8 Best & Worst Lexus IS 250 Years (With Pictures)

The Lexus IS 250 is a small luxury car that was produced for the 2006 – 2015 model years.

This sedan is best known for its slick looks, well-appointed cabin, and comfortable seating. 

In this article, we’ll uncover the best and worst years of the IS 250…

2015 Lexus IS 250

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Lexus IS 250 Are:

The best Lexus IS 250 model years are 2015, 2013, 2012, and 2011. The worst model years of the IS 250 are 2007, 2006, 2008, and 2009. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Lexus IS 250?

2015 Lexus IS 250

The 2015 IS 250 is the final model year produced for this particular variant of the IS series, it is also the most reliable based on NHTSA data.

For 2015 it became compatible with the Enform Remote mobile app which provides owners with useful features such as remote start, location finder, and vehicle status check.

For all-wheel-drive models, a heated steering wheel is newly available. 

There are two trims to choose from: Base and Crafted Line. 

The limited-edition Crafted Line utilizes specialized paint and interior touches. 

Regardless of trim, the IS 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine (204 horsepower) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission system.

Fuel economy is respectable. EPA estimates claim up to 24 MPG for combined city and highway driving, 21 MPG for city driving, and 30 MPG for highway driving. 

Owner reviews have specified the model’s interior, comfort, and overall appearance as the best qualities of this vehicle. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2015 IS 250, Edmunds review:

“I traded up from the previous model IS250 (model year 2009) and I couldn’t be happier! While the cars may share an engine and drivetrain, the 2015 model is a significant improvement over the previous model. Lexus has really changed the dynamics of the car with the chassis and steering; the car feels incredibly sharp, if not overwhelmingly powerful. 204 HP may not be tops in this class, but it has always felt sufficient to me for what I require…”

2013 Lexus IS 250

The 2013 IS 250 is another great choice – it scored the highest Edmunds’ consumer rating out of all IS 250 model years and was the least problematic model produced based on NHTSA data.

It has a compliant ride, a quiet interior, and an upscale cabin. 

Safety equipment includes anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and Safety Connect. 

Estimated fuel economy stands at 21 MPG for city driving, 30 MPG for highway driving, and up to 24 MPG for combined city and highway driving for the rear-wheel-drive variant.

For the all-wheel-drive version, expect around 21 MPG for city driving, 27 MPG for highway driving, and 23 MPG for combined driving. 

Auto critics have praised this model’s high cornering limits, which are even better with the F Sport performance package.

This optional package includes sport-tuned suspension, performance brakes, sport seats, and performance tires, among other great features. 

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2013 IS 250, Edmunds review:

“The car is fantastic. Many improvements compared to the previous model, which in my opinion was not bad at all. In the driving department, in my humble opinion, it is a lot better than the current 3 series, especially in the sports mode. Interior comforts and the IT in the car are tip-top compared to the Europeans. Quality building is typical Lexus and from a design point of view is very innovative…”

2012 Lexus IS 250

The 2012 IS 250 is another standout model year for its looks, unshakable reliability, and value for money. 

This luxury sedan is fitted with a 2.5-liter V6 engine (204 horsepower) with either a manual or automatic transmission.

There is one trim to choose from that comes in either rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive.

Fuel economy is approximately 21 MPG for city driving, 29 MPG for highway driving, and 24 MPG for combined driving.

While the performance aspects of the IS 250 are commendable, it is in the styling and build quality where this car stands out.

The interior is well-built with supple leathers, wood or metallic accents, and soft-touch plastic materials covering every other interior surface. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2012 IS 250, Edmunds review:

“Had it now for two months. A trip to Florida quickly put 3300 miles on the odometer. The surprise is gas mileage. I have averaged 25+mpg overall, and the Florida trip averaged 33 mpg! I would say performance is good, but it takes a heavy foot to get the revs up there for excellent acceleration. I drove a BMW 325 while looking. I do not detect any better response at all while driving, and the interior quality and technological features are not even close to the IS. BMW reliability is sketchy at best, and I am not interested in that. I am very satisfied with my IS!”

2012 Lexus IS 250

2011 Lexus IS 250

The 2011 Lexus IS 250 secured the highest JD Power rating and has many of the great qualities of its successors.

It has a smooth and refined ride, a hushed interior and a well-appointed cabin.

Notable standard safety features include traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and front and side curtain airbags. 

Owners loved this model year for its sleek appearance and great value.

Updates for 2011 include slight styling updates to the front and back, minor interior changes, and a newly introduced F Sport performance package for rear-wheel-drive variants.

Discontinued, however, were the optional front xenon headlights and adaptive cruise control (with the pre-collision system). 

EPA-rated fuel economy figures place city driving at 21 MPG, highway driving at 29 MPG and city driving at 24 MPG.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 88 / 100

2011 IS 250, Edmunds review:

“I’ve had the IS250 for 2 months now and it’s everything I’d hoped. Great looks, terrific fit and finish on the interior–which sold me over the BMW 3 and even the Audi A4. As others have noted, the ride’s not as sporty as some others but I’m not on twisting turning roads all that much anyway, whereas the comfort and style are always noted and appreciated. This is my 3rd Lexus (RX & GS) and have loved them all.”

2011 Lexus IS 250 F Sport

Consumer Scores For Best Lexus IS 250 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2015 Lexus IS 2504.5 / 5.04.4 / 5.084 / 100
2013 Lexus IS 2504.8 / 5.04.6 / 5.082 / 100
2012 Lexus IS 2504.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2011 Lexus IS 2504.6 / 5.04.6 / 5.088 / 100

Related: How Long Do Lexus IS Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Lexus IS 250?

