IS

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2019 Lexus IS Overview

The stylish Lexus IS holds its own against tough competition like the Audi A4 in the small luxury car category. The 2019 mostly carries over with just a few new features.

This sedan gets sporty styling with a wide and low grille, and this year, Silver Lining Metallic exterior color gets replaced by Liquid Platinum. The IS comes with one of two engines. The base engine, which comes in the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) IS 300, is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, rated for 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which gets revised programming for better response and smoother shifting for 2019. If you want the IS 300 with all-wheel drive (AWD), you’ll get a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, paired with a 6-speed automatic. The IS 350 gets a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and 280 lb-ft. With RWD, the IS 350 gets an 8-speed automatic, while the AWD gets a 6-speed automatic. EPA ratings for the base engine come in at 21 mpg city, 30 highway, and 24 combined. The 350 returns 20, 28, and 23.

The Lexus IS has a comfortable cabin with a sporty feel and can be customized in seven different colors. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats, keyless entry, push-button start, and a power moonroof. AWD versions add heated front seats. The F Sport package, available on all trims, adds heated and ventilated sport seats, a black headliner, a leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel, and aluminum pedals. Options include a heated steering wheel, a driver’s seat memory system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. For 2019, Lexus unveiled the IS 300 F Sport Black Line Special Edition, limited to 900 units. It features black side mirrors, three exterior colors to choose from, and black leather seats with red accents.

The base infotainment system features a 7-inch screen, an 8-speaker audio system, MP3 compatibility, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes Free. Buyers can upgrade to a system with a 10.3-inch screen and navigation, which opens up the option of a 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system. With the Black Line Special Edition, navigation comes standard.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded Good scores for all categories with the exception of the headlights. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the IS a 5-star overall rating. Standard advanced safety features include a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, a pre-collision system, lane-departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and intelligent high beams. Adaptive front lighting, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and park assist are available as standalone options or through packages.

The Lexus IS is one of the most affordable models in the brand’s lineup, but that’s not for a lack of content. In fact, the IS is a pretty solid value even in a competitive class full of top performers.

Updated

Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She is eagerly awaiting delivery of a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, which will join her household's 2008 Toyota RAV4, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, and 2015 Honda Grom.

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