The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CNHI News Service Originals

December 10, 2012

Sporty Lexus feels German

(Continued)

It's also available with all-wheel drive, which offers better traction
but slightly worse gas mileage than the rear-wheel-drive numbers
quoted above.

Styling on this car is understated, which is typical of Lexus designs. Its body doesn't scream for attention, even though it's remarkably quick, which is something I take as a sign of confidence.

It has a nicely sloping rear roofline and wide stance, but it's devoid
of goofy add-ons like oversized spoilers and air scoops. Its body
doesn't have a hint of that "I want to be a teenager" silliness.
Still, this car makes nods to appeal to younger drivers.

Aside from the fun you'll find in the driver's seat, the navigation system also comes with smartphone-style apps that can do all sorts of things, from streaming music to checking in on Facebook.

Available apps include restaurant reservations through OpenTable,
searches through Bing, movie tickets from MovieTickets.com, business
reviews from Yelp and online music from Pandora and iHeartRadio.

The biggest downside to the IS is its small back seat. People who regularly carry back-seat passengers or simply want a more comfortable ride will be happier in the larger, softer ES that was just redesigned for 2013. Its starting price is only about $1,000 more than the IS, even though the ES feels like a much more substantial — if far less sporty — vehicle.

As a whole, though, the IS is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable
cars in the Lexus lineup. It's not the traditional big, squishy Lexus
boat, and it's definitely worth test driving before you think about
buying something German.

Derek Price is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at carcolumn@gamil.com.

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