2006-2013 Lexus IS (XE20) Buyer’s Guide

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In 1990, Toyota launched its Lexus luxury brand in North America, after extensive market research, miles of development and a desire to enter and compete in the luxury car space. The LS was pretty much an overnight success, as it offered everything people loved about the established German competition, at a slightly more affordable price and with just about infinitely more reliability.


With the full-size sedan market taken care of, Lexus decided it was time to go midsize, which they did with the ES. Eventually, in the late 90s and early 2000s, in addition to starting the luxury crossover trend with the RX, now in its fifth generation, Lexus finally decided to take on the market. luxury compact sedans with the IS. The first generation is now a JDM fan favorite, but the second generation is also a pretty convincing argument in its own right.

Main characteristics
  • RWD
  • V6 power
  • Convertible available
Features
  • Model: IS
  • Engine/Motor: 2.5L V6 / 3.0L V6 / 3.5L V6
  • Powerful : 205-306 hp
  • Couple : 186-277 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Longitudinal front engine, RWD / AWD
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic
Advantages
  • good to drive
  • This seems good
  • Top-notch reliability
The inconvenients
  • Not as engaging to drive as rivals
  • older technology
  • Not that spacious

Presentation Lexus IS 2006-2013

The second generation Lexus IS, also known internally as the XE20, first appeared in 2005 for the 2006 model year. The IS was truly new in almost every way, with a new platform, new styling, larger overall dimensions and all-new powertrains. Predictably, the XE20 IS followed Lexus’ design language at the time, and while it didn’t try to do anything crazy, it was a stately, modern compact sedan with a little more presence on the road than the previous one. Larger dimensions also meant more practicality.

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The second generation IS also switched to Toyota’s N platform, which was more modern, but retained the longitudinal engine layout and RWD transmission. Unfortunately, due to a lack of interest and sales, Lexus did not continue to offer the SportCross station wagon version for this generation. However, they replaced the wagon version with a convertible, dubbed the IS C, which debuted for the 2008 model year. The second-generation Lexus IS competed against models like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW Series 3, the Infiniti G, the Ford Mondeo-related Jaguar X-Type (for a little while) and the Audi A4.

2006-2013 Lexus IS Powertrains and Powertrains

If there was one area where the IS had an edge over the competition, it was in the powertrain department. Unlike some of its German competitors, these were V6 engines only for the IS, and they varied in size and power. This is similar to the previous IS, which also only offered six-cylinder engines, but it used Toyota’s JZ architecture, while the second generation model had a trio of V6 units. All three powertrains were available on both the sedan and the convertible. The base IS 250 used a 2.5-liter V6, with 204 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Next up was the IS 300, which used a 3.0-liter V6 with 230 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. Finally, at the top of the range (except for the IS F), there was the IS 350, with a 3.5-liter V6 developing 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The IS 300 was RWD only for the entire production run, while the IS 250 and 350 were also available with AWD.

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The engines sent their power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, but Lexus also offered a six-speed manual on the base IS 250, for the real enthusiast. With all that, it’s clear that Lexus was targeting the IS more towards enthusiasts, at least in terms of the driving experience, without compromising on typical levels of comfort and serenity. Enthusiast talk goes further, as this IS generation never came as a hybrid.

2006-2013 Lexus IS comfort and quality

In addition to the new platform and powertrains, Lexus has also extensively redesigned the interior of the IS. They aligned this with the rest of the interior design in the range, and it definitely worked. Sadly, the previous IS’s chronograph-inspired gauge cluster was gone, but this one’s gauge cluster looks pretty good on its own. Lexus offered a variety of wood trim options, leather colors, and also made sure the ergonomics were under control, including neatly stashing the HVAC controls near the infotainment screen.

In addition to the array of luxury features, the IS featured some very good innovations for its time. Adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, parking assistance, Bluetooth connectivity and DVD navigation system with 7-inch touchscreen. We might take that for granted today, but a touchscreen infotainment system was a big deal in 2006. In terms of reliability, there really isn’t much to say about it. It’s a Lexus, and everyone knows that 2GR V6 powertrains are pretty much indestructible. The IS sedan can accommodate five passengers, although it is more comfortable with four. The IS C, meanwhile, is a four-seater from the start. The sedan has 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space, while the convertible has 10.8 cubic feet with the roof up, reducing nearly half to 5.8 cubic feet when the convertible’s hardtop is down.

Lexus IS Price 2006-2013

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The XE20 Lexus IS has remained a bargain, even in the world of markups and skyrocketing values. Classic.com estimates the average value of the second-generation IS at around $25,900 (the IS F slightly inflates that average in this case). Expect to pay around $15,000 to $20,000 for one that is well maintained, with good mileage and good equipment. We wouldn’t hold our breath for a manual car, as the classifieds sometimes incorrectly list automatic cars as manual, and the manual itself is exceptionally rare anyway. Even with the automatic, it’s a fine example of a Japanese luxury sedan, with a good balance between luxury and sportiness, and reliability as icing on the cake.

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