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2020 Lexus IS Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2020 Lexus IS?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2020 Lexus IS? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Ever since it first hit the scene during the late 90s, the Lexus IS has put a high priority on reliability. This small luxury sedan can also be fun to drive, especially when equipped with a sports-tuned suspension. Modern styling cues make the new IS more charming. Most importantly, several driver-assist safety innovations are offered.

What’s New for 2020?

No monumental updates were made to the 2020 lineup. Nevertheless, an eye-catching Blackline Edition model has been introduced. It receives dark exterior treatments and blue accents on the inside.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2020 Lexus IS – The Pros

1. Standard Powertrain Ideal for Commuting

Drivers who will be commuting to school or work may favor the sedan’s base powertrain. It equips the 2020 Lexus IS with a turbo four-cylinder engine, which pushes out a fulfilling 241 horsepower. Swift acceleration allows drivers to confidently maneuver in traffic. Expect the IS to hit 60 mph in around 6.8 seconds. Fuel economy is enhanced by the car’s standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Drivers can plan on getting up to 30 mpg on the open road.

2. IS 350 Model Offers Driving Fun

Stepping up to the IS 350 model rewards you with greater performance. It features a strong V6 engine, which is found in a number of other Lexus and Toyota models. In the IS, Lexus rates it to develop a stout 311 horsepower. An eight-speed gearbox helps the IS to get up to speed quickly. When punching the accelerator, drivers can expect to reach 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds.

3. Handles Well Without Delivering a Rough Ride

In its standard form, the 2020 Lexus IS smoothly glides over rough pavement. When drivers decide to go traveling, they’ll especially appreciate the sedan’s comfort-tuned suspension. Even after taking a 200-mile road trip, passengers will feel relaxed. For drivers who prefer slick handling over a plush ride, Lexus offers its popular F Sport package. It equips the sedan with an adaptive sport suspension and a limited-slip rear differential. This performance-enhancing package is available for all models.

4. Class-Leading Reliability

Although the 2020 Lexus IS may trail some competitors in the performance department, few rivals can match its long-term dependability. Lexus, which is Toyota’s luxury division, has consistently ranked among the market’s most dependable brands. The new Lexus IS aced J.D. Power’s latest dependability study by earning a 4.5 out 5.0 rating. When properly maintained, drivers can expect the V6 engine to run for up to 500,000 miles or more. In comparison to most European models, the IS is far more affordable to maintain.

5. Cool Exterior Styling

The 2020 Lexus IS is far from a bland-looking car. It will catch the attention of car shoppers who desire an edgy yet sophisticated look. No other small sedan in the class features Lexus’ famous spindle grille. Boomerang-like LED running lights also help the IS to stand out. A more distinctive front bumper with mesh inserts come with the optional F Sport package. Expect the Black Line Edition model to turn more heads with its Black Vapor Chrome exterior treatments.

6. Luxurious and Comfortable Cabin

Many drivers will love spending time behind the wheel of the 2020 Lexus IS. It has an extremely luxurious cabin for a car that starts at less than $40,000. Interior quality is exceptional. Everyone will notice the overall quietness of the cabin. You won’t hear any wind noise or creaks from the interior. Meanwhile, ultra-supportive front seats help occupants to experience a strong sense of relaxation. Heated and ventilated functions are optional.

7. Nice List of Standard Equipment

Although some tempting amenities are offered, the base IS 300 receives enough standard equipment to please the average person. Lexus' NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery feels plush. Drivers will also appreciate the dual-zone automatic climate control system, which does a great job of keeping the cabin at your preferred temperature. A standard sunroof adds to the IS 300’s value. Some of the other key features include a satellite radio, a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, and two USB connections.

8. 15-speaker Mark Levinson Delights the Crowd

Of the available features on the sedan’s list of options, the Mark Levinson sound system is the one that music fans will love. It is far more compelling than the standard stereo. Some audio reviewers rank this system among the best in the segment. Listeners will be treated to three-dimensional sound. A total of 15 speakers and Clar-Fi technology help give you the feeling of being at a live concert.

