It was a radical departure from what we expected from lexus, because here we had a compact luxury sedan that was rear, wheel, drive, it came standard with a straight six under the hood and it had available manual transmission. Now, unfortunately, for lexus, the current generation is has lost a lot of that first model's luster, so for 2021 lexus is making some pretty extensive updates to the is this year, it's still based off of the third generation model. So before you go thinking, this is an all new version, lexus, essentially just reskinned. The exterior styling gave us some new technology on the inside, and the company has said that they've greatly improved the handling dynamics. To make this thing an extremely fun to drive sports sedan. Now the new lexus is will continue to have an uphill battle in the u.s, with everybody buying crossovers. But the big question i want to answer with its new styling in the front and the rear and updated technology and improved handling, has lexus made enough changes to the is to keep this thing relevant that's. What we're here to find out Music, hey guys before we get started on the lexus, is review. I want to tell you about this amazing opportunity to win an even cooler tesla versus the one that i'm standing by i'm talking about a one of a kind brand new model x, performance tuned by our friends over at unplugged performance. You know the ones who build those crazy body kits for all those performance.
Oriented teslas you'll not only win that insane car, but an additional 20 000 in cash. All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is to click on the link in the description below it'll direct you over to our friends over at omaze.com forward, slash redline, where you'll enter for a chance to win this insane car plus the cash And to support a great cause now when the third generation is came out back in 2014, i was not the biggest fan of the styling. In fact today, i don't think the current car is aged very well, which is why i'm happy to say that lexus has made some pretty nice upgrades to the is for 2021.. This is a far better looking sedan. They debuted like seven eight years ago and really this is the way it should have looked when the car first came out, but you should remember this is still based off of the third generation model. Lexus did not invest on an all new platform, like acura did for the all new tlx. Now, as you can see, this particular one that i'm, showing you is a very nice color combination. This is the ultrasonic blue pearl color. This is an is350 f sport with the company's all wheel, drive system. You can see the front fascia wears the current corporate lexus face. You have the spindle grille front and center it's got these very nice big intricate l's.
They kind of make up the inner part of the grille you've got these full led headlights, which my tester has the upgraded triple beam full led headlights with an led daytime, running light and led low and high beams down. Here you can see some of the vents are fake, but you can see with the black accents in this bright blue color. This is a really attractive, looking sedan that i think lexus did a great job, making it look as new as it can considering. This is based off of an old platform, as you can see. Looking at the rest of the profile. This is a compact luxury sport sedan, so it competes with cars like the bmw, 3 series, an audi a4 mercedes, benz c class and even a tesla model, 3. and lexus did stretch this thing out a little bit more for the refresh. It stretches it around 185.7. Inches long about 1.2 inches longer, it still rides on the same 110 inch long, wheelbase lexus also made this car about 1.2 inches wider. To give this thing a sportier stance now, as you can see, my particular tester has a dynamic handling package that rolls, in these 19 inch bbs wheels, which are a little bit more lightweight. I, like the black finish i'm surprised to see that lexus didn't kind of paint the brake calipers to make this thing stand out. It would have been nice if it had blue or red painted calipers it's got a staggered wheel set up, especially if you guys go for the rear drive model.
My particular one is an all wheel, drive version, as you guys can see. Now you can see here as well: the roof just got a standard, sunroof lexus doesn't offer a panel roof on this thing and the rest of the side profile here looks pretty similar to the pre refreshed models. There'S a lot more kind of edges and creases here at the lower end, and then, when you look at the rear of this car, you can see there's a big changes that lexus made to this thing. Uh this year i don't particularly like the rear end design of this car. I think the trunk lid in particular for me kind of makes this thing look like a transformer like a robot per se. I do like how they've inverted the rear taillights of this thing. It'S got the full led tail lights, although the turn signals are an incandescent design, the reverse lights and brake lights are leds. You can see. They'Ve got this inter or this connecting portion here for the led tail lights. You'Ve got these nice dual exhaust tips down here, which are actually a real exhaust tip. Uh remember this is still has the same three and a half liter v6 engine, so we'll fire it up and you can hear how it sounds all right, so it's time to fire up that tried and true, v6 and let's hear how it sounds. I do sorry. Oh man, there's old people coming right now, should we wait all right, so let's fire up that old v6 or that tried and true v6 and see how it Music sounds now the nice thing about this car is there's, no silly limiter on it and it actually Still makes a pretty nice growl, i don't know if there's a difference in toggling to sport, plus i did but okay didn't do anything until halfway through it's fine.
