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MM Full-Review: 2014 Lexus IS250 AWD

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Old 03-24-14, 07:48 PM   #31
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Always love reading through your reviews,
Thanks. Glad you enjoy them. That's why I do them...for you guys here on CAR CHAT.

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but I gotta ask which V6/AWD competitors you're referencing here??
Basically, what I was comparing was the performance and responsiveness of the AWD Lexus 2.5L V6 with like-displacement, non-turbo Subaru drivetrains and V6 AWD competitors. Those V6 AWS competitors would include the Lincoln MKX, Cadillac ATS/CTS, Infiniti Q50 (which includes a similiar 2.5L V6), Mercedes C300 4Matic, and others. The MKX, though, by its slightly larger and FWD nature, may compete with the Lexus ES a little closer than the IS....that's why I didn't include it in the original list of American-market competitors at the top of the review.
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Old 03-24-14, 08:15 PM   #32
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I definitely appreciate the review
Thanks.

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Im actually happy that lexus did away with the 25lbs full of plastics under the hood
Those plastics, under the hood, just went right back into the big engine cover.

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And I always hated cars with that side molding on it. Yes it protects it from parking lot idiots but it always looked tacky IMO.
I respect your opinion, but I don't think a moulding looks as tacky as dings and paint-chips. Too many of those dings can also also drop a car's resale or trade-in value.

Of course, a moulding alone won't always protect from careless parkers. it depends on door-matching heights, where the widest points of the open doors are, the shape of the open doors, the precise location of the moulding, and other factors. But they are, overall, a definite help.


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and I noticed alot of your minus's were Plus's for me.

And headroom is always a trade-off. If you want a sunroof, you sacrifice head room which adds on a good 3 extra inches +/- from the roof of the car. Bringing the roof any higher, or the seats any lower would have just made the car look/feel awkward.
First, it sounds like you are somewhat shorter and thinner than me.....I'm 6' 2" and 280 lbs (even a little taller with my ever-present baseball cap). So naturally, it's going to be a little harder for me to fit inside the average compact sedan (which, IMO, the IS is, size-wise). Second, I review and test-drive some vehicles (even smaller ones) where the sunroof housing is little or no problem. On this IS, I sampled the front seat with the seat-cushions all the way down for as much headroom as possible.

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What you tend to notice (at least I tend to notice) with Japanese luxury car brands is they tend to cut some corners and ditch some luxuries that consumers don't necessarily need which IMO is not a bad thing but a lot of people see it as cost cutting.
Lexus, though, made its reputation with, among other things, quiet-running vehicles. That began to change in the last decade or so, for various reasons......IMO, cost-cutting being one of them. Of course, on models like the IS-F, its buyers usually don't want LS460-type coccoon-like quietness, and the IS-F delivers some engine/exhaust noise as expected. People buying the IS250, though, are usually more traditional Lexus buyers who don't necessarily want high-decibel sportiness or road noise.


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I also remember (i cannot remember the brand, Benz or maybe cadillac) started putting active noise cancelling speakers in their cars where it plays a very low pitch sound to cancel out road noise to the average consumer. Something I think Lexus dropped a few years back
Today, in general, Buick seems to be outdoing Cadillac in quietness, even though Cadillacs are considered Buick's upmarket sisters. That's partly because Buick, instead of electronic noise-cancelling gimmicks, simply uses LOTS of sound insulation in the roof, doors, hood/firewall, windows, and wheel wells. It makes a difference.
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Old 03-24-14, 08:40 PM   #33
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great review. you are one of the most thorough reviewer in any forums. major props.

1 flaw in your writing is that you use too many run-ons. excessive usage of run-ons are not recommended. i'm commenting on this because you are a gifted reviewer. if you minimize this, your review would be almost perfect.

anyway, i love IS, i would've strongly considered this if i was in mid 20's. but i out grew entry level luxury - i need some back rooms, headrooms, and more power. i actually didn't mind the dash material. i'm a dash stroker myself, and IMO it's a perfectly acceptable quality.

