Most sedans on the market are meant to be practical family haulers that are as efficient as they are practical. But if you want something that’s practical, efficient, and has a dash of sportiness, then cars like the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport could serve you well. After spending a week in one, I found out that it makes for a great daily driver.
The Lexus IS 350 F Sport is comfortable for an entry-level sedan
The Lexus IS is the brand’s entry-level sedan, which means it’s the smallest one you can buy. Although, I did find that it had ample space for four adult passengers. I say that because it actually fits up to five, however, there’s a large hump in the floor in the middle rear seat area and my head hit the roof of the car when sitting there. So anyone sitting in that seat will have to be shorter than 5-feet-8-inches to feel remotely happy in that spot.
Otherwise, there’s plenty of comfortable room for the other rear-seat passengers as well as the occupants upfront. Overall, the interior of the IS sedan is a nice place to spend time and it’s even better when it’s outfitted with the optional navigation and Mark Levinson audio system like my tester was. I really enjoyed the crisp sounds coming out of all 17 speakers, which cumulatively put out 1,800 watts of power.
For 2021, the IS 350 is available with a 10.3-inch infotainment screen that sits front and center. You can control it with either the twitchy touchpad in the center console or by touching it, which is a far better method. The IS 350 also comes with everything else you would need including heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and all of the driver-assist features you would expect in a luxury sedan.
There’s even an optional intuitive parking assist feature that includes automatic braking, a rear pedestrian detection system, and a panoramic view monitor that shows you an external 3D view of the entire car.
The IS 350 has enough power for the daily drive
The Lexus IS 350 is outfitted with a robust 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that outputs power to all four wheels. The combination works great when driving around town or speeding up to pass a car on the highway. However, if you’re looking for snappy, visceral performance, you may need to look elsewhere.
Lexus says that the IS 350 will get up to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and it sure feels that way when you put your foot into the throttle. However, I felt like the transmission shifted too slow and the engine felt weak below 4,000 rpm, which didn’t keep the driving excitement consistent. Although, it probably doesn’t help that the engine is naturally aspirated and I was driving the car at over 5,000 feet of elevation. So, your results may vary.
The IS 350’s fuel economy ratings were on par
As far as fuel efficiency, the Lexus IS 350 has an EPA-estimated rating of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, with 22 mpg in combined driving. That’s not too far off, considering I spent the week driving in mixed conditions – in addition to some spirited canyon driving – and averaged 20 mpg.
If you’re worried about fuel economy, then get the IS 300, which has a smaller turbocharged that’s able to achieve over 30 mpg on the highway. But if you want a potent luxury sedan that’s efficient, practical, and a tad sporty, then the IS 350 F Sport could be a great choice for you.