It actually sounded better than the genesis. Now lexus and toyota make a pretty sweet sounding v6. So we'll talk about that more. When we go into the test drive now opening up the trunk capacity, i don't have full figures yet for the cargo capacity lexus doesn't have that available. Yet, as of this filming, but you can see here – the current lexus is has a pretty small trunk. I think it measures under 12 cubic feet. This looks pretty similar. The seats do remain a 60 forward. 40 folding design, though now moving on to the interior of the new 2021 is for how much effort lexus put into changing the exterior look of this car. The inside is definitely more of a playing it safe, maybe even lazier effort there, just aren't enough changes for me to make this thing feel as new on the inside as it does on the outside. As you can see, my tester is the f sport model. It includes this really interesting, gray, matte, finish: wood it's like a genuine wood. It actually feels really nice. I, like it um. The black interior of my tester, however, is pretty dark. You can go for a red or a new lux or i'm. Sorry, a beige, leather or even a gray, leather lexus offers that, although i wish mine had a little bit more color, you can see the door panel is pretty much the same. There'S a couple of new patterns there.
More of that wood grain, which is interesting, is carried through. You have a plastic plastic silver painted plastic door, handle it's hard touch plastic down here, but soft touch on this upper portion. When i shut the door, it has a relatively solid sounding thunk. Remember, it's not a new platform. Now the key fob also hasn't changed uh. This is the older lexus key fob. They do have a newer key fob on some of their other models. The engine start stop button is a little bit higher up on the dash and, as you can see, the f sport model includes this eight inch um full lcd display, which is definitely looking a little bit. Small it's got that cool, lexus, lfa style gauge pod. That does move to the side or to the center by pushing a button on the steering wheel, uh that's, a pretty cool feature, or it was cool. You know, 10 years ago it's starting to look a little small. Now i do like how it still moves and if you start switching over the drive mode, you can see it kind of changes. The way this looks uh sport plus, is the one that gives you the all white display, which is nice. You can see there is the newest chain or the biggest change for the interior, this new 10 and a quarter inch touchscreen. Now you can see. Lexus has pushed the screen out much farther, so i can reach this to touch, which is nice.
You can see. It'S got android, auto and apple carplay, but it is not wireless. The screen itself is a huge improvement um, although you know when you go back to the lexus system here, this looks incredibly old, um don't love that you can see when you use the you know home button down here by the track pad. You can see. Those are your usual different sources. The gps is looking pretty old. The audio system you can see, looks kind of old. You can still do this split screen thing if you'd like so really. Most of you are probably just going to want to use the apple carplay, which definitely makes the interior feel a lot more modern. Everything else about this interior is pretty much the same. The dashboard has a soft touch: injection molded plastic, with some faux stitching there's, some genuine stitching here on the instrument panel hood um. This over here is also soft touch, which is nice. The steering wheel is uh manual, tilt and telescoping, which is funny because i believe lexus offers a power tilt and telescope. If you guys go for a luxury package, the center stack here, hasn't changed. The vents looks slightly different. They added some piano black plastic trim here, which just shows fingerprints like crazy. You still have these touch sensitive slider here for the dual zone: climate control, these very small buttons, a cd player as well – who the heck still uses that the vents you can see on the driver's side and the passenger side are now a circular vent.
So that's a new addition as well. The steering wheel, airbag cover, looks slightly different, but why couldn't lexus put a new steering wall in this car? It still has that old toyota cruise control stock here lexus, has a newer steering wheel in the es. They should have put it in this car. I don't understand why not you got a heated steering wheel, which is nice. You have heated and ventilated seats, which is good. This is controlling the six speed automatic, which is a very old school gated shifter. When you put the vehicle into reverse, you can see there's a 360 camera with a top down view. The graphics look! Okay, although i've been seeing better graphics on more mainstream brands, toyotas, including so you have to you, know wonder what they're doing here. You can see the trackpad remains, but if you'd like, you can also use it as a touch screen and that works whenever you're driving, which is nice uh, your drive mode selector, is over here. You'Ve got a few more buttons here for your brake. Hold stability, control off there's, a snow mode. This is a nice padded area here, where you can rest your your elbows. You got two cupholders and the storage bin here is relatively good size it's pretty deep um, but it is a little bit lacking here on this part because of this massive cd player which lexus could get rid of, and i could have even more storage over there.
