An entry-level luxury sedan should accomplish a few things. It should be fun to drive, provide a taste of what’s in store if you explore deeper into the model lineup, and show the world that you are climbing your respective career ladder. You may wish this were not the case but we live in a materialistic society.
Thankfully for us, the entry-level luxury sedan category is filled with some really interesting and exhilarating choices. These choices each offer something different and that is part of their appeal. The 2010 Lexus IS250 AWD is one of the plethora of cars in this segment. It’s up against some stiff competition, with each automaker pushing the other to make great cars. The problem here is that the IS250 AWD seems content with the middle of the pack.
The exterior style of the IS250 AWD has enough character to make it stand out in a sea of affordable point-A-to-point-B machines, but it lacks the punch so often found in its own segment. The grille flows nicely into the raised side of the hood, and this turns into a shoulder line that flows neatly down the side of the car. The line eventually wraps around the back of the car into a little tail spoiler. It looks clean and simple with a hint of sportiness at the front and the rear.
This Lexus does a much better job on the inside however, with a real quality feel to the materials. There is a level of luxury that hints at what the rest of the lineup has in store as a buyer matures into future Lexus vehicles. The AWD IS comes standard with the Premium Package Value Edition, which features heated and ventilated perforated leather front seats and a wood trim. The standard moonroof opens and closes with one touch of a button and the exterior mirrors are heated for those snowy morning commutes. The IS250 AWD also boasts a 13-speaker premium sound system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer, a USB plug, XM radio, and the ability to stream music via a Bluetooth connection. The inside of the 2010 Lexus IS250 AWD is a nice place to be with a good level of comfort up front and adequate comfort in the rear. Unfortunately, adequate comfort is the standard in this segment and the IS250 does a good job with the available room even when my 6’3″ frame has the driver’s seat all the way back.
Under the hood of the IS250 sits a 2.5L V6 engine that is pumping out 204 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. This is more than the 2.0T equipped Audi A4 but nowhere near as much as an Infiniti G37 sedan. It is enough to get the IS250 AWD moving quickly, but I would never call this a fast car. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which can be shifted manually via steering wheel mounted paddles, or by the gear shift itself. The paddles react more quickly than I assumed they would but I was expecting it to take one week while it only takes one second. One second doesn’t sound like a long time but for those used to a manual transmission, it feels like an eternity.
The highlight of the IS250 AWD is definitely the Lexus ride quality. Once I got past the fact that this is not a true sports sedan, I settled into the seat and really enjoyed the comfortable cruise I took down the Pacific Coast Highway. If I were driving friends or family around in the back of this car they would get to admire the view. If I were to drive friends and family around in the back of the aforementioned G37 sedan, they would be puking. However, both rides would put a smile on my face – the Is250 would do so from my back thanking me for a smooth journey while the G37 would do so from my … um, other parts thanking me.
The 2010 Lexus IS250 AWD starts at $35,375.00 and the one you see tested here has a sticker price of $38,952.00. If you want a taste of top-notch luxury at a sub-$40,000 price and a comfortable ride, then this is the entry-level luxury sedan for you. If you are looking for something to carve a canyon back-road then clean up and make a splash at the valet court, then you might have to look elsewhere.