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Old 03-24-14, 09:09 PM   #34
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great review. you are one of the most thorough reviewer in any forums. major props.
Thanks. A couple of other car forums have asked me to write and do reviews for them, but I turned it down. I like CAR CHAT....it's my home.

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1 flaw in your writing is that you use too many run-ons. excessive usage of run-ons are not recommended. i'm commenting on this because you are a gifted reviewer. if you minimize this, your review would be almost perfect.
Again, Thanks. I'm aware of the run-on criticism (much of which is valid). This has been mentioned before....and I've tried to work on it. I'll try a little more.

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anyway, i love IS, i would've strongly considered this if i was in mid 20's. but i out grew entry level luxury - i need some back rooms, headrooms, and more power. i actually didn't mind the dash material. i'm a dash stroker myself, and IMO it's a perfectly acceptable quality.
The problem is not so much that today's Lexus interior materials are actually junk, but that they just don't compare with what we saw in the 1990s and up to about 2005-2006. Back then, the company didn't seem as concerned about nickel-and-diming on trim-materials as much as today. But, to be be fair, Lexus DOES use some very advanced and expensive parts in their hybrid drivetrains, leaving fewer budget-dollars left over to put into things inside the cabin. The Government keeps requiring more and more safety-equipment on new cars, too....which, of course, leaves even fewer dollars left over for trim.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:17 PM   #35
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To be precise the main issue with the 3IS interior is the lower door trim and the lack of 2-tone contrasting panels & LED interior lights . It also lacks some nice wood work. But that's no biggie.
This may be subjective but I prefer the suspended pedal of the 2IS over the floor hinged pedal on the 3IS. I also prefer the previous style wing mirror over the new one and the door thud of the 2IS was nicer.

That's all. From there on the 3IS is better.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:18 PM   #36
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if i were you, i would fix that run-on issue asap and start a car review blog. you obviously have a serious passion for it and it's very helpful for potential car buyers.

and creating a blog is very easy. come up with catchy name, purchase the domain name, get a hosting space, and install wordpress(most web hosting has this functionality). and start writing.

i know many bloggers who make money out of blogging. some of them actually quit the day time job. all they do is write and make money. passionate people makes money on the web. you can be one of them.
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Old 03-25-14, 06:39 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
The problem is not so much that today's Lexus interior materials are actually junk, but that they just don't compare with what we saw in the 1990s and up to about 2005-2006. Back then, the company didn't seem as concerned about nickel-and-diming on trim-materials as much as today. But, to be be fair, Lexus DOES use some very advanced and expensive parts in their hybrid drivetrains, leaving fewer budget-dollars left over to put into things inside the cabin. The Government keeps requiring more and more safety-equipment on new cars, too....which, of course, leaves even fewer dollars left over for trim.
To me, the term "cost cutting" isn't really what's going on here. It's more of what I would refer to as "cost reapportioning" if that makes sense. Lexus spent a lot of time working on other areas of the car, most specifically body rigidity and handling. That money had to come from somewhere. So while, yes, you will see some cheaper materials in areas of the 3IS interior, you will also see a car that handles much differently.

Which is why I find it so odd that you were unimpressed by the car's ride. Frankly, it's the most impressive feature of the vehicle in my eyes. But I definitely understand we all have our opinions and appreciate yours.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:08 AM   #38
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To me, the term "cost cutting" isn't really what's going on here. It's more of what I would refer to as "cost reapportioning" if that makes sense.
Remind me to use that line next time someone points out a cheap part of a car's interior.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:34 AM   #39
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To me, the term "cost cutting" isn't really what's going on here. It's more of what I would refer to as "cost reapportioning" if that makes sense. Lexus spent a lot of time working on other areas of the car, most specifically body rigidity and handling. That money had to come from somewhere. So while, yes, you will see some cheaper materials in areas of the 3IS interior, you will also see a car that handles much differently.
I respect your opinion here, but I don't totally agree with that view. Almost every auto manufacturer, these days, builds a rigid unibody frame.....even lower-cost brands like Hyundai and Kia. And, as I see it, if Audi, with their high labor costs can produce a rigid-handling chassis with nice interior materials on the A4, then there's little or no reason Lexus can't with the equally-pricey IS series.

