class. Both coupes are about the same when it comes to cargo space, but the Mercedes' interior helps it win this match-up.

Compare Lexus RC 300 & Mercedes-Benz C-Class features 

Lexus RC 300 vs. BMW 4 Series

The redesigned BMW 4 Series is powerful, sporty to drive, and engaging from behind the wheel — all without sacrificing on-road comfort. By most objective measures, it's a better car than the RC 300. Alas, the 4 Series' massive new grille could be a big turnoff. If you never had to get out and look at it, the 4 Series would be a much more appealing choice.

Compare Lexus RC 300 & BMW 4 Series features 

FAQ

Is the Lexus RC 300 a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 RC 300 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.1 out of 10. You probably care about Lexus RC 300 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the RC 300 gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg to 24 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 RC 300 has 10.4 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 RC 300. Learn more

What's new in the 2021 Lexus RC 300?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Lexus RC 300:

  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert now standard
  • New limited-production Black Line Special Edition model
  • Part of the first RC generation introduced for 2015
Learn more

Is the Lexus RC 300 reliable?

To determine whether the Lexus RC 300 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the RC 300. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the RC 300's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2021 Lexus RC 300 a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Lexus RC 300 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 RC 300 and gave it a 7.1 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 RC 300 is a good car for you. Learn more

How much should I pay for a 2021 Lexus RC 300?

The least-expensive 2021 Lexus RC 300 is the 2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $42,220.

Other versions include:

  • F SPORT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $48,865
  • F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $46,690
  • 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $42,220
  • 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) which starts at $44,910
Learn more

What are the different models of Lexus RC 300?

If you're interested in the Lexus RC 300, the next question is, which RC 300 model is right for you? RC 300 variants include F SPORT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), and 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). For a full list of RC 300 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2021 Lexus RC 300

2021 Lexus RC 300 Overview

The 2021 Lexus RC 300 is offered in the following submodels: RC 300 Coupe. Available styles include F SPORT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), and 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Lexus RC 300 models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine or a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 260 hp, depending on engine type. The 2021 Lexus RC 300 comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 8-speed shiftable automatic. The 2021 Lexus RC 300 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 do people think of the 2021 Lexus RC 300?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Lexus RC 300 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 2021 RC 300.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Lexus RC 300 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 RC 300 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 2021 Lexus RC 300?

2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

The 2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $43,245. The average price paid for a new 2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is trending $4,415 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

Edmunds members save an average of $4,415 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $38,830.

The average savings for the 2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is 10.2% below the MSRP.

2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

The 2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $47,715. The average price paid for a new 2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is trending $4,684 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

Edmunds members save an average of $4,684 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $43,031.

The average savings for the 2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) is 9.8% below the MSRP.

Which 2021 Lexus RC 300s 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) 2021 Lexus RC 300 for sale near. 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 2021 Lexus RC 300.

Can't find a new 2021 Lexus RC 300s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Lexus for sale - 4 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $18,431.

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.

What is the MPG of a 2021 Lexus RC 300?

2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
21 compined MPG,
18 city MPG/24 highway MPG

2021 Lexus RC 300 F SPORT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 8-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
24 compined MPG,
21 city MPG/30 highway MPG

2021 Lexus RC 300 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 8-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
24 compined MPG,
21 city MPG/30 highway MPG

EPA Est. MPG21
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
Drive Trainall wheel drive
Displacement3.5 L
Passenger Volume94.2 cu.ft.
Wheelbase107.5 in.
Length185.0 in.
Width72.4 in.
Height55.1 in.
Curb Weight3891 lbs.

Should I lease or buy a 2021 Lexus RC 300?

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