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$15,463 - $33,582
$35,065 - $61,750

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome interior
  • Great reliability rating
  • IS 250's underwhelming power
  • Cramped cabin
  • Most rivals have higher safety scores

New for 2013

  • IS 250 no longer available with manual transmission
  • HD Radio is available
  • Final model year before redesign




Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 8.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Lexus IS Overview

Is the 2013 Lexus IS a Good Used Car?

Available as either a sedan or a convertible, the 2013 Lexus IS is a good choice among luxury small cars. It offers a comfortable and composed ride, and its available engines make plenty of power. The IS also has a premium interior and a great reliability rating.

Used 2013 Lexus IS Performance and Interior

The IS 250 has a 2.5-liter V6, while IS 350 models have a 3.5-liter V6. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. IS 250 models feel underpowered and slow compared to sportier sedans in the class. The IS 350's V6 is a better engine for this car because it makes enough power to get you moving briskly.

There’s also the performance-oriented Lexus IS F, which can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds thanks to its 416-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 and eight-speed automated manual transmission. The IS 250 gets the best gas mileage in the lineup, at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's about average for the class.

Though it may have a sporty appearance, this sedan can't keep up with competitors on twisty roads. The rear-drive IS stays fairly composed around corners, but there is noticeably more body roll than a sports sedan should have. The steering feels a bit vague, and many rivals have smoother rides than the IS. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about IS performance »

The cabin is refined and elegant. Quality materials abound, including real leather and wood in some places. Even where there are plastic trim pieces, they are soft to the touch and nicely textured. Sedan models seat five, and convertibles seat four. The standard 10-way power-adjustable front seats are comfortable, and all seats are upholstered in leather. However, the cabin feels cramped. The front and back seats offer little headroom, and the rear seats are short on legroom. Available upgrades include a power-adjustable steering column, heated and ventilated front seats, and front sport seats with extra side bolstering. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors on the outboard rear seats along with an additional upper tether anchor on the middle seat.

The IS 250 comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a 13-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Available features include navigation, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system, HD Radio, and rain-sensing wipers. The IS' standard infotainment setup is intuitive to use, but the available navigation system makes adjusting some climate and audio settings more complicated. The available Mark Levinson surround sound system has disappointing audio quality.

Read more about IS interior »

Used 2013 Lexus IS Prices

The rear-wheel-drive 2013 IS 250 has an average price of around $17,300, while all-wheel drive adds around $1,200. The IS 350, IS F, and convertible models will likely cost more. Pricing varies with vehicle condition, features, mileage, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 81 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 81 Lexus IS reviews to give you an idea of this car’s pros and cons. We’ve also included information on fuel economy, safety, and reliability to help you decide if the 2013 IS is the right car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

The U.S. News Best Cars staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, and we've been ranking the best vehicles since 2007. To keep our reviews free from outside influence, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and the ads on our site are placed and sold by a third party.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Lexus IS?

The 2013 Lexus IS has an excellent reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

See IS reliability scores »

How Safe Is the IS?

Most other luxury small cars have better safety scores than the 2013 IS. It earned an overall rating of four out of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA also gave the IS five stars in the side crash and rollover test, and four stars in the front crash test.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the 2013 IS earned the highest rating of Good in moderate overlap front and side impact tests. It received Acceptable ratings (the second highest) in rear crash protection and roof strength tests, and a rating of Poor in the small overlap front test. A rearview camera, forward collision warning, and front and rear parking sensors are available.

See IS safety scores »

Is the 2013 IS the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Lexus IS is part of a generation that spans the 2006 through 2013 model years. For 2013, Lexus stopped offering a manual transmission in the IS 250, but HD Radio was added to the options list. Models from 2011 and 2012 offer similar features and have a lower average price, making them great options for value seekers.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 IS »

Which Used Lexus IS Is Right for Me?

Since the IS 250's base engine has underwhelming power, we recommend stepping up to the Lexus IS 350 for its brawnier V6. All trims have essentially the same standard and available features.

For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Lexus extends its original new-car warranty to cover six years or unlimited mileage. Lexus puts its CPO vehicles through a 161-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Lexus warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Lexus certified pre-owned program »

2013 Lexus IS and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Lexus IS or 2013 BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is a better car than the IS. The 3 Series is easily one of the most thrilling small luxury cars, with plenty of engine power and athletic cornering capabilities. The 3 Series also has more room for passengers and cargo than the IS. The Lexus has a higher reliability rating, but the BMW has a higher safety score. Overall, the 3 Series is a better choice.

Which Is Better: 2013 Lexus IS or 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the IS are evenly matched. The C-Class is especially luxurious inside, with lots of tech features. Some of the C-Class’ safety systems are not available in the IS, like driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist. The C-Class has a higher safety rating, too. However, the IS has a better reliability rating and lower ownership costs. You can’t go wrong with either luxury small car.

Compare the IS, 3 Series, and C-Class »



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