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Which is why I find it so odd that you were unimpressed by the car's ride. Frankly, it's the most impressive feature of the vehicle in my eyes. But I definitely understand we all have our opinions and appreciate yours.
Actually, if you saw my comments, I said, several places in the review, that IMO the car has a generally good ride/handling compromise, with only minor compromises to both. I also said that I found the overall ride comfort, with some minor discomfort on bumps/impacts, better than I had expected with the 18" wheels and low-profile tires.

Now, of course, it wasn't quite as smooth-riding as my old 2001 IS300, which had the smaller (no-cost option) 16" wheels and 55-series all-season tires. That year, 17" wheels and 45-series high-performance tires were standard. Since then, Lexus has deleted the 16" option on the 2 and 3Gen models.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:47 AM   #40
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Thanks.



Those plastics, under the hood, just went right back into the big engine cover.



I respect your opinion, but I don't think a moulding looks as tacky as dings and paint-chips. Too many of those dings can also also drop a car's resale or trade-in value.

Of course, a moulding alone won't always protect from careless parkers. it depends on door-matching heights, where the widest points of the open doors are, the shape of the open doors, the precise location of the moulding, and other factors. But they are, overall, a definite help.




First, it sounds like you are somewhat shorter and thinner than me.....I'm 6' 2" and 280 lbs (even a little taller with my ever-present baseball cap). So naturally, it's going to be a little harder for me to fit inside the average compact sedan (which, IMO, the IS is, size-wise). Second, I review and test-drive some vehicles (even smaller ones) where the sunroof housing is little or no problem. On this IS, I sampled the front seat with the seat-cushions all the way down for as much headroom as possible.



Lexus, though, made its reputation with, among other things, quiet-running vehicles. That began to change in the last decade or so, for various reasons......IMO, cost-cutting being one of them. Of course, on models like the IS-F, its buyers usually don't want LS460-type coccoon-like quietness, and the IS-F delivers some engine/exhaust noise as expected. People buying the IS250, though, are usually more traditional Lexus buyers who don't necessarily want high-decibel sportiness or road noise.




Today, in general, Buick seems to be outdoing Cadillac in quietness, even though Cadillacs are considered Buick's upmarket sisters. That's partly because Buick, instead of electronic noise-cancelling gimmicks, simply uses LOTS of sound insulation in the roof, doors, hood/firewall, windows, and wheel wells. It makes a difference.
I am actually 6'3 250 with a monstrous collection of fitteds so we are quite similar in size and taste lol. And i agree with everything you say. Sitting straight up there is limited headroom so im forced to sit leaned back a little bit. Something they can improve or even try to make use of a slim sunroof design in the upcoming years. I like what toyota did the the scion tC that the roof of the car is the sunroof so it doesn't sacrifice head room. Something that should be considered.

The quiet-ness of the car is really relative to the type of car. The IS is more on the sport side so I can see them doing away with some luxuries for performance. The IS250 still being pretty low in the chain, I would still want to have the same luxuries as having an IS-F with out all the power I've never really had a issue with sound but yet, i always drive sport sedans so my ears are a bid adjusted on whats quiet and whats not.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:53 AM   #41
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I respect your opinion here, but I don't totally agree with that view.
That's okay, I'm good with the "agree to disagree" thing...

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Actually, if you saw my comments, I said, several places in the review, that the car has as good ride/handling compromise, with only minor compromises to both. I also said that I found the overall ride comfort, with some minor discomfort on bumps/impacts, better than I had expected with the 18" wheels and low-profile tires.

Now, of course, it wasn't quite as smooth-riding as my old 2001 IS300, which had the smaller (no-cost option) 16" wheels and 55-series all-season tires. That year, 17" wheels and 45-series high-performance tires were standard. Since then, Lexus has deleted the 16" option on the 2 and 3Gen models.
Understood, and thanks for the added clarification. My difference is that you state that the ride is "generally good" but "slightly compromised" whereas I feel it's excellent with little to no compromises. I'm thoroughly impressed with this chassis. I always loved the 2IS, but never bought one despite multiple test drives, because of the small back seat and what I deemed to be a fairly choppy/bumpy ride, especially on highway expansion joints. With the 3IS, we have a much more useable back seat, and the ride has been smoothed out, yet at the same time the athletic handling improved.

