2020 Lexus IS 300

#15
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$38,560 - $41,010
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7.2

Overall Rating

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2020 Lexus IS 300 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 21, 2020

Aaron Smith's image
Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist


Lexus is back for the 2020 iteration of its small luxury sedan, the IS 300. The ride boasts all signs of a performance car, including a sweeping body, pinched grille, and prominent air intakes. However, despite its look, the IS 300 Sedan is one heck of a comfortable cruiser. 

If you 're in the market for a sedan that doesn't 't come from Europe, Japan has an answer in the form of Lexus IS300. All-new looks make the IS a little more interesting than the rivals. It has been given several curves and katana like slashes all over which gives it a lot more appeal.

Notable competitors include the BMW 330i Sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan. IS 300 is bested by rivals in terms of performance and cargo capacity. Nonetheless, the ride fights back with a plethora of standard features, a gratifying safety scorecard, and an impressive ride quality.

See detailed review »

Pros

Superb handling

Striking design and dimensions

Feature rich interior

Noise-free cabin

Cons

Uninspiring V6 powertrain

Cramped Second Row seats

No Apple Carplay or Android Auto

What's New?

Updated Infotainment System

Refreshed aesthetics

New Backline edition adds black/indigo trim and exclusive wheels


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$38560

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

143 mph

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

241 hp @ 5800 rpm

torque

258 lbs.-ft. @ 1650 rpm

transmission

8-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

13.2/13.2

dimensions

wheelbase

110.2 in.

length

184.3 in.

width

71.3 in.

height

56.3 in.

curb weight

3583 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

90.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

10.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

7716 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.7 sec.

standing ¼-mile

17.6 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

19/26/21 mpg

highway range

452.4 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr. /50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr. /unlimited

roadside assistance

4 yr. /unlimited


Pictures & Videos

Videos
2020 Lexus IS 300 Exterior video

Styles

2020 Lexus IS 300 in Atomic Silver color 2020 Lexus IS 300 in Caviar color 2020 Lexus IS 300 in Eminent White Pearl color 2020 Lexus IS 300 in Liquid Platinum color 2020 Lexus IS 300 in Nebula Gray Pearl color
Atomic Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

6.5

Interior

6.5

Exterior

8.0

Competition

7.0

7.2

OVERALL RATING

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Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Lexus IS 300 Base

Base

power
260 hp @ 6400 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (required)
mpg
21 combined

$38,560 - $41,010


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $38,560 MSRP (19/21/26) 241 hp @ 5800 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (required)
8-speed shiftable automatic rear wheel drive 5
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) Starting at $41,010 MSRP (19/21/26) 260 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.5 L, V-6, premium unleaded (required)
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.2

Overall Rating


Lexus has been striving tough from the inception to reach up with all the ruling opponents in the luxury segment. It is powered by two sets of engines with a negligible power gap. The design is impressive, to say the least, and is prevalent with fine lines. The design has always been an essential part of Lexus.

Lexus IS 300 starts from $40,200 and comes loaded with standard features such as 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, sunroof, keyless entry, power-adjustable front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Rear View

6.5/10
Features

6.5/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Competition


2020 Lexus IS 300 Features

6.5/10

There is a standalone trim available for the 2018 Lexus IS 300, namely IS 300. Furthermore, each of the trim is available in 2 variants, rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. Pricing options for the IS 300 starts from $38,210. The AWD variant for the former is priced $2.45k more and the latter is $2.05k extra. The base trim is loaded with all the latest features which is in itself a complete package. 

Trims

Base

MSRP(RWD)

$38,560

MSRP(AWD) $41010

Engine(RWD)

2.0L I4

Engine(AWD) 3.5L V6

Features

Paddle-Shift Transmission

 

Triple-Beam Headlamps

 

10.3-inch multimedia Display

 

Performance Driving Modes

 

Lexus ENFORM comfort kit

 

Touch-based Climate Controls

 

Intuitive Digital Instrumentation

 

Lexus Safety System

 

G-force and Turbo Boost Displays

 

Illuminated Entry System

 

Homelink System

Along with the various trims options, an array of optional packages are also available. These packages mostly focus on creature comforts. 

