2017 Lexus IS 300 AWD

Auto review by Veeno Dewan

“With a sharp side profile and a long low silhouette with its dramatic front visage, the IS 300 is indeed a very desirable and glamorous sports car.”

“On the road, the IS300 remains a great driver’s car and performs excellently in whatever different drive mode you use. Eco, Sport and Normal modes can be driver selected to enable the best setting for driver preferences and road conditions.”

For 2017, Lexus offers its sublime IS 300 sedan with a few changes for this model year. This thrusting, aggressive, sleek looking four – door sports sedan now comes a restyled front fascia with larger air intakes, and slight changes to the brand’s now signature spindle grille. LED headlights are also a standard kit and 18” inch alloy wheels finish off the dynamic new look. With a sharp side profile and an extended low silhouette with its dramatic front visage, the IS 300 is indeed a very desirable and glamorous sports car. The IS 300 comes extremely well-equipped with a full range of luxury, convenience and performance features.

Safety is of course extremely high, with the inclusion of the Lexus Safety System Plus that offers safety aids such as active lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming headlights, and pre-collision detection with a pedestrian warning.

The inside to this stellar sporting sedan also gets a makeover as Lexus adds such standard features as a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and keyless entry to an already great looking cabin.

The IS available in three different models with different options and packages. The line-up starts with the base rear-wheel-drive IS 200t, ($40,150) powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The IS 300 ($42,950) is up next with a six-cylinder engine with 255 horsepower and all-wheel-drive. The top dog IS 350, ($53,350) – offers a 306 horsepower V6 engine and all-wheel drive.    Transmissions include an eight-speed auto box for the IS200, while the IS 300 and IS 350 both feature six-speed automatic transmissions.

Our tester for the week was a 2017 IS300 AWD that came in a fetching shade of almost chrome like- Atomic silver paint with a black leather interior. Our tester had the strong six-cylinder unit teamed with All Wheel Drive and the six-speed Super ECT 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Options on our tester included the expensive $6,700 luxury package comprising heated steering wheel, 19-inch aluminum wheels, 10.3 “ inch display screen, Single in-dash DVD, Remote control navigation system, heated and ventilated seats, Adaptive lighting system, moonroof, rear window sunshade and a host of other features. Safety included such items as blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert,

Depending on the model, available packages include F-Sport, Premium, Luxury, and Executive. The IS 300, we tested, as equipped with the Luxury Package came to a total of $51,821 including freight and PDI.

In addition to a stunning exterior, the IS300 has an equally impressive interior with a sporty, look to the cabin design. The cosseting wrap around dash featured gauges with good sight lines and was well laid out.   The fit and finish were upscale, and the leather seating surfaces were very comfortable.  The front and rear cabins were roomy with adequate leg, head and shoulder room. The rear seats also fold increasing the cargo carrying capability if needed.

On the road, the IS300 remains a great drivers car and performs excellently in whatever different drive mode you use. Eco, Sport, and Normal modes can be driver selected to enable the best setting for driver preferences and road conditions.

The AWD system adds a different dimension to the IS300 as it can transfer power to the rear wheels as needed to provide better turn-in and far superior traction in slippery road conditions. The IS300 V6 engine (255 hp and 236 lb-ft) is a smooth, powerful, and refined unit that’s low on vibrations and big on seamless, urgent power.  Despite the sporty growl and feel of thrusting power on acceleration, the IS300 is wonderfully relaxed no matter how hard you push it. Upgraded smart body insulation and active noise cancellation all help in making the IS cabin a mellow and refined environment. The sport-tuned suspension also delivered a smooth, comfortable ride combined with direct, well-calibrated steering. To sum up, the IS300 AWD is competitive with the best of its European rivals in this segment at a better price point for the equipment list and spec. The downside is few, the pricey options and ever so popular F-Sport packages do inflate the price considerably, but only adds to the cars attractions. Fast, refined, very well equipped and immensely entertaining to drive, the IS 300 is a car you must test drive before considering anything else in this class.

2017 Lexus IS300 AWD MRSP $42,950. Price as tested: $51,821 with options and freight and PDI