It sits low to the ground. It doesn’t run with the pack of competitors. Why? Because it is way up ahead. Can’t you hear it growl? Yep, it is the IS 200t.
The 2017 Lexus IS has a boldly re-styled exterior with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four governed by Dual VVT-i, delivering 241 peak horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Routing power through the eight-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), it gets you from to 60 in 6.9 seconds as steering wheel mounted paddle shifters encourage driver participation in the sprint.
Even though the IS 200t trembles with power, it still delivers 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway for a combined driving average of 26 mpg.
The Drive Mode select (Eco, Normal, Sport) lets you choose how to motor. I like the Eco best. But sometimes! Sometimes, it is just sweet to pop into Sport and let ‘er rip.
Inside there are miles and miles of premium leather trim that bring the aroma of luxury. Attention has been paid to details with high-design styling. Front occupants are treated to cross-quilting 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and eight-way passenger seat.
The interior is spacious with low seating and high tech innovations. Convenience is also provided by the versatility of 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats.
Smart access with push button start/stop gets you going. The power tilt/slide moonroof with one-touch open/close brings inside a great feeling for openness.
The all-new available 10.3-inch center console multimedia display is controlled via next generation Remote Touch input device. This places the controls for the full-screen Navigation System at your fingertips. The display is crystal clear, combined with outstanding colors that make it easy to connect to the world.
I would like to have less confinement in the back and side front seats, and an ashtray-sized open compartment for small, often needed items like phone or keys.
The 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in all season tires held the road well, while LED headlamps and LED day time running lights help to see what lies ahead in the road.
The IS 200t has the standard Lexus Safety System + that consists of pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beam, and dynamic radar cruise control.
The literature says Lexus wants the driver to feel “one with the vehicle” for the driving experience. Well, I was able to do that. Just set the satellite radio on some light jazz, and put the pedal down.
There is a toll road that loops around Austin, Texas (Toll 130) that allows a legal speed limit of 80 mph. I just set the cruise on 80 and enjoyed a smooth, joyous ride. Not once did I have to slow down. I just sat back and enjoyed an exciting, magical ride until I reentered Interstate 35 near San Antonio.
The IS seemed to enjoy the experience as much as I did. Just once I turned the music down to listen to the engine. I wanted to listen for the growl.
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $37,875.
The navigation system/Mark Levinson 5.1-channel Audio System with 15-speakers driven by an 835-Watt amp on a 10.3-inch display and Remote Touch Interface adds $2,835 to the total cost.
4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Warranty
6-year/70,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
6-year/Unlimited-mileage Corrosion-Perforation Warranty
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at firstname.lastname@example.org