2017 Lexus IS 300: Compact in Size But Not in Luxury

Published: Friday, June 9, 2017 | 9:33 PM

2017lexusis300475Introduced last year, the Lexus IS 300 is a luxury compact that packs a punch.

For 2017 the IS 300 gets a refreshed front and rear and adds the Lexus Safety System+ as standard equipment.

The middle child of the IS series (slotted between the 200t and 350), the 300 is just right in terms of price, looks and drivability.

The 2017 Lexus IS 300 comes in only one trim level but has package extras that can be added. Extras included on my model were the Premium, Premium Plus, and Navigation packages.

Among the goodies that are standard equipment are 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth, an 8-inch color display, voice commands and an eight-speaker sound system.

2017lexusis300intNew standard equipment this model year includes lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic braking.

The Premium and Premium Plus packages adds heated and ventilated front seats and a rearview camera, automatic wipers, a power-adjustable steering wheel and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Powering the IS 300 is a 3.5-liter V6 delivering 255 horses and 236 lb-feet of torque. A six-speed trany brings it all together and the all-wheel drive gives it a balanced ride.

On the inside the cabin is inviting with high-quality materials and finishes. Because of the small size some of the placements of amenities like cup holders are in uncomfortable positions and there is no place to put a cell phone except in the center storage space (which I will not do because I always end up forgetting my phone) or one of the cup holders.

Front legroom is tight and rear legroom is even tighter. Trunk space is on the small side with 13.8 cubic feet. There is more when the backs seats are folded down, but they don’t fold flat so what can be transported is limited.

The interior of the IS 300 is whisper quiet. The suspension smooths out all but the worst road imperfections. You’d think with all this comfort and quiet that driving the IS 300 would be like driving a boat, it’s any but. Good acceleration and crisp turning gives the driver a peppy drive.

Looking for some luxury with your compact? Give the 2017 Lexus IS 300 a test drive.