Lexus IS Hybrid will not be Offered in North America

Lexus IS 300h

First mentioned by Car & Driver and then confirmed by Autoweek, the next-generation Lexus IS will not be available as the IS 300h hybrid in North America — here’s the relevant quote from C&D:

Engines carry over from the current IS. The IS350’s 3.5-liter V-6 should have 306 hp, and the IS250’s 2.5-liter V-6 should put out 204. An eight-speed automatic is standard with both engines (the slow-selling manual IS250 is dead). All-wheel drive will be available with both engines. A hybrid version, with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor, will be sold outside North America. With the hybrid CT200h and the ES300h already on sale, Lexus doesn’t see the need for a similarly priced IS hybrid in the States.

The confirmation from Autoweek:

Lexus product planners told us that a hybrid model will be available in Europe only; Americans will simply content themselves with the CT.

Disappointing, but there’s a logic to not bringing the hybrid IS to North America — the model would be caught in the limited market space between the CT 200h & the ES 300h, and Lexus has never been a company to spread itself too thin.

There is an unfortunate angle to this decision. The IS 300h looks to be a fun-to-drive, entry-level sedan, equipped with the brand’s hybrid technology and just enough power to make it interesting — add in F SPORT, and it seems like a perfect combination to establish the new personality of Lexus.

(As for the the decision to carry over the 2.5L & 3.5L V6 engines, it’s hardly surprising. If there was a new engine coming, it would have been mentioned in the recent Toyota technology progress report — look for new Lexus engines in 2014 when the 2.0L turbo-charged engine is introduced.)

[Source: Car & Driver and Autoweek]


  1. The CT200h need a more powerful engine I could use the ES's that's 200hp and roughly the same mpg since its lighter that should be good for a 0-60 in like 6 sec
  2. Putting the ES's hybrid in the CT will more than make up for it. The Prius motor has no place in a Lexus... BD
  3. Disappointing. The CT and ES hybrids are different types of vehicles, yes, but all the more reason for Lexus to offer the IS 300h to further break the perception of boring hybrid cars. The hybrid IS would have been the one I went for.
  4. Why not replace the base V6 with the hybrid?  The two models would be the IS300h and IS350 They both (The 2.5 V6 and Hybrid) have the same power, just the hybrid has better MPG and more torque!BD
  5. So Lexus officially have no manual transmission?
  6. wow same engine... 200 ponies in a heavier IS250? The IS right now is underpowered it looks like it's going to be a disappointing is250...
  7. I am disappointed, I was looking forward to an IS hybrid to replace my 2IS. I do not like the body style of the CT and I do not like the utility feel of the ES IS for sure holds a very different market from both, I do not understand their logic.
    • I can.  There are only so many 200HP hybrids Toyota can make, and try to market. Camry sells 50k hybrids a year.  They just put it in the Avalon.  They're looking at putting it in the Rav4  The Lexus ES has it.  The future NX CUV probably will have it.   Somebody is gonna have to sit this one out.  Every Toyota/Lexus vehicle can't have that engine.  Plus this car is not exactly big.  Packaging could be a problem too.  It would nullify the trunk gains made in the redesign. And this is supposed to be a sports sedan, so how many hybrid sports sedans do you expect Lexus to sell anyway? BD
    • The IS hybrid will have the improved 2.5 litre engine. It will be more powerful than the ES300h, and lighter. It should have a lot better performance. I very much doubt you guys will get this motor when it makes its way to the GS either....
    • Lexus seems to be saying don't wait up for a IS Hybrid...... BD
    • For the US market yes. For Europe it will be a very important model. In the UK I know dealers are desperate for the sub 100g CO2 version. It has huge tax implications for company car drivers. We Brits buy more sporty versions than anyone, so the IS300h F Sport will be in most showrooms. I heard the UK will get the car in May, exactly a year after the new GS arrived here. This suggests the US and Japan will see the car earlier. In March? The GS300h will be important too to take on the 520d.
    • JB

      I see your point, however I'll argue that with high gas prices, the market has and continues to shift its focus on fuel economy over engine power and acceleration. If Lexus has made and is successfully selling a slow but sporty hybrid hatchback in North America where everyone thought an affordable hatchback hybrid would never sell (including Lexus), where's the next one up, the affordable sporty hybrid sedan?  The GSh?  Way more expensive and I don't believe having the ISh in NA would have taken away sales from the ESh.  They are totally different cars for totally different buyers. Much like the argument can be made for ES stealing sales from the GS...  If this is Lexus' fear, then they should not have both the IS and ES in NA to begin with as in other parts of the world.  It's too bad,  I would have been really interested in upgrading my CT to an ISh in a year or so.
    • Finally, someone with logic!!!
    • I agree 100%!
  8. The current IS is being built until March 13. I doubt any market will commence deliveries before June/July.
  9. MT