Various Add-On packages available:

Package Name

Navigation 

Mark Levinson Premium Audio

Premium 

MSRP

$1745

$2845

$1510(RWD)/

$1070(AWD)

Features

Navigation System with 10.3-inch Split-screen Multimedia Display

All the Features in Navigation Package and:

Lexus Memory System

 

Lexus Enform Destination Assist

Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System

Auto-dimming Outside Mirrors

 

Lexus Enform App Suite

 

Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

 

Remote Touch

 

PowerTilt and telescopic Steering Wheel

     

Blind Spot Monitor With Rear Cross Traffic Alert

     

Rain Sensing Wipers

We recommend

Even the features which are not standard are mostly available as optional upgrades. So, if you're looking for a luxurious sedan powerful enough for daily drives, the Lexus IS 300 RWD would suit you nicely.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Engine and Performance

The base IS 300 is powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four which puts out 241hp and 258lb-ft of torque. Lexus RWD IS 300 is powered by a 3.5L V6 naturally aspirated engine that generates 260 horses and 236-pound feet of torque. It's a nice change from the world of turbochargers as naturally aspirated engines have declined a lot. 

2020 Lexus IS 300 Engine

The IS 300 with Rear-wheel-drive proceed with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive alternatives have a six-speed automatic. Though the eternal power figures is a disheartening factor, all the vehicular sense are designated to a change. You get a more peppy engine with suitable thrust and seamless power distribution.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

MSRP

$38,560

$39,900

$37,490

$40,750

Engine

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

2.0L Turbo I4

Transmission

8-speed Sequential Shift

8-speed Automatic

7-speed Automatic

8-speed Automatic

Horsepower

241hp @5800rpm

247hp @5500rpm

248hp

255hp @5000rpm

Torque

258lb-ft @1650rpm

260 lb-ft @1300rpm

273lb-ft

295lb-ft @1550rpm

The entry-level vehicle is the most investigated division in the business, with fresh listings flowing in every six months. All of the opponents are powered by a 2L turbocharged inline-4 and power numbers are in the near vicinity. The beemer is the most powerful of the lot with 255 horses and 295lb-ft of torque. The Lexus is the least convincing with 241 ponies under the hood.

Acceleration

Lexus IS 300 with the inline-four does 0-60MPH run in 8.3 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 16.2 seconds. Lexus has a naturally aspirated which will not have the best of accelerations but it does improve the time by a small margin.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

0-60 MPH

6.9s

6.5s(est.)

5.6s

5.6s

Quarter mile

17.6

15.3s(est.)

 

14.0

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15k mi/yr)

7.4

6.3

6.5

6.3

Without a doubt, Lexus is the most deliberate of the group. Being the heaviest car with the least powerful engine outcomes in such ordinary dash timing. The Audi A4 and BMW 330i are the most responsive of the division with a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds.

Ride and Handling

In contrast to the previous iteration of the Lexus IS 300 Sedan, the new incarnation supports a rather playful suspension. Every time the pedal is kicked, the engine groans at a satisfying note. The sedan boasts direct, precise steering, which is fun to delve into around corners too.

As soon as the accelerator is pressed hard, the true sporty nature of the IS 300 is exposed. For twisting and twirling paths, Lexus comes with ample horsepower and cornering capability. The F Sport trim comes with bigger wheels, more aggressive driving parameters, and firmer ride quality.

Drivability is a forte of Lexus IS and it doesn't disappoint. The handling is superb with excellent steering and great body control. It is a very relaxing vehicle to drive and also the most entertaining. It offers massive amounts of grip and never makes you feel nervous when going around tight bends.

Braking

Lexus IS comes equipped with ventilated discs front and rear with a size of 13.1 inches for the former and 12.2 inches for the latter. The brakes are reliable but it takes some distance to stop from 60-0MPH at 125 feet.

The IS 300 has ample braking power, though it's a bit slow due to the bulky 3583 lbs. of curb weight. 

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Brake Front (in.)

