KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk
- Updated Date: 5/14/2013
Lexus has long been known for its conservative approach towards automotive design. In recent years, however, the Japanese automaker has rejuvenated its product portfolio with some bold style. The new-for-2014 Lexus IS sedan represents the ultimate expression of Lexus design, and, at long last, poses a credible threat to European rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. Engine choices are largely carried over from the previous IS 250 and IS 350 models, which means middle-of-the-road fuel economy. Still, a higher degree of refinement combined with an exemplary reliability record make the 2014 Lexus IS a solid choice for an entry-level luxury sedan. Meanwhile, a retractable-hardtop convertible and the high-performance IS F – both essentially carried over from 2013 – add diversity to the lineup. That's why we named the IS one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
You'll Like This Car If...
Opting for the most visually appealing vehicle in a particular segment can sometimes mean settling for less when it comes to long-term reliability and value. Not so with the 2014 Lexus IS, as it blends eye-catching style and luxurious interior treatments with one of the most enjoyable ownership experiences in the industry.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Though we applaud Lexus for pushing the limits of exterior design with the 2014 IS, some might find the front-end styling to be a bit over-the-top. If engaging driving dynamics are of the utmost importance, the BMW 3 Series or the new Cadillac ATS deserve a spot on your shortlist.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Lexus IS sedan highlights a compelling new design, improved handling and more interior space. Also, Lexus' revamped infotainment platform makes its debut in the 2014 IS and no manual transmission is available. The IS C hardtop convertible carries over unchanged from 2013, while the high-performance IS F receives only minor updates.
In a straight line, the 2014 IS 250 and IS 350 sedans are no quicker than the cars they replace. But when the road begins to twist, the IS's extensively revised suspension and chassis yield significant improvements in steering feel, body control and grip. Despite its newfound athleticism, the new IS is, after all, a Lexus. Supple damping combined with a well-insulated cabin turn America's crumbling infrastructure into an afterthought. Moreover, the front seats are superbly shaped. F Sport versions boast an array of sport-oriented hardware, though a marginal increase in real-world performance makes the $3,000-plus upgrade a tough sell. Outward visibility is good, and the tight turning radius makes quick work of U-turns and low-speed parking maneuvers. In terms of power, the carryover 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines offer plenty of thrust for passing and merging. Those seeking serious performance can still get it in the IS F, the V8-powered wild child in the IS lineup, while the IS C convertible adds open-air cruising to the equation.
Befitting its status as a technological powerhouse, the 2014 IS becomes the first Lexus model to offer the brand's thoroughly revised 8th-generation infotainment system. Goodies like a reconfigurable home screen, 3D building icons, and Lexus' Enform mobile application suite are sure to scratch your digital itch.
TWIN PROJECTOR LED HEADLIGHTS
Compared to xenon headlight assemblies, LED systems last longer and occupy less space due to their compact size. Other noteworthy advantages include lower energy consumption and a color temperature that more closely resembles daylight, providing greater contrast during nighttime driving.
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