2011 Lexus IS review

The 2011 Lexus IS ranks 10 out of 21 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 63 published reviews and test drives of the Lexus IS, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

With a stylish exterior design, easy-to-use controls, comfortable ride and strong resale value, its no wonder the Lexus IS has become a leader on Lexuss sales charts.

Available with two powertrains, the 2011 Lexus IS comes with either a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 204 horsepower or a more serious 3.5-liter V6 that churns out 306 horsepower. While there is a more hardcore IS-F, it is reviewed separately. Although many reviewers find the smaller motor a bit weak for its class, its pricing is similar to the Audi A4 and is a relative bargain for upscale midsize cars. But if youre looking for a car with some grunt, the IS 350 is the one you want. Just know it will cost you over $5,200 more than an IS250 with rear-wheel drive and an automatic transmission.

Additionally, either Lexus IS can be had with two different drivetrains. Rear-wheel drive is standard but if youd like to spend more for secure traction in wet weather, all-wheel drive is available for an additional $2,460. This is the first year the IS350 can be optioned with all-wheel drive.

If you want to catch some rays, the Lexus IS line also features convertibles with metal, folding roofs. Although most reviewers agree the Lexus isnt as sporty as its competition from BMW and Infiniti, the IS is more practical due to its larger trunk space.

The Lexus ES costs nearly $3,400 more than the base IS, and has a different feel. Because it is not tuned for performance, it is not a driving enthusiasts car. If youre looking for a car with a sportier feel, the IS is the car for you.

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