Skip to main content

2015 Lexus IS 250 AWD buyer’s guide

The IS 250 AWD sedan has a lot going for it. Here are the details on this very popular model.

Join us...    

This December shoppers looking for an entry level Lexus sedan will be very pleased with the IS 250 AWD. Lexus dealers will be stocking up on this all-wheel drive sedan to meet the Christmas rush. Although outsold by the ES350 sedan, the IS 250 AWD is a car that sells well in early winter for good reason. Lexus dealers runs specials to maximize their annual sales totals. I drove an IS 250 AWD over the past two days. I also own an IS 350C, and I have driven every version of the Lexus IS line on both road and racetracks over the past 14 months since it was launched in the third generation. What you are about to read is the unvarnished truth about this popular car.

For a unique comparison of the IS 250 AWD to the IS 350 check this out.

2015 IS 250 AWD Styling
For the 2014 Model year, the IS 250 AWD received a completely new look when Lexus completely redesigned the car. The “spindle” grill adds character to the car. When the design change occurred sales of the model more than doubled. When the spindle grill was added to other models like the GS, sales doubled. In fact, every vehicle that Lexus sells saw a price jump when the new styling was applied. If your friends and family caution you about the looks of the new IS 250 AWD keep in mind that unless they are driving a Lexus, they may not be the target customer Lexus had in mind when the car was styled. That does not mean you aren’t. I’ll let the photos do the talking on the styling. If you like it, read on.

IS 250 AWD Handling
The newer generation IS 250 AWD handles better than the second gen car did. In fact, it is almost supernatural when taking off ramps and when you decide to dart around town. If you are reading a selection of reviews, be aware that there are Lexus IS cars that do great on a racetrack. Most auto writers know which ones those are. A few have no clue, so if you read a review comparing this cars handling at the limit to the BMW 335i you know you are reading the wrong publication. The IS 250 AWD is not a track star. The AWD system does not help the car on a racetrack. Rear wheel drive is better. However, in normal, and spirited driving on-road the IS 250 AWD is an extremely capable handler, and the steering is pretty much perfect. Bumps are felt, but the ride is not overly harsh. On the highway, this car will drive itself straight in a lane for miles without any needed correction. The handling of this car for its intended use is without compromise.

IS 250 AWD Power
The IS 250 AWD is not a fast car. If you want fast, simply get the IS 350. If you want crazy-fast, try to find an IS F. There may be a few 2014 IS F cars for sale. Trust me, you don’t need an IS F and if you don’t normally floor the gas and race from stoplight to stoplight the IS 250 AWD will feel fine. On paper, the car is not what is considered fast by any enthusiast. However, for normal driving the car is adequate.

What the engine lacks in sheer power it makes up for in smoothness and quietness. This engine is almost silent. A BMW 320i or even a 328i will rattle like a diesel by comparison. The IS 250 AWD has a transmission you can shift manually if you want to downshift and hold a gear to put the engine in the power range on the tach.

IS 250 AWD Practicality
The IS 250 AWD will be a very handy car when the snow and ice arrive. You will never get stuck, and if you add winter tires, you will have a car that will be as good as any other sedan on the market in bad weather. Fuel economy is not bad. I averaged 26.5 MPG in mixed highway and suburban driving over about 200 miles this week. On long highway trips, you will see over 30 MPG.

IS 250 AWD Interior, Audio, and Nav
The IS 250 AWD usually comes with heated and ventilated seats, the Nav package, and Audio with App capability. The Nav works well. Lexus is the top rated car on the J. D. Power Initial Quality Survey because customers can actually make the system work. One thing I like about eh IS 250 AWD is that the driver can configure almost every aspect of the system to their liking. Do you like the map to always show automatically after you change the audio selection? No problem. Would you prefer that when you select climate or audio that screen remain until you choose another, no problem. Want it to be silent, or to beep when you make a selection? Either is available, and the car can easily be configured to your liking. Things like how many doors open when you grab the handle can be programmed by the driver easily. Keyless entry in the Lexus is the best in the business by the way. After you use it all other automakers’ systems seem a little awkward.

IS 250 Option Packages
I could explain all the ways the Lexus USA website promises you can build an IS 250 AWD, but I won’t. The reason is that Lexus dealers sell from stock. You will not have to wait to find your color, and the dealers will have cars to choose. However, they will mostly come with the popular option packages. I suggest you go see how they are configured in your area rather than try to build up a model on-line.

Those that follow Torque News know that I don’t pull punches on the IS 250 AWD. In prior stories, I have pointed out that the car has some issues that make it hard to call it a true sports sedan. That said, I enjoyed the car very much over the past two days, and the small demerits on the car were never apparent. This is a car you like more as time goes on.

Related Stories:
Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned vehicle program – How does it work?href="">Lexus Convertible concept LF-C2 is the 2016 IS 350C
If you love the 2015 Lexus IS 350C or IS F do not watch this video

Join us...    


C Perfect (not verified)    November 21, 2014 - 5:37PM

I'm surprised that no one has picked up the problem with the 2014 is250. The car intermittently goes dead after sitting for a couple of days.....completely will take a jump and be okay, but you never know when it will be dead. It is an issue for many on Lexus Owners' Forum...Lexus won't acknowledge the problem and tell you that you must have left something on, but it isn't true..The battery is changed, and the car still does it... They don't know why or how to fix it.

John Goreham    November 21, 2014 - 7:09PM

In reply to by C Perfect (not verified)

Just 2014 and just 250? I am very active on the Facebook IS owners club (6,646 members) and I don't remember anyone ever mentioning it. My IS has never had that problem. I have had the 2014 IS 250 at my house for maybe 10 days total and the 2014 IS 350 AWD over the past year for testing and none ever did that.