MSRP
$38,560
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2020 Lexus IS Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 5.6

The 2020 Lexus IS features premium cabin materials that are on par with rival sedans from competitors like Mercedes-Benz. The interior is a little outdated, however, and reviewers are divided on its roominess. The infotainment system’s finicky controllers make it difficult to navigate through the menus, which can be distracting for drivers, though the voice command system works well.

  • While materials are high quality and an optional interactive instrument panel is badass, the dashboard design looks old, and rivals have more rear-seat legroom." -- Car and Driver
  • "The IS 300 can compete with the BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes of the world. Drivers will feel pampered with top-notch interior quality and fit and finish that seems to block out the rest of the world." -- Edmunds
  • "Happily, the rest of the IS' interior is a pleasant experience. The cabin is remarkably enveloping thanks to the high center console, but it never feels cramped from any seat in the house. The driver's seat, specifically, left me feeling fresh after a long drive through the mountains. In addition, my back-seat passenger was also pleased with the amount of comfort she felt after our extended Sunday drive." -- CNET (2019)

Seating

The Lexus IS has a comfortable cabin with two rows of cozy seats and plush armrests. Most reviewers say the IS has more than enough space for most adults in both rows, but some say head- and legroom are limited.

Synthetic leather upholstery is standard. Unlike most rivals, the IS isn't available with genuine leather upholstery. Heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel are available.

For securing child safety seats, there are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, in addition to a tether-only connection for the rear middle seat.

  • "Interior comfort is nearly overshadowed by the IS 300's tight dimensions, which can overcomplicate a simple act like turning the steering wheel without rubbing up against your knee. The wide center console leaves little room to maneuver, and the wheel does not have much tilt and telescoping range. Armrests are comfortable, and there's a padded surface to rest your hand while using the infotainment joystick. Headroom is limited in the rear and the transmission tunnel makes for an uncomfortable middle seat. The car's low height and sloping roofline also force passengers to dip inside, and huge rear pillars create blind spots that call for the optional parking sensors and rearview camera." -- Edmunds
  • "Comfort is a major plus point, both up front and in the back, where space is more than sufficient for a couple of adults." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "Front passengers are comfortable, and rear legroom is acceptable, if not great." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Interior Features

The standard infotainment system inclues a 7-inch display, Bluetooth, HD Radio, two USB ports, satellite radio, and a 10-speaker audio system. A moonroof and dual-zone automatic climate control are also standard. A navigation system with a 10.3-inch display, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, and a power rear sunshade are optional.

The infotainment system features a standard rotary knob or an available Remote Touch controller (in models with navigation). Both controllers are difficult to operate and can be distracting for drivers navigating through menus, particularly the Remote Touch controller, which operates like a computer mouse. Also, the IS isn't available with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Many rivals offer these features, which allow you to easily connect your smartphone to the car’s infotainment system. However, the IS’ voice command system works great.

All models come with a rearview camera and Lexus Safety System+. This package includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and high-speed adaptive cruise control. A pre-collision system that includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking is also standard. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and parking sensors are available.

See 2020 Lexus IS specs »

  • "While its response times were fair in our testing, neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto capability is available, and the touchpad that accompanies the larger center screen is the opposite of intuitive." -- Car and Driver
  • "Lexus poses quite a dilemna (sic) with its infotainment controller, which makes moving through the on-board menus a clumsy endeavor. Worse, the IS 300 still does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Instead, owners can connect with Siri Eyes Free, or opt for Lexus Enform Remote and access certain functions of their vehicle through smartphones, smartwatches and Amazon Alexa devices. But it's a major oversight on a modern luxury car. Otherwise, the IS 300 has strong voice recognition technology and comes standard with advanced safety like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. But with an interface stuck in the Stone Age, it's time for an overnight update." -- Edmunds
  • "The Remote Touch interface that comes with the navigation system isn't up to the same standard as the rest of the car's ergonomics. It's hard to control the cursor, especially when driving. At least the voice command function works well." -- Autotrader (2018)

Cargo

With 10.8 cubic feet of space, the Lexus IS has one of the smallest trunks in the luxury small car class. The shape of the trunk and the inability to lay the rear seats completely flat make it difficult to load oversized cargo, and small-item storage inside the cabin is limited as well. A 60/40-split-folding rear seat is standard.

  • Using the IS to transport carry-on luggage is hindered by a tight trunk and a rear seat that doesn't fold completely flat. Despite limited trunk volume, the IS held the same five carry-ons as top competitors. The rear seats drop via handles in the trunk, but even with the seats folded, the car still held four fewer carry-ons than the BMW 330i and the Audi A4." -- Car and Driver
  • "Tightness in the cabin continues around to the rear trunk as well. Cargo space is on the small side for this class, at 10.8 cubic feet. You also have to bend over to slide your bags in because the top of the trunk is inset compared with the bottom." -- Edmunds
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2020 Lexus IS

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