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2020 Lexus IS Overview

2020 Lexus IS Overview

 

2020 IS available
Bonus: $2,000 Lexus Cash
Financing: 0% for 60 months
Leases: From $309 per month for 36 months
LEXUS IS STOCKED IN LIMITED NUMBERS:

You’ll find a small number of 2020 Lexus IS vehicles on dealer lots. This one is a carryover model.

The current offers are in place through JUNE 30, 2020. The examples listed here are available in the Western States. We are not expecting an update before the 4th of July holiday.

LEXUS CASH:

All versions of the 2020 IS are eligible for $2,000 in Lexus Cash. This is a competitive deal and is $500 more than what was offered as recently as February.

The only real catch here is that you cannot combine this offer with promotional financing through Lexus. Your local dealer may offer competitive rates, however, so don’t hesitate to ask.

COMPETITIVE FINANCING FOR UP TO 72 MONTHS:

Shoppers of the 2020 IS are eligible for 0.0-percent APR financing for 60 months and 1.9-percent APR for 72 months.

These rates are competitive with other luxury makes.

THE CURRENT LEASE OFFERS:

Lease offers for the 2020 IS are in place. This first one is for the IS 300 base model with blind-spot monitoring. Here, you’ll pay $309 per month for 36 months with $3,999 down. Your effective monthly cost is $420 per month and that’s a decent offer.

The second offer is for the IS 350 base model, also with blind-spot monitoring. Here, you’ll pay $329 per month for 36 months with $3,999 down. Your effective monthly payment is $440 and that’s also a decent offer.

Like most Lexus leases, your annual driving allowance for the 2020 IS is 10,000 miles.

WHAT’S NEW
The 2020 Lexus IS is back with no significant changes. The Blackline Special Edition returns, but this time it’s available on both rear- and all-wheel-drive IS 350 models, in addition to the IS 300 F Sport. Limited to 900 units in the U.S., the special edition brings dark exterior trim pieces and blue interior components.

Despite having an available V6 engine, an edgy exterior design, and a well-furnished cabin, the IS falls behind newer and more modern competitors. Options like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class are more plush, the BMW 3-Series is more engaging to drive, and the Audi A4 comes with more cutting-edge technology. Among its rivals in the compact segment, the Lexus IS struggles to stand out.

CHOOSING YOUR LEXUS IS
Lexus offers the IS in four trims: IS 300, IS 300 F Sport, IS 350, and IS 350 F Sport. Pricing starts at $39,585 including destination for the IS 300 and rises to $46,400 for the IS 350 F Sport.

Engine Choices
There are two available engines – one with two states of tune – for the IS. IS 300 and IS 300 F Sport models get a turbocharged four-cylinder, while they get the less powerful version of the available V6 with all-wheel drive. IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport are available exclusively with the more powerful V6.

Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on every model for between $1,335 and $2,450, depending on the trim. RWD variants come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while AWD models feature a six-speed automatic.

Against competitors that have more powerful turbocharged engines, not even the IS’ available 3.5-liter V6 feels powerful. With that being said, we’d skip the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and go with one of the V6 engines. For performance seekers, the V6 in the IS 350 models is the way to go.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity
All Lexus IS models have seating for up to five and have a trunk that measures in at 10.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and BMW 3-Series all have larger trunks. The 3-Series has the most of the four vehicles with 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space.

Safety Features
The IS comes with an excellent list of standard safety features. The Lexus Safety System Plus suite is standard on the sedan, which includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are a no-cost standalone option on all models, while parking sensors are available for $500.

Connectivity
A 7-inch display, two USB ports, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, an HD Radio, satellite radio, and voice command are standard. A 10.3-inch display with navigation is available on all trims through the Navigation Package ($1,745).

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are noticeably missing from the list of equipment. Also, the way the infotainment system is controlled – via a rotary knob for the 7-inch display and Lexus’ Remote Touch mouse-like controller for the 10.3-inch display – is unintuitive and infuriating.

2020 Lexus IS Overview

Joel Patel
Automotive Editor
WHAT’S NEW
The 2020 Lexus IS is back with no significant changes. The Blackline Special Edition returns, but this time it’s available on both rear- and all-wheel-drive IS 350 models, in addition to the IS 300 F Sport. Limited to 900 units in the U.S., the special edition brings dark exterior trim pieces and blue interior components.

Despite having an available V6 engine, an edgy exterior design, and a well-furnished cabin, the IS falls behind newer and more modern competitors. Options like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class are more plush, the BMW 3-Series is more engaging to drive, and the Audi A4 comes with more cutting-edge technology. Among its rivals in the compact segment, the Lexus IS struggles to stand out.

CHOOSING YOUR LEXUS IS
Lexus offers the IS in four trims: IS 300, IS 300 F Sport, IS 350, and IS 350 F Sport. Pricing starts at $39,585 including destination for the IS 300 and rises to $46,400 for the IS 350 F Sport.

Engine Choices
There are two available engines – one with two states of tune – for the IS. IS 300 and IS 300 F Sport models get a turbocharged four-cylinder, while they get the less powerful version of the available V6 with all-wheel drive. IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport are available exclusively with the more powerful V6.

