A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 Lexus IS

If you haven’t heard of the 2012 Lexus IS, you’re not alone. This sports sedan is incredibly underappreciated. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering for your next car.

Key Features

The 2012 Lexus IS can be purchased as either a V6 or V8. Both involve a very responsive powertrain that makes it a blast to drive.

This model’s all-wheel-drive is a great feature too. It provides 70% of the engine’s overall power to the back wheels under normal conditions. As such, very little of this vehicle’s “sport” designation is lost on dry pavement. Wait till the roads get wet or slick, though. Then you’ll really see the difference this key feature makes.

Changes for 2012

In 2011, the IS was given new front and rear styling. Some updates were made to its interior as well. The AWD option was also added. Therefore, there really isn’t anything to report as a change to the 2012 model other than two new colors.

What We Like

The AWD on the 2012 Lexus IS is awesome and will make all the difference when driving in slick conditions.

We are also big fans of the F Sports model of the IS. Between its finely-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels, this vehicle is much faster and agiler than its cousins.

What Concerns Us

As a sports-sedan, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking this is a car that’s going to seat five people comfortably. While BMW continues to increase the space of their interiors, Lexus has kept their 2012 IS cozy. Even with just four people, this sedan is going to feel a bit small for some.

No matter which engine you choose, don’t think your 2012 IS will be anything like a BMW 3 Series or an Audi A4 (unless you go with the IS F).

Available Models

The base model of the 2012 Lexus IS is the 250. The 350 is the one that comes with the V8 engine. Then there’s the F Sports package which can be added to either. It will give you better suspension, power-steering and even some pretty cool interior modifications.

Major Recalls

A recall for this vehicle was issued back in 2013 because the windshield wipers weren’t working properly on some models. Sometimes, nuts that fastened the wipers to the car were not strong enough if heavy snow got in the way. Inoperative wipers made driving dangerous.

Common Issues

The most common issue associated with the 2012 Lexus IS is simply how small it is compared to many of its competitors. Others have also complained that the interior is a bit boring as well.

Lexus IS 2012 Interior


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19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
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Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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