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2015 Lexus IS Review

The 2015 Lexus IS ranks in the top half of the competitive luxury small car class, and it’s boosted by an admirable reliability rating. It also has good safety scores, balanced performance, and an elegant cabin.

Pros & Cons

  • Solid safety and reliability ratings
  • Upscale interior
  • Plush ride
  • Powerful available engine
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Finicky infotainment controller

New for 2015

  • Available Lexus Enform Remote
  • Last year of production for convertible model




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Lexus IS Overview

Is the 2015 Lexus IS a Good Used Car?

The 2015 Lexus IS is a good used luxury small car. It has the upscale interior you'd expect in this class, along with a decent amount of passenger and cargo space. Some rivals are more fun to drive, but this Lexus’ performance is well-rounded, with composed handling and solid engine power. One complaint against this Lexus pertains to its infotainment controller, which can be difficult to use while driving.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 26 Lexus IS reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Lexus IS?

Our site has around 1,800 listings for the 2015 IS, with an average price of around $26,000. Prices range from about $20,300 to roughly $32,300, and vary depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Lexus IS Cost to Own?

The 2015 IS tends to be slightly more affordable than many of its competitors when it comes to gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. You can expect to pay around $29,000 over five years for these expenses. By comparison, the five-year costs for a 2015 BMW 3 Series are typically around $900 more than those of the IS, and costs for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are about $2,500 more.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New IS?

The 2015 and the 2019 Lexus IS models belong to the same generation, which launched for the 2014 model year. There have been some notable changes to the car since 2015, and while you can likely save money with a used model, you'll have to weigh that against the car's improvements. For most buyers, the price jump may not be worth it.

The 2019 IS starts at $38,410. It comes standard with long list of safety features, including a rearview camera, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, and two versions of a 3.5-liter V6 are available.  

Read about the new Lexus IS »

The only new luxury small car that you can buy for about the same price as a used 2015 IS is the 2019 Acura ILX. Starting at $25,900, the ILX is one of the least expensive cars in the class. It comes with a ton of standard driver assistance and active safety features. With its nicer interior and sportier handling, though, the 2015 IS is a better car than the 2019 ILX.

For a new car that is worthy of comparison to the 2015 IS, check out a top-of-the-line 2019 Honda Civic coupe in the Touring trim, which retails for $26,850. Although it's not a luxury vehicle, it has engaging handling, it comes with a lot of standard driver assistance and active safety features, and it boasts one of the nicest cabins in the class. This trim also includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker premium stereo, a moonroof, and heated front seats. The Civic also boasts engaging handling.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Lexus IS Is Best?

Lexus fully redesigned the IS for the 2014 model year, but the convertible model carries over from the previous generation. Lexus discontinued the convertible body style after the 2015 model year.

The 2015 IS is nearly identical to the 2014 IS, aside from the addition of the Lexus Enform Remote smartphone telematics system for 2015. The 2016 IS has a revamped powertrain lineup, with a base 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and an available 255- or 306-horsepower V6. All of those engines deliver satisfactory power, giving the 2016 model the edge in performance.

You can save a lot more money with a model from 2013 and earlier, but you'll miss out on all the benefits of the redesign.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 IS »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Lexus IS?

The 2015 Lexus IS has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about IS reliability »

2015 Lexus IS Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no open recalls that apply to the 2015 Lexus IS.

See more information on Lexus IS safety recalls »

Which Used Lexus IS Model Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Lexus IS is available in two trims: IS 250 and IS 350. Both trims come with a V6 engine, but the IS 250's 2.5-liter puts out 204 horsepower and the IS 350's 3.5-liter produces 306 horsepower. Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available.

There's little difference in features between the models, so unless you want more authoritative performance, consider an IS 250 to save some money. Lexus IS models with the F Sport package have a host of performance upgrades.

See 2015 Lexus IS trims and specs »

What Does Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Lexus offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 70,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Lexus extends its original new-car warranty to six years or unlimited mileage. From the day you purchase or lease your Lexus CPO vehicle, you receive complimentary maintenance covering the next four factory-recommended services for two years or 20,000 miles. Every CPO Lexus must pass a 161-point inspection. Additional benefits like loaner cars, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Lexus warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Lexus has the best CPO program in the industry.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the IS?

