2022 LEXUS IS 300: PRETTY…PRETTY GOOD!

The Lexus IS series has been around for a while now as a compact premium sports sedan offering performance and tight styling. For 2022, the Lexus IS has continued with its edgy combination of aggressive creases and curves with a slight resemblance to the uber-cool Lexus RC coupe. The signature Lexus spindle grille and a rear light bar span the width of the back of the car, giving it a squat, powerful athletic look.

Auto review by Veeno Dewan

The Lexus IS series has been around for a while now as a compact premium sports sedan offering performance and tight styling. For 2022, the Lexus IS has continued with its edgy combination of aggressive creases and curves with a slight resemblance to the uber-cool Lexus RC coupe. The signature Lexus spindle grille and a rear light bar span the width of the back of the car, giving it a squat, powerful athletic look.

For 2022, the primary platform is the same, and engineers focused on increasing the rigidity and adding a retuned suspension. The interior also has some updates from 2021, including relocated cupholders, round door panel air vents, and an infotainment system that’s been moved closer to the edge of the dashboard. Available in two AWD models and two RWD models – including the new 472 horsepower V8 Lexus IS 500.

We tested the IS 300 with the Ultra luxury package ($7,700) with equipment as follows: Power Slide / Tilt Moonroof, Heated Steering Wheel, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel, Driver Seat Memory System, Power Tilt & Telescopic Steering Wheel, Heated & Ventilated Front Seats, Lexus Navigation with Remote – includes Embedded Navigation, Panoramic View Monitor, Apple CarPlay, Compatibility, Android Auto compatibility, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking, 10.3” Display Screen, SiriusXM Satellite radio, 17 Speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio System, Lexus Safety System+ 2.5.

Also available in the F SPORT 2 or 3 package with 19” F SPORT Alloy Wheels and available Adaptive Variable Suspension and Dynamic Handling Package. The luxury package also adds A fold Down Centre Armrest with Cupholder, Reverse Auto Tilting Exterior Mirrors, and Parking Support Brake. Power Tilt & Telescopic Steering Wheel, 19” Alloy Wheels, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking, 10.3” Display Screen, and auto-Dimming Side View Mirror (driver side only). The Luxury package upped our tester to an asking price of $54,925, including fees, freight, and PDI.

Engine choices include either a 241 Horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (IS 300 RWD) (with 258 lb-ft of torque) or the 311 hp (236 lb-ft Torque) 3.5 L V6 as found on the AWD version we tested. A monster 472 horsepower V8 is a standard kit on the Lexus IS 500.

The compact IS still offers a premium experience with a good roster of equipment. Standard features include NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, two USB ports, 10-speaker audio, push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, and LED headlights. The standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 adds automatic emergency braking, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assist.

In terms of the cabin, it’s more of incremental changes than a complete redesign to keep the comfort and convenience up. In typical Lexus fashion, fit, finish and materials are top class. The seats are comfortable and well designed, and the dash, based on the excellent LFA-inspired instrument panel, has a lovely racy tech theme going on. I kind of like the unique switchgear and twin-panel dash. The cabin was impressed with its use of quality materials and modern design. The infotainment system is updated with a new touch screen, the sometimes-finicky trackpad control, and the 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Moving to the rear compartment, the seats and trim are well finished. However, the rear swooping roofline limits headroom, while legroom is adequate. The IS offers 10.8 cubic feet of room with folding rear seats in the trunk.

The IS 300 feels agile, light, and well-balanced on the road. Steering is a standout. It feels light but not loose at low speeds and then nicely tightens and firms up at higher speeds. Acceleration was peppy off the line, and very willing, nicely timed downshifting helped make the most of the responsive auto transmission. The IS 300 ride remains pleasantly smooth over road imperfections. The AWD system, meanwhile, provides excellent levels of grip.

Driver and passenger comfort is exemplary, and the IS 300 provides a very entertaining combination of luxury with sporty performance. The IS 300 feels eager and responsive to driver inputs by cruising the highway at speed. Meanwhile, the braking performance is also good with a linear, smooth action that bites hard under heavy or quick stops. Fuel economy is rated at L/100KM – 12.2/9.0 (City/Hwy).

Downsides are minimal, no leather seat option if that’s your thing. The lack of a wireless charging pad and the rear seats lack headroom for the taller adults. The IS 300 is an innovative, fastidiously engineered, and well-presented premium Sports sedan. The base models are temptingly affordable and have everything you could want. The Lexus IS 300 is terrific to drive and own. Highly recommended.

2022 Lexus IS 300 Priced from $44,950 plus destination. 

Lexus IS 300 AWD Ultra Luxury package as tested $54,925.

More info at www.lexus.ca

 

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