- - Thursday, January 19, 2017

An entry level Lexus could just be what the doctor ordered for the auto buyer dipping their toe into the luxury sedan market. The 2017 Lexus GS 200t is indeed a sure thing with a turbocharged engine, above average fuel economy and a price tag that won’t give you sticker shock.

While this GS is a smaller version of the 350, most will be hard pressed to find the differences until closer observation. That means you get a better price tag and you get a vehicle that will still impress the masses.

The competition for the GS 200t includes the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and the Mercedes E-Class sedan. With an eye to safety, take note of the new offering on the 2017 Lexus GS 200t that includes a variety of standard safety features that could only be added for a price in previous years.

There is only one trim level on this year’s Lexus GS 200t. You will, however, be pleasantly surprised with the bang for the buck you get. There are 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, heated mirrors and front seats, leather interior, a sunroof and driver-seat memory settings. For technology goodies on this one, it is Bluetooth equipped with the infotainment interface, navigation system, smartphone app, 12-inch display screen and 12 speakers.

You can up the features with the Premium Package, and that will include heated and air-conditioned front seats, automatic wipers and 18-inch wheels.

There is a F Sport package with 19-inch wheels that come with summer performance tires, sport-tuned suspension, aggressive front and rear bumper and grille exterior designs and a trunk lid spoiler. You also get upgraded interior leather and power sport seats with the F Sport.

Under the hood, the 2017 Lexus GS 2000t has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque. This Lexis is only offered in rear-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic transmission. You can expect a Sport Direct-Shift and an electronically controlled transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) and paddle shifters.

For safety, there were many standards added like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the Lexus Safety System+ suite with active safety features. The safety system not only also comes with adaptive cruise control, but automatic emergency braking with detection, high-beam control, lane departure warning and the blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert.

Behind the wheel, you will feel right at home, at least I did. I felt safe and engaged as I drove the 2017 Lexus GS 200t. With a luxury and convenience package addition I also had a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift control making for agile handling and a feeling of complete control.

It is also a quiet ride whether in the front or the back seat. The quiet ride and genuine comfort combined with a sporty attitude definitely dominates this experience. There is also plenty of space for the driver and passenger in the front and back seats including leg and head room.

The knobs and dials are all perfectly placed for ease, but my main complaint here is with the entertainment and navigation controls. In the form of an interface mouse contraption, I spent more time moving around and hitting functions I didn’t want instead landing the controller on what I needed.

The trunk in this vehicle is limiting, but still big enough for most needs. The rear seats do not fold down, but overall in the pockets and cubby holes there is plenty of extra room. As for trunk space there is 14.3 cubic feet for hauling.

This one is a well-rounded driving experience that won’t disappoint. Indeed, the 2017 Lexus entry option is a chance to get to know the brand while also feeling good on the road and empowered to enjoy the ride.

Should You Need to Know: Take note that the all-wheel drive is not available on the 2017 Lexus GS 200t.

Miles: With an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV II) certification you get 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The cost of the 2017 Lexus GS 200t I drove came in at $49,200.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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