2020 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 Tesla Model 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Model 3 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

To help make backing safer, the IS Series’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The IS Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the IS Series and the Model 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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The IS Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model 3’s (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Lexus dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the IS Series’ warranty.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the IS Series’ reliability 27 points higher than the Model 3.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Tesla is ranked 27th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The IS 300’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 522 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model 3’s range is only 310 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 8 hours and 30 minutes for only a 45% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas.

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

For better stopping power the IS Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Model 3:

IS Series

Model 3

Front Rotors

13.1 inches

12.6 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The IS Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The IS Series stops shorter than the Model 3:

IS Series

Model 3

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

The IS Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model 3; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The IS Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Model 3’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the Model 3 pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (34.2 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Model 3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the IS 350 F Sport is quieter than the Model 3 (65 vs. 69 dB).

Passenger Space

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The IS Series has 2.1 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more front hip room and 1.6 inches more rear hip room than the Model 3.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the IS Series offers cargo security. The Model 3’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional in the Model 3, the IS Series offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left open on the IS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Model 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The IS Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Model 3’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the IS Series offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Model 3 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The IS Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Tesla charges extra for heated mirrors on the Model 3.

The IS Series’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Model 3’s power mirror controls are embedded in the infotainment system, seriously distracting drivers who have to adjust them while driving.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the IS Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model 3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the IS Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the IS Series is less expensive to operate than the Model 3 because typical repairs cost much less on the IS Series than the Model 3, including $345 less for a water pump and $33 less for front brake pads.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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