Refreshing or Revolting: 2021 Lexus IS

Refreshing or Revolting: 2021 Lexus IS

Lexus opened a box of controversy on Pandora by presenting its rocket grid now omnipresent at the beginning of the previous decade. While the brand’s iconic front can still be a bit polarizing, Lexus has given many of its new vehicles a generally consistent look. ES and RX have more streamlined and less chaotic designs compared to aging SI. Now that Lexus has overhauled its small sedan, is it following in the footsteps of its more refined siblings or is it repeating the same model? Let’s take a look at the new design of the Lexus IS 2021.

The design of the headlights was a point of contention over the current IS, which includes daytime running lights (DRL) awkwardly placed under the main headlight housing. The shared light design, combined with the controversial grille and bold folds near the corner vents, gives the 2020 model’s face a rather cluttered appearance. Fortunately, the Lexus IS 2021 matches the brand’s other new vehicles in terms of its more streamlined headlight design. The daytime running lights are now integrated into the main headlights, which take a narrow, wedge shape. The corner vents also have a cleaner appearance.

Regarding the grille, however, little change. F Sport models, like the one pictured here, have a cool three-dimensional grille pattern. Also note that the hood cut line no longer blends into the top of the grille. All these little details give a very different face. Overall, the front end looks less round and more chiseled than before.

You won’t notice a big difference in size between the new and the old SI, and that’s because there isn’t one. The new model is about an inch longer and wider than its predecessor, and carelessly larger. The wheelbase remains the same. That said, you’ll see some revisions to the sedan’s side profile, including new character lines. As before, there is a line that goes up to the hips, but it is more visible now.

We are particularly pleased with the rear design of the model. The extended and lowered rear axle is a better look for the SI. A new stylish lighting element connects the taillights together. Unlike today’s SI, which has square tailpipes, the new model is shown with circular tailpipes. The F Sport variants feature a unique rear bumper and, when fitted with the Dynamic Handling package, a carbon fiber spoiler.


The interior of the current car is the biggest gift of its time. Unfortunately, Lexus missed the opportunity to make big changes to the guts of IS this time. Remnants of the past remain, including the analog clock, an ineffective and central battery layout. . . Wait. . . A CD player.

Lexus has made some significant improvements, however. Finally, the infotainment system includes a touch screen. Lexus has upgraded the standard display from a 7.0-inch unit to an 8.0-inch unit, and it’s mounted almost three inches closer to the pilot. A fancy 10.3-inch screen is available on models equipped with dashboard navigation. The drive mode dial moves to the right of the shift lever, rather than behind. Lexus has also abandoned the mouse-like infotainment scroll for a new touchpad. Personally, we will probably stick to the touch screen. Lexus also offers delicious new Circuit Red leather seats on the F Sport models with the Dynamic Handling group.

So, is the Lexus IS 2021 refreshing or revolting? We think it is closer to the first.

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