When Lexus scrapped the IS 250 in 2015, it brought in the IS 200t and the IS 300 to fill the entry-level gaps. And since the turbocharged 200t is only available with rear-wheel drive, the 300 became the all-wheel-drive entry level. Good as it may be, though, the IS 300 is not without some flaws that may push some buyers away.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 Lexus IS 300.

Pricing and Equipment

The Lexus IS 300 starts from $40,200, and like most Lexus models, it lacks traditional trim levels. Instead, it has packages that buyers can add to spruce things up a bit. All IS 300's come standard with:

  • Seventeen-inch wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Sunroof
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Premium simulated-leather upholstery
  • Eight-inch display screen
  • Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • All-wheel drive

Buyers looking for added performance can add the popular F Sport package, which includes larger wheels with stickier rubber and an upgraded suspension system. With this package, the price jumps to $43,345.

The IS 300 uses a 3.5-liter V6 with 255 horsepower, 236 pound-feet of torque, and a combined fuel economy rating of 21 miles per gallon.

Performance Pros

Lexus IS 300
  • Standard all-wheel drive.
  • Impressive ride quality – the suspension takes on bumps nicely and hides them in its dampers.
  • Despite its great ride, the IS 300 avoids the disconnected typical of softer ride.

Performance Cons

  • The V6 engine is only a bit more powerful than the base four-cylinder, and it's down quite a bit on the 306-hp IS 350, which uses the same engine.
  • Brakes are stiff and not overly responsive.
  • Fuel economy struggles at 19 miles per gallon city, 28 highway, and 22 combined.

Interior Pros

  • The IS 300's standard features are great for the money.
  • Plenty of options to wade through, allowing a lot of customization.
  • Decent-sized trunk for its class at 13.8 cubic feet.

Interior Cons

Lexus IS 300
  • With 32.2 inches of rear seat leg room, the rear passengers will be very cramped.
  • The center tunnel cuts into the footwells of the driver and front-seat passenger, limiting front-seat footroom.
  • The optional infotainment system and its mouse-like interface are distracting and difficult to use.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The fit and finish of the IS 300‘s interior is incredible. Even in its base setup, the cabin is well-crafted, with fine materials and handsome color schemes. If the IS's interior isn't the best in this competitive class, it's very, very close.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The rear-seat legroom really is appalling. At 32.2 inches, the four-door IS has less legroom in the back than a two-door BMW 4-Series and just 0.2 inches more than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.

The Bottom Line

The IS 300 is well-balanced, thanks to its great ride, sharp handling, decent straight-line performance, and slew of features and options. However, its tight rear seat may immediately eliminate it for many buyers, as could its modest output and subpar fuel economy. Choosing the IS 300 over one of its competitors – not to mention the more powerful all-wheel-drive IS 350 – mostly depends on what each buyer sees as must-haves and can-live-withouts.