2020 Lexus IS 300

#18
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$38,560 - $41,010
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2020 Lexus IS 300 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


Tijo Tenson's image

Tijo Tenson Content Writer Updated on: November 28, 2019


With the launch of the Lexus IS300h, the carmaker has made amendments of Lexus as a luxury brand that oozes with performance. It locks its horns with the likes of BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes-Benzes. Lexus is the manufacturer that gifted us with the revolutionary LFA.

See detailed review »

Pros

Superb handling

Striking design and dimensions

Feature rich interior

Noise-free cabin

Cons

Uninspiring V6 powertrain

Cramped Second Row seats

No Apple Carplay or Android Auto

What's New?

Updated Infotainment System

Refreshed aesthetics

New Backline edition adds black/indigo trim and exclusive wheels


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$38560

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

241 hp @ 5800 rpm

torque

258 lbs.-ft. @ 1650 rpm

transmission

8 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

60.4/61.0

dimensions

wheelbase

110.2 in.

length

184.3 in.

width

71.3 in.

height

56.3 in.

curb weight

3583 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

90.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

10.8 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.7 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

21/24/30 mpg

ev range

365.4 mi.

highway range

522 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

powertrain warranty

6 yr. / 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr. / unlimited


Pictures

Exterior
 2020 Lexus IS 300 Front Head Lights  2020 Lexus IS 300 Left Side View  2020 Lexus IS 300 3 Quarter View  2020 Lexus IS 300 3 Quarter View  2020 Lexus IS 300 3 Quarter View
Interior
 2020 Lexus IS 300 Cargo Area  2020 Lexus IS 300 Rear Seats  2020 Lexus IS 300 Rear Seats  2020 Lexus IS 300 Center Console  2020 Lexus IS 300 Front Seats

Styles

 2020 Lexus IS 300 in Atomic Silver color  2020 Lexus IS 300 in Caviar color  2020 Lexus IS 300 in Eminent White Pearl color  2020 Lexus IS 300 in Liquid Platinum color  2020 Lexus IS 300 in Nebula Gray Pearl color
Atomic Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

6.5

Interior

6.5

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Lexus IS 300 Base

Base

power
260hp
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
21 combined

$38,560 - $41,010


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $38,560 MSRP (21/24/30) 241hp @ 5800 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, premium unleaded
8-speed shiftable automatic rear wheel drive 5
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) Starting at $41,010 MSRP (19/21/26) 260hp, 3.5 L, V-6, premium unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.0

Overall Rating


Lexus has been trying hard from the beginning to play catch up with all the dominant players in the luxury segment. The IS300 is Lexus’s player in the compact luxury sedan segment. It is powered by two sets of engines with a marginal power gap. The design is striking, to say the least, and is predominant with sharp lines. The design has always been an integral part of Lexus.

It has a host of safety and creature comfort features which makes it a luxurious place to be in. With a tempting price of $38560, the Lexus tips in a very tempting deal. But as this is a very competitive segment, and the IS300 goes neck to neck against Audi A4, and Jaguar XE. 

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan

6.5/10
Features

 
 
 

6.5/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2020 Lexus IS 300 Features

6.5/10

The 2020 Lexus IS300 is available in an exclusive base trim. These are again subdivided into four, two under each with two different engines and powertrains. With rear-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration and 2L inline-four and 3.5L V6 engine options, the IS300 has a variety of options to choose from. The base trim is loaded with all the latest features which is in itself a complete package. 

Trims

Base

MSRP(RWD)

$38560

MSRP(AWD) $41010

Engine(RWD)

2.0L I4

Engine(AWD) 3.5L V6

Features

Paddle-Shift Transmission

 

Triple-Beam Headlamps

 

10.3-inch multimedia Display

 

Performance Driving Modes

 

Lexus ENFORM comfort kit

 

Touch-based Climate Controls

 

Intuitive Digital Instrumentation

 

Lexus Safety System

 

G-force and Turbo Boost Displays

 

Illuminated Entry System

 

Homelink System

Along with the various trims options, an array of optional packages are also available. These packages mostly focus on creature comforts. 

Various Add-On packages available:

Package Name

Navigation 

Mark Levinson Premium Audio

Premium 

MSRP

$1745

$2845

$1510(RWD)/

$1070(AWD)

Features

Navigation System with 10.3-inch Split-screen Multimedia Display

All the Features in Navigation Package and:

Lexus Memory System

 

Lexus Enform Destination Assist

Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System

Auto-dimming Outside Mirrors

 

Lexus Enform App Suite

 

Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

 

Remote Touch

 

PowerTilt and telescopic Steering Wheel

     

Blind Spot Monitor With Rear Cross Traffic Alert

     

Rain Sensing Wipers

We recommend

We would recommend the base RWD variant with the humble 2L inline 4 engine producing 241 horses. An additional Premium package with the life-saving safety features is recommended with it. The more powerful AWD variant is not sensible as the slight increase in power is coupled with added curb weight and reduced fuel economy. So the base variant is light on the pocket and not any less fun to drive thus justifying the price tag.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Engine

The Lexus is powered by two engine setups: A 2L inline 4 which powers the Rear-wheel driven variants and the slightly more powerful 3.6L V6 powering the AWD variants. The 2L produces 241hp and 258lb-ft of torque which is pretty decent as the IS300 was made as an entry-level luxury sedan. The power figures are way above average. But the 3.5L V6 produces just 260hp and 236lb-ft of torque. With an increase of 19hp, we wonder why Lexus even went on to put up with the V6. The 2L with a few tweaks would have actually made much more power and sense!

