2019 IS 350 New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Lexus IS sport sedan woos drivers from the usual German hardware with its enviable reputation for durability-and with spirited performance.
Sold with either a turbo-4 or a V-6 engine, it returns for the model year with few changes.
The rear-wheel-drive IS 300 taps a 2.0-liter turbo-4 for 241 horsepower. It changes gears with an 8-speed automatic and comes with rear-wheel drive-though there's also an IS 300 with all-wheel drive that adopts a 3.5-liter V-6 with 260 hp and a 6-speed automatic.
At the top of the lineup, the IS 350 installs a 3.5-liter V-6 with 311 horsepower and pairs it with an excellent 8-speed automatic when it's configured with rear-wheel drive, or a 6-speed automatic when it's fitted with all-wheel drive. In all editions, the 2019 Lexus IS offers spirited handling on a balanced chassis and grippy tires.
Fuel economy in the rear-wheel-drive IS 300 is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city, 32 highway, 26 combined, on premium fuel. The all-wheel-drive IS 300 drops by 4 mpg.
The rear-wheel drive IS 350 is pegged at 19/28/22 mpg; the all-wheel-drive version is scored at 19/26/21 mpg, also on premium fuel.
The NHTSA awards the IS five stars overall, with four stars for front impact protection. The IIHS has called it a Top Safety Pick. Standard active safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control,. Options include blind-spot monitors. .
At about $39,000, the base IS 300 offers standard equipment LED headlights, synthetic leather upholstery, a moonroof, 7.0-inch infotainment display, and 17-inch wheels.
A Premium package adds heated and cooled front seats and blind-spot monitors. Other packages add a 10.3-inch display and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, as well as leather seats.
The F Sport package gains sport seats, adaptive dampers, and restyled front and rear bumpers..