First Drive: 2021 Lexus IS Makes Evolutionary Improvements
Mild makeover sees tweaks throughout and a generous suite of safety features
Lexus has redesigned the IS, its entry-level luxury sedan, for the 2021 model year. Its styling is evolutionary, and the powertrains carry over. The real promise this updated IS makes is that its ride, handling, and steering deserve the “sports sedan” label.
The new version is again offered in rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations, with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and two V6 engine choices. The interior features traditional upscale amenities, with the latest Lexus infotainment system, an available high-powered, 17-speaker audio system, and a long list of connected technologies, such as remote services and mobile WiFi. There is a generous suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features that come standard, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
Ahead of the Lexus IS going on sale this fall, we rented an early sedan from the automaker, giving us a chance to experience the top version, an IS 350 F Sport.
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We have put a Lexus IS through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.
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