Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

2014 Lexus IS 250 sedan

Price: $35,950 base start, $44,030 as tested

Powertrain:

2.5-liter V-6, 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, RWD

Horsepower: 204 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 185 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm

0-60: 7.7 seconds

Curb weight: 3,461 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 110.2

Length, 183.7

Width, 71.3

Height, 56.3

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

21 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway

Fuel type:

premium unleaded recommended

Safety features: ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, 10 airbags and curtains, automatic collision notification, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, backup camera, parking assist

Website: lexus.com/models/IS/

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Lexus IS250 sedan 10/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Government

    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]
  2. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  3. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  4. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Air bag inflator ruptures, driver killed in Pasco County

    Autos

    DETROIT — Automaker Honda says a driver from Pasco County died in a crash earlier this month that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

    Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator. 
[Associated Press]