2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD – Re- Driven on Placid Blue Waters

2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: Committed to Pursuit of Excellence is a compact executive sedan, brimming with luxury and controversial spindle schnoz, priced from $42k and $54k as tested.

RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THREE BY FOUR WITH  MILDER BENT SIX:  Catering to Upwardly Mobile Professional desires and surviving Urban Active Lifestyle is the prestige compact touring sedan. For their sake the Lexus IS series exists, fitted with four powerplants, ranging from four to eight pistoned and with available all-wheel drive. Having slipped into a shimmering re-wrapped IS 350 AWD F-Sport a year ago, Roadblazing.com editors have now rowed a Re-Drive on the placid blue waters of a 2022 Lexus IS 300 sport sedan.

2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD Driving Hits: (vs. previously reviewed 2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD in parenthesis)

  • 260 horsepower 2GR-FKS 3.5L gas V-6 = (-51 hp ≈-16%); 236 pound-feet torque = (-64 lb-ft ≈ -23%)
  • 6-speed automatic torque converter planetary transmission
    • Confusion lies in that the IS 300 rear wheel drive = by 8AR-FTS turbocharged 2.0L gas I-4 + AA81E 8-speed automatic transmission
  • PTU to viscous clutch center differential all-wheel drive to front & rear open differential axles.
  • De-rated 2GR-FKS 3.5L V-6 displays impressive forward burst at highway entry speeds
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: detuned IS 350 3.5L NA V-6 + laggard 6-spd autobox = +18% MPGs
  • 26 combined miles per gallon (+18% MPG), 452 miles highway range, on 91 octane AKI unleaded fuel
  • Front double wishbone + rear multi-link fully independent suspension
  • Bridgestone Turanza EL45Z M+S touring tires on 19″ alloy wheels
  • Vented disc brake rotors x 4 exhibits consistent linear feel
  • Increased spot laser welding makes this a torsional resistance pace setter for the class

2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD Driving Misses:

  • AH760H transmission is two gears < rear wheel drive IS Series
  • Hesitant transmission kick down
  • Noticeably less eager than IS 350 AWD at triple digits
  • Lower lateral load limits from fitted touring rubber
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: relaxing, absorbent touring car personality with some sporting reflexes
  • Lacks F-Sport series electronic variable dampers stiffening
  • Still based on a non-modular Toyota New N platform

What the 2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD Has Got:

  • Pricing: from $41,700 (incl. destination) for a 6-speed automatic 2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD.
    • As tested w/ Premium pkg., in Grecian Water blue finish, at $54,075
  • 3rd generation Japanese compact luxury executive sedan series XE30, following a 2020 second update, features a sleek Coke bottle fuselage with lower aft folds, full length Lexus Spindle grille, door mount lateral “L” wing mirrors, inverted inboard facing “L” lighting housings w/ rear mid trunk connecting raceway, and distinctive flared descending rear fascia.
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: the lateral “L” shapes have it in light assemblies, fascia corner folds & body creases
  • Accommodates 4 grownups & 14 cubic feet of belongings in the trunk, expanded by 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seatbacks
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: tall liftover 13.8 cubic foot trunk w/ power release
  • Precision shape and movement Lexus controls with nary any cribbed from Toyota
  • Comprehensive standard feature set
    • Remote keyless proximity access, push button ignition; Power windows, full variable speed express x 4
    • NuLuxe seating, heated front seats, 10-way driver, 8-way passenger, power adjust
    • 2-zone automatic, soft touch adjust climate control
    • LED steering adaptive headlights, Rain sensing windshield wipers,
    • Auto dimming rear view mirror, Reverse power tilting side mirrors
    • TFT twin analog dial instrument cluster w/ 4.7″ color MFD display
    • 8.0″ Display Audio pod style landscape upper center dash infotainment display w/ remote dial Command & touch control; Voice commands
    • 10 speaker, 550W CD & streaming audio, USB-C x 2, 12V x 1
    • Bluetooth hands-free communication & SMS messaging
    • wireless Android Auto, AppleCar Play phone projection
    • Cupholders x 4, Bottle holders x 4
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: 2nd Row vents and center armrest beverage caddies
  • Excellent safety features & ratings
    • IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus +
    • 10 SRS airbags; Rear camera
  • Driver assist tech (standard – Lexus SafetySystem+ 2.5)
    •   Pedestrian and daylight bicycle detection braking; Forward collision avoidance braking; Blind spot warning; Front & Rear cross traffic detection; Lane Departure Warning w/ steering trace assist; Full adaptive cruise control w/ variable curve approach speed; Autohold electronic parking brake; Automatic high beam headlamps; Enform Safety & Service Connect
    • ADVANCED SAFETY PKG (included on test vehicle): Intuitive front & rear park assist w/ auto braking; 360° Bird’s Eye camera view;  Rear cross traffic braking
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: SafetySystem+ 2.5 ADAS console dial accessed drive modes
  • WARRANTIES: 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper to bumper, 6 year / 70,000 miles powertrain, 2 year / 25,000 miles maintenance warranties

