If you are looking for a more sporty and adequately luxurious Lexus, the IS series pleasantly meets expectations. Is there a best year Lexus IS?

2016 is the best year for Lexus ES due to its modern safety features, luxuries, and comfort. This model comes with a wide range of power options and fuel economy. For all the variants, there have been no recalls for this year, making it one of the most reliable years of the Lexus IS.

With a badge known for reliability, luxury, and performance, the Lexus IS is a highly ranked compact sedan that houses one of the best interiors in its class. It also scores well in terms of reliability. There is no missing the poised ride and the luxurious interior, which works for both car enthusiasts and luxury lovers.

The Lexus IS series has been a reliable choice for over two decades. The IS series is a pocket-friendly version of a luxury car with many premium features. Since its launch more than twenty years ago, enthusiasts have loved the car thanks to its reliability, performance, and luxury features. It is a car that more youth are attracted to given their limited budget and attraction towards sporty and sleek vehicles.

Best Year Lexus IS

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2016 Lexus IS Lineup

The design is carried on from the previous years for the 2016 Lexus IS. But the model has a three-tier range targeted to a broad range of buyers using rear and all-wheel-drive, 4- and 6-cylinder engine, and an F Sport trim.

One component on the Lexus IS that you cannot miss is the grille located at the front. On most variants, the grille comes with an aggressive look, with horizontal bars running across from one headlight to the other and all the way from the hood to the bumper lip. But F Sport adds more aggression; the mesh style and spindle-shaped grille distinguish the car from other variants.

The grille continues to blend into the sharp creases on the hood, which vanish into the windscreen pillars. The neatly sculpted sides go well with the pointed tail lights, giving the car a sleek, clean look. The creases on the front and rear add grace to the car's looks and play a significant role in adding a sporty feel to the Lexus.

Inside, the 2016 Lexus IS boasts a tiered dashboard, which, by itself, adds a luxuriant touch to the design. The controls are easy to access and laid out neatly. The steering wheel also adds to the upgraded feel. HOWEVER, the F Sport incorporates a unique LFA-themed digital instrument display, which pushes the Lexus IS to the next level.

Performance

Compared to the previous years, the 2016 Lexus IS came with new variants. The most notable one was the IS200t, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine.  The engine coupled with an eight-speed transmission produced 241 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque. This variant was only available in rear-wheel-drive and came with paddle shifters for that added control. The car could be driven in Eco, Normal, and Sport modes.

The IS200t does not feel underpowered in most situations. When starting from a stop, the company claims 60 mph comes in just 6.9 seconds. However, some drivers do have issues with the responsiveness of the car. They complain that the transmission and turbocharger take their time before reacting, even if the pedal is floored.

Going up one level stands the IS 300 All-Wheel-Drive. This variant is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain on this variant produces 255 hp, but the torque is lower than the IS200t at 236 pound-feet. Lexus claims that this variant dashes to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

The top-of-line Lexus IS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6, which produces 306 hp and a torque of 277 lb.-ft. This variant is available as a rear-wheel-drive, which comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and an all-wheel-drive variant, which comes with a six-speed automatic. The RWD and AWD variants have a 0-60 mph rating of 5.6 and 5.7 seconds, respectively. The AWD provided stability and comfort for this variant, but the RWD was most chosen by driving enthusiasts.

The F Sport package and the AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension) are available across the lineup. The Lexus IS is a fun-to-drive and well-controlled beast with these packages installed. The car handles high-speed corners well and does not give way to too much body roll. Most drivers notice a considerable difference in handling when using different drive modes; eco, normal, sport, and for the F Sport trim, there is also a Sport+.

Both the six and eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly and efficiently. However, the 8-speed transmission seems to perform better than the six-speed in terms of responsiveness and smooth shifting, making the city and sporty driving more enjoyable.

The suspension is innovatively designed for comfort and road grip. You will find the car handles tight corners like a breeze, and it will also not transfer every crest and dip on the road to your seat.

Comfort

The interior of the 2016 Lexus IS feels like an oasis of high quality and comfort. Lexus has not compromised the quality of the material even on the IS lineup. Everything from rubbers, plastics, metals, and other cabin elements has a luxuriant feel.

The seats are well cushioned and very comfortable. But they do not seem well suited for aggressive maneuvers, especially on the F Sport trim. More bolstering would make the seat more supportive for the occupants and give a supported feel when taking sharp corners or running down canyon roads.

The cabin is well spaced out and has good legroom for both the front and rear occupants. The headroom is also decent and does not make six-foot people feel crammed in. There is a little compromise in all passengers' footwells to accommodate the large transfer case in the center tunnel on the all-wheel-drive variant.

The trunk room is also good and provides ample space of 13.8 cubic feet.

