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Lexus IS300 2019 review: snapshot

In a world where brands are moving towards downsized turbocharged engines, the naming strategies employed can be confusing.
EXPERT RATING
7
The Lexus IS300 was a nameplate that stood out all those years ago, and then came the era of turbocharging. Lexus didn't think IS200t was a fitting badge - so it renamed the 2.0-litre turbo model.

The Lexus IS300 nameplate is back after about a dozen years missing from Australian shores - the latest version replacing the existing IS200t, but retaining the same turbocharged powerplant.

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder (hence the previous 200t name) with 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque. The IS is rear-wheel drive, and makes use of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel use is claimed at 7.5L/100km.

There are three different trim levels available for the IS300 - the entry-level Luxury priced from $59,340, the F Sport from $66,280, and the Sports Luxury from $77,380 (all prices before on-road costs).

There are differences in equipment levels depending on the model you choose, but as standard all IS300 models come with a decent array of gear.

The IS300 Luxury is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, puddle lamps, heated side mirrors, bi-LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, electric front seat adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, leather-accented interior and there’s a 10.3-inch media screen with sat nav and DAB digital radio plus USB and auxiliary connectivity. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though, and the Remote Touch Controller is hard to get used to.

The F Sport model adds driver’s seat memory settings, an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, F Sport bolstered front seats and steering wheel, plus scuff plates and sports pedals. It also gets model-specific 18-inch wheels, unique body styling (front bumper, grille, rear bumper) and memory-linked side mirrors with auto folding.

The Sports Luxury grade also has 18-inch wheels in a design specific to that model, and like the F Sport it gets ‘Multi-element LED headlights’ and a ‘Smart Entry Key Card’. The Sports Luxury grade justifies its higher cost with a sunroof, electric rear sunshade, 15-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, laser cut ornamentation, and the driver’s seat has an ‘easy entry’ function that slides the seat back for you - just make sure you warn anyone sitting behind you, as it could be a toe-cruncher.

Both F Sport and Sports Luxury variants add adaptive variable suspension and additional Customise and Sport+ drive modes (on top of the standard Sport, Normal and Eco modes).

Standard safety equipment on the IS range includes auto emergency braking (AEB) with forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control, LED headlights with auto high-beam, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and 10 airbags. F Sport and Sports Luxury models add blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert. No model comes with semi-automated parking. 

The Lexus IS range is also available with different drivetrains: there’s the IS300h petrol-electric hybrid, or the IS350 version with a 3.5-litre petrol V6. 

EXPERT RATING
7
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

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Pricing Guide

$59,340

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data
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