2015 LEXUS IS-250;Is the Lexus IS 250 too sporty and small for a full-sized family? Can it handle the load and the rigors of a family’s active lifestyle? We drove the IS 250 around town, a couple hundred miles on the highway, and around a mountain to find out.
Under The Hood:
The 2015 Lexus IS 250 is powered by a 2.4-liter 6-cylinder which pumps out a respectable 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic with standard wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
All 2015 IS models come standard with Lexus’s Drive Mode Select. A turn of a knob, or push of a button allow the driver to choose between driving modes. Our IS 250 was equipped with the standard ECO, Normal, Sport, and Snow modes. F Sport models add Sport S and Sport S+ modes.
Lexus stretched its smallest entry into the sedan category for 2015 front-to-back and side-to-side. Bulging wheel wells and a bumper-to-bumper belt line crease create in the IS the aggressive look so many manufacturers claim.
Creases and angles along the vehicle give it the look of pushing the speed limit even when it is sitting still. The hourglass shaped spindle grille on our 250 is not as organically sexy as the F Sport, but still contributes to the modern sleek aesthetic.
While the outside of the IS250 is aggressive and sporty, the inside is luxurious and thoroughly modern. Clean line and a minimum of buttons make Lexus interiors among our favorites.
Seating is firm and comfortable. Side bolsters are soft enough for a luxury vehicle, but firm enough to keep you in your place should you choose to explore some twists and turns. Legroom and hip room were just enough to be cozily comfortable without feeling confining. Rear seat legroom was unexpectedly good for our junior testers. Hip room was adequate for two. Don’t plan on a third squeezing in.
One quibble we had was cupholder placement in the front. Two adjoining cupholders were mounted front-to-back toward the rear of the center console. Reaching your beverage required contorting your arm to reach almost behind you. A tall enough beverage gets in the way of the center arm rest. That said, we aren’t sure where else we would put them.
The IS250 features Lexus’s Enform infotainment system. The controls for the audio, HVAC, etc are as intuitive as they always are in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. The main screen and the instrument panel mounted driver information screen were both easy to control and navigate via center stack and wheel mounted controls. Additionally, Lexus’s console mounted remote touch controller is a feature we have fallen in love with.
The Enform system features App Suite which allows access to some of your favorite smartphone apps. Navigation and audio controls re also managed through the 8″ screen. The IS250 allows smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth and USB. A single DVD/CD player is also part of the audio system.
The IS250 is a comfortable, easy to drive sedan. The engine allows for a level of sportiness, but will not be mistaken for a sports car power plant.
Steering, braking, and acceleration are all exactly what you expect from Lexus. The car goes where you point it with solid communication from the wheels to the driver. The brake pedal begins slowing as soon as its pressed. The brake and the accelerator have a solid feel without the play found in so many other vehicles.
Cruise control was up there with the best we have driven. The transmission in the IS350 Sport seemed as if it fought against the cruise on downhills in order to control slowing. The 250 didn’t suffer from that annoying habit. Acceleration and braking while cruise control was operating were smooth and kept the car within 3-4MPH of the set speed.
The solid, surefooted feel of the 250 on dry roads carried over to wet roads. We experienced no traction issues or hydroplaning during an early Spring squall we encountered.
Model: IS 250 Sport
Car type: Sedan
Export status: Can be exported