While the Lexus IS has a plush interior and a relaxed driving manner, it lacks the sporty feel of some cars in this segment. Also, the interior is quite snug. Inside are high-quality materials, a hushed cabin, and a refined-sounding engine. Acceleration is quick, and fuel economy is commendable. However, the ride is stiff and the steering lacks feedback.
Alerts
There are 11 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
NA
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
2019
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags standard. Head protection air bags standard from 2002. ESC available from 2002, standard from 2006.
Road Test

While the Lexus IS has a plush interior and a relaxed driving manner, it lacks the sporty feel of some cars in this segment. Also, the interior is quite snug. Inside are high-quality materials, a hushed cabin, and a refined-sounding engine. Acceleration is quick, and fuel economy is commendable. However, the ride is stiff and the steering lacks feedback.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 8-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter V6 (204 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (306 hp)
  • 5-liter V8 (416 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2008 Lexus IS owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"Variable valve timing cam gears need to be replaced. They rattle on start up. Have not replaced yet but plan to do so this year. This is a recalled item on the IS350 but not the IS250. Different part #'s but same problem"

Anonymous, AZ (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Engine pistons replaced under warranty. Engine still had occasional noise at startup. Dealer stated due to inadaqaute lubrication. Estimated $3000 to repair. Never got it fixed"

Anonymous, FL (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"See notes above. The pistons and or rings are being replaced as I speak. This is related to the engine block and cylinder heads together"

Chuck N., AZ (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Not completely sure of repair, but when car was in for a check engine light (turned out to be O2 sensors), they also did a warranty recall that would have been expensive if not covered"

John W., NH (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"Piston Ring issue led to burning oil. At 120000 miles repair was fully covered by Lexus"

Anonymous, NJ (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

"after recall engine is sound"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"The car had a P3 code and because the engine was still considered under warranty it was rebuilt/replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"There was a design flaw so the pistons were not getting adequate oil. Lexus did a complete rebuild at 75000 for free and gave me a free loaner for the week it took for the repair"

Beverly C., NC (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"factory recall. I did not notice anything was wrong, but lexus said I needed to have the recall performed which was basically an engine rebuild"

Anonymous, AL (2008 Lexus IS 250 Unsure)

"Recall needed to re built the engine"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"replaced pistons and rings due to carbon buildup"

Anonymous, FL (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Noted excessive carbon buildup under the intake valves after I replaced the spark plugs. Engine would nearly stall and then recover. Happened when engine was at operating temperature. Mentioned this to dealer during a recall/oil change. Lexus is p"

Chuck N., AZ (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Back fire problem, covered under extended warranty. Had pistons replaced by dealership"

Anonymous, OR (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Too much carbon in engine. Dealer rebuilt engine at no cost due to warranty"

Anonymous, MO (2008 Lexus IS 250 Unsure)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

"Not 100% sure if this is "body control module", but the power seats do not hold their memory and the lumbar support no longer inflates / deflates"

Anonymous, TX (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)

"Driver side headlight will intermittently turn off and on. Have not had technician look at this yet. Will be doing so in the next week"

Ben J., WA (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)

"Low beam headlight power supply board failed"

Anonymous, CO (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Expensive replacement"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Heated or cooled seats

"Seat heater control unit failed. Replaced under warranty"

Ben J., WA (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)
Tire pressure monitor

"It keeps indicating low pressure, and the system doesn't work optimally"

Anonymous, DC (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

"Rear calipers seized"

Mark I., MN (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"I was driving and heard a clicking. The caliper bolt had sheared and my driver-side caliper was hanging on by one bolt. Car was towed to dealer. Lexus covered this, but this should not happen to a certified vehicle"

Anonymous, VA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"at least annually, I have had "seized calipers" and would need to replace them"

Eric P., PA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

"Just normal wear"

Anonymous, WA (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

"While mileage was low this only had about 12000 miles on it. Was not unpleased that we had to do the service although I was hoping for more mileage to have to do it . The real problem was that it was expensive to complete this"

Anonymous, PA (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

"My car has bad smells in the summer when the weather is hot and every time when I turn on the air conditioner"

Vicki N., MA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"Player will not automatically eject CDs. Have manually interact to get them out"

David R., VA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"cd player won't eject cd, which is then stuck in the cd player"

David S., CT (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Display screen freezes up

"the entire monitor froze to the touch, needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Touch screen not functioning, therefore all audio, AC, navigation, and climate climate systems that are controlled by the touch screen are frozen"

Gregmo H., CA (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)
Display screen goes blank

"Touch screen did not work and could not use anything. Radio, AC, navigation etc"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Water pump

"Water pump leaked. Needed replacement"

Anonymous, NM (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

"Developed a leak, required replacement. OEM part was backordered 2 weeks"

Steve V., WI (2008 Lexus IS F 5.0-L V8)

"Leaking, replaced at time of other repairs"

Anonymous, OR (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"The water pump was leaking and had to be replaced. The problem was discovered before the motor ran out of coolant, so there was no damage. But water pumps shouldn't leak after only 55K miles and running out of coolant could have damaged the motor"

Christopher B., OR (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Had the windshield replaced and the window trim pops off sometimes was replaced by Gerber auto body and not very happy with them"

Anonymous, WA (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

"Small plastic attachment behind wheel held by 2 plastic push bolts loosened and were about to fall off"

Philip J., MN (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"The exterior trim keeps separating due to curb or other contact, much different than any other care we have owned"

Anonymous, DC (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Top roof fading. Overall still ok but fading"

Patrick C., FL (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveline vibration

"Noticed a vibration. Took it in to Lexus. They replaced the mechanical problem at no cost to me"

Anonymous, WA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Went out causing loud knocking noise when driving. Got it repaired and it went out again"

Anonymous, MO (2008 Lexus IS 250 Unsure)
Driveshaft or axle

"Both rear axles leaking grease"

Robert W., CO (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel injection system

"recall re fuel line being defective, still waiting for a call re parts availibilty"

Azaad E., BC (2008 Lexus IS F 5.0-L V8)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Check Engine Light, needed sensor replacement"

Anonymous, NY (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"airbag sensor and catalytic converter sensor appears then disappears"

Eric P., PA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

"unsure, dealer reported leaky water pump, repaired"

Anonymous, AB (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"The car has become a bit noisier in the inside while getting out of drive ways and other uneven terrain"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)
Wind noise

"Wind noise has increased with time. The cars is not as quiet as it used to be"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 350 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"electronic steering box failed"

Anonymous, NJ (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"Not sure why Rear Axles became a problem, but it cost me over $1700"

David W., CO (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)
Tie rods

"Had to replace both inner and outer tie rods"

Marquis M., CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine mounts

"engine recalled to replace inflow jets"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

"A couple of times it has been very low on oil. It is not leaking, however"

Rebecca M., LA (2008 Lexus IS 250 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Battery died and the replacement did not last 12 months"

Anonymous, FL (2008 Lexus IS F 5.0-L V8)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Muffler

"There was hole in my muffler"

Marquis M., CA (2008 Lexus IS 250 2.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

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