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2021 Lexus IS barely changes the price, which makes sense

Despite a fresh exterior, the IS isn't much different than the version it replaces.

The IS' new front end is pretty great, with or without the optional LED headlights.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though it might look pretty different, the 2021 Lexus IS still packs many of the same underpinnings, which means this new compact luxury sedan doesn't feature a massive price hike as part of its many updates.

Lexus on Wednesday announced pricing for the 2021 IS sedan. A base IS 300 with rear-wheel drive will cost $40,025, including $1,025 for destination, an increase of $440 over the 2020 IS 300 RWD. It's the only trim level that will net you Lexus' 241-horsepower, 258-pound-foot four-cylinder engine, which mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Adding all-wheel drive to the IS 300 replaces the I4 with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, and the transmission loses two forward gears, dropping to six. This variant will set you back $42,025, which is actually $10 less than the 2020 model is priced. Hmm.

If more power is on your list, there's the IS 350 F Sport, which takes that same V6 and bumps the power up to 311 hp and 280 lb-ft while adding a bit more aggression in the looks department. The IS 350 RWD uses an eight-speed automatic, while again, moving to AWD removes two cogs from the equation. The rear-drive IS 350 will cost $43,925, an increase of $1,145. Throwing in two more driven wheels raises the window sticker to $45,925, which is $1,095 more than the 2021 model.

There are a few options packages on offer, too, most of which are aggressively priced. Parking sensors are $600, and a pairing of parking sensors and a surround-view camera system costs $1,400. The always-excellent Mark Levinson audio system is $1,080, or $2,750 when combined with embedded navigation for the infotainment system. A power moonroof is a sensible $1,100, while fancier LED headlights with automatic high beams will set you back $1,250.

The 2021 Lexus IS goes on sale this fall.