2014 Lexus IS
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: Summer 2013
Expected Pricing: $34,000-$41,000
A new Lexus IS lineup goes on sale this summer. The all-new 2014 Lexus IS rides on a longer wheelbase, which gives rear passengers three more inches of legroom. Other updates include a more rigid body, electric steering and a multilink suspension borrowed from the GS and 60/40 split folding rear seats.
It's a bold new look for the Lexus IS, which made its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With the compact luxury sports car segment more crowded than ever, automakers are scrambling to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
The most noticeable differences in the refreshed sedan are up front, with a revised bumper, L-shaped LED daytime running lamps and Lexus's big-mouthed, hourglass-shaped spindle grille. The new look gets mixed reviews, and while not all would call the new IS pretty, nearly everyone agrees it's distinctive.
Two variants will be available in the U.S. when the new IS goes on sale. The 2014 Lexus IS 250 will be available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 that makes 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Lexus IS 350 makes 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of a 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6. It's paired with the same 8-speed automatic transmission found in the Lexus IS-F sedan. Like the GS, the IS offers different driving modes that tweak suspension and driving dynamics that range from conservative to sporty.
A hybrid version, the Lexus IS 300h, was shown to journalists at the Detroit auto show, but currently it's only planned for Japanese and European markets. No word on whether it will eventually make it to U.S.
The 2014 Lexus IS is scheduled to be available at dealerships in June 2013. Official pricing hasn't been released, but we expect prices to stay in the same neighborhood as the outgoing models, starting at about $36,000.