Is it time to trade in and trade up?

Lexus IS 350Credit:

If you are looking for a new car and are considering a step up from your Ford Taurus this time you might want to consider taking a leap up to a nice luxury automobile.  With all of choices that are available it should take a lot of research and test-driving before you decide to plunk down close to $50,000 on a car to drive.  There are many different automobile makers of luxury cars that are on the lower to mid range with Lexus being one.

The all-new Lexus IS 350 is a car you might want to consider in your search.  The Lexus IS 350 all-drive model and the optional new F sport package may be the ticket that the Lexus executives have been looking for and hoping will earn Lexus a place into the hearts of the younger and sportier generation.

For 2011 Lexus has revised the front and rear design of the IS 350 sports sedan into a faster and more aggressive looking vehicle.  They have added a 3.5-liter DOHC, 24 valve V8 dual VVTi – that makes 306 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft torque.

Lexus executives say that during the rear-wheel test drive the IS 350 can go from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds.  The motor is mated to a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with a throttle control system and the steering wheel has shift paddles.

The miles per gallon are estimated at 20 miles per gallon in city driving and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.  The front and rear disc brakes have ventilated rotors and aluminum four-piston front calipers. 

Our test drive came with the F sport package option.  The F sport package option adds $2,440 onto the retail price of $38,570.  This option package includes 18-inch tires, sport suspension, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates, dark graphite alloy wheels with all season tires, front lip spoiler, rear decklid spoiler, sport grill, sport steering wheel with shift knob sport, seats with microfiber insert and heated front seats.

As for the IS 350’s revised looks the changes include a new front grille and bumper while the rear of the sport sedan has a new tail lamp cover and revised tailpipe design.  You will find new HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps come standard on the IS 350 now along with 17-inch wheels versus the optional 18-inch wheels on the F sport package. 

The Lexus IS 350 provides a sporty driving experience and a supple, quiet ride.  The vehicle’s fully independent suspension is double-wishbone in front and multi-link in the rear.  Monotube shock absorbers optimize damping, and internal rebound springs seem to provide a firmer overall body control while driving.

There are plenty of safety features on this vehicle.  Some of the safety features on the IS 350 four-door sedan include anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, smart stop technology, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button and tire pressure monitor.

You will find a number of other features.  Luxury and convenience features include push button start and stop, 10-way power adjustable driver’s and front passenger seats, all-leather seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, power tilt/slide moonroof, three-spoke leather trimmed steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope with audio and cruise controls, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, driver information center with trip computer, premium audio system with 13 speakers and automatic sound levelizer, power windows, door locks and steering locks, fold out front door pockets with a water bottle holder and also features a trunk pass through.

A wonderful navigation system and intuitive parking assist with front and rear sensors were options installed on the test drive vehicle.  This put the Lexus IS 350 at the bottom line price total at $44,112.

The IS 350 combines sporty good looks with fun performance and numerous Lexus creature comforts for what can be an exhilarating ride or drive wrapped up in luxury. 

After making a decision to purchase a nice car you will be best served if you research your dealer as much as you research the vehicle you want to purchase.  Check out the different Lexus dealers in your area before deciding on the one you will buy from.  You can get reports from the Better Business Bureau.  You can also call your local Chamber of Commerce to get an unbiased point to view about the business.  The best way to check out a local dealership is to stop in and get a feel for the way they treat their customers.  There is a lot of competition in the car dealership business and they should bend over backwards to treat each person who enters the door like a valued customer.  If you don’t get a very good feeling about the way you are treated, move on to another dealer. 

Once you decide on a car dealership that you will work with, you then need to select a salesman to handle your choice.  Sit back and watch the salesmen and how they interact with other customers.  The personality of a salesperson needs to be someone you enjoy working with.  Each salesperson will bring something different to the negotiation and you want to work with an aggressive and hungry person.  They will typically bend over backwards to help you get the best deal you can.  Watch for someone who is up and going and not just sitting around waiting for you to come to him.  Is he friendly and outgoing but not so much so that you feel he is phony about it?

When you go to dealership you need to be armed and ready.  Check out car prices on to make sure when they make you an offer you are getting the best deal possible.  If they are really padding the price, then it’s time to select a different dealership.  What incentives are they offering on top of the selling price?  They should want a customer for life and should be offering a variety of incentives to get your business.  If you have researched the car, the car dealership and even the salesperson, then you should be getting your dream luxury car without a lot of worry.