2019 Is300 Research New

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What’s new

Software updates improve engine response on rear-wheel-drive models
New upgraded LED headlight option
Amazon Alexa-integrated voice commands
Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2013


To reinterpret an old maxim about judging books, we recommend that you not judge a sport sedan by the size or shape of its grille. At rest, the 2019 Lexus IS 300 might look like an uncompromising machine, with its pinched grille, prominent air intakes and aggressive body lines. But make no mistake: The IS prioritizes comfort and cruising over athletic performance, owing to a well-honed ride, hushed cabin and a generous set of features.

2019 Is300 Photos

Available with a turbocharged four-cylinder or a slightly more powerful six-cylinder engine, the IS 300 is best suited to relaxed driving with an occasional rip through an empty back road. Either engine makes the IS less sporty than its European rivals from Audi and BMW, or even its fellow Japanese competitor, the Infiniti Q50.

But where some of those rivals feel and ride a bit stiffer, or separate desirable features onto a pricey options sheet, the IS offers an alternative: all-day comfort and a broad range of standard equipment.

For 2019, the IS carries over largely unchanged, but there are a few updates of note. Trick new three-beam LED headlights are the most noticeable new option. Software updates reportedly deliver snappier engine response in the four-cylinder engine (though we haven’t had a chance to confirm this ourselves), and there’s also new voice command integration for Amazon Alexa devices. Alas, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay still aren’t available.

2019 Is300 Images

While the IS 300 isn’t as dynamic or powerful as its luxury sport-sedan peers, it still delivers in the right areas. The interior stands out in both design and quality, standard features are generous by any measure, and the convenience and safety tech are top-notch. It’s a solid pick in this segment.

2019 Lexus IS 300 configurations

The 2019 Lexus IS 300 is part of the IS sedan lineup that includes the more powerful IS 350. The IS 300 is available with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), which come with different engines. There is also an F Sport version that adds exterior elements and hardware that improves the IS 300’s performance.

The IS 300 RWD has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (241 hp, 258 pound-feet of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, simulated-leather upholstery (NuLuxe), 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, Lexus Enform Remote vehicle controls, two USB ports, a 7-inch display, and an eight-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio input, satellite radio and HD radio.

Standard driver assistance technology features include a rearview camera, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection and automatic braking.

The IS 300 AWD substitutes a 3.5-liter V6 engine (260 hp, 236 lb-ft of torque) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Heated front seats also come standard.

The IS 300 offers several option packages. The Comfort package adds automatic wipers, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems (available separately). A Premium package includes heated and ventilated front seats.

The Navigation package replaces the standard infotainment control dial with Lexus’ Remote Touch joystick-type controller, a 10.3-inch display and a navigation system. A 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system can be added to this package.

For those who want to dial up the sporting factor, the F Sport adds revised styling, staggered-width 18-inch wheels (with either summer or all-season tires), a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, an intake sound generator that amplifies engine noise during acceleration, heated and ventilated front sport seats, and a special sport-oriented gauge cluster.

Stand-alone options include upgraded, triple-beam LED headlights, a power rear sunshade, front and rear parking sensors, an automatic parking system, and a heated steering wheel.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Lexus IS 200t F Sport (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

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