2006 Lexus IS 250
Lexus redesigned the IS sedan for the 2006 model year and now offers it in two distinct forms: as the IS 250, equipped with a 2.5-liter V-6; and as the IS 350, powered by a 3.5-liter V-6. The IS 350 is covered separately in the cars.com Research section. Introduced at the 2005 New York Auto Show, the IS 250 is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. A sport wagon was available in the prior generation, but that body style has been dropped.
Like so many redesigned models these days, the IS 250 is larger than the previous IS 300 in every dimension. A new six-speed-manual transmission is standard in the IS 250, and a new six-speed-automatic transmission is optional. The automatic's steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters give the driver extra involvement when desired.
Suspension, steering and braking systems are new for the 2006 IS 250, which also gets some underbody refinements. The sedan has standard Vehicle Stability Control. Two front knee airbags and a twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are installed. A standard Smart Access keyless entry system features a push-button engine starter.
Sales begin in fall 2005. European customers can choose a diesel-powered IS 220, but Lexus doesn't extend diesel availability to the U.S. market.
Lexus' recent LF-series concept cars influenced the IS 250's styling. The company says the latest IS bears a strong family resemblance to its larger, redesigned 2006 GS series of sport sedans. A long wheelbase and wide stance help give the IS 250 a muscular look.
Standard wheels hold 17-inch tires, but 18-inch tires are optional. Built on a 107.5-inch wheelbase, the IS 250 is 180.1 inches long overall and 56.1 inches high. Despite its increased dimensions, the IS 250 still ranks as a compact car. Adaptive headlights are available.
Up to five occupants can fit inside the IS 250. Bright Optitron instruments light up the dashboard. Metallic trim is standard, and maple trim is available. A 13-speaker sound system includes Apple iPod and MP3 compatibility.
Options include ventilated front seats, dynamic radar cruise control, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a navigation system that incorporates a backup camera that can help with parking chores.
Under the Hood
The IS 250's 2.5-liter V-6 develops more than 200 horsepower and 180+ pounds-feet of torque. When equipped with the standard six-speed-manual transmission, the automaker says the sedan can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in the high 7-second range. A new six-speed-automatic transmission is optional for the rear-drive IS 250 and standard for the all-wheel-drive model.
Antilock brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, knee airbags for both front occupants and a new twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are standard.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||August 31, 2005|
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||May 4, 2005|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||February 10, 2006|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||December 18, 2005|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||December 7, 2005|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||November 20, 2005|
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