2015 Lexus IS 250
Rating:Star4 Star Star Star Star
It might seem unfair to say the Lexus IS250 is the entry level sports sedan for Lexus, but in reality that is exactly where this sedan sits in the lineup. Hey, that’s not a bad thing. There are two models in the IS lineup, the IS250 and the IS350. Both designations refer to the engine displacement. As one might expect the IS350 offers more power, more features and more performance culminating in more smiles.
My test vehicle is the IS250 partly because I wanted to judge the positives found on the IS250 before testing the more powerful 3.5-liter. And that is where the huge distance the IS350 puts on its smaller sibling, power. While both cars are outfitted with V-6 engines the IS250 has a smallish 2.5-liter power plant, which is about the size of most popular four-cylinder engines producing about the same performance. That is where the smaller engine falters. It is in the comparison, not its abilities for the 2.5 V-6 does fine in its own realm even though it is down 100 horsepower from the larger engine’s 306 horsepower.
With 204 horsepower the response is quite good, but you will notice the fewer ponies. It appears Lexus picked the smaller V-6 here rather than a four-cylinder to keep things smooth as V-6 engines tend to run smoother than smaller four bangers. The drawback is this engine doesn’t do much better on fuel economy than the larger 3.5-liter engine. So, beyond MSRP it might be better to jump to the IS350 get lots of power for a little sacrifice in price.
One of the reasons for the fuel economy conundrum is the IS250 is coupled to a 6-speed automatic while the IS350 puts its power to the road via an 8-speed auto. Again, here we see a pricing situation. To keep the IS250 under the $40K mark certain equipment was not used.
One very important factor I just noted is this Lexus is priced under $40,000 and you get a great deal of luxury equipment and Lexus panache. You get an exterior design that is every bit as attractive as any offering in the category and you get an interior that is equally well designed and assembled. The interior is, as expected well put together with panels and trim that flow easily into one another. Every touch point feels good to the hand with an elegance only a fine automobile can convey.
Every gauge, switch and control is easily viewed and operated save for the controller for the infotainment system as it is ultra touchy, making selecting functions an art. Particularly when driving, as taking your eyes off the road is not a good thing.
The 2015 IS250 is available with the new addition for convenience, the Enform mobile app which enables the driver to access features such as remote start, location finder and vehicle status check. Enform is appropriately named as one of its features alerts you if preset limits such as speed or distance are surpassed. So, if you happen to loan your Lexus to another you will be able to immediately know if the vehicle exceeded one of your limits. Just a little too much Big Brother for me, but then again all my children are grown with children of their own, so it is more their concern than mine. Not saying this just for young drivers.
Even though this little V-6 produces a minimal 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft. of torque it feels as though it has the gumption to get down the road with authority. The gearing of the 6-speed automatic is set so to give excellent acceleration from stops, yet in higher gears the ability to smoothly cruise the interstates.
The rear seat of the redesigned platform offers more leg room for your passengers, although I did have to change my adjustments from my normal setting to accommodate the passenger behind the driver. It wasn’t unduly uncomfortable for either of us.
If you are one who likes to carry gobs of stuff, say golf bags you will be astonished at the massive room provided in the IS250 trunk. The opening provided by the large trunk lid makes loading and unloading a breeze. The first time I ventured to place a bag here I almost lost sight of the thing as I tossed in it nearly sailed to the front of the car, or so it seemed.
The Lexus IS250 is an entry level sports sedan that will satisfy a large contingent of drivers who do not necessarily want a truly hot performance car yet want to feel acceleration and spirited driving without the added power and cost. This sedan carries the Lexus trademark luxurious ride along with performance that will satisfy a majority of drivers.