What the 2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • No cowhide seating available
  • Seat cushions limited in length
  • Rear seat hip room and legroom tight for large adults
  • Front center armrest distant from console shift lever
  • Lacks the clever electro-mechanical sliding F-Sport instrument cluster
  • Sharp raked front air dam Advanced Driver Assistance sensors collect winter driving snow and ice, blocking effectiveness

Standout Feature(s) on 2022 LEXUS IS 300 AWD w/ Premium, Navigation & Panoramic pkgs.:

  • Front heated & cooled w/ driver’s three position memory
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: driver’s entry
  • ♦ Power tilt & telescoping heated steering wheel; ♦ 2- position driver’s seat & mirror memory
  • ♦ Power moonroof; ♦ Power trunk-lid release and close
  • ♦ Power rear backlight sunshade; ♦ Power folding wing mirrors
  • ♦ Trunk lid spoiler; ♦ Triple beam LED active headlamps
  • 10.3″ touch & Lexus Remote touch pad controlled landscape upper center dash split pane Enform 2.0 infotainment screen
  • Native infotainment navigation map + enhanced voice search & guidance by subscription
  • 17 speaker, 1800 W, 12-channel, 7.1 DTS Mark Levinson audiophile system w/ CD player
2022 Lexus IS 300 AWD: upscale business office with ample convenience but a step behind the times in pizazz

Roadblazing.com Says: Lexus remains committed to Placid Pursuit of Perfection in a compact luxury sedan.

Contributing Editor: G. Straton


* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHAT: 2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD F-Sport Series GSE37, an extensive late cycle re-wrap of the Mk. 3 AVE30 Lexus IS series compact executive sport sedan. It is founded on the non-modular Toyota N platform along with the Lexus RC 350 coupe.

Standard Power: longitudinal 3.5L DOHC 24V DI SFI gas V-6 = 311 hp/ 280 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transaxle, steering wheel shift paddles (+ available) Torsen limited slip differential; 5 Drive Modes = Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, Custom.

Optional drivetrain: 6-spd. torque converter planetary transaxle + PTU to viscous clutch differential all-wheel drive + open rear differential

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: [From first cycle Mk. 3 Mk.6 IS 350]

2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD: fully darkened assertive take on widened Lexus spindle grille, w. revised corner folded aero ducts

– HOUR GLASS HONEYCOMBED: Spindle grilles are dark latticed with more curved uprights; Smooth hood with side creases terminates higher forming upper border with smooth headlamp housing uppers containing inverted lateral “L” LED DRLs; Taller & thinner lower front corner folds.

Coke bottle profile bearing large wheel arches, swept back windscreen, tall belt-line to radically slopping fastback with ducktail trunk lid; Sharper belt-line creasing; New driver’s door up-flow body scoop;  Mid Row 2 lower door to more flared rear quarter panel tandem up-flow body fold; Taller C-pillar Hoffmeister kink; Prominently boomeranged rear LED light housings fully span across the trunk lid handle line; Inverted lateral “L” shaped encased directionals; Deeper lower trunk lid license plate bowl with additional lower lateral crease; Piano black clad lower rear fascia rising higher into bumper cover with corner folds; LC coupe style taller door mount wing mirror stems with prominent mid-mirror cap LED directionals.

2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD: Bolder new rear door upswing body creasing + connecting lateral inverted “L” taillamps top styling updates

– In addition to their retained fender and trunk lower right corner badging F-Sport IS’s feature: Latticed corner folds, pseudo dark lower front splitter, dark upper trunk lid spoiler lip, lower rear diffuser, polished flared dual oval exhaust tips.

*F-Sport Dynamic Package adds matte black BBS wheels and a carbon fiber trunk-lid upper spoiler

WHY: Updated duds for a sensibly reliable alternative to prestige European sports sedans.


In 1989, Susan Frissell first published “Women With Wheels,” a 12-page pioneering newsletter geared towards women. In 2001 the newsletter morphed into WomenWithWheels.com website. Susan has also contributed to many news sources, penned two syndicated columns and co-published the book “Girls Go Racing: Driving to Esteems.” Susan is a member and former first female officer of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. In her non- spare time she is a practicing psychologist. Susan’s rides: a 2022 Lexus IS 300 and a 2000's Ford T-Bird convertible.

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