Photos & Words: Evan M. Yates
Exterior: If looks could kill, the IS 200t F Sport would be locked up for life without the possibility of parole. Everything about the exterior is sexy and stylish with sharp, swooping curves on each side, an attractive rear end and dramatic, large mouth grille that simply insists on your attention. Speaking of the front end, one of my favorite parts is the integrated LED lights that look like illuminated Nike symbols. This kind of creative touch shouldn’t go unnoticed as it truly sets the front end apart a part from its mundane competitors.
Interior: Nothing about the inside of the IS 200t is groundbreaking, yet it all just feels so proper and functional. All the materials are of the utmost quality and soft to the touch and the seats are well bolstered while still retaining all the comfort you would ever need. The red leather in our test car was particularly attractive, too. In addition, the dash is simple, yet sophisticated and as most Lexus vehicles tend to be, the ergonomics are well thought out which makes every day behind the wheel comfortable and relaxing.
A/V: The 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system is well worth the price of admission as its ability to pump out the tunes rivals many aftermarket competition systems. The high-resolution multimedia display is nestled in the dash in an ideal position and the system is quite easy to operate via voice, steering wheel controls and strategically placed buttons and knobs throughout the cabin.
Performance: Make no mistake, this is a luxury car and is built to be one. However, it is not a traditional sports car and shouldn’t be treated as such. At times, I ignored the latter and tested the IS 200t’s limits and was quickly reminded to reel it back in. For example, I attempted to maintain my hasty speed on a swooping exit ramp and the tires especially let me know that type of behavior was not kosher. With that in mind, the Lexus IS 200t is a splendid and capable vehicle. It’s smooth, controlled and provides an overall pleasing and uneventful driving experience. It’s light and nimble and honestly exceeds expectations. Acceleration from a dead stop lags a bit but I blame that more on tuning and programming than the power train. Once rolling, however, the IS 200t accelerates quite expeditiously even though there isn’t a howling engine or exhaust note to accompany it.
Final Verdict: The IS 200t is a gorgeous entry-level luxury vehicle. Treat it like the ride it truly is and you’ll be rewarded with an excellent daily commute.
Power: 241 hp, 258 ft lb
0-60: 6.9 sec
Gas Cash: 23 MPG (combined)