2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD driver's notes | Not the enthusiast's all-wheel-drive system

Byron explains why you should skip all-wheel drive in the 2021 Lexus IS unless you really need it.

Video Transcript

BYRON: Hey guys, I'm down here blinding myself in the sunlight in hopes of showing you a weird little quirk of the 2021 IS. This car isn't actually new new, it's a new skin on an older chassis. And one of the compromises that's come with Lexus in this compact luxury segment is all wheel drive. Now the all wheel drive system on this car is not designed to improve performance, it's here for hazardous weather. It gives you more grip when you need it. It makes you feel more confident in snowy conditions.

All that stuff is great, but there's a huge drawback, and I'm going to point to it. It's this hump right here. This sucker looks like a baby bump. It's pretty big. This-- this will pop in, you know, another eight weeks. This intrudes so far into the driver footwell that even somebody as short as me is bothered by it. So, I'm going to hop in here and show you exactly what I'm talking about.

Now, I don't have this set up for my normal driving position because I'm trying to illustrate this point, but you'll get the idea as soon as you see what my foot does as I go to turn the car on. Right there is in between the normal line of my right leg and the gas pedal, which means as I'm cruising along my ankle was already resting against that protrusion, even in normal driving. We're not talking about splayed out and relaxed on the highway, or anything aggressive, just baseline I got into the car I turned it on, reach for the gas pedal, and it's right there.

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a deal breaker. It's an annoyance, but it's one you can live with. It's just something that would drive me crazy, because most of the driving I do in my own vehicles is over long stretches of highway. I'm going somewhere besides Michigan, go figure. Underneath it all, this is a very good little car. All we're telling you is, the all wheel drive system is not for fun. It's for practicality. It's something you buy because you need it, not because you want it it. It adds weight, it adds complexity, it adds that stupid thing, and it doesn't fix the one problem that actually does drive me crazy in this car, that stupid turn signal. That goes right back where you-- why?