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2021 Lexus IS Review: Going the (Half) Distance

Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2021 Lexus IS.

The majority of vehicle models usually get at least a medium-level revision – if not a major redesign – every five years or so. So say the ironclad rules governing the automotive industry; stand still longer than that and you’re asking for trouble. This brings us to the Lexus IS, which dates to 2014. Which means we’ve been fed the same recipe for six years. But then, the Lexus IS is like black forest cake: we like the original recipe. That said, the model must evolve or die, and Lexus is offering us something newish if not quite new for 2021.

Making new out of old
The folks at Lexus are the first to admit that this new generation of IS is not exactly new. The company is using the existing platform, but has enhanced and strengthened it. For example, it has added 55 welds in the front end to stiffen the structure and installed heavier anti-roll bars for better handling. There are no engine changes. Lexus simply optimizes the existing mechanics and the dress is based on the same design.

That said, the model’s lines have been changed to make the overall styling sportier. All versions now have lower air intakes in the grille to deliver more air to the engine. A line running along the entire profile of the car gives a sportier look to the new IS, while the trunk lid sits raised and keeps watch over a single taillight that extends from side to side. The new light signature allows for distinct marking at night, both in front and rear. A new black diffuser and double exhaust pipe complete the restyling efforts. This IS 300 is, by the way, longer, wider (by 30 mm) and higher (by 5 mm) than its predecessor.

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