2022 Lexus IS 350 AWD Review - The Choice Is Yours

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2022 Lexus IS 350 AWD

3.5-liter V6 (311hp @ 6,600 rpm, 280lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)
Six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
19 city / 26 highway / 22 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
12.2 city / 9.0 highway / 10.8 combined. (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$46,125 US / $56,676 CAN
As Tested
$53,875 US / $62,976 CAN
Prices include $1,075 destination charge in the United States and $2,276 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2022 lexus is 350 awd review the choice is yours

There may come a time when this fine publication will need a name change lest we fall behind the times. News articles dutifully report that automakers continue to research autonomous driving technologies designed to keep people safer by entrusting the speed and direction of our personal mobility devices to fallible sensors and algorithms designed by the lowest bidding mathematician. 

The past two decades have further revealed that all too many drivers prefer seeing over - and potentially running over - any perceived obstacles and threats, rather than maneuvering around them. Thus the proliferation of vehicles larger than many midcentury Lower East Side SROs has continued unabated. 

Cars are a dying breed. But I doubt anyone here wants to read The Truth About Large Automated Vehicular Boxes. Most of us still enjoy deploying the skills involved in maneuvering a four-wheeled car quickly and efficiently. So I ask you, my comrades, to stand up and fight against those who suppress us in our desires to take the wheel into our own hands. Grasp the wheel firmly. Choose a car - not a car masquerading as a truck. Choose joy in your garage. Choose a real sports sedan, like this 2022 Lexus IS 350. Be the change you want to see on the road.

It might take a fair bit of searching - and I’ll leave that to you, dear reader, as we could certainly use the clicks - but I’m sure I’ve lamented the presence of all-wheel drive in a vehicle that might have been more fun in a rear-drive configuration somewhere on these pages in the past. Perhaps it’s age, or maybe my growing appreciation of heated steering wheels as nights grow longer and the cold winds whip down from Lake Erie - but in this IS, I’m perfectly ok with four driven wheels. My drivetime was generally sunny and dry, and yet this all-wheel drive sedan felt plenty joyful to drive. The steering was hardly dulled like many AWD vehicles seem to be; instead, turn-in is direct and communicative without harshness. 

I would, however, likely choose the RWD model if it were my signature on the foursquare - simply due to the price. Choose whatever heritage-based slur you like for me, but I’m cheap. A rear-drive IS 350 F-Sport can be had, being appropriately conservative with the options but selecting the $1,160 F-Sport handling package, for around $46k. Plus the rear-drive model gets a pair of extra gears in the transmission - this all-wheel drive model has six speeds, whereas the RWD IS has eight.

No matter how many wheels are driven, choose the 350 model - which denotes this sonorous 311 horsepower V6. If you’re reading this review that tells me that you have some sort of soul - you enjoy driving. The 3.5-liter six-cylinder here sings to a redline in the vicinity of 7,000 rpm. It practically begs to be wound out.

Upon opening the door of my tester, I was at once delighted and befuddled. The red seating and trim dominating most of the interior is lovely - I’m tired of dull black or beige. The seats themselves are quite comfortable - at least up front, where I’d happily spend all day long without complaint. The rear does get a bit tight, especially when seated behind someone well over six feet like me - knee room is precious for my kids. But they managed.

The confusion came from the control inputs. I knew that Lexus had introduced this latest generation of IS in the model year 2021, but it felt immediately familiar to another car I had reviewed many years ago. Indeed, comparing the dashboard here to the one in the Lexus RC-F I reviewed in November 2016 there are more similarities than differences. There’s even a CD player! In 2022! The old touchpad to control the 10.3-inch touchscreen remains as clunky as ever. But it works, and with practice becomes familiar enough to fade into the background.

Rather than dwelling upon the faults that I’ve found with the 2022 Lexus IS 350 - of which there are remarkably few - let us for a moment consider that there are precious few sedans left in any form, and the presence of any sports sedan that engages the driver is worthy of praise. Yeah, the rear seat is tight and some of the controls are dated. But this car will dance if you ask it to, and will likely continue doing so until approximately the end of time.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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2 of 18 comments
  • RHD RHD on Dec 10, 2022

    It will find its share of buyers. Lexus reliability has everyone beat, especially the Germans. Their seats are second only to Volvo for comfort hour after hour. However, I would not want to be the body shop guy trying to match the creases and waves by hand... do they have to order panel segments and weld them in?

  • The Invisible man The Invisible man on Mar 10, 2023

    It's all wheel drive, not four wheel drive.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Thunderbird Production Numbers:1971 - 36,0551972 - 57,8141973 - 87,2691974 - 58,4431975 - 42,6851976 - 52,9351977 - 318,1401978 - 352,7511979 - 284,141 1980 - 156,803 1981 - 86,693 1982 - 45,142 1983 - 121,999 1984 - 170,533 1985 - 151,852 1986 - 163,965 Looks like the T'Birds on the Torino frame sold like gang busters ('77 thru '79).
  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.