2021 Lexus IS: conservative, but evolving design – The Car Guide

During the redesign of the Lexus IS in 2014, the manufacturer completely changed the stylistic signature of its compact sedan. Introducing components such as the huge grille as well as the hook-shaped headlamps, its design had caught the attention of many by then.

For 2021, the Japanese manufacturer is offering a major update to the style of its IS sedan. In order to contrast the elements fairly, only IS models with the F SPORT package will be compared.

A grid still so huge

Since this is the trend of the day, Lexus has retained the prominent grille of the previous generation. While not to everyone's liking, its integration with the rest of the vehicle is an improvement over its predecessor. The hourglass shape remains, but the grid pattern has been redesigned.

This more complex one does not have intersecting lines, but rather represents intersecting diamonds, much like a shear of shapes. They are all placed horizontally without touching their neighbor. The overall effect of this styling can give the impression of a more refined vehicle.

2021 Lexus IS conservative but evolving design The Car - 2021 Lexus IS: conservative, but evolving design - The Car Guide

Photo: Lexus

The previous generation IS had prominences around the grid, so the surface was not uniform. Smoothness seems superior with the new IS, as the grille integrates better with the rest of the vehicle.

The diffuser is also sharper at the ends of the grille, imparting a more aggressive expression. The air intakes are more horizontal than the previous model, which opted for a more "L" style less common.

Finally, the headlights. The old IS was original as it incorporated hooked headlights separate from the others. However, this stylistic element detracted from the fluidity of the car. Now this hook is added with the other lights. A much more successful look.

1602419428 71 2021 Lexus IS conservative but evolving design The Car - 2021 Lexus IS: conservative, but evolving design - The Car Guide

Photo: Lexus

Accented lines

Typically, the side of the vehicle has lines similar to the older model, although they are accentuated. A good example is the line that begins at the bottom of the front wheel arch and ends at the top of the rear wheel arch. There is a form of "hollow" here that was not so obvious before.

This little touch gives the impression that the wheel tracks have been widened, which adds tone to the design.

In addition, the window sash is more prominent, especially towards the rear at the C-pillar, and the mirrors have a shape that does not directly mirror that of Toyota products. Another observation, in profile, the car looks similar to the Alfa Romeo Giulia, especially with the lights continuing to the side. That's a nice compliment.

1602419429 546 2021 Lexus IS conservative but evolving design The Car - 2021 Lexus IS: conservative, but evolving design - The Car Guide

Photo: Lexus

A sporty look

Because of the angle of the rear window, the trunk of this new IS appears shorter. This design element gives the impression of a hatchback, when it is indeed a notchback sedan.

The rear diffuser is significantly larger than its predecessor, and surrounds the exhausts located at the ends. The latter take more conventional shapes: instead of being integrated into the bumper, they are round and separate.

Finally, the lights were completely changed: they now surround the entire rear, in order to continue their course on the side of the vehicle. We keep both the lights that plunged towards the wheel arches, although currently less obvious, while inserting a second line that continues horizontally. A much more fluid and coherent effect.

All in all, the new IS uses all of the lines of the previous generation, while correcting imperfections and exploiting the intricacies of the old IS. A design that is overall quite successful, and that will probably age better than the outgoing model.

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