The seats you can see the f sport model has specific seats. They adjust in uh 12 different ways. Although my tester doesn't have memory seats for the driver, which is frustrating the glove compartment you can see, is an average size, it's stamped, but not lined with felt and then above me, just a standard. Sunroof lexus does not offer a panel roof on this car. So, overall, the interior is the biggest letdown about this refresh aside from the new screen here and some new color options, it is basically the same car that we saw back in 2013. now getting into the back seat of the new. Is the old one had a pretty cramped back seat? Remember this is a compact luxury sports today and this new one here i don't have official figures yet as of the filming, but you will see there's a large hump here that does intrude into your space. Remember this is a rear, drive, chassis and i'd probably say this thing has around 35 36 inches of legroom it's, pretty much on par with other compact luxury sedans in the segment in terms of features. I'Ve got rear seat, air vents, but you don't have like your own set of climate control systems back here you have uh a nice armors here that folds down lexus gives you these pop out cup holders um, but there's, no additional storage. Here you have two map pockets and then the materials back here are also soft touch, just like the front seats.
But if you're looking for like usb ports back here or heated rear seats, i'm, sorry you're gon na have to look at the competition. Now, underneath the hood of the 2021 is i'm, pretty sad to report that lexus didn't make any changes for to the powertrain. You still have a choice of three different engine: combinations, uh from a two liter turbo four cylinder to two three and a half liter v6. The is350 continues to be powered by the company's high output. Three and a half liter v6 it's got direct and port injection it's, a naturally aspirated v6 and a world full of turbocharged competitors and, of course, electric competitors like tesla. This seems pretty old school. So a lot of you, lexus, enthusiasts and faith will be, could be happy about that because it's lexus reliability, but you should know the output figures are 311 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque. Those numbers were excellent about 15 years ago, so lexus really should have upped the power on this thing and they do have a 3.5 liter twin turbo v6 in the ls500 i'm surprised. I don't see that underneath the hood of this vehicle, although lexus did patent um, the name is 500, so there could be a chance that lexus may do an is 500 or an isf with the 5 liter v8. So we'll have to wait and see, but this particular powertrain with all wheel drive, is made into a six speed automatic transmission six speeds when even a toyota camry has an eight speed auto.
So you really see how dated this is. When you guys go for a rear drive, is it will give you the eight speed automatic and you can also get that with a limited slip, differential now fuel economy? For this particular one is rated at 19 in the city 26 on the highway premium is recommended. I don't have the final weight figures yet, but you should know this is down on power compared to its competitors by as much as 100 horsepower, depending on which one you're looking at so obviously, you guys can pretty much feel sense. My disappointment in lexus how you know the is is just merely a refresh of an old model. The biggest disappointment, however, is the interior and the engines. They have not changed whatsoever. So the one i'm driving is an is 350 f sport. With all wheel drive, you can technically still buy this powertrain in the pre refreshed models. It has a six speed automatic transmission, and this is essentially the same kind of power, train you're gon na get from a toyota camry with a v6. It has 10 more horsepower, though, than the camry like 12 more pound feet of torque. The camry technically has two more gears than this transmission. I will say that it is a responsive automatic, like i floored it there from a stop and it actually was pretty good at downshifting and it sounds good, although the noise is definitely synthesized, it's a screaming engine, so i like the naturally aspirated noise.
If you guys are looking for a naturally aspirated v6, the lexus is one of the few that still offers it, especially in the world full of turbocharged four cylinders. You may want to choose this for its v6 because you know it's going to be damn reliable. You know it's been built for so many years. Lexus has this powertrain down, you know to a t in terms of build quality and um, just how long it's been around okay, so it feels like it'll get to 16, probably 5.8 seconds, which is perfectly adequate. Although the four cylinder turbo competitors are quicker than this car still, but they won't be able to match this thing for noise, but i will say that the fake noise – some of you may not like that. I can turn that off right here. Through this little switch and when i do that Music it's – definitely not as loud when you do that, but there was a slight shutter there from the automatic this 6 speed – just you know, was a great transmission 10 years ago and today it's just starting to feel A little bit behind the times now in terms of the rest of the car lexus has made changes to the suspension on this car to make it handle better. It still rides really well. This one has the adaptive variable suspension, so it has a very comfortable, controlled ride. Quality i'm, pretty impressed with how smooth the ride is even in sport plus setting the steering also provides a good amount of feedback.
