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2019 Lexus IS Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.6

There’s both good and bad news for the 2019 Lexus IS’ interior. On the plus side, the cabin boasts an air of sophistication. The driver and passengers will surely find it comfortable and serene. On the down side, the infotainment system can be frustrating for the driver to use, and the trunk is one of the smallest in the class.

  • "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
  • "Top-notch materials and superb attention to detail distinguish the interior. Every area where arms and elbows come into contact with the cabin is padded, and even the dashboard uses soft-touch materials. " -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "It comes as no surprise that the 2018 IS interior is impeccably assembled with high-quality materials everywhere. In keeping with the current Lexus styling theme, the center stack sits flush with the rest of the dash, improving accessibility and aesthetics." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Seating

The IS has five seats and synthetic leather upholstery. Heated and ventilated front seats are available, as well as a heated steering wheel. The front seats have more legroom than the majority of rivals and are reasonably comfortable. Although the back seat isn't particularly spacious, most test drivers agree that it is adult-friendly.

Installing a child safety seat into this small sedan is a relatively simple matter. The two sets of lower anchors are accessible, and all three tether anchors are easy to find.

  • "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)
  • Cabin space is not abundant. For an average-size driver, the center tunnel console seems needlessly wide, and the armrests can feel intrusive. The rear bench offers less legroom than you'll find in some competitors, and the center seat has marginal headroom." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Front passengers are comfortable, and rear legroom is acceptable, if not great." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Interior Features

The infotainment system in this Lexus is a frustrating one to use. There is no touch screen, so you have to make adjustments using either the standard knob or the optional mouse-like Remote Touch controller. Both clumsily navigate through the menus and compel the driver to divert attention away from the road. Fortunately, you can circumvent some of this irritation by using the included voice commands.

The base system features a 7-inch display screen, two USB ports, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, Scout GPS Link, and eight speakers. Other standard amenities include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and Lexus Safety System+. This safety suite includes a pre-collision system (forward collision warning combined with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking), lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Most upgrades are found in one of the IS’ five packages – Premium, Comfort, Navigation, Mark Levinson, and F Sport – offered on all IS models. Available options include a navigation system with a 10.3-inch display screen, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, a power rear sunshade, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and parking sensors.

See 2019 Lexus IS specs »

  • "Despite its numerous safety tech features, where the IS falls flat is in the infotainment department. Heck, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't even offered, so you're just left with Lexus Enform, which is perhaps the industry's worst infotainment interface. Graphically, the system is pleasing, but your blood might begin to boil as soon as you have to work through Enform's menus. That's because the IS' infotainment is managed through a joystick/mouse-based controller called Remote Touch. Using it is as frustrating as trying to remove a thorn from your foot with locally anesthetized fingers. Subsequent versions of Remote Touch now use a touchpad-based controller, which is bad in a totally different way." -- CNET
  • "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)
  • "The IS struggles with finding a balance between innovation and complication. The infotainment system interface lacks user-friendly qualities, and basic cupholder ergonomics seem like afterthoughts. This is a cabin with mediocre usability." -- Edmunds (2018)

Cargo

The IS has a 10.8-cubic-foot trunk, which is one of the smallest in the class. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat is standard. However, loading oversized items isn't always easy, as the seats don't lay completely flat.

  • "The smallish trunk (10.8 cubic feet) doesn't fold flat. The unevenness limits what you can carry with the seats down. Small-item storage up front is limited to the armrest bin, the door pockets and the glovebox." -- Edmunds (2018)
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