Features

Even for drivers skipping the optional upgrades, there are great features in the 2016 Lexus IS. But if you find a car that was bought by an IS lover, who has optional features installed, get ready for a very luxurious experience.

The standard equipment on the IS includes:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Xenon, High-intensity discharge headlights
  • Moonroof
  • Electrochromic, self-dimming mirrors
  • Keyless ignition
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Power front seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • HD radio with live weather and traffic information
  • For iPhone users, there is Siri Eyes
  • Audio system with eight speakers
  • Seven-inch screen

If you are lucky to find an option loaded car, you will find the following on a loaded 2016 Lexus IS:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision alert system
  • Rear cross-traffic alert system
  • Blindspot warning system
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Mark Levinson premium sound system

There is also a Lexus Enform System, which provides smartphone connectivity and offers a bundle of features, including:

  • Remote access
  • Smartphone app integration
  • Telematics

There are a variety of other packages, such as the Premium package, which comes with LED headlights, ventilated and heated front seats, and a rearview camera. The Premium Plus package adds to the Premium power tilt and telescopic steering wheel,and rain-sensing wipers. The luxury package includes a parking assist, a memory seat for the driver, a heated steering wheel, and wood trim.

The F Sport package adds more features like the Adaptive Variable Suspension (for IS 350 Rear wheel drive only), more stylish 18-inch rims, a 10-way power-adjustable seat for the driver, and an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the front passenger. The standard gauges are also replaced with the F Sport package with a supercar style instrument cluster, which adds a considerable spark for car enthusiasts.

There was also an option to select a variable gear ratio steering. This means that if you try out multiple 2016 Lexus IS, you will not find them turning or handling the same way.

Safety

The Lexus IS comes equipped with a lot of safety features. It also exhibits great crash-test results.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the Lexus IS "Good" marks in all areas and Average ratings for the headlights. The Lexus IS receives an "Advanced" rating for frontal crash prevention with the optional collision warning system installed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the 2016 Lexus IS five-star overall rating and four-star frontal crash ratings. For side-impact and rollover, the Lexus IS receives five-star ratings.

The safety features that come standard with all trims are a bundle of airbags, which includes:

  • Front passenger and driver main airbag
  • Front passenger and driver knee airbags
  • Front passenger and driver side airbags
  • Rear and front side curtain airbags

In addition to the airbags, other multiple safety features come standard in the IS. These include:

  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Daytime running lights (DRLs)
  • Body structure engineered to absorb most energy in crashes, keeping the occupants safe

Some optional features include:

  • Blind-spot detection and alert
  • Radar controlled dynamic cruise control
  • Rear traffic cross alert
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Backup camera
  • Parking assist

Styling

Even with the aggressive grille being debatable, the 2016 Lexus IS still offers many features to look sleek and stylish.

Looking at the car from the front, the first thing you will easily notice standing out is the highly controversial front grille. Although it has become quite familiar with most Lexus vehicles, it was a very debatable design during the early days of its launch.

Matching with the grille are expressive and angular lines, which run gracefully from the front to the car's sides, and flawlessly diminish towards the rear of the vehicle. The Lexus IS flaunts a stance that boasts confidence and readiness to take on any challenge throughout the day, whether mountainside curves or a highway cruise.

There are many opinions on the design cues of the Lexus IS. Where some are fans of the aggressive and sporty look, others find it a bit too overdone. But the 2016 Lexus is surely a head-turner for anyone who has not seen one before.

Just below the headlights, mounted separately, are the daytime running lights (DRLs). Although the DRLS would look better as part of the headlights, the standalone types look just fine. The taillights blend in well with the body on the vehicle's rear and stand out as needed. We find the fender ducts not blending with the body when looking at the car from an angle.

The quality of the interior materials is superb. But we find that the real magic in the upscale design of the cabin. The wide center console, layered dashboard, and how we could forget the analog clock all flaunt the aesthetics of high-end luxury cars.

Reliability

The 2016 Lexus IS is regarded as a reliable car. With no recalls and only a handful of minor complaints, the car gets high-reliability ratings from J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study. The car is rated above average in its class and can achieve a four-star rating in terms of reliability.

Like the company has maintained quality with parts inside the cabin, it has not compromised on any parts under the hood or undercarriage. Where the powertrain has a long life and maintains performance, the suspension can handle rough patches very well.

Fuel Economy

Among other luxury fuel gulpers and huge V8s, the 2016 Lexus Is receives good EPA ratings for fuel economy.

For those who look at fuel economy before anything else, the IS 200t will be a good choice. With its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbo-powered engine, this variant can run 22 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway, and 26 mpg combined.

The V6 powered IS 300, on the other hand, will get 19 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

The top of the line IS 350, which is also run by a V6, can go up to 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. For the all-wheel-drive variant, the numbers come to 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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