13.1

13.8

13.3

N/A

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

12.8

13

N/A

60-0 MPH (ft)

125

N/A

N/A

103

BMW 330i takes the least distance of 103 feet in the competition for coming to a complete halt. Lexus has the second-best brake size but has a dismal stopping distance which places it in the last place.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Fuel Economy

While in cities, the IS 300 delivers 21 mpg, the ride offers 30 mpg on highways. The small luxury sedan offers 24 mpg as a combined fuel economy. This is impressive, though slightly less than that offered by its class rivals. The all-wheel-drive variant with V6 powertrain reduces the number to a more acute side.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

MPG (city)

21

24

23

26

MPG (highway)

30

34

33

36

MPG (combined)

24

27

27

30

Looking at the numbers, BMW has the best highway MPG of 30 thanks to its 8-speed gearbox. The Audi A4 and Jaguar XE are equaled at 27MPG. The IS 300 loses the battle when it comes to fuel economy.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Interior

6.5/10

The interior of Lexus is spacious. It has loads of room for passengers. The seats provide maximum support and comfort up front but the rear passengers are short on space in the legroom department. The rest of the cabin of Lexus feels gorgeous with the dashboard being uniquely designed. The inside is as much of a luxury as any German car, though the styling is unparalleled and homogenous to Lexus performance cars.

 2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Front Seats

The ride offers ample 38.2 inches of front headroom, in addition to super-spacious 44.8 inches of front legroom. The latter is, in fact, the maximum front legroom available in the competition. As for the maximum front headroom, it is supported by the 330i, measuring 40.3 inches.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.2/55.9/44.8

37.0/56.8/41.5

38.9/55.9/41.3

38.7/56.0/42.0

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

36.9/53.4/32.2

37.0/54.7/35.0

37.4/54.4/35.7

37.6/54.6/35.2

The rear-seating, unfortunately, is constricted in the IS 300 . While the rear headroom of 36.9 inches is acceptable, the 32.2 inches of legroom is simply too small to be true. The 330i and A4 offer the maximum rear headroom and legroom, respectively of 37.7 and 35.7 inches.

Interior Features

  • Heated And Ventilated Front Seats
  • Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel and Shift Knob
  • Deluxe Interior Trim
  • Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Power Rear Sunshade

Infotainment System 

The Lexus IS 300 comes with a hi-res, crisp 7.0-inch infotainment display. It is complemented by a 10-speaker stereo system. The infotainment system is easy to use, though it can be distracting at times. Probably the biggest issue with the infotainment system is the lack of support for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Though there is a touchpad is available, it is better to avoid using the same. A redeeming feature for the infotainment system is the GPS app, which offers detailed and precise turn-by-turn navigation directions. Connectivity options are available in the form of AUX input, Bluetooth, and USB. Furthermore, voice support is also there.

Cargo Capacity

Lexus IS300 is a very practical sedan. It offers plenty of space inside the cabin as well as in the boot. The 10.8 cu ft of space is enough to carry your day to day items with luggage as well. However, it can be increased by means of the 60/40-split rear seats.

Models

Lexus IS300 Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Cargo Volume (cu.-ft)

10.8

12.5

13.0

17

The Bavarian tops the chart with 17 cubic feet of cargo capacity which is almost double that of the Lexus. The Jaguar and Audi go hand in hand with 12.5 and 13 cubic feet.

2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Rear Seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Front Seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan rear seats
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan gear
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Steering
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan

2020 Lexus IS 300 Exterior

8.0/10

New designs of Lexus cars have been controversial but in terms of sheer looks, it would be given a high grade as the quality of materials used to build is simply outstanding. Lexus IS300 looks sharp from outside. Any angle that you look at it from, it shows sharp lines and blade-like slashes all over. 

 2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Side View

The radical design looks extremely appealing and gives the car a unique character and purpose. The front looks angry whereas the rear looks nimble and quiet.