9. Strong Safety Scores

The 2020 Lexus IS ensures safe travel. After recording excellent crash scores, it was given a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. Every trim provides Lexus Safety System+. This system bundles together several accident-avoidance technologies. It provides pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, which can brake for unexpected road hazards. Lane-keep assist and full-speed adaptive cruise control are also included. A blind-spot monitor and parking assist are optional.

10. Practical Luxury Sedan

The 2020 Lexus IS is ideal for drivers who want a practical luxury sedan. It offers respectable fuel economy, especially with the base engine. Drivers will also enjoy this car’s low maintenance costs. Because the IS is so durable, owners don’t have to worry about encountering many unexpected repairs. An excellent safety profile further highlights the practicality of the new IS.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2020 Lexus IS – The Cons

1. A Rather Compact Luxury Sedan

The 2020 Lexus IS is an ideal fit for small families. On the other hand, bigger families may need more room to unwind. Tall back-seat passengers will likely desire more leg space. Because of the sedan’s narrow design, it’ll be difficult for three people to comfortably fit in the rear seat.

2. Below-Average Cargo Space

While the new IS is indeed a practical car, it’s trunk is among the smallest you’ll find in the segment. The sedan’s 10.8-cubic-foot trunk can only hold a limited number of bags, which could be a factor for drivers who travel regularly. Prospective buyers should also be aware that the sedan’s rear seat doesn’t fold totally flat. This means drivers may struggle trying to squeeze in larger items.

3. Manual Transmission Not Offered

Many of today’s automakers have decided to cut costs by offering fewer models with manual transmissions. This fact remains true for Lexus. Buyers can only get the 2020 Lexus IS with an automatic gearbox. There are still a small percentage of drivers who simply can’t live without a manual transmission. Some of the models in this segment that continue to offer a manual include the 2020 Genesis G70 and the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

4. Infotainment System to Be Updated

It seems this sedan’s biggest drawback remains Lexus’ complicated infotainment system. While the optional 10.3-inch display looks nice, many drivers still find its touchpad controller to be more of a headache. When driving the IS, it’s especially difficult to select icons from the menu screen. Most modern infotainment systems are far easier to operate.

5. Mediocre Fuel Economy

Fuel economy for the new Lexus IS is decent. However, some of the sedan’s competitors can easily return up to 35 mpg. The IS tops out at 30 mpg. Opting for the more exciting V6 engine further lowers fuel efficiency. Buyers should also factor in the expense of premium unleaded gasoline.

How It Stacks Up Against the Competition

2020 BMW 3-Series

The 2020 BMW 3-Series is an excellent driving machine. However, it loses to the 2020 Lexus IS in a few categories. Expect the new IS to offer better long-term reliability and a lower cost of maintenance. A lower starting price also helps give the Lexus IS an edge over the BMW 3-Series.

2020 Volvo S60

Many automotive journalists applaud the 2020 Volvo S60 for its improved driving experience and nice interior. However, it cannot match the dependability of the new IS. If Volvo’s available T6 engine needs any repair work after the original warranty expires, owners may have to spend quite a bit of money. This sophisticated engine features both a supercharger and a turbocharger.

2020 Audi A4

In the luxury car world, the 2020 Audi A4 is a sensational bang for the buck. However, lower predicted reliability scores put it at a disadvantage against the IS. Test drivers also reveal that the Audi A4 has a stiffer ride, which results in passengers feeling more bumps in the road.


Let's first look back at the potential weak points. Unlike most of its competitors, the 2020 Lexus IS continues to not offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Furthermore, most people agree that the IS could use a new infotainment system.

While there may be a few drawbacks to the new Lexus IS, its bright spots truly stand out. Lexus designed the new IS to deliver an extremely reliable performance. A fine interior and punchy powertrains make the new IS more impressive.

Used 2020 Lexus IS:
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Why buy a 2019 Lexus IS? w/ pros vs cons