Flash Drive

2021 Lexus IS 300

Model Tested: 2021 Lexus IS 300 RWD Sedan

The Lexus IS 300 (and IS 350) were refreshed for 2021 with a strong emphasis on style and luxury.

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

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

EPA Rating: 21-mpg city, 31-mpg highway, 25-mpg combined

Base Price: $39,000

As Tested: $45,975


Good acceleration, but not as good as the IS 350

Smooth highway ride

Adaptive transmission great for spirited driving

The 2021 Lexus IS line has very purposeful styling with crisp lines that flow throughout the body.

Transmission eliminates gear “hunting”

Drive modes via console dial: Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow

Sport mode holds gears longer

Handsome 19-inch wheels

Decent fuel economy—our best was 26.5-mpg combined


Super stretch-out front row legroom

Front legroom compromises rear room

Passable rear room if fronts moved up a lot

Heated and ventilated (3 temps) front seats

This closeup of the taillights is an example of how bold the styling cues are.

Very nice medium thick slightly contoured leather wheel

Lots of good auxiliary controls

Manual tilt/telescopic column with good range

Heated steering wheel

Tall soft headrests

Quality interior materials


Good size infotainment screen

Front seat space, style, and comfort are all excellent on the 2021 Lexus IS 300.

Excellent sound system

Shallow console storage bin

Medium size locking glovebox

Medium-plus size sunroof

Medium size front door bins with bottle notches

Two seatback pouches

Wide trunk opening

Seven-inch lift-over

Flat floor

Split folding seats are 8-inches higher than trunk floor

Rear seats are still stylish and covered in quality materials, but leg space is tight.

WOW Factors:

Sharp styling

Lots of excellent standard safety features

Heated steering wheel

Quality interior materials

Adaptive transmission aids sporty driving


Back seat accommodations could be better

No rear door bins

Very high rear seat floor tunnel

Considered a 5-passenger car, but really only 4

The side profile illustrates the dynamic “swoop” that emphasizes the athletic nature of the IS 300.

Bottom Line:

The 2021 Lexus IS 300 was refreshed for this model year. Changes included exterior styling, updated infotainment systems, and chassis/suspension tuning. The IS 300 is athletic, but there is the V-6-powered IS 350 if more performance is desired. The Lexus IS 300 is a stylish, well-equipped compact luxury sedan that’s great for two people and two children, but a little cramped for four adults.