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2016 Lexus IS Review

The 2016 Lexus IS is a high-ranking luxury small car that features one of the better interiors in the class, as well as an above-average reliability score and good safety marks.

Pros & Cons

  • Luxurious interior
  • Poised ride
  • Poor fuel economy estimates
  • Confusing infotainment controller




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Lexus IS Overview

Is the 2016 Lexus IS a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Lexus IS is a good luxury small car that favors comfort over sportiness. It has a quiet, opulent interior and a refined ride. It isn’t perfect, however; the infotainment system is difficult to navigate.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 26 professional evaluations for this 2016 Lexus IS review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Lexus IS?

Based on the almost 500 listings on our site for the 2016 Lexus IS, you can expect to pay between $23,500 and $37,000 for this car. The average list price is $30,100. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Lexus IS Cost to Own?

A vehicle’s cost goes far beyond its purchase price. Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 IS are about $27,500. That’s high for the class. The 2016 A4, for example, has estimated five-year costs of more than $31,200. The 2016 BMW 2 Series’ are $28,200.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New IS?

A new 2018 Lexus IS has a starting price of $38,210, which is significantly higher than the $30,100 average price of a 2016 IS. For that higher price, you do receive a host of standard active safety features, including a rearview camera. You’re better off buying the 2016 model, which is substantially the same as the 2018 IS.

Read about the new Lexus IS »

If you want a new car for the price of used 2016 Lexus IS, you’re out of luck in the luxury class. However, you can buy a nicely outfitted 2018 Toyota Camry for that amount. The 2018 Camry is totally redesigned and comes with a rearview camera and Toyota Safety Sense, a bundle composed of a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The 2018 Camry starts at $23,495.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Lexus IS?

The 2016 Lexus IS has a reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power, which is above average for the industry. The only segment rivals that match that score are the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA and the 2016 Buick Cascada.

Read more about IS reliability »

2016 Lexus IS Recalls

As of this writing, there are no open recalls for the 2016 Lexus IS.

See more information on Lexus IS safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Lexus IS Is Best?

For 2016, Lexus introduced an available turbo model (200t) and an all-wheel-drive model (300 AWD) for the IS. Unless you’re committed to one of these, you can save $3,000 to $4,000 by choosing a 2014 IS or 2015 IS instead. They are little changed from the 2016 model. Both cars earn good scores (8.3 and 8.5, respectively). We don’t recommend the 2013 IS, which belonged to the previous generation.

The 2017 IS costs about $4,000 more than a 2016 IS, but the newer model comes with Lexus Safety System. This setup has a standard pre-collision braking system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane keep assist. If it’s in your budget, buy the 2017 IS. However, models from 2014 to 2016 are all good.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 IS »

Which Used Lexus IS Model Is Right for Me?

The Lexus IS comes in three trims: 200t, 300 AWD, and IS 350. The 200t comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, Bluetooth, iPhone integration with Siri voice recognition, an eight-speaker stereo, a 7-inch display screen, satellite radio, and two USB ports. The 300 AWD comes standard with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive. The IS 350 adds a more powerful V6 engine and an eight-speed transmission. All trims are also available as an F-Sport performance model, which comes with a sport-tuned suspension and distinctive interior and exterior styling. Stick with the 200t; it’s the most fuel-efficient and has all the standard equipment of other models.

See 2016 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.

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How Safe Is the IS?

The 2016 Lexus IS has a strong safety score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in all four crash tests, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a perfect five-star rating in the side and rollover crash tests. The IS earned four stars in the frontal crash test.

Available safety features in the IS include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic pre-collision braking.

See IS safety scores »

2016 Lexus IS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus IS or 2016 Audi A4?

The 2016 Audi A4's cabin technology can’t compete with the Lexus IS’. The A4 doesn’t even come with a USB port. However, if you want impressive performance, you'll probably prefer this Audi to the IS. The A4 has robust engine options, including its zippy base engine and available supercharged V6. The A4 stands out for its ride, which balances comfort and agility. It also has a luxurious interior.

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus IS or 2016 BMW 3 Series?

The 2016 BMW 3 Series is a sportier car than the IS, and those who like dynamic handling will prefer it to the comfort-focused IS. The BMW’s base engine is weaker than the IS’, but it gets better fuel economy. The 3 Series also has hybrid and diesel powertrains, as well as spacious back seats. In the end, this is a toss-up: choose the one that best fits your needs and desires.

Which Is Better: 2016 Lexus IS or 2016 Lexus GS?

The 2016 Lexus GS is a luxury midsize car that offers a bit more cargo and cabin space than the IS. The GS impresses with its handsome, upscale cabin and strong reliability score. Additionally, the GS has athletic handling and powerful engines. It’s a good choice if you need the extra space.

Compare the IS, A4, and 3 Series »

2016 IS Performance

How Does the 2016 Lexus IS Drive?

The 2016 Lexus IS offers dependable handling and precise steering. The IS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. The ride is refined and remains comfortable over rough patches of road.

The 2016 Lexus IS 200t comes with a turbocharged, 214-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while a 306-horsepower V6 engine is available. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. A 255-horsepower V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission come with all-wheel-drive models. The Lexus IS' base engine is plenty powerful, and the IS 350's 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers lively acceleration for passing and merging on the highway. The standard eight-speed automatic transmission is a great match for the engine.

Does the 2016 Lexus IS Get Good Gas Mileage?

According to the EPA, the 2016 Lexus IS 200t earns 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. That's slightly below average for the class. The IS 300 with the 306-horsepower V6 has an EPA rating of 19/28 mpg city/highway, while the IS with all-wheel drive has a rating of 19/26 mpg.

Read more about IS performance »

2016 IS Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 IS Seat?

The 2016 Lexus IS sedan seats five and comes standard with leatherette upholstery. Leather seats and heated and ventilated front seats are available. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, while the rear seats have a good amount of space for a couple of adults.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Lexus IS?

The IS has two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats. There's an additional upper tether on the rear middle seat. The IIHS rated the LATCH system in the IS as Marginal, the second-lowest rating, for ease of use.

2016 Lexus IS Features

Standard features in the 2016 Lexus IS include dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, Bluetooth, iPhone integration with Siri voice recognition, an eight-speaker stereo, a 7-inch display screen, satellite radio, and two USB ports. Available features include navigation with Lexus' Remote Touch controller, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, and Lexus Enform Remote, which allows you to use a smartphone app to remotely start, lock, and unlock the car, as well as control the climate settings.

The joystick that controls the navigation and infotainment systems is easy to use, but some might find the on-screen menus challenging to navigate. The other dashboard controls, including the touch-sensitive climate controls, are simple to operate.

See 2016 Lexus IS specs »

Read more about IS interior »

2016 Lexus IS Dimensions

Lexus IS Cargo Space

The 2016 Lexus IS sedan has 13.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is more than most cars in the class. The back seats fold forward to increase cargo-carrying capacity.

2016 IS Length and Weight

The 2016 Lexus IS measures 15.3 feet in length. Its curb weight ranges from 3,583 pounds up to 3,737 pounds. The IS has a gross vehicle weight rating of between 4,630 and 4,686 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Lexus IS Built?

The 2016 Lexus IS was built in Japan, along with the 2016 LS and the 2016 GX.

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