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MM Full-Review: 2014 Lexus IS250 AWD

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Old 03-24-14, 01:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by pbm317 View Post
NuLuxe is a much more compelling material than either BMW and Mercedes use in the majority of cars you will see on dealer lots.
Here here. I have NuLuxe in my IS and leather in my RX. After having some time with both, I will never choose leather over NuLuxe again, if given the choice.
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Old 03-24-14, 01:28 PM   #17
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Nice review Mike. The 3IS is worlds better than the 2IS in most regards especially highlighting handling, technology and utility (60/40). The biggest gripe where it falls short is in the cabin where the materials are simply not as nice as the 2IS. That said this car is good with plenty of standard features the competition makes you check an x for.
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Old 03-24-14, 06:16 PM   #18
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IS250 is pretty slow begin with, i can't image how much slower with the added weight of AWD, yikes
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Old 03-24-14, 06:37 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SteVTEC View Post
Always love reading through your reviews, but I gotta ask which V6/AWD competitors you're referencing here??

Overly aggressive throttle tip-in instantly rules out a car for me, unfortunately. Due to foot neuropathy issues, I can't feel the onset of depressing the accelerator, and absolutely cannot drive cars tuned in such a way even the least bit smoothly. This is the biggest single reason why I ended up getting rid of my V6 RAV4. That had super aggressive tip-in too, along with 90% throttle and the engine winding out to over 5000rpm at only 10% pedal travel. Dumb dumb dumb... I have no idea why Toyota/Lexus continues to design vehicles like this. Leave the aggressive tip-in for sport mode.
Solution: ECO Mode


mmarshall: owning a 3IS 250 AWD (and having owned a 2IS), I agree with all your points, in particular with the lower hard plastics in the dash (I'm ok with the console plastics though) being a slight downgrade from the 2IS. I also noticed the slightly higher road noise over my 2IS and I would tend to agree it's due to the lack of felt-like insulating material the 2IS had in the wheel wells (and my RX has) replaced with the more typical rubber coated plastic.

Hmmm....... anyone notice the 2IS rear-seat pic?
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Old 03-24-14, 06:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hoovey2411 View Post
Nice review Mike.
Thanks. While money, of course, is not an issue with me on car reviews (it's not something I do for pay), it doesn't hurt to get a nice pre-paid Visa for it.

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The 3IS is worlds better than the 2IS in most regards especially highlighting handling, technology and utility (60/40).
I'll respect your opinion, but I owned a 1Gen IS300 for 5 years, and did several reviews on the 2Gen models (250, 350, Convertible). While the 1Gen, of course, lacked AWD, it did offfer the (admittedly unpopular) SportCross Hatchback for utility....something both the 2Gen and 3Gen lacked. The 2Gen, of course, added the badly needed AWD. I can't agree that the 3Gen, overall is an advance over the 2Gen....too much cost-cutting. You mention handling........I agree the 3Gen generally has a good ride/handling balance, though both are slightly compromised.

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The biggest gripe where it falls short is in the cabin where the materials are simply not as nice as the 2IS.
Yes, agreed on that one.....and in skimping on sound insulation for the wheel-wells. My Buick Verano, a considerably cheaper vehicle than the IS (though an upmarket/borderline luxury compact about the same size) is significantly quieter in the road-noise department. The IS, though, has a quieter V6 than the Verano's four.

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That said this car is good with plenty of standard features the competition makes you check an x for.
Again, I can't totally agree. First, this car had a 43K price sticker, which wasn't chump-change. And the heated seats weren't (which come with many cheaper cars) aren't standard....they were part of the Premium Package. To get wood trim, you have to pay for the Luxury Package (which my car didn't have). And, though the NuLuxe upholstery is admittedly a decent alternative, to get real leather also requires a top-level version.
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Old 03-24-14, 06:59 PM   #21
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NuLuxe is a much more compelling material than either BMW and Mercedes use in the majority of cars you will see on dealer lots.
Disagree. While it's definitely good quality imitation leather, I don't think it's any better than what Mercedes uses. I can't comment on BMW- the E90 was the last BMW I was in with vinyl and I was not impressed. That car was a 2008 though.
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Old 03-24-14, 07:09 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by stlgrym3 View Post
IS250 is pretty slow begin with, i can't image how much slower with the added weight of AWD, yikes
Actually, it's not as pokey as a number of normally-aspirated Subaru 2.5L engines of the same size with their AWD systems, although the new CVTs have definitely helped 0-60 times on those Subies. And, of course, the IS uses a 2.5L V6 instead of the Subaru 2.5L flat-fours of the same size. It's hard to beat the Subaru AWD hardware, though......Subaru and Audi wrote the book on car-based AWD systems.

