Flash Drive

2018 Lexus IS 300

Model Tested: 2018 Lexus IS 300 4-door Sedan

The 2018 Lexus IS 300 replaces the 2017 IS 200t as the four-cylinder, rear wheel drive model.

Engine:2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, 241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 22-mpg city, 32-mpg highway, 26-mpg combined

Base Price: $38,210

As Tested: $44,184


Pretty peppy turbocharged I-4, but the V-6 models are better

Smooth transmission with paddle shifters

Drive modes (on console dial): Eco, Normal, Sport

Separate mode button for Snow


Stretch-out front row legroom at expense of rear seat

The Lexus IS 300 has a handsome, conservatively aggressive stance and style.

Comfortable, supportive front seats

Driver power lumbar support

Nice (optional) 3 temperatures heated and ventilated front seats

Wide range power tilt/telescopic steering column (optional)

Thick, nicely contoured leather steering wheel

Lots of auxiliary controls, but button a little small

Oversize dead pedal

Dual HVAC controls with unique touch/slide thermostats

High and wide floor tunnel negates middle seating position

The Lexus IS 300 interior is geared toward the driver and front passenger.


Split (60/40), folding rear seats

Flat seatbacks, but a 7-inch rise from trunk floor

Trunk security feature, but difficult to reach from inside trunk

Trunk space narrow between wheelwells

High lift-over (6-inches)

Trunk capacity on the smaller side

Mouse-style infotainment controller with nice hand rest

Medium size front door bins and console bin

Smallish, locking glovebox filled by owner’s manual

Rear seat legroom is tight unless the front seats are moved up.

No rear seat door bins

WOW Factors:

Athletic chassis, suspension, running gear

Handsome, driver-oriented interior

Excellent front seat legroom

One of the better versions of the polarizing Lexus grille


Some of the best features were extra cost options

Overly snug rear seat

Hard to reach security locks on folding rear seats

The Lexus IS 300 has one of the more handsome versions of the polarizing Lexus grille.

Middle position of rear seat almost unusable

Bottom Line:

The 2018 Lexus IS 300 is the entry level Lexus. As such, it has nice luxury features and quality construction, but could use a little more performance and a lot more rear seating room/amenities. It’s fun to drive and a fine two-person touring vehicle, but for more people or cargo it lacks.