2014 Lexus IS 250 Long-Term Update 2
Life on the Inside
Automotive interiors are a pet peeve of mine, because let's face it, even the biggest car geeks among us spend more time inside them looking out than we do outside looking in. Besides having to stare at it all the time, the interior is also the part of a car you interact with the most. It's important.
Let's take a look at the interior of the new IS. Goodness knows I'd rather look at the inside, which I like, than the outside, which I don't. Nothing about the IS update makes me happier than the fact that Lexus incorporated the LFA's dash, except maybe the improved handling. I dig the horizontal motif and the juxtaposition of straight lines and circles. Not only does it look good, but it doesn't look like it's trying to copy any other automaker, and it's functional to boot, with solid ergonomics on most of the controls.
Moving away from the dashboard and center console, the IS' interior walks a fine line between cozy and roomy. Each bucket seat (the center rear seat is emergency/child use only) feels like the center of its own private space within the car, but the interior doesn't feel claustrophobic. There's plenty of room to spread out between you and the other passengers. In the rear, my totally average 5-foot, 9-inch frame has an abundance of legroom and just enough surplus head and shoulder room for me to really get comfortable. Back up front in the driver's seat, the lower beltline of the car and thinner pillars make for excellent outward visibility in a world where car interiors are becoming bunkers. The only bunker-like aspect of the IS is how quiet it is.
There are a few drawbacks. The biggest revolves around storage space. The glove box is small and 75 percent of it is eaten up by the owner's manual and its storage rack. There's no bin or cubby on the dash or center console save the bin under the center armrest. I don't usually put a lot of stuff in those bins, but I like to take my cell phone out of my pocket and it's nice to have a place to put it. The door bins are also a little on the small side and there's no pass-through for long items like skis or that antique-looking curtain rod I just bought at the trendy boutique store.
Most irksome, though, is the placement of the front-seat cupholders. They're located near the rear of the center console, right by your elbow. The only way to access your beverage is to bend your arm at the elbow and reach as far back as your shoulder will allow, which should be just enough to put your hand on the drink.
My other big complaint is a matter of expectations. While the leather is top-notch, some of the plastic feels pretty cheap for a $40,000 car. The build quality is solid, but the design means a number of exposed panel gaps that simply wouldn't exist in earlier Lexus models. A number of elements on the dash and center console seem to butt up against one another, as if they were pasted onto an underlying frame one at a time rather than fitted together. Lastly, I think it's inexcusable for a $40,000 luxury sedan to not have standard seat memory settings. It's 2014. This isn't new or expensive technology. If I can get it on a compact Kia, it ought to be standard on your luxury car.
|Service life||3 mo/4278 mi|
|Average fuel economy||21.5 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.90 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||21/30/24 mpg|
|Energy consumption||157 kW-hr/100mi|
|Maintenance cost||$0 (inspection)|