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2014 Kia Optima, Metal Bronze, 11 mi., $22,540
Review of the 2012 Lexus IS
IntroductionThe 2012 Lexus IS is a compact luxury sport sedan that offers refinement, comfort, and style. The 2012 four-door, five-passenger, IS comes in two well-appointed trim levels - the IS 250 and the IS 350. The 2012 IS offers refined handling and a quiet cabin with excellent fit and finish. A 306-horsepower IS 350 all-wheel drive (AWD) model and offering a new F Sport Package for the IS 250/350 rear-wheel drive (RWD) are new for 2011. Revised front and rear styling details sharpen all IS models. In addition, the IS sedans feature minor interior trim changes.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesLeather-trimmed interior with 10-way power front seats is standard on all IS models. Dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat vents and a pollen filter (plus a smog filter on IS 350), power moonroof with one-touch open/close and seven open-position settings, manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, all power windows with automatic up/down feature and jam protection, HomeLink and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror are also standard. The AWD models also come with standard heated seats. The SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button-start ignition allows the driver to keep the access fob in a pocket or purse. The standard Lexus Premium Audio System features a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, 194 watts (max.) total power, 13 speakers, iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth hands free phone and music streaming and an integrated satellite radio receiver. The Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) maintains consistent sound levels at varying vehicle speeds.
EngineThe IS 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine rated at 204 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 185 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. The IS 350 gets power from a 3.5-liter V6 engine which makes 306 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 277 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The IS 350 RWD model can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. Both engines employ dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. An advanced six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard on the IS 350 models and the IS 250 AWD. The IS 250 RWD comes standard with a crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission, with the paddle-shift automatic offered as an option.
SafetyThe comprehensive list of standard safety gadgets offered on the 2012 Lexus IS includes Lexus Supplemental Restraint System with side-curtain airbags that extend from A-pillar to C-pillar, and a knee airbag for both the driver and the front passenger. High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with LED daytime running lamps are optional. IS 350 models are equipped with standard HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and headlamp washers. The rear back-up camera is included in the optional navigation system.