2007 Lexus IS 250

According to data from CarComplaints and CarProblemZoo, the 2007 IS 250 is the most problematic model year ever produced.

This model year was affected by the notorious Takata airbag recall, which meant airbags were prone to exploding causing serious harm to passengers.

Build quality was questionable, as numerous owners reported dashboard, door, and rubber melting in various sections of the vehicle. 

This resulted in stickiness, bad smells, glare, and difficulty in reading gauges. 

The cause was pretty straightforward – the manufacturer did not use the right materials to withstand warmer temperatures.

Here is what one owner said about his issue with melting components:

“Material on my dash appears to be sticky, possibly due to hot weather, and can cause a significant amount of light reflection producing glare on the windshield. Depending on the sun’s relative direction to the car, it can hinder visibility to where driving during the daytime is not feasible.”

The 2007 IS 250 had a total of 36 problems at CarComplaints.com and 276 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Dashboard is melting
  • Would not start
  • Transmission failure
2006-2008 Lexus IS 250

2006 Lexus IS 250

The 2006 IS 250, which placed 2nd in terms of total problems reported, shared similar issues to that of the 2007 model.

Dashboard cracking, melting, and damage were quite common.

Apart from being unsightly, this posed a safety risk as sunlight would shine off the melted dashboard causing visibility issues for the driver.

Here is one owner’s complaint:

“Dashboard is melting / sticky / cracked. We have concerns for safety with the airbags malfunctioning as a result of the faulty dashboard.”

Airbag problems were widely reported too, most of which were related to the exploding, shrapnel-shooting Takata recall.

Owners filed complaints as they were left waiting unreasonable amounts of time for repairs to be carried out.

The 2006 IS 250 had a total of 9 problems at CarComplaints.com and 247 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Melting dashboard
  • Melting trim
  • Airbag light on
  • Steering locked while driving

2008 Lexus IS 250

The 2008 IS 250 was widely affected by airbag issues, this included the infamous Takata recall but also problems with the airbag wiring harness.

Owners reported that the failure of the airbag wiring harness caused the SRS light to stay on and was a very costly issue to repair.

Here is one owners report:

“When I recently had the Takata airbag recall done, the dealership quoted me $2,100 to replace the wiring harness. I researched online and found this to be a universally occurring problem with Lexus Is250 models. The defective part is the connector from the wiring harness coming loose at the plug into the airbag.”

Dashboard melting was also common, which looked terrible and caused sunlight glare on the windshield.

The 2008 IS 250 had a total of 22 problems at CarComplaints.com and 159 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Melting dashboard
  • Melting doors
  • Gas leaking
  • Gas fumes inside car
  • Brake dust

2009 Lexus IS 250

The 2009 IS 250 is least deserving to be on this list but warrants a spot nonetheless as it shared many of the complaints of previous model years, albeit to a lesser extent.

Its 3 most prominent issues are airbag defects, melting dashboard issues, and vehicle speed control problems.

Sudden unintended acceleration affected quite a small number of owners of this model year. 

Below is an owners report that best explains the problem:

“I was pulling into a parking space. There was a car parked to my left, I was driving slowly to be sure I didn’t overlap into a handicap space on my right. Despite my care the car suddenly and independently accelerated forward and struck a building. My car is a 2009 Lexus Is250 and was about 6 months old at the time.”

The 2009 IS 250 had a total of 5 problems at CarComplaints.com and 59 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Takata recall
  • Sunroof glass exploded
  • Body paint peeling and cracking

Related: 11 Most Common Lexus IS 250 Problems (Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2015 Lexus IS 250416
2014 Lexus IS 250246
2013 Lexus IS 25008
2012 Lexus IS 250726
2011 Lexus IS 250134
2010 Lexus IS 250243
2009 Lexus IS 250559
2008 Lexus IS 25022159
2007 Lexus IS 25036276
2006 Lexus IS 2509247

What Problems Do Lexus IS 250s Have?

  • Dashboard is melting
  • Engine failure
  • Would not start
  • Transmission failure
  • Melting doors
  • Gas leaking
  • Gas fumes inside car
  • Brake dust
  • Airbag light on
  • Steering wheel locked while driving
  • Gas pedal stuck
  • Rust

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Lexus IS 250?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Volkswagen Golf R8.1$44,740 – $46,190City: 20 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Volvo S608.1$41,300 – $50,300City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 33 – 35
Audi A38.1$34,900 – $36,900City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 35 – 38
BMW 4-Series8.0$45,200 – $86,500City: 16 – 25 /Highway: 22 – 34
Alfa Romeo Giulia7.9$43,350 – $78,830City: 17 – 24 /Highway: 25 – 33
Mercedes-Benz A-Class7.8$33,950 – $35,950City: 24 – 25 /Highway: 35
Lexus IS 2507.4$39,435 – $61,620City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 31
Lexus RC7.4$42,470 – $101,095City: 16 – 21 /Highway: 24 – 31
Infiniti Q507.2$42,650 – $58,500City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 26 – 29
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class7.1$39,350 – $57,800City: 20 – 25 /Highway: 28 – 36
Acura ILX6.5$27,300 – $33,200City: 24 /Highway: 34
Cadillac CT46.3$34,395 – $60,495City: 15 – 23 /Highway: 23 – 34

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com










  • Ian Sawyer

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