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$11,277 - $15,262
$33,295 - $46,640

Pros & Cons

  • Refined handling
  • High-quality interior
  • Cramped interior
  • Not the most athletic sport sedan




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 7.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Lexus IS Overview

When it was new, critics liked that the 2011 Lexus IS attempted to instill some fun into the Lexus lineup. They said the IS is generally pleasing, thanks to its adept handling and inviting interior. Most contended, though, that it isn’t as agile as competitors like the 2011 BMW 3-Series. In addition to the sedan, a convertible model is available, as well as the performance-oriented Lexus IS-F, which is reviewed separately.

The IS is available with two engines: a 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V6 in IS 250 models and a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 in IS 350 models. Most critics didn’t find the IS 250 particularly inspiring, but they largely felt that the IS 350 made up for this with its additional power. Both rear- and all-wheel drive are available. A rear-wheel drive IS 250 with an automatic transmission gets good fuel economy for the class, at 21/30 mpg city/highway. You can also get the IS 250 with a manual transmission, but the stick shift model also uses more fuel. Fuel economy estimates are also slightly lower on AWD models and the more powerful IS 350. Maximum trunk space is 13 cubic feet, which is about average for the class.

Inside, critics liked the IS’ fit and finish, but some expected it to look and feel sportier. While most said the front seats were roomy and supportive, the back seat drew criticism for being cramped. Standard features include leather seats, a power sunroof, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, Bluetooth, a USB port and satellite radio. Available equipment includes heated and ventilated front seats, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, navigation, park assist and a backup camera. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control.

See the full 2011 Lexus IS specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Audi A4 isn’t especially powerful, but critics said the A4 has sharp handling, especially when equipped with all-wheel drive. Its interior is also praised as being one of the most elegant in the class. The A4 also has a higher safety score.

Critics regarded the 2011 Infiniti G as one of the sportier entries in the 2011 midsize car segment. The Infiniti G offers a good balance between comfort and sport, and is available as a sedan, coupe or convertible. While the G outperforms the IS in most cases, its safety scores are lower than the IS’.

Compare the IS to the A4 and G »

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