Engine Type Horsepower Torque Fuel Economy (Combined)
2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder 241 hp 258 lb-ft 24 mpg
3.5L V6 260 hp 236 lb-ft 21 mpg
3.5L V6 311 hp 280 lb-ft 23 mpg
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on every model for between $1,335 and $2,450, depending on the trim. RWD variants come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while AWD models feature a six-speed automatic.

Against competitors that have more powerful turbocharged engines, not even the IS’ available 3.5-liter V6 feels powerful. With that being said, we’d skip the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and go with one of the V6 engines. For performance seekers, the V6 in the IS 350 models is the way to go.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity
All Lexus IS models have seating for up to five and have a trunk that measures in at 10.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and BMW 3-Series all have larger trunks. The 3-Series has the most of the four vehicles with 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space.

Safety Features
The IS comes with an excellent list of standard safety features. The Lexus Safety System Plus suite is standard on the sedan, which includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are a no-cost standalone option on all models, while parking sensors are available for $500.

Connectivity
A 7-inch display, two USB ports, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, an HD Radio, satellite radio, and voice command are standard. A 10.3-inch display with navigation is available on all trims through the Navigation Package ($1,745).

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are noticeably missing from the list of equipment. Also, the way the infotainment system is controlled – via a rotary knob for the 7-inch display and Lexus’ Remote Touch mouse-like controller for the 10.3-inch display – is unintuitive and infuriating.

IS 300 – From $39,585

The standard IS 300 comes with 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, and LED lighting. Synthetic leather, remote start, dual-zone climate control, a universal garage door opener, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are included on the inside.

The Premium Package ($1,510) brings more luxury features like auto-dimming exterior mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and memory functionality.

IS 300 F Sport – From $42,780

The IS 300 F Sport adds an F Sport suspension, performance-oriented gauges, heated and ventilated F Sport front seats, aluminum pedals, an F Sport body kit, and 18-inch wheels.

Triple-beam LED headlights are a $1,160 standalone option, as is a heated steering wheel for $150.

IS 350 – From $43,205

Over the IS 300, the IS 350 adds 18-inch alloy wheels and the more powerful V6 engine. Otherwise, standard and available features mirror those found on the IS 300.

IS 350 F Sport – From $46,400

Over the IS 300 F Sport, the 350 F Sport model brings adaptive suspension, Sport S and S Plus driving modes, a limited-slip rear differential (RWD trims only), and 18-inch wheels.

Compare IS Trims Side-By-Side

POWER IS A MIXED BAG. The 2020 Lexus IS is available in two trims: IS 300 and IS 350 – both of which also get an F Sport variant.

The IS 300 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower (rear-wheel drive), or a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 hp (all-wheel drive). Neither matches the driving inspiration of its European competitors, including the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

On the other hand, the IS 350 makes a better argument for this sedan. Its 3.5-liter V6 is tuned to deliver 311 hp, which is the same as the larger Lexus GS. Choose the available F Sport, and the adaptive dampers reduce lean on the corners and manage choppy surfaces with ease.

The IS is also a rarity for the brand, as you won’t find a hybrid variant. The Lexus ES and Lexus LS sedans both offer hybrid models.

TECH FALLS SHORT. The IS was last updated in 2014, and its age is showing. In the technology department, we found the infotainment interface frustrating, to say the least. The base 7-inch display seems small these days, but the available 10.3-inch screen brings the IS in line with the segment’s best.

What’s troubling is the interface itself, which utilizes a sloppy controller. The recently available Amazon Alexa compatibility helps matters, but we’re at a loss for why you still can’t get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

We’re guessing Lexus is waiting to overhaul the IS’ technology when a new model arrives next year. That is if Lexus decides to keep the slow-selling IS in the first place.

A SAFE CHOICE. One redeeming feature of the IS is its safety offerings. Lexus has long been ahead of the driver-assist safety curve, which benefits the IS.

It comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and more. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available, and will likely be found in most vehicles on dealer lots.

On the crash testing front, the IS earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

DIFFERENCE-MAKING F SPORT. Despite its many weaknesses, the IS does shine in F Sport guise. We already mentioned why from a performance standpoint, but it does so in other areas.

The F Sport includes several important embellishments that clean up its appearance. Those details include a more distinctive front bumper along with upper and lower grille inserts.

This year, there’s also an F Sport Black Line edition, which is limited to 900 models and features blacked-out touches inside and out. The F Sport is already a $3,195 upgrade on the base model. The Black Line adds several thousand dollars more, so we can’t justify the extra cost.

FINAL THOUGHTS. The 2020 Lexus IS is clearly outclassed in a shrinking segment and it shows. Its canvas dates to 2006 and not much has changed since a refresh in 2014. Competing models are much further down the road in design, engineering, and technology.

For Lexus faithful, the F Sport is the conciliation prize. It adds handling attributes that pair best with the IS 350. Save money by avoiding the Black Line upgrade, as its cost doesn’t justify the expense.

 

 

Writer: Matthew Keegan, Joel Patel
Published: 8 June, 2020
Source: Cars Direct
Photo Credit: Cars Direct

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