Growing up, I tend to imagine I have grown wiser and better with age. The reviews I wrote three years ago look like chicken scratch to me now, and I have to say that’s its better off that way. The same can not be said about the 2019 Lexus IS300. Age has not been kind to Lexus’ smaller sedan.
The 2019 Lexus IS300 has a 3.5L v6 and a 6 speed automatic transmission. The 3.5L featured in the Lexus is a very common motor offered from Toyota. They put it in not only a large variety of Lexus vehicles, but they also put it in the Camry, Tacoma, and Sienna. That’s not a bad thing if reliability is at the top of your list. Your Lexus will last as long as a Toyota minivan, which is about half as long as the earth has been around. I just don’t find the 3.5L that interesting. The old IS300s had a naturally aspirated straight six known as the 2JZ. Yes, a naturally aspirated version of the Toyota Supra motor from the late nineteen nineties. So comparatively, the 3.5L doesn’t have nearly the legendary status of the 2JZ. This also brings me to the transmission. The automatic is great! It shifts nice and smooth, the F-sport package lets you shift on your own if you would like, and I don’t dislike it by any means. However, there is no manual transmission offered in the modern IS300. I miss it. I think the old IS300 was a great sporty car with amazing features, which is why it still fairs well on the second had market. Maybe I just long for the past.
The interior is full of fantastic features. Heated seats, HD radio, and driver assists are all standard in the IS300. It feels like a very classy car, and stays competitive with other higher end brands. I really dislike the scroll pad for the infotainment screen, since it has a rather numb feeling, but besides that I don’t have any real complaints. The F-Sport package has a slight effect on the interior design, adding flair in certain spots. The F-Sport gauge cluster is the main attraction. When switching to sport mode, there is a physical gauge the moves over to the right of the cluster on a track. Gimmicky, sure, but I have to say watching the gauges move into a sportier position makes me smile every time, even if it is only for an on-ramp.
The IS300 is a good car. It makes enough power, it’s comfortable, and luxurious enough to justify the price tag. It just lacks the personality and sporty-ness that the previous IS300 had. For me, a car enthusiast, I look for cars that are unique and engaging. The IS300 used to be that, but it isn’t anymore. And that’s okay. If you are looking to purchase a luxury car, the 2019 Lexus IS300 should be on your list. If you are a car enthusiast that eat, sleeps, and breathes cars, you might want to look elsewhere.
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