Lexus’ 2017 IS debuts in Beijing after some plastic surgery

The current-generation Lexus IS was meant to take Toyota’s luxury brand in a new and more exciting styling direction. While the IS’ styling has received mixed reviews, it certainly got peoples’ attention. Perhaps the updated version debuting at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show will ensure that more of that attention is positive.

Likely to go on sale in the U.S. as a 2017 model, the updated Lexus IS retains much of the previous version’s styling, with some cues from the facelifted 2016 Lexus GS sedan thrown in. Once again, it’s hard to say whether the IS is exactly pretty, but at least it isn’t boring.

Lexus’ trademark “spindle grille” continues to dominate the front end, but the rest of the fascia has been simplified with a pair of large air intakes. The controversial LED running light slashes remain, but the headlights are less oddly shaped. The rear end is largely the same, with taillights that bleed into a curved line running up from the rocker panels, meant to make the wheelbase seem longer. New 17-inch alloy wheels and a new hood round out the major changes.

The interior gets a few updates as well, including a 10.3-inch central display screen that replaces the previous 7.0-inch unit. Unfortunately, Lexus’ cumbersome Remote Touch Interface controller remains, but it is augmented by more buttons. Changes were also made to the audio and climate controls, the speedometer and tachometer, and some trim pieces.

There are no mechanical updates, which isn’t too surprising considering Lexus made some changes here for 2016. The IS 200t continues with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine introduced last year, good for 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The IS 300 gets a 3.5-liter V6 with 255 hp and 236 lb-ft. of torque, and the IS 350 gets the same engine, but with 306 hp and 277 lb-ft. Six-speed and eight-automatic transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive are available, depending on the model.

The 2017 IS is also the latest model to get the Lexus Safety System+ package of safety features, including a pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Look for more information later this year, when the 2017 IS is expected to go on sale in the U.S.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.