Lexus IS vs. Lexus GS

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - November 12, 2018

At the moment, Lexus has a well-rounded lineup that includes options in both the compact- and mid-size sedan segments with the IS and GS, respectively. While the GS is larger and more luxurious than the IS, some shoppers may end up cross-shopping the vehicles to see if there are other differences that would have them leaning toward one option over the other. So, which one should the average buyer go with? That's what we're hoping to answer below.

See a side-by-side comparison of the IS & GS »

What the IS Gets Right

Since the IS is the smaller offering of the two, the compact sedan is the cheaper option. Pricing for the 2019 IS 300 starts at $39,335, while the larger 2019 GS 300 is priced at $47,635. Measuring in at eight inches shorter in length than the GS, the IS is the option for drivers that want something that's nimble and easy to drive on tight roads.

Despite being smaller than the GS, the IS has the same amount of power. Both options are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Because of its small size, the IS 300 can get to 60 miles per hour quicker than the GS 300 can with a time of 6.9 seconds.

When it comes to safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the IS as a Top Safety Pick, while the GS missed out on the designation.

What the GS Gets Right

The most obvious difference between the IS and GS is the amount of space on the inside, The GS offers more front shoulder room and hip room, as well as rear leg room, rear hip room, rear head room, and rear shoulder room than the IS. Cargo capacity is also more impressive in the GS, as the mid-size offering can hold up to 18.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is 7.6 cubic feet more than the IS.

As a more luxurious vehicle, the GS comes with some more standard features over the IS. Auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and a 12-speaker audio system are standard over the IS.

Unlike the IS, the GS is available in a performance-oriented “F” variant. The GS F is powered by a 467-hp, 5.0-liter V8 engine and features upgraded brakes, an adaptive suspension, and a torque-vectoring differential to be a more potent machine.

Need Space or Something Small?

When it comes to choosing between the IS and the GS, the major difference between the two is space. If interior space is high up on your must-have list, then the GS is the better option, especially if you continually have a full load of passengers in the car. The GS' more spacious trunk is also a positive.

Verdict: Lexus GS

While the Lexus GS may cost more than the Lexus IS, it's the better all-around vehicle. Not only does it offer you with more space than the IS, it also has more standard features, is more luxurious, and is available in a performance version, which isn't the case for the IS. It's big enough to be used as a family car – that can't be said for the IS.

Take a closer look at the Lexus IS »

Take a closer look at the Lexus GS »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website