I like the way the overall you know car feels it's. Just a really you know well planted. You know sporty stiff feeling car still, even though the chassis dates back to you know, 2014.. In terms of the rest of the driving dynamics, i find the seats to also be really comfortable typical lexus seats where they're soft uh supportive. This one has a little bit more aggressive, bolstering extensions to give this thing more of like that, hugging feel because it's, the f sport model visibility in the is also is not bad it's, pretty much what i expect from this vehicle it hasn't it feels like i'm Driving the same car aside from the infotainment system being pushed forward a little bit, the side mirrors haven't changed the steering wheel, looks the same. The gauge display looks the same. It still stays relatively quiet in here when you're not pushing the engine. It has those typical lexus qualities and in terms of the safety tech. This is now the lexus safety system, 2.5, so it's not like the newest newest system, but it has been upgraded from the 2.0 system that you got in the pre refresh models, but really the biggest disappointment is the fact that you can get a v6 camry, which Is front wheel, drive and it gets to 60 in roughly the same amount of time as this car, and this is a lexus it's, a lexus that costs significantly more than a toyota and that's precisely why there should have been a three and a half liter twin Turbo v6 under the hood they've got that engine in the ls.
I just don't understand why they couldn't have stuffed it into this car. It would have made for a huge improvement. It would have changed the driving dynamics completely, but you can't argue with that sound. I do like that sound a lot so it's, still a good engine, it's going to be a reliable engine, it's still a relatively sporty driving car. The problem is, the competition has moved significantly farther than this, and i question if lexus has done enough. I question that now in terms of fuel economy 1926 is the mpg for this car. In my weeks or my couple days of having it it's been averaging around 22 mpg, so not bad gas mileage uh premium is recommended. I don't think you have to actually put premium in it so decent gas mileage. This is a naturally aspirated engine, so typically it's going to get better gas mileage in the real world, but overall, still a nice driving luxury sports sedan. That'S still cramped on the inside gets decent gas mileage looks good, looks a lot better now, but is it enough? Have they done enough changes to make this thing still? You know worthy of your of your consideration. So, as you guys can imagine, i was pretty disappointed that the new is is technically not an all new version, but i am saying that i'm surprised to see that lexus did a pretty good job with the overall design of this thing, i think it's a much Better looking car, especially this particular you know – version with the f sport package, but in terms of the driving dynamics, it still very much drives like an is it's very sporty yet comfortable.
The interior is still on the cramped side, and the technology lexus did obviously improve the infotainment system and some of the features in this thing it's a little bit easier to use but i'm pretty disappointed with the powertrain. The engine is still the same. It has that lazy, six speed, automatic it's, still very smooth it's gon na be reliable, but i just wish that lexus had pushed the envelope of this thing. A lot more, especially with new competitors like the all new tlx that's coming out. That has a twin turbo. V6, you can also get an audi s4, for example, a 3 series, an s, a c class, an audi a4 or even a tesla model 3.. So the is is pretty lacking in terms of being distinctive and that's. I think the biggest problem with the current model so i'm pretty disappointed to see that we don't have like an is 500 or isf, although there is rumors that those models are coming so you'll have to stay tuned. If you guys really want to get a new. Is but speaking of which, if you're looking to buy one of these things, what's it going to cost well, lexus did increase the price of this car by a little bit it's about 500 more this year. It starts at around ' 000 for the base is 200. With rear drive, my particular one is the is 350 all wheel drive with the s4 package and that's roughly going to start around 46 000 now here's the kicker.
My tester has roughly 10 000 worth of options on it from the dynamic handling package to the f sport package to the mark, levinson sound to the navigation system package to the upgraded interior, which makes this thing around fifty six thousand dollars. Fifty six grand is a lot of money for this car um it's gon na be more expensive than something like the new acura tlx more expensive than a tesla model, three a little bit less expensive than its german competitors. But i would argue that the german competitors for a little bit more give you way more horsepower and a lot a lot more technology on the inside. So really unless you're a huge fan of lexus and you want lexus reliability. There'S. Very little reason for me to choose this car until lexus decides to upgrade the powertrain give us an all new platform, but with sedan sales continuing to shrink over the years to crossovers. I can see why lexus also didn't want to spend that much r d money in developing an all new platform, but with all that said, i hope you guys have enjoyed my full overview on this. 2021. Lexus is 350 with the f sport package. If you're also looking to see the latest cars, i'm testing be sure to follow me on instagram redline underscore reviews like us on facebook and as always guys, please keep subscribing to the redline reviews youtube channel for all the latest reviews.
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