JOE’s Car Review: Lexus IS300h
For this week’s car review, JOE’s Oisín Collins put the all-new Lexus IS300h through its paces.
Car tested: Lexus IS300h S-Design 2.5L (Petrol/Hybrid) S-Design - €38,780
So, who would drive the all-new IS300h? I think the new IS300h is definitely going to be a hit with a younger audience. When most people think of Lexus they might envision a car for the older driver, but the new IS takes some inspiration from the LFA (Lexus’ supercar) so it should appeal to a younger market – especially those with a copy of Forza 4 or Gran Turismo 5 in their collections.
So how does the IS300h drive? Exceptionally well, to tell you the truth. Thanks to the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol/electric hybrid engine, the car is extremely quiet and smooth at low to medium speeds. Once you reach 50km/h the petrol engine kicks in and you can instantly feel the extra power (all 223 horses of it, to be precise) under your foot.
There are three driving modes to choose from: Eco, Normal and Sport and choosing between eco or the normal/sport modes will change the way the electronic speedometer looks, which makes you feel like James Bond. Honestly, it’s really, really, really, ridiculously cool.
Grip is also top notch on tight corners, regardless of what driving mode you’re in and the suspension absorbs every little bump in the road, so there’s really nothing bad to say about the overall drive of the car. The only thing that’s a tad annoying is the slight lag in acceleration thanks to the CVT gearbox and the fact that there’s no diesel option.
A CVT gearbox means that the car stays at its optimal revs while changing through the gears, making it more fuel-efficient. However, when you put the boot down it takes an extra few split seconds for the car to change to the gear you should be in, because it has to rev that little higher than normal. It would be incredibly annoying if you were using the IS300h as a racecar, but you’re hardly going to be doing that now are you?
Lexus definitely get a 10/10 for style on this one. The exterior is sporty and aggressive and, as mentioned above, it takes some of its inspiration from the LFA Supercar (pictured below). The grille has been extended lower to the ground so there’s not much of a 'front bumper' in the traditional sense, but this certainly adds to the car’s mean appearance. The lines running along the side of the car and onto the rear bumper blend into each other seamlessly, which really gives the overall style a nice refined look.
As for the interior, the new IS300h is as well built on the inside as it is on the outside. The driving position gives you a good view of the road without the A-pillars getting in the way and cockpit feels positioned with the driver in mind rather than being split between the driver and front passenger. The only problem is that if you’re a tall bloke, whoever happens to be sitting behind you might find themselves lacking some legroom – but that’s not really your problem to deal with, is it?
There’s plenty to keep both driver and passengers entertained thanks to Lexus’ infotainment options and even small details, like the touchpad control for the heating, help to make the car that little bit more enjoyable.
The IS300h is loaded with sex appeal. I really enjoyed this car and I couldn’t help but crack a little smile every time I walked up to drive it or anytime I caught someone having a good gawk at it. It’s streets ahead of its predecessor and it should definitely give the BMW and Audi diehards something to think about.
The standard entry level ‘Eco’ package starts at €37,780 and comes equipped with fog lights, headlight cleaners, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, Lexus 7” Media Display, USB ports and steering wheel controls all as standard. However, you can pay €46,780 for the top of the range ‘Premium’ package which comes equipped with loads more toys. More info on that over on Lexus.ie.
Price range - €37,780 - €46,780
0-100 kph – 8.3 secs
Max Speed – 230km/h
Length – 4665 mm
Height – 1430 mm
Width – 1810 mm
Tax Band - Band A3, €190 p.a.
A few Irish drivers might be put off by the fact that there’s no diesel option available, but thanks to the hybrid engine the new entry level IS300h only produces 99g of CO per kilometre (103g/km tested). Overall, this is seriously good car and if you can let go of the idea that diesel is better for your wallet (it is, but only if you do big miles every year) then you’re in for a nice surprise.
For more details on the IS300h check out Lexus.ie.