Her + His Car Reviews

2018 Lexus IS 300 AWD Sedan

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$46,625 $46,625
The IS 300 All-Wheel Drive is an exceptional mid-priced vehicle to drive. With a 3.5-liter V6, Dual overhead cam engine sporting 265 horsepower, this 6-speed automatic can kick into gear. Weighing in over 3,700 pounds, this vehicle handles with calm and ease, no matter the speed or conditions. The 260 horsepower 3.5-liter engine, with its direct injection and variable valve timing is quite lively, though a hair less sporty behind the wheel than the real wheel drive version of this car. I suspect that the additional equipment required for an all-wheel drive auto probably accounts for little bit of slowness that you occasionally encounter with the all-wheel drive IS300.
Fuel Economy
19 city miles/ 26 highway miles/ 22 combination miles This car gets 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway, with 22 overalls. It uses 4.5 gallons to travel 100 miles and you will spend $2,750 more in fuel costs over five years than you would compare to the average new vehicle. The annual fuel cost is $1,900 a year based on driving 15,000 miles annually at $2.80 per gallon of gasoline.
The Car
The 2018 Lexus IS 300 is a very great vehicle in the small luxury sedan category. It hugs and contours the body as it seizes and grabs the road. The look is utterly Lexus and first class, both inside and out. Design and art intersect with the IS300 as the driver and passenger will enjoy the features, drive and safety. But, the car isn't without a few drawbacks. I felt very close in this sportster - in fact, there was little roof clearance for me and I stand five foot tall. There was no wiggle room either in the cockpit. And no place for keys and key fob, cup holders were not accessible as they were too small. Very unfortunate for anyone coming from yoga, running, doing anything that requires a slightly above-sized water bottle.

Smaller trunk size, too at 10.8 cubic feet. Compact spare tire included.
The demeanor of the IS is definitely sporty, with solid handling and responsiveness that make it a lot of fun to drive. Some people might kick about the "driver's cockpit" theme of the interior. It tightly wraps around you, that's for sure. It has controls that fall right into your hands, and a high console that might give people who claustrophobic a pause, but I loved it. Great for fantasy driving with a racy sports car on your mind.

And, truth time. The IS300 is now showing its age and it needs a thorough revamping or replacement. Most car writers acknowledge that, what with the really crowded interior, smallish cup holders, and interior design themes that need rethinking. And yet...the IS300 is a classic, small entry level luxury car that offers so much driving pleasure, never mind the age of the design itself. I do hope Lexus has plans to keep it in the lineup, just with a new body and redesigned interior. It's too good a car just to let it go.
Airbags, Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Blind Spot Monitor, 4 Wheel ABS and Disc Brakes, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Land Keeping Assist, Child Safety locks, LATCH, Cross Traffic Alert, Back Up Camera.

Lexus Safety System and Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. High Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beam Headlamps. Push Start. Keyless Start. Vehicle Anti-Theft System.
Standard safety features include the Lexus Safety System and a Pre-Collision system with pedestrian detection, high speed dynamic radar cruise control, Lane Departure Alert/w steering assist and intelligent high beam headlamps a backup camera and other safety equipment.
There are quite a few technology features in the IS300 Upheld by 18" Mesh Alloy Wheels, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Rain Sensing Wipers (optional), Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers, Hated Mirrors, Mirror Memory (optional), Entertainment included a 15 speaker absolutely solid Mark Levinson audio system, AM/FM/HD Radio with real-time traffic and weather, CD Player, Sirius XM Radio with 3 month subscription, and a 10.3" display of the navigation; the infotainment system we found a bit bothersome to use.

Auxiliary Audio Input, MP3 Player, USB Integration, Bluetooth Hands-free, Audio Streaming. Driver and Passenger have Heated Seats, Driver has 2-way Lumbar for additional back support, 60/40 Split Folding Seats to access back. Power Mirrors, Driver Vanity Mirror, Driver Illuminated Vanity Mirror, Passenger Vanity Mirror.
With the IS 300 AWD, which is the model we tested, you will have a 3.5-liter, 260 horsepower V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Heated front seats also come standard.

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. 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, an auxiliary audio input, satellite radio and HD radio.

If you have additional requirements for your next car, the IS series does have several optional packages you can purchase. 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.
Aesthetics & Styling
The IS 300 is in a unique category that emboldens strong, stealth and bold. Its prowess doesn't go unnoticed, on the exterior as well as inside. Room to breathe is what is needed to give the driver and passengers a feeling of rest in this, attractive workhorse. For as old as this design is, the IS 300 is still an arresting, sexy looking set of wheels, but it's just that it is time to explore some other styling options to bring the brand up to snuff with its competitors. The interior is elegant, contemporary looking, but far short on legroom and arm room in front and in the back seat.
4 year/50,000 mile Basic Warranty. 8 Year/70,000 mile Powertrain Warranty. Four-year, 50,000-mile basic coverage and eight year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.