What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Lexus IS? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Lexus IS compact luxury sedan induces new or first-time Lexus buyers into Toyota’s luxury brand. It competes with the Genesis G70 and Cadillac CT4, and more aspirationally the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Is the 2021 Lexus IS a good car?

Review continues below

It is a solid entry-level luxury car, but it’s aging, even with this year’s updates. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10.

What’s new for the 2021 Lexus IS?

The skin is pulled back, tightened, tucked, and takes selfies from a high angle. The front and rear light signatures get updated, and the mesh hourglass grille wears a corset that flexes a bulging hood.

Inside, welcomes changes to a more accessible infotainment system with two touchscreens to choose from, or a touchpad that replaces the junky console controller. The dash, like the trim lines, is streamlined lower and wider and bookended by circular vents.

The three powertrains carry over with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 and two 3.5-liter V-6s, but the suspension gets stiffer, the handling is more composed, and steering more precise. It’s more fun to drive, and marginally more efficient at 25 mpg combined with standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available with a 6-speed automatic transmission on either the IS300 or IS350, which this year includes the F Sport upgrades. A separate handling package replaces the F Sport trim level.

It’s an inch wider and longer, but that doesn’t address the cramped rear seats and limited cargo volume in the trunk. Still, the cockpit comes with plenty of standard features, including synthetic leather seats that are power-adjustable, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The wealth of standard safety features expands from automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control to blind-spot monitors with rear emergency braking.

How much does the 2021 Lexus IS cost?

With just two trim levels but three carryover powertrains, the price spread on the 2021 Lexus IS is pretty small. It starts at $40,025 for the IS300 with the turbo-4, and finishes where we’d want to be at $43,925 for the IS350 F Sport with the 311-horsepower V-6. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 to either.

Where is the 2021 Lexus IS made?

The compact sedan is made and imported from Japan.