The 2015 Lexus IS’ crash test scores are about average for the class. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the IS an overall rating of five out five stars, with five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash tests. The IS earned the highest score of Good in three evaluations conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

There are no standard safety features in the 2015 IS, but many are available, including a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors.

See IS safety scores »

2015 Lexus IS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Lexus IS or 2015 BMW 3 Series?

The 2015 Lexus IS ranks higher than the 2015 BMW 3 Series, but choosing between these two comes down to what you prefer in a small luxury car. The Lexus has better safety and reliability ratings than the BMW. However, its average price is thousands of dollars more than the average price for the 3 Series. The BMW has a luxurious cabin and one of the roomiest back seats in the class. It also has excellent performance, with agile handling around corners and punchy engines. The ride is comfortable, and fuel economy is good, making the 3 Series an excellent daily driver. If you value reliability, go with the Lexus. If performance is your priority, the BMW is a better choice.

Which Is Better: 2015 Lexus IS or 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Few cars in the class can match the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class when it comes to unabashed luxury. The C-Class has one of the most elegant cabin found in a luxury small car, with excellent materials quality and chic styling. Its interior is also very spacious for all occupants. Loads of features come standard, including some that aren't even available in the IS, like a Wi-Fi hot spot and driver drowsiness monitoring. On the performance front, the C-Class has a cushioned, composed ride and ample power from its engines. Average list prices are comparable between the C-Class and the IS. However, the C-Class’ bottom-of-the-barrel reliability rating hurts its rankings. If you'd like more peace of mind, go with the Lexus.

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

2015 IS Performance

How Does the 2015 Lexus IS Drive?

The standard 2015 Lexus IS 250 has a 2.5-liter V6 engine that produces 204 horsepower, while the IS 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 good for 306 horsepower. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine has adequate power, while the larger V6 delivers serious punch.

The IS nicely balances ride comfort with agility. Bumps in the road are soaked up with ease, but the suspension isn't so cushy that the IS feel sloppy around corners. Still, many rivals have more athletic handling. Drivers looking for the best performance in the lineup will want to check out an F Sport model, which adds a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, performance brakes, and variable gear ratio steering. The IS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.

Does the 2015 Lexus IS Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2015 Lexus IS with its base engine and rear-wheel drive gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which are below-average ratings for the class. It only gets worse from there. An IS 250 with all-wheel drive gets 20/27 mpg city/highway. Lexus IS 350 models return 19/28 mpg with RWD and 19/26 mpg with AWD.

Read more about IS performance »

2015 IS Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 IS Seat?

The 2015 Lexus IS sedan seats five, while convertible models seat four. Synthetic leather upholstery is standard, and available amenities include genuine leather upholstery, heated front seats, ventilated front seats, front sport seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The IS has a sleek, high-end interior swathed in luxurious materials. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the head- and legroom are comparable to what you'll find in rivals.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Lexus IS?

The IS has two complete sets of rear LATCH child-seat connections and a tether anchor for the middle seat. The lower anchors are easy to reach since they're set behind plastic covers at the bottom of the seatback.

2015 Lexus IS Features

Standard features in the 2015 Lexus IS include a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment display, two USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Available upgrades include navigation, voice command activation, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system, the Lexus Enform App Suite, and Enform Remote smartphone controls.

The most commonly used controls around the cabin, including the touch-sensitive sliders that control some climate settings, are easy to use. The available Remote Touch infotainment controller is less user-friendly. It's mounted on the center console, and it resembles a computer touchpad. While that may sound easy enough, it’s distracting in practice, especially while the car is moving.

See 2015 Lexus IS specs »

Read more about IS interior »

2015 Lexus IS Dimensions

Lexus IS Cargo Space

The 2015 Lexus IS has 13.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is slightly above average for a luxury small car. The convertible model has 10.8 cubic feet with the top up and 2.4 cubic feet with the top down.

2015 IS Length and Weight

The Lexus IS is 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,461 to 3,872 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Lexus IS Built?

Lexus built the 2015 IS in Japan.


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