    I don't get it for one reason: The development is already done. The car will be manufactured. And then only sold in Europe? They will sell less IS hybrids in Europe then they would sell in the US by far. This doesn't make any sense at all, not tech wise and not economically. Lexus product planning is completely of the rails. You can see that in the sales numbers, MB and BMW are up to selling 30k+ vehicles while Lexus stays at about 22k. And the one other thing: I was shocked they put the 4GR in the GS when it came out earlier.That was 2011. The IS will launch 2013 and still with that engine. The engine is now 10 years old (first launched in 2003 in the Toyota Crown). Put it in a standard Toyota, it is fine. But Lexus is supposed to be a premium brand and not recycle that piece of junk over and over again to squeeze out the last few dollars of a long outdated engine. This is crap!
  10. I am also dissappionted with lexus on the upcoming ISh for not launching it in the States, firstly Lexus should note thier biggest selling market should not be denied hybrid.Yes EU needs it more but global volume sales are dectated by the US. Secondly China is Anti Japan which means Lexus sales will plumet in biggest casr market. i am also dissapointed at fact that not much effort went into the developentment of the new IS it was just trimmed from the GS including the suspesion which for a compact sport saloon the FR-S/GT86 was the perfect choice for a sportier suspesion than the GS.It makes me think that the LFA was just a Technical Engineering exerices to prove a point to motoring community. Yes the LFA inspired speedometer looks good but its just for show, Finally i hope their dont stuff up the up coming CR350 and CR-F coupes cause then Lexus fans and future owners would settle for the 4 Series coupe from BMW!!
  11.  I am dissapointed with the hybrid, the car will be more heavy, slow, and less km/l than the new Bmw 320d. They should have gone with a good diesel for Europe. I love Lexus but I want a diesel!
    • The 320dEDgives off 109g CO2.  The IS300h will be below 100.  In the UK at least being below the 100g barrier offers big tax advantages, especially for company cars. Why slower?  The 320dED has a 0-100kmh of 8.1s in auto form.  I would expect the IS300h to match this as the ES300h already does (and the IS300h will be lighter and more powerful).
    • BMW 320d is 120g/km. The new IS hybrid is reportedly 99g/km, so it will be better on emissions and economy. BMW 320d does 0-100km in 7.5 secs. That's marginally faster than a Camry hybrid so I'd hope the new IS will at least match that. Diesels are noisy, complicated and getting increasingly less refined due to Euro 5 emissions. I would be confident that the IS hybrid will be a smoother, more refined ride and importantly have much better reliability and lower maintenance costs. I agree that it's strange that the US market won't get the hybrid IS because it looks like it will be the best engine in the range.
  12. JB

    Disappointed twice over.  1. No IS 300h in North America. I owned an IS 250, now a CT and was hoping to move to an ISh. It would have been the right next car for me.  ESh is a beautifully finished car, but too big and lacks the sporty look and drive I look for in a car.  2. is the carryover 2.5L V6. Although it's a gem of an engine in terms of sound and silkiness, it's underpowered in the current gen with the 6-speed auto. Perhaps the 8-speed auto and possibly lower vehicle weight might liven things up. Was hoping the new IS would have launched with the 2.0 Turbo four in 2014 and the 3.5 V6 in 2013 omitting the 2.5 altogether.
  13. Hahahaaa at the guys complain about the IS250 4GR-FSE engine I suggest you drive the entry 3er 318i from BMW with that extremely unrefined, cacophonous and under performing motor and then tell me the IS250 is underpowered.
    • PG

      The IS250 is not competing with the entry 318i or even 320i. It has to stack up against the 328i with its twin-turbo gem of an engine. Even Cadillac's ATS (2.0 twin-turbo, 270hp) will mop the floor with the IS250's engine. Heck, the competition's base engines are rivalling the IS350!
  14. no manual trans ??
  15. Here is some food for thought. Lexus has continually advertised their coupe concepts LF-LC and LF-CC as premium sport hybrids. With confirmation of the upcoming RC model. Maybe this is where the US market will see the 300h engine. They wouldn't continually advertise hybrid sport coupes if they weren't planning on attempting to actually sell one. That way, it is in its own niche. It differs from the CT, ES and GS hybrids, as it will be the only coupe-hybrid so it won't take away from any of  those sales. With that being said, there may be only a RC300h, and an RC350 offered, and possibly RC-F (discontinuing IS-F).
    • The IS-F being discontinued is unlikely, at least I hope so. As long as the M3 and RS4 continue to come with 4-doors, I say a new IS-F is very likely already in its final stages of development to sell alongside an RC-F.
  16. Great picture of the new IS from AutoBlog:
  17. Great photo from AutoBlog, who has just posted their review:
  18. Can believe they would still use the 2.5, I couldn't wait for this any longer. I just traded my 2008 I250 for an 2012 IS350 F-Sport. an itch I had for sometime and had to scratch it. 
  19. wwl

    Recently Lexus decisions are really disappointing, still no turbo engines, still no CT300h, no IS300h for UA and finally no wagons for EU. FTR Autocar says new IS300h do 0-62mph: 6.9sec (est) so its realy fast compered to 320d and 520d.
  20. Don´t understand why Lexus made this decision?!?! More "options" means more customers to me....In my eyes the ESh and ISh belongs to different segments.
  21. Really, I am in the market for a Hybrid and seriously considering the ES300H.   However, it speaks to 50++ Church executives....When i saw IS300H it was my clear choice...Hybrid but sporty!!!  We will buy it...Not everybody wants a BUICK like LEXUS!!!