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Engine

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

MSRP

$38560

$39900

$37490

$40750

Engine

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

Transmission

8-speed Sequential Shift

8-speed Automatic

7-speed Automatic

8-speed Automatic

Horsepower

241hp @5800rpm

247hp @5500rpm

248hp

255hp @5000rpm

Torque

258lb-ft @1650rpm

260 lb-ft @1300rpm

273lb-ft

295lb-ft @1550rpm

The entry-level sedan is the most sought after segment in the industry, with new entries pouring in every six months. All of the competition is powered by a 2L turbocharged inline-4 and power figures are in close proximity. If looked closely, the beemer is the most powerful of the lot with 255 horses and 295lb-ft of torque. The Lexus is the least powerful with 241 horses. 

How quick is the Lexus?

The 2L 4 cylinder pot helps propel the Lexus from standstill to sixty in 6.9 seconds. The power is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed sequential shift transmission with manual override. It is not a part of the rat race rather is a calm and linear mover.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

0-60 MPH

6.9s

6.5s(est.)

5.6s

5.6s

Quarter mile

17.6

15.3s(est.)

 

14.0

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15k mi/yr)

7.4

6.3

6.5

6.3

Unsurprisingly Lexus is the slowest of the lot. Being the heaviest car with the least powerful engine results in such uninspiring sprint timing. The Audi A4 and BMW 330i are the quickest of the lot with a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds.

Can the IS 300 take on corners?

The underwhelming performance of the Lexus is contradicted by its precise and connected handling. The ride instills confidence with an ample amount of stability. The steering is crisp and gives good feedback on straights, but feels disconnected at curves. Corners are not its cup of tea.

Then IS300 comes with four distinctive drive modes. The Eco mode synchronizes the engine to provide a linear ride and being efficient. Comfort and Normal modes relaxes the transmission and suspension of the car for a more composed and relaxed ride. And the Sport mode flexes its muscles for performance with instant throttle response and tighter steering. 

An optional Sport+ mode is available in the F SPORT Package which pumps the Lexus with steroids! The ride becomes serious with adaptive dampers and a limited-slip differential and makes its presence felt with a throaty exhaust note. This package is exclusive to the F SPORT Trim alone.

How do the Lexus IS300 brakes work?

The brakes on this car are at most moderate. It isn't the most confidence-inspiring one as the pedal is short and stiff.

The front brakes are 13.1 inches and the rear ones are 12.2 inches in diameter 

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Brake Front (in.)

13.1

13.8

13.3

N/A

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

12.8

13

N/A

60-0 MPH (ft)

N/A

N/A

N/A

103

The Lexus IS300 is not heavy for a compact sedan. The least curb weight helps the Lexus to have an edge over the others in braking.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Fuel Economy

The Lexus is rated at 21 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. These are pretty good numbers for a compact sedan. As both the engines available on the Lexus are not stressed to its maximum, a moderate fuel economy range is achieved. All the cars in this segment give in at similar numbers.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

MPG (city)

21

24

23

26

MPG (highway)

30

34

33

36

MPG (combined)

24

27

27

30

Looking at the numbers, The IS300 gives the least economy range of the lot. The beemer is the most fuel-efficient of the lot with a combined 30 MPG. The Audi A4 and Jaguar XE are tied in at 27MPG.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Interior

6.5/10

Lexus has made the interior of the IS300 at par with its German brothers in luxury. The cockpit is well laid out with all of the controls in the vicinity of the driver. The LFA inspired instrument cluster helps in simple readouts. All the seats are comfortable and are low to facilitate tall drivers as well. The quality of the interior shouts LUXURY. With optional wood and aluminum trims, it adds to the aura of the car. Lexus also has a plethora of leather and color options along with an exclusive F SPORT leather package. 

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Seats

The numbers don't speak up for the seating arrangements. More focus has been given for the headroom and legroom but the cabin isn’t roomy. The second-row seats are cramped with limited headroom.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.2/55.9/44.8

37.0/56.8/41.5

38.9/55.9/41.3

38.7/56.0/42.0

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

36.9/53.4/32.2

37.0/54.7/35.0

37.4/54.4/35.7

37.6/54.6/35.2

The Lexus has a more forward-biased approach, literally. The rear seats on the IS300 are very cramped for a luxury sedan and has below average headroom. All of its competitors in this segment don’t necessarily check-in as a family car as the second-row seating is a compromise. But even then, Lexus provides the least interior space which is a bummer.

