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2016 Lexus IS 200t Heels on Wheels Review

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2016 Lexus 200t

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


Not necessarily a new car for Lexus, this entry-level luxury sedan replaces the 250 IS with a now-turbocharged 2-liter engine capable of delivering additional horsepower. Another clear benefit is the way this smaller yet sporty vehicle blends refinement and technology together.

I drove a 2016 Lexus IS 200t with the turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder delivering 241 horsepower paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i). Available in one model (with or without optional packages and features) standard equipment for the IS 200t include: leather upholstery; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; seventeen-inch alloy wheels; Lexus Enform Safety Connect; ten-way power driver’s seat; Lexus Premium Display Audio System; Bluetooth; Driver Mode Select; and touch-based climate controls. Pricing as described without options or packages is $37,325.

There is also an IS 350 series with two engines: a new 255-horspower 3.5-liter V6 engine with standard all-wheel drive and a more powerful 306-horsepower V6. The Lexus IS 200t is pitted against competitors like the Audi A4 2.0T and the Mercedes-Benz C350.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Without a doubt, the eye is drawn to the IS’s higher beltline design and heighten fenders. Ready to fit five, only four will sit comfortably. Touch-sensitive electrostatic temperature switches are a classy addition to the tech-heavy center console. Quality leather, crafted wood inlays and an arrangement of chrome-like dials and knobs do give the cabin an elevated feel. Now here comes the punch: Upgrade to the F SPORT package, which adds must-have items like a unique front bumper, LED headlights, a special wheel design, heated and ventilated front seats, and a back-up monitor, among other features, all for an extra $3,545. My test drive also had a Blind Spot Monitor System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert ($650), a $2,645 navigation system with a Mark Levinson audio system, and a few other touches to jazz it up.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Lexus IS 200t has tested Moderate Overlap Front and Side with ratings of “Good” in both areas. It has a Five-Star rating with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes: ten airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system; Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control. Lexus Enform Safety Connect is also standard and incorporates automatic collision notification, a stolen-vehicle locator, an emergency-assist button and roadside assistance.

Cost Issues: The Lexus IS series ranges from a base price of $37,325 for the 200t to $44,025 for the IS 350 F SPORT. The F SPORT is a serious draw as it heightens suspension performance and the overall look of the vehicle – well worth consideration.

Activity & Performance Ability: The IS chassis already has the upmost rigidity at the tightest of corners thanks to various body bonding techniques from the engineers at Lexus; plus the steering angle dropped three degrees for a more connected feel. If you want a bit more muscle, you’ll be convinced the IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6 can bring needed attitude. Outfitted in the F SPORT package, and IS vehicle can mirror what an Audi and Mercedes deliver in terms of a race-inspired experience.

The Green Concern: My IS 200t test-drive featured ECO, Sport and Normal drive modes, with ECO controlling the throttle more to conserve fuel for an overall fuel economy of 22-city and 33-highway for a combined 26 miles-per-gallon. The Lexus IS 350 with rear-wheel drive and various driving modes (including Snow) gets 19-city/28-highway for a combined 22 miles-per-gallon.

The Lexus IS series represents a smaller luxury worth your attention, with a new 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and two powerful V6 engines to choose from. Style is evident at every corner inside and out, with the F SPORT package satisfying the need for something sassier.

2016 Katrina Ramser

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