$19,659 - $25,004

2016 Lexus IS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lexus IS was new.


Performance: 8.3

Reviewers agree that the 2016 Lexus IS' base engine provides quick acceleration, and the IS 350's 3.5-liter V6 offers more power for easy highway passing and merging. Auto writers like the IS' composed handling and smooth ride. Fuel economy is somewhat low for the class.

  • "Every competitor in this segment offers exceptional driving dynamics; it's the price of entry, and the 2016 IS more than holds its own." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, it's not the sportiest car of its kind, but it strikes a nice balance between comfort and performance that should appeal to many shoppers." -- Edmunds
  • "Easy to drive, quick, and painless - the IS 200t might not be an enthusiast's first choice, but it'd hardly be a wrong one." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Lexus IS 200t comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower, while a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine is available. A 255-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission come with all-wheel drive models. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the 2016 Lexus IS 200t earns 22/33 mpg city/highway. That's slightly below average for the class.

Reviewers say 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. A few test drivers add that the standard eight-speed automatic transmission is a great match for the engine.

  • "The 2016 Lexus IS delivers satisfying power no matter which model you select. The IS 200t shares its turbocharged four-cylinder with the NX 200t crossover, where we've been impressed with this engine's refined zest." -- Edmunds
  • "The eight-speed automatic transmission is quite well suited for the brand and the car, I'd say. It mostly stayed out of my way, while in D, shifting unobtrusively during normal driving. The paddle-shift option is great for the occasional flights of motive fancy, but it's not lightning-quick, nor super engaging." -- Autoblog
  • "In terms of power, the 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines offer plenty of thrust for passing and merging." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Burying the accelerator pedal gives you a nice, satisfying blast of acceleration that will put you at extralegal speeds in no time." -- Jalopnik (2014 IS 350)

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Lexus IS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. Automotive journalists love the IS' refined ride and say it remains comfortable over rough patches of road. Reviewers agree that the IS offers dependable handling and precise steering.

  • "Handling is nippy with the F-Sport package, at least within the normal boundaries of public roads. The car stays neutral and flat under cornering loads, and the front end feels rather light and quick to turn in. Of course, take the same corners more aggressively, and you'll feel the car default to understeering, with power cut on exit until all four wheels are fully set and gripping. Don't expect to slide the IS around, in other words." -- Autoblog
  • "Around town it's all silky luxury, with a supple suspension that smothers bumps and blankets potholes. Then aim it around corners and it points like a curved laser. The steering feels like a machine tool, the brakes soak off speed, the tires get a handshake with asphalt, and the strong, responsive engines drive it down the straights or up the hills with smooth, committed purpose." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A variety of stability controls interferes with a true sport car enthusiast's enjoyment of the ride, but this is not a true sports car; it is one allowing those with sporty aspirations to feel a bit of power, a bit of swank and a bit of abandon." -- Forbes
  • "The IS sedan's precise, well-tuned steering is an unexpected pleasure that enhances driver confidence in all situations. Its upscale ride quality, however, is perhaps its best attribute, approaching the suppleness and refinement of the larger Lexus GS sedan. That largely holds true with the F Sport package, too, as long as you're talking about the IS 350 RWD with its standard adaptive dampers. Otherwise, the sport-tuned F Sport suspension can seem overly firm at times." -- Edmunds
  • "Being a Lexus, the ride quality errs on the side of comfort, but it's still sporting enough to transmit a good amount of road feel through the car." -- Jalopnik (2014)

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