Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Business

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Lexus IS250 sedan

=



It has always seemed to us as if Lexus' IS models were aimed at the buyer for whom comfort trumped style and, especially, performance. So for 2014, Lexus has redesigned its entry-level luxury sedans. Would more performance follow? We were eager to drive the redesigned IS 250 to find out.

Appearance: We love the new look, which finally puts the IS in the same design league as its competition. It really is a stunner, from the new Lexus "spindle" or "hour-glass" grille to its flared fenders and sharp character lines that embellish the hood and body. Overall, the sedan now has a wider, menacing stance. Even the details mimic this sharp-creased look. Check-mark-shaped LED running lights underscore the headlights, and the wraparound taillights taper to a thin point whose line continues across the rear fenders down to the side skirt. Dual chrome exhaust tips and V-spoke wheels, ours was the optional 18-inch alloys, finish the look.

Performance: Alas, the power plant remains the same. The IS 250 has Lexus' long-running 2.5-liter V-6 that produces 204 horsepower. (The IS 350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out 306.) The engine is simply adequate, but underpowered compared to some of its turbo-charged competition. Given the promise of its styling, it's natural to expect more power. The 6-speed automatic, which also has paddles, shifts smoothly. The wider track and a longer wheelbase make for a nimble and planted ride. We liked the lively steering feel. The suspension has been massaged, so the ride is softer and more like larger Lexus sedans. (Lexus offers an F-Sport option package for IS models that comes with a stiffer suspension, 18-inch wheels and interior/instrument upgrades.) The rear-wheel-drive 250 — AWD is available — has Sport, Eco, Normal and Snow driving modes. Our tester's Luxury package added blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

Interior: The design is youthful. As we've come to expect, the fit and finish are superb. The dash, covered in soft-touch material, is linear and less curvy than other Lexus models, which we found refreshing. The wood-grain trim is thankfully kept to a minimum. As usual, the heated and ventilated perforated leather seats are plush and comfortable. Because the IS 250 is longer, there's about 3 inches of extra legroom for the rear passengers. It can seat five, but realistically, four. The electronics have the mouselike Remote Touch interface, which has become standard on Lexus vehicles. We like it better than a touchscreen, but moving the cursor to the right spot can be challenging when the car is in motion.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Interior: It feels like a sports car rather than a sedan.

Redesign: Sharp. I could see myself owning one.

Wheels: The V-spoke design is sporty and sophisticated.

Lyra Solochek

Interior: Upscale, yet simple.

Redesign: Aggressive and striking.

Ride: Sporty, fun and engaging, but better if it had more power.

The bottom line: Lexus has given the IS 250 a seductive makeover but still gives the cold shoulder to performance. This is a fine car being held back from meeting its potential.

     
       
Comments
Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Chuck Prather, owner of the Birchwood in St. Petersburg, returned from his daughter’s Maine wedding this week with an exciting announcement of his own. On June 7 the St. Petersburg City Council is expected to sign off on him being on...
Updated: 9 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg-based contract electronics company Jabil announced Wednesday it has expanded in Israel by opening an Optics Technology Innovation Center.The 6,560-square-foot complex is in Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. "Our Optics Innovation Cen...
Updated: 11 hours ago
New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

OPEN NOW: BAHAMA BUCK’SFeel a shiver? Just in time for Florida’s sultry summer, Bahama Buck’s opened this week in Trinity with an avalanche of sno. The 2,346-square-foot island-inspired shop opened at 8815 Mitchell Blvd. with more than 91 flavors of ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon’s, the restaurant that paid homage to the community icon who rose to fame as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and grew to become a popular civic leader, will shutter the doors of its original location on Tampa’s Boy Scout Boulevard in...
Updated: 12 hours ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Published: 05/23/18
Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA — Comcast may make an offer for Twenty-First Century Fox, potentially putting it in a head-to-head bidding war with Disney. Comcast Corp. on Wednesday did not provide specific details on a bid, other than to say that it w...
Published: 05/23/18
Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

ORLANDO — The popular breakfast and brunch chain First Watch will be opening a new restaurant in Orlando that will add cocktails, beer and wine to the menu. The new concept restaurant, set to open on Memorial Day at 1448 N Alafaya Trail, will be 1,00...
Published: 05/23/18
Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Kentucky-based health care provider Humana is hiring 100 phone sales employees in Tampa Bay. The new hires will field sales calls and offer enrollment assistance for Humana’s Medicare plans and other products.The positions, which are being added to h...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Downtown St. Pete Ford’s Garage and Yeoman’s to open Wednesday

Downtown St. Pete Ford’s Garage and Yeoman’s to open Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG — Ford’s Garage, a car junkie’s haven, has proven to be popular eatery across the state.Now it has a chance to drive customers to its seats in St. Petersburg. The restaurant opens its ninth location downtown Wednesday at 200 First Ave....
Published: 05/23/18
Target: New Tampa, Clearwater stores part of company-wide makeovers

Target: New Tampa, Clearwater stores part of company-wide makeovers

Target is renovating more than 1,000 stores by the end of 2020, including two SuperTarget locations in New Tampa and Clearwater.The Clearwater store’s makeover — which the corporation calls ‘‘reimagining" — just wrapped up, according to Target spoke...
Published: 05/23/18