Lexus IS 300h - Used

Car Review

Lexus IS 300h, front action
Lexus IS300h, front
Lexus IS 300h, rear, seats
Lexus IS 300h, front
Lexus IS 300h, side
Lexus IS 300h, rear
Lexus IS 300h, interior

THElatest Lexus IS has been around now since 2013 and so is probably due for replacement sometime soon.

It's available with two straight petrol engines, but these have sold in tiny numbers and so as a secondhand buy, I'll concentrate on the mainstay of the range - the 220bhp 2.5-litre 300h petrol/electric hybrid.

With low emissions of 97 grammes per kilometre and real economy of 44 miles per gallon in varied driving, it's an executive saloon with much to recommend it.

Other plus points are that Lexus dealers have a great reputation for service - among the best in surveys - and since the company is the luxury arm of Toyota, reliability is second to none.

The main plus point for many owners however, is that it's a bit different and stands out from the crowd of BMWs and Audis in the executive car park.

Drive is to the rear wheels via a continuously variable (CVT) automatic gearbox and this comes with a number of different modes selectable by the driver.

The power output sounds very good, but acceleration is more linear than shove in the back and that suits the car's ethos of long distance cruising refinement.

The Lexus Drive Mode Select system gives a choice of Eco, Normal, Sport or Sport+ configurations that alter the response of the engine and the gearbox.

In Normal mode the management system chooses between petrol or electric power or a combination of the two and Eco tones things down a little using more electric power as long as there is charge in the battery pack.

Sport and Sport+ sharpen everything up for best performance, using both petrol and electric power and change the digital dash power meter to a tachometer.

There is also an EV mode that runs on electric power alone and uses the electric motor exclusively until the battery runs out. The best distance I have heard of covered by an owner is over two miles - but only with a very light right foot.

There is also a Snow setting to give better traction in slippery conditions and a manual setting, with paddles behind the steering wheel to make the changes, when the CVT gearbox converts to a series of computer controlled steps.

The Lexus is a hugely quiet and refined cruiser and the engine is only audible when you put your foot down.

Earlier models have rather inert steering, but it is much better in this one, with more cornering feel adding to driving enjoyment.

The handling is safe and neutral with good balance and it holds the road very well.

Comfort is excellent over pretty much all surfaces and was further improved in 2017 with a raft of other changes.

Trim levels originally started with SE, Luxury, F Sport and Premier and the Executive Edition was added above SE in 2014, including full leather, sat nav and 17 inch alloys.

Advance trim was added in 2015 with items from the Luxury spec like leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats and a facelifted range was introduced for 2017.

This brought improvements to suspension and steering, a modified front end, LED headlights in some models and up-rated multimedia.

I am not a fan of the Lexus ‘gatemouth' grille, which I think spoils otherwise good looking cars. However, I know that many others like it and these things are always a personal preference, aren't they.

Rear legroom and boot are both a good size and all have a split folding rear seat to get longer items in. The dash has high-tech displays and there are top quality materials throughout.

Pay about £13,500 for a '14 14-reg SE, or £19,200 for a '16 16-reg Luxury Business Nav.

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