Models

Lexus IS300

Base(RWD)

Jaguar XE 

Base(RWD)

Audi A4 Premium

(AWD)

BMW 330i

(RWD)

Length (in)

184.3

184.2

186.1

185.7

Width (in)

71.3

77.4

72.5

71.9

Height (in)

56.3

56.1

56.2

56.8

Ground clearance (in)

5.3

4.0

7.9

5.7

Wheelbase (in)

110

111.6

111

112.2

Track width (in) F/R

60.4/61.0

63.1/62.4

61.9/61.2

62.3/63.0

Curb weight (lbs)

3583

3750(est.)

3627

3589

The Lexus has the lowest curb weight of the group, but it doesn't help it greatly. Its compact dimensions do help in maintaining its small structure but at a loss of interior space. The wheelbase is the least at 110 inches which keeps the car more settled thus helping in increasing its balance around corners.

Exterior Features

  • Triple Beam LED Headlamps
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System
  • 17-inch standard split five-spoke alloy wheels 
  • 18-inch optional wheels
  • Distinctive Lexus Spindle Front Grille
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan 3rd quarter view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan front view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Exterior
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Rear View
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan Side view
2020 Lexus IS 300 Sedan

2020 Lexus IS 300 Safety

Both IIHS and NHTSA ratings are available for the Lexus IS300 Sedan. The ride receives Good ratings for side and roof strength. The front crash prevention is awarded a Superior rating with headlights rated Acceptable. IS300 is awarded a 5-star overall rating by the NHTSA.

The IS300 Sedan comes with a plethora of safety and reliability features, including intuitive parking assist. Other noteworthy safety features include a direct tire pressure monitor system and a backup camera with dynamic gridlines.

Safety Features

  • Lexus Enform safety connect
  • Intuitive parking assist
  • Brake system
  • Blindspot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert
  • 10-airbag system
  • Backup camera with dynamic gridlines
  • Direct tire pressure monitor system

2020 Lexus IS 300 Competition

7.0/10

Lexus IS300 VS Jaguar XE 

The baby Jag sojourns true to its lineage. It provides a harmonious blend of styling, reliability, and technology which is rarely found in other names. The Jag has more power and is more efficient of the two. It gives way more than the Lexus IS300. At a minimal increase in price, the Jaguar XE provides a better value for money car. The downside is the use of low-cost plastic bits on the interior which might avert the luxury-oriented ones.

2020 Jaguar XE 

Lexus IS300 VS Audi A4

Audi A4 is one of the best overall packaged car that is available in the market today. It looks good, drives well, has great engines, the interior is super comfy, packed with the latest gizmos and a space for adults. It checks all the right boxes and is a worthy opponent to the rest of the competition. One of the most important things when buying a car is price and A4 is the cheapest of them all with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

2020 Audi A4

Audi A4 is a strong performer, which requires 5.7 seconds for accelerating to 60 MPH. The ride covers a quarter-mile in under 14 seconds, fastest in the competition. It offers an excellent combined fuel economy of 27 mpg and a league-leading ground clearance of 5.7 inches.

Lexus IS300 VS BMW 330i

BMW 3 series is an excellent executive saloon with great looks and brilliant infotainment. Add to that the economical engines and comfortable interior and you get an all-round package that is hard to miss. The pricing is pretty good against the rivals and the rear-wheel-drive makes it a hoot to drive.

2020 BMW 330i

The opening bid for the BMW 330i Sedan is $40,250. The sedan boasts a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, capable of generating 248 hp of power along with 258 lb.-ft. of torque. For gear-shifting, the 330i Sedan comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission mode. 

2020 Lexus IS 300 Final Verdict

Lexus IS300 is a really good offering that gives people a change from the turbocharged world but there is also one downside of that which is the fuel bills. If you're looking for a car that gives you heaps of comfort and superb drivability combined with great handling, this might be the car for you.

Add to all this, the peace of mind Lexus brand name as it has been continuously been on top of customer satisfaction ratings thanks to its brilliant after-sales. Even though the ride is somewhat bulkier, it offers a comfortable ride quality on most roads. If the too-small rear legroom is not an issue, then you need to definitely opt for the Lexus IS 300 Sedan as your next small luxury sedan.

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