How The Lexus IS250 Charmed Me

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus IS250
2015 Lexus IS250.

There is a place in the world for right-sized, decently powered vehicles with balanced handling.  For many years, my favorite in that class was the Acura TSX. It's gone now, replaced by the somewhat larger TLX, which we should be reviewing here at TireKicker World Headquarters soon.  But it'll have to be very good, because the TSX's place in my heart has been taken by the 2015 Lexus IS250.

2015 Lexus IS 250 taillight detail
2015 Lexus IS250.
Yes, it's working with about 100 horsepower less than the IS350.  But for my money, it's a simpler, better-balanced machine.  You get more driving pleasure for the dollar by choosing the IS250.

$36,550 gets you the 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V6 with a six-speed transmission, paddle-shifters, ECO, Normal, Sport and Snow driving modes, 17-inch aluminum wheels, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, HID headlamps and LED running lamps, a dual chrome exhaust, a power one-touch moornoof, keyless entry and pushbutton start/stop.  There's also 10 airbags, Lexus' Enform Safety Connect service, an auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, a heated 10-way power driver's seat (heated 8-way for the front passenger, Bluetooth, a full-color display and a premium audio system.

Interior view of 2015 Lexus IS250
2015 Lexus IS250 interior.
Stop right there and you've got a sweet ride for about $37,000 with delivery, processing and handling.  Our test car bumped it up a bit, adding 18-inch alloys ($935), navigation with the Lexus Enform app suite ($1,855), intuitive parking assist ($500) and a trunk mat ($105).  Bottom line with $925 delivery fee: $40,870.

It handles with precision and balance...no part of the car feels heavier than another, power delivery is linear and fuel economy we observed in our week at the wheel suggests that the EPA estimate of 21 city/30 highway is right on the mark.

It's not the flashiest Lexus, the fastest or the most luxurious.  But when it comes down to sheer, uncomplicated goodness, it might just be the best.