Can you daily IS300 and how is it VS AWD

Hi guys! I am looking to purchase a new Lexus IS300 f Sport RWD 2021 model. With adaptive suspension. 2.0L Turbo doing 180KW.

My Main Question in a Bullet point:

  • Is this car SAFE to use DAILY in rainy, twisty, gravel conditions for someone who is new to RWD and coming from AWD Subarus?
  • How would you compare it to AWD like Subaru WRX 2022
  • Does it lose traction easily?
  • After lot of research and minimal information I am looking for answers from real world drivers and would appreciate it before I purchase in few day!

About my main question...

I am from New Zealand, and we have pretty bad weather at times (primarily heavy rain in the current season and cold winters but no snow in my town) and wanted to know if I can safely daily this car. We have lots of twisty narrow roads and sometimes gravel roads taking you to the adventurous place in New Zealand.

I have always been driving Subarus, such as the Legacy or WRX great AWD system and have been confident around the corners and while overtaking on the highway. I am a heavy-footed driver and love some spirited driving and taking some sharp corners. The new Subaru WRX Wagon 2022 model is all so an option.

This will be my first RWD car, as a daily I have had an unfortunate moment in a Nissan Silvia S13.

I have test-driven the Lexus, and it feels well grounded and did lose some traction when pushing it, but traction control always kicked on.

I am now married and expecting kids down the road. I love Lexus's reliability and the way it drives overall. However, want to ensure I put my hard-earned money in the right place. Its either the IS or WRX or some boring SUV.

Unfortunately, there is no AWD in New Zealand. I am planning to buy in few day's time šŸ˜¬

I look forward to your reply and suggestions! :)
Welcome to Lexus Enthusiast!

The IS300 is a great-handling car. Take it slow so you can have a feel of a RWD car, but the IS300 with the 4-cylinder isn't that powerful to break away the rear axle. Especially given how they're much more substantial cars nowadays.

I think you will be just fine and you'll love it!


Most modern RWD cars are much more drivable than even 4WD cars from say 15 years ago. That's because modern traction control and ESP are so effective that you have to turn them off to actually lose any bit of control. Safety is probably the most understated aspect of modern car engineering. Most cars, including very safe ones, from 20 years ago are considered death traps by today's standards.

The IS chassis is tuned to be naturally understeery especially if your model has staggered tires. In fact this is how most modern RWD cars are tuned. Your S13 doesn't have nearly as much sophistication in chassis tuning.


Two and one-half years ago, I had an IS 300 (with the 3.5 litre detuned V6 engine) as a loaner for about a week when my ES Hybrid was in the shop. I was a bit anxious about driving it, as I had not driven a RWD car in quite a few years, and it was late-winter / early-spring here in Southern Ontario, Canada and so subject to snow or rain storms.

There were no worries, however, as I found the IS to be a neutral handler in both urban stop-and-go and high-speed freeway driving, and not tail-happy at all (but then, I am not a heavy-footed driver); and there were no wet storms.

If you are afraid that it may lose traction easily, perhaps you should look into investing in a good set of grippier tires (dedicated winter tires for colder weather). Low rolling resistance tires (if that is what is available on the IS) lose grip much more easily in my experience.

Faisal Sheikh

I have a 2019 IS350 F-Sport, which is the same generation you are looking at. The car handles beautifully on the streets. I will write a detailed review as I just purchased it a week ago. I have the AWD version, but since it does not snow in NZ, you don't have to worry about AWD. You might want to opt for the F-Sport package as it comes with stiffer springs and adaptive variable dampers (AVS), which make the car feel sportier. I am still learning about this car, but already absolutely love this car