The first time I approached the Lexus IS, I had to look twice to find the rear doors. That’s not because the cabin’s back doors are hidden or concealed. In fact, they stand out for their dramatic and graceful outline. And the rear-door handles nest as prominently and invitingly as the front-door handles in the flanks of this dynamic new luxury car. What’s more, the IS is a substantial car, well anchored and sleekly elongated, with a stretched-out body that makes room for back passengers.
But at first glance I missed the rear doors because the Lexus IS looks like a stealthy, slick coupe. It has the flash, dash and sparkle of a slinky two-door car that serves as an emblem of personal expression as much as a transportation tool.
I wasn’t surprised when Willy Moy, general manager of Ira Lexus in Danvers, told me that buyers of the new IS skew toward youthful drivers of luxury autos.
“It has a striking stance that they like,” he said.
In the all-new, 2014 version, the stance is more striking due to features like high shoulders that sweep upward from the tip of the front bumper and run prominently to the taillights. Like the front bumper itself, with a deep, dark and wide low intake underlining a zig-zag hourglass grille. Like bright, bold, check-mark-shaped accept lights vectored below the angled headlights. Like the spiral twist of the low door sills that suddenly slant upward as they approach the rear wheels. The car has a stand-out shape.
Still, the rear doors of the Lexus IS remain important elements of the auto. During the everyday, to-and-fro driving of a one-week evaluation, I found that the car’s sedan status — its four doors, rear seat and trunk — makes the IS a useful hauler as well as a striking showpiece. Changes in the updated, 2014 version make it even more helpful and accommodating.