What's the tech included with Lexus IS300?

The infotainment system on the Lexus has been improved and now flaunts a 10.3-inch split-screen display. It comes with the Lexus Enform app suite ensures passenger safety in case of mishaps and also seamlessly keeps the car connected with a central agency. A class-exclusive Scout GPS Link navigation system is also included. It also helps connect smartwatches and smartphones and interacting with it seamlessly over Alexa or Google's assistant.

A universal Center console controller serves as a remote for literally all the controls in the car, ranging from the drive mode selection to the infotainment. 

But ironically this universal feature makes it very complicated as well. Android Auto and Apple Car-play are still a missing feature.

Creature features inside

  • Heated And Ventilated Front Seats
  • Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel and Shift Knob
  • Deluxe Interior Trim
  • Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Power Rear Sunshade

How much cargo space does it provide?

Lexus has 10.8 cubic feet of cargo volume which is a very big downside. This volume deficiency is mostly directed to its steep rear three-quarter design. With such poor space management, the Lexus is surely a no-go for weekends.

Models

Lexus IS300 Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Cargo Volume (cu.-ft)

10.8

12.5

13.0

17

The beemer tops the chart with 17 cubic feet of cargo volume which is almost double that of the Lexus. The Jaguar and Audi go hand in hand with 12.5 and 13 cubic feet.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Rear Seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Front Seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan rear seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan gear
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Steering
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan

2020 Lexus IS 300 Exterior

Lexus has always gone all out with their styling. With sharp lines and the huge spindle grille, it embraces it all. The design makes this Lexus stand out of the crowd without going too over the top. Even with all the crazy lines it still manages to keep it luxurious.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Side View

A wide array of colors are available, seven to be precise. It includes two shades of black, two shades of white, two shades of silver and an eye-catchy redline to top it all. There are four types of rims available as well.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Length (in)

184.3

184.2

186.1

185.7

Width (in)

71.3

77.4

72.5

71.9

Height (in)

56.3

56.1

56.2

56.8

Ground clearance (in)

5.3

4.0

7.9

5.7

Wheelbase (in)

110

111.6

111

112.2

Track width (in) F/R

60.4/61.0

63.1/62.4

61.9/61.2

62.3/63.0

Curb weight (lbs)

3583

3750(est.)

3627

3589

The Lexus has the least curb weight of the lot, but it doesn't help it much. Its short dimensions do help in retaining its compact structure but at a loss of interior space. Wheelbase is the least at 110 inches which keeps the car more planted thus helping in improving its stability around corners.

Exterior Features

  • Triple Beam LED Headlamps
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System
  • 17-inch standard split five-spoke alloy wheels 
  • 18-inch optional wheels
  • Distinctive Lexus Spindle Front Grille
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan 3rd quarter view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan front view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Exterior
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Rear View
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Side view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan

2020 Lexus IS 300 Safety

The Lexus has a strong point and its the safety features available in it. A host of safety features are available from the bottom up in the Lexus Safety System+ pack. Apart from that, the IS300 also fares well in the NHTSA and IIHS ratings. A list of active and passive safety features are available on the Lexus which makes it a sweet place to be in.

Safety Features

  • Pre-Collision System With Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • High Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Intelligent High Beams
  • Lexus Enform Safety Connect
  • Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management(VDIM)

2020 Lexus IS 300 Competition

Lexus IS300 VS Jaguar XE 

The baby Jag stays true to its pedigree. It provides a balanced combination of styling, reliability, and technology which is rarely found in other brands. The Jag has more power and is more practical of the two. It delivers way more than the Lexus IS300. At a marginal increase in price, the Jaguar XE provides a better value for money car. The downside is the use of cheap plastic bits on the inside which might divert the luxury-oriented ones.

2020 Jaguar XE Sedan

Lexus IS300 VS Audi A4

The Audi A4 is the entry-level luxury sedan that provides way more than the Lexus. It has more power, better driving dynamics, a large boot and most importantly a much more powerful engine. Apart from a price tag which is not yet disclosed, the Lexus doesn’t stand a chance against its German counterpart. 

2020 Audi A4 Sedan

Lexus IS300 VS BMW 330i

The beemer is by far the most powerful all-roundiner this set of competitors. It has the most powerful engine and still provides the highest fuel efficiency. It has the largest cargo volume and the interior is well laid out and comfortable, unlike the Lexus. The Beemer slices through the Lexus in the first cut itself.

2020 BMW 330i sedan

2020 Lexus IS 300 Final Verdict

The Lexus IS300 is a decent car in all but it doesn't stand a chance against its updated and superior competition. It sure does mark its territory with bold and futuristic design. But the lack of optimized interior space and a very lackluster engine gives it away.

It scores poorly in practicality with the least cargo space. There are much better options now in the market which provides the best value for money propositions, and that's where the BMW 330i comes in. With a punchy engine and loads of features and comfort, it makes a much more sensible choice.