The IS250 AWD's power-level, IMO, is OK for normal driving on level surfaces with relatively light loads, but I agree with you that it's probably not an ideal car in the mountains hauling a load.
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Old 03-24-14, 07:18 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by corradoMR2
mmarshall: owning a 3IS 250 AWD (and having owned a 2IS), I agree with all your points, in particular with the lower hard plastics in the dash (I'm ok with the console plastics though) being a slight downgrade from the 2IS. I also noticed the slightly higher road noise over my 2IS and I would tend to agree it's due to the lack of felt-like insulating material the 2IS had in the wheel wells (and my RX has) replaced with the more typical rubber coated plastic.
Congratulations on your purchase. Having been a previous Lexus customer, did the dealership give you special incentives to trade the 2Gen for the 3Gen? Most auto manufacturers bombard you day and night with incentives.

I suspect the main reason for the rubber/plastic you mention in the new 3rd-generation wheel wells is not for noise-supression but simply a relatively low-cost way to ward off corrosion. Lexus products, like most cars these days, carry a long rust-through warranty....and it costs a fair of money to replace and repaint a fender.

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anyone notice the 2IS rear-seat pic?
Thanks. I'll check it out. I think it was labelled a 2014 as a Google-image. There doesn't seem to be much difference between the old and new rear seat....most of the trim-differences are up front.

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Solution: ECO Mode
On the new IS I drove, I noticed at least some of that throttle jumpiness in all three settings. ECO did not eliminate it.
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Old 03-24-14, 07:23 PM   #24
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Actually, it's not as pokey as a number of normally-aspirated Subaru 2.5L engines of the same size with their AWD systems, although the new CVTs have definitely helped 0-60 times on those Subies. And, of course, the IS uses a 2.5L V6 instead of the Subaru 2.5L flat-fours of the same size. It's hard to beat the Subaru AWD hardware, though......Subaru and Audi wrote the book on car-based AWD systems.

The IS250 AWD's power-level, IMO, is OK for normal driving on level surfaces with relatively light loads, but I agree with you that it's probably not an ideal car in the mountains hauling a load.
The 2.5L V6 is actually a good engine when people understand its purpose. When you hear 'V6' one might assume V6 power, but the truth is the 2.5L V6 is a 4-Cylinder competitor making 204hp and 185lbft and matches some 4-Cylinder competitors in fuel efficiency. Lexus was smart to use this engine as their base engine because rather than having some unrefined buzzy 4-Cylinder they opted for two extra cylinders to keep things refined and smooth - both qualities Lexus is known for
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Old 03-24-14, 07:29 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Thanks. I'll check it out. I think it was labelled a 2014 as a Google-image. There doesn't seem to be much difference between the old and new rear seat....most of the trim-differences are up front.
Different design pattern, stitching and piping, the 3" of extra leg room, 60/40 seat releases, new LATCH anchors for child seats and iirc the arm rest only has cup holders now and lost the storage compartment
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Old 03-24-14, 07:32 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by JDR76 View Post
Here here. I have NuLuxe in my IS and leather in my RX. After having some time with both, I will never choose leather over NuLuxe again, if given the choice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbm317
NuLuxe is a much more compelling material than either BMW and Mercedes use in the majority of cars you will see on dealer lots.
Agreed. The NuLuxe is a step up from the imitation M-B Tex stuff that Mercedes uses, and, IMO, even from the real Dakota Leather on some recent BMWs. Still, at 40K+, one should not have to settle for imitations. A number of past Lexus products offered butter-smooth leather as standard, and the 1Gen IS300 had a nice Leather/ with Alcantara-center seating surfaces for extra grip.
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Old 03-24-14, 07:53 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by pbm317 View Post
You need to go out and test a more recent version, Lexus has continually made improvements to the components and tuning of the IS-F and it is no longer the "rock-hard" suspension it was in 2008,
Yes...I'm aware of that. Lexus eased up on the rear suspension a bit because it was just too much for rough American roads. On the 2008 I drove, even with recommended tire-pressures, the rear end would actually bounce slightly into the air over some frost-heaves, sometimes coming down with the tires at a slight angle and requiring steering correction. It was one of the spookiest cars I ever sampled on a rough road.