All my views/opinion, of course. YMMV
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Old 03-25-14, 07:59 AM   #42
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To be precise the main issue with the 3IS interior is the lower door trim and the lack of 2-tone contrasting panels & LED interior lights . It also lacks some nice wood work. But that's no biggie.
Several different color two-tone interior packages are available, depending on the model and trim-series........my car had the Black/Light-Parchment (beige). Two different wood-trim patterns are also available on the Luxury Interior package (my test-car didn't have either one)...but I wasn't impressed with the wood-trim patterns I looked at.

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This may be subjective but I prefer the suspended pedal of the 2IS over the floor hinged pedal on the 3IS.
True, it's easier to clean/vaccum the dirt from under a suspended pedal....and the driver's footwell gets dirty on ANY car.
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Old 03-25-14, 08:13 AM   #43
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always loved the 2IS, but never bought one despite multiple test drives, because of the small back seat and what I deemed to be a fairly choppy/bumpy ride, especially on highway expansion joints. With the 3IS, we have a much more useable back seat, and the ride has been smoothed out, yet at the same time the athletic handling improved.
The 3IS, compared to the 2IS, does have a slightly less-cramped rear seat in legroom (as opposed to the still-tight headroom)....but the front seat cushions have to be moved up quite a bit to get that room. Put some tall people in the front and you're pretty much back to Square One.

To be honest, I wasn't impressed much with the ride on the 2IS either...I agree with you on that. Lexus had that problem solved on the original 1Gen IS300 with the no-cost 16" wheel/55-series tire option, but then (needlessly, IMO) dropped that option in 2006 for the 2Gen.
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Old 03-25-14, 08:23 AM   #44
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The 3IS, compared to the 2IS, does have a slightly less-cramped rear seat in legroom (as opposed to the still-tight headroom)....but the front seat cushions have to be moved up quite a bit to get that room. Put some tall people in the front and you're pretty much back to Square One.
That has not been my experience at all. I have long legs (36" inseam). I can put my front seat in the preferred position for me, then easily sit in the back seat behind it, with at least an inch of knee clearance. My daughter's car seat is also a much easier fit back there. She can sit behind me with room to spare, whereas that would not be possible in the 2IS. This was a huge deal for me and the first thing I checked out on the new IS. I needed the rear seat room.

I am seriously not trying to be argumentative here and hope you can appreciate the dialogue. Just trying to better understand your comments and offer another perspective.
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Old 03-25-14, 08:40 AM   #45
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if i were you, i would fix that run-on issue asap and start a car review blog. you obviously have a serious passion for it and it's very helpful for potential car buyers.

and creating a blog is very easy. come up with catchy name, purchase the domain name, get a hosting space, and install wordpress(most web hosting has this functionality). and start writing.

i know many bloggers who make money out of blogging. some of them actually quit the day time job. all they do is write and make money. passionate people makes money on the web. you can be one of them.
Thanks for the compliments and positive comments, but things seem to be working out just fine for me here. For several reasons, I prefer not to get into a web-site of my own. Nor, for other reasons, do I care to be a member of the regular auto-press (though I know some members of the local auto press here in the D.C. area and occasionally talk with them at the auto shows). I generally like the way that CL is moderated, its posting rules, the way that the Administrator (DaveGS4) deals with potential problems, and a number of other things about it, particularly the CAR CHAT forum. In addition to that, CL is a huge forum, with hundereds of thousands of members, so that anything posted in it reaches a pretty wide potential audience as it is. I'm not looking to make any money from what I do....though if auto manufacturers offer Visa-card deals to take a test drive, I'll often take them up on it, as I did on this IS. But, in general, I don't need the money. I'm Federally retired, with a good pension and health-insurance package. In addition, I have some tax-fee investments that add to my retirement income. So, although I'm not Bob Gates or Oprah Winfrey when it comes to swimming in dollars, I generally make more than I need, even in retirement. And I'm satisfied with what I have...I don't feel I need to pursue any more.
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