Consumer Reports Pans Lexus IS 250, Infiniti Q50

7:25 AM, Oct 22, 2013   |    comments
The redesigned 2014 Lexus IS 250, which Lexus has aimed to be more stylish, sportier and more fun to drive. (photo credit: David Dewhurst/Toyota)
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By James R. Healey and Fred Meier, USA TODAY

Consumer Reports says the heavily advertised 2014 Lexus IS 250 and technology-laden Infiniti Q50 are among the worst expensive sport sedans.

That means they'll drop off the lists of the many shoppers who closely follow the magazine's ratings in their search for a vehicle.

Lexus IS 250:

Though the IS 250 was ranked "good" overall, it had "the worst road test score posted by any Lexus sedan in recent memory. Other competitors posting higher overall road test scores include the BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C250, Lincoln MKZ 2.0 EcoBoost and Volvo S60 T5," CR says.

The publication chose to test the IS 250 rather than its sportier sibling, the IS 350, because it is the version most people buy. Lexus says about 80% of buyers go for the less expensive 250, which has a smaller, more economical engine.

CR says it "found the Lexus IS 250 is neither sporty nor luxurious."

Optional, weight-adding, all-wheel-drive and the modest, 204-horsepower of the Consumer Reports test car meant that "acceleration lacks punch," while gas mileage was "disappointing at 21 mpg overall in CR's own tests"

CR also criticized IS 250's handling and ride as "short on finesse, with vague-feeling steering that doesn't telegraph much feedback. Road noise is elevated, and the ride is neither plush nor tied-down."

It found the car cramped. "The interior is very tight, even when considered against the modest standards for sports sedans, with a narrow cabin, wide center console and large overhanging dashboard."

And it did not like the console-mounted controller for the infotainment screen: "In addition, the IS 250's controls now include the fussy, distracting mouse-like controller found in other Lexus models."

Infiniti Q50:

The Q50 replaces the G37 in the brand's line, as Infiniti shifts all its models to "Q" names.

While CR rated the car "very good," and was "very quick, even with the added weight of the optional all-wheel-drive system," the magazine says, the Q50 "has taken a step back from its excellent predecessor," and ranked near the bottom among its premium sports sedan rivals.

"The Infiniti G has been one of Consumer Reports' highest-rated sedans for many years, but after its 2014 redesign and transition to the new Q designation, this car seems to have lost its way," said Jake Fisher, director of CR's automotive testing.

CR says: "The Q50 isn't as much fun to drive as the G37. Handling is mundane, due in part to dull steering.

"The underwhelming driving experience strips the car of much of its sporty legacy. The Q50 also doesn't ride well and isn't particularly quiet.'

Infiniti has promoted the car's high-tech luxury, but CR found "its new InTouch dual-screen controls are slow to respond, and interior quality is nothing special."

Even if the cars had scored better, they could not have made CR's "recommended" list because they are too new to have the required average or better reliability in CR'sannual reader ownership surveys, in addition to doing well in CR's tests and getting good scores in government and industry crash tests.

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