Quote:
NuLuxe is a much more compelling material than either BMW and Mercedes use in the majority of cars you will see on dealer lots.
Agreed. It's arguably the best imitation leather I've seen yet, though, like I said in other posts, at 40K+, some people expect the real thing. The M-B Tex, IMO was awful....especially on a 60-70K GL.

Of course, the use of real leather is also becoming an animal-rights issue these days. Some people are opposed to it on humanitarian grounds. While I'm not an extreme animal-rights person, I can't totally disagree with them, either............they may have a point on this one.



Quote:
I think your bias towards the first gen IS is clouding your judgement a bit.
I mentioned its weaknesses. One of those weaknesses was the reason I ended up in a Subaru...lousy winter traction, even with all season tires and electronic traction-aids.

[/quote] The first gen IS only had super rock hard plastics inside, clunky/cheap climate control *****, etc. [/quote]

Agreed, it was basically a Toyota Altezza interior, but, overall it was built like a tank. The whole structure felt to me like it was carved out of a block of granite. And the interior materials, IMO, still beat that of the new 3Gen.



Quote:
Don't know how you can say "of course" for this, as this is the first time a Lexus sedan has had split folding rear seats. Yes, it is available/optional on the German competitors, but this has been absent from every Lexus sedan until now.
I was referring to the general fold-down feature more than the 40/60 split itself. My IS300 sedan had a folding rear seat, but I can't remember it was a single-piece or slit-fold.

Also keep in mind that many hybrid sedans (Lexus or not), no matter what country they are designed in, don't have folding rear seats or a 40/60 split, because of the large battery pack taking up space right behind the rear seat.
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Old 03-24-14, 08:06 PM   #28
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This is what I call a good in-depth review.

And I agree with most of it. Overall the biggest, and this is by far the biggest issue with the 3IS is that it's just missing those little Lexus signature touches in the interior the 2IS had.

Nothing that can't be fixed with a minor mid life facelift.

On a side note the 3IS interior is still better than that of the competition.
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Old 03-24-14, 08:15 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Hoovey2411 View Post
The 2.5L V6 is actually a good engine when people understand its purpose.
Yes, agreed. And the IS250, especially with AWD, sells here in my area like hotcakes, particularly with women. It has become almost as ubiquitous on local roads here in the D.C. area as Corollas and Civics.....lots of people here can afford 40K cars.


Quote:
When you hear 'V6' one might assume V6 power, but the truth is the 2.5L V6 is a 4-Cylinder competitor making 204hp and 185lbft and matches some 4-Cylinder competitors in fuel efficiency. Lexus was smart to use this engine as their base engine because rather than having some unrefined buzzy 4-Cylinder they opted for two extra cylinders to keep things refined and smooth - both qualities Lexus is known for
Couldn't agree more. Even speaking as a Verano owner myself, this is the engine that, IMO, the Verano should have gotten (either standard or optional), and didn't. But GM doesn't make a V6 that small.

But it's not the smallest V6 I can remember by any means. Do you remember the Mazda MX-3 sport coupe of the early 1990s?...it competed with the Geo Storm, Isuzu Impulse, Nissan 2000 SX, Honda Civic Si, Toyota Paseo, etc.....The MX3 used a FWD, transversely-mounted, 1.8L V6 that separated it from all of its rivals. That engine was smooth but super-wimpy, took forever to get rolling, and had a torque curve shaped almost like a backwards "L".
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Old 03-24-14, 08:26 PM   #30
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This is what I call a good in-depth review.
Thanks....I appreciate the comment. I put a lot of time and effort into them. And I'm glad you enjoy them.

But my reviews aren't perfect by any means. Sometimes, as corradoMR2 pointed out, a wrong or questionable image is posted. And, occasionally, I'll get a detail or two off on the specs.

Quote:
And I agree with most of it.
Do you own one yourself...or have had a chance to drive one?

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Nothing that can't be fixed with a minor mid life facelift.
In 2010, Lexus did just that to address the shortcomings of the original 2006 ES interior. The 2010 got a face lift inside, wth more and better-quality wood trim, and slightly better fit/finish. That carried over until the new ES was introduced last year.

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On a side note the 3IS interior is still better than that of the competition.
That might depend on what you mean by "better". You yourself seem to have noticed some cheapening of the new interior..........

...........
Quote:
Overall the biggest, and this is by far the biggest issue with the 3IS is that it's just missing those little Lexus signature touches in the interior the 2IS had.
Do you feel the new IS interior is better than the interiors Audi provides in that price range?
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