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2021 Lexus IS Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?

Why Buy a 2021 Lexus IS?

Should You Buy a 2021 Lexus IS? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

The Lexus IS looks bold and feels aggressive. It's a powerful sports sedan that would definitely be an intriguing choice if anyone is in the market for a new compact car. Made by a luxury brand, the 2021 Lexus IS certainly lives up to the company's high standards. It shines in many ways, and this overview should give a prospective customer a better idea of its advantages. There are some downfalls to the Lexus IS, but fortunately they are minimal and could be overlooked by fans of Lexus.

What's New for 2021?

For this model year, Lexus has redesigned the IS. Its exterior has some more robust details, and the cabin has been improved as well. The new model is longer and wider, so it seems a little more athletic than its predecessor. People will appreciate that the 2021 version has a larger touchscreen and a slightly more comprehensive safety system than what's found in the 2020 IS.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Lexus IS – The Pros

1. Powerful Engine Choices

What's perhaps most attractive about the 2021 Lexus IS is what can't be seen upon first glance. Under the hood of the car, there could be one of three engines. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged version that can pump out 241 horsepower. This number is impressive on its own, but adrenaline seekers need not worry. This is just the starting point.

Another option is a V6 that's found in the IS 300 AWD model. It takes horsepower up to 260, and this increase can be noticeable. Finally, the last choice is to get an IS 350 F Sport. Its engine is a V6 that can generate 311 horsepower. The F Sport should be able to make regular drives quite exciting.

2. Fun to Drive

When sitting behind the wheel of a Lexus IS, people will notice that the steering wheel is equipped with paddle shifters. These shifters let people manually control when the gears shift, and they can make things pretty thrilling whether up-shifting or down-shifting. It contributes to the idea that the IS is a true sports sedan. Someone could easily picture the IS being perfectly at home on a race track.

3. Optimize Performance With the F Sport

The F Sport is a premier Lexus IS trim. It has the more powerful engine that was described earlier. Plus, it can be built with several components that enhance its handling and performance. An adaptive variable suspension is available on the F Sport. This can enhance cornering ability and improve stability, especially when the car is taking turns at relatively high speeds. It can do so because it's built to be rigid while also being lightweight, and it has advanced sensors that are continually watching G-forces.

In addition, the F Sport has a cool air intake and special exhaust system. It can come with a limited-slip rear differential to improve traction.

4. Standard Technology Is Far From Basic

Every trim of the 2021 Lexus IS comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen. That touchscreen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built into it, so people can have access to their phones in a safe manner. A 10.3-inch touchscreen is available on every IS in case anyone wants to upgrade. In addition, there is Bluetooth, along with two USB ports, a remote touchpad, and SiriusXM. Because the car can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, it can support people's ability to keep working or streaming media content from the road.

With the Lexus app, people can use their smartphones to remotely start their engines, check on maintenance recommendations, and schedule service. The Lexus Enform Remote, which is standard on the IS, is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Hey Google. This makes it easy to find information without having to look down at one's phone.

5. Enjoy the Sound

Available on every Lexus IS is a Mark Levinson sound system. This premier system has 17 speakers, which is more than some people would ever imagine could fit into a car. It's a powerful system with 1,800 watts, and it uses Quantum Logic Surround technology to enhance the quality of the music.

6. Find Any Location

The IS can come with the Lexus Inform Dynamic Navigation system. This is a cloud-based service that continually stays up-to-date with the latest information. The navigation program can provide users with multiple routes, which all take traffic into account. There is the ability to search through hundreds of nearby points of interest for the most relevant results.

7. A Stunning Appearance

When looking at the IS, it almost seems like it's moving even when it's not. It has narrow Bi-LED headlamps that angle toward the center of the sporty, front grille, and it has sculptural elements in its frame that make it look more aerodynamic. In the back, there are LED taillamps that have a unique, angled design. 18-inch split-five-spoke wheels are standard, with the F Sport featuring 19-inch wheels. The F Sport is further enhanced with special bumpers and a lip spoiler, and its available carbon fiber rear spoiler can be a nice finishing touch.

8. The Cabin Is Sophisticated

Inside the Lexus IS, there are NuLuxe seats. NuLuxe is a synthetic leather that looks upscale, feels soft, and is durable and easy to clean. The car's illuminated entry system is welcoming, and the available heated and ventilated front seats can keep things a lot more comfortable. Depending on trim, the driver's seat could move in eight or ten different ways. A moonroof is available, and the F Sport comes with sport pedals, a heated steering wheel, and a black geometric trim to highlight the edgy nature of the vehicle.

9. Keeping People Safe

Standard on the 2021 Lexus IS is a comprehensive safety system. The Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 includes numerous driver-assist technologies. These technologies are designed to watch out for potential issues, alert drivers to those problems, and remedy the situation if necessary.

One example of a driver-assist component is the pre-collision system. It can sense when the IS is about to hit a car or pedestrian in front of it. If this is the case, a warning will be given, and the IS can apply pressure to the brakes to try to avoid the accident. Another example is lane departure alert with steering assist. Because the IS has a monitor that can "read" lane markings, it knows if someone is drifting out of a lane. If so, the driver will be alerted to the issue, and potentially, the car could steer itself back into the proper position.

10. Ready for the Elements

All-wheel drive is an option to consider with the 2021 Lexus IS. The IS 300 and the IS 300 F Sport both have available all-wheel drive. When engaged, it can send power to the front and rear wheels. The exact ratio of power delivery will depend on the situation.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Lexus IS – The Cons

1. A Little Pricey

There's no doubt that the Lexus IS has a lot going for it. However, this all comes at a price. The cheapest version of the Lexus IS is just under the $40,000 mark. This may be a stretch for many consumers, especially if they were interested in getting a model with all-wheel drive, which comes at an additional cost.

2. No Leather

For fans of the real thing, NuLuxe upholstery might not cut it. Lexus says NuLuxe has the look and feel of real leather, but someone with an eye for detail might be able to notice that it's just not the same. Some competitors have leather seats and more premium Nappa leather seats on their higher trims. The Lexus IS doesn't offer this option.

3. Base Model A Bit Basic

For the price that people are expected to pay for a new Lexus IS 300, some might expect certain components. On that list could be a power moonroof, a heated steering wheel, and front seats with heating and ventilation. After all, even some models made by non-luxury companies have these features. While they are available on the IS 300, they aren't standard, unfortunately. If a customer really wants to have these elements, he/she will have to pay a little extra.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition:

2021 Lexus IS vs 2021 Audi A4

Audi's A4 has a similar feel to the Lexus IS, but it's more of a traditional sedan that doesn't have the same sporty flair that the new IS has. Importantly, the Audi A4 doesn't have the same capability as seen in the Lexus. One of its engines can generate 201 horsepower, and the other comes with 261 horsepower. These don't compare to the IS F Sport at all, and the standard Audi engine is much less exciting than the standard Lexus engine is.

2021 Lexus IS vs 2021 BMW 3-Series

Unlike the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series does seem as agile as the Lexus IS. Notably, it's more expensive than the Lexus is, with the M340i being considerably more expensive.
The infotainment system on the BMW is solid, but many people may find the Lexus's system to be more user-friendly.


If someone is looking for a sporty sedan that he/she will be happy to drive every day, the Lexus IS would be an excellent choice. Powerful and sleek are just some of the ways in which this car can be described. It has modern technology, too, so people will stay connected and informed even when they're on the road. Overall, the Lexus IS comes with an attractive package, and it would be a great investment for someone with sophisticated taste.

Save Money on a 2021 Lexus IS:
Previous Lexus IS Buying Guides:

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