IS stuns with looks and low costs06/10/2013
With its “stunning” looks, the new Lexus IS is “certainly a draw”, but it’ll be the low CO2 emissions that tempt people away from the likes of the BMW 3 Series, says Auto Trader’s Andy Pringle.Show full story
“In a class dominated by all-too-familiar German cars, the Lexus IS is a very striking car. The large pinched grille at the front and brash front bumper that sends flowing lines down the side of the body to the rear lights mean the new Lexus is a good-looking car that can’t fail to find fans.”
Lexus has been “as bold inside the IS as it is outside”, says Pringle. “Not only does it look good, with a feeling of high class and quality, it includes several novel features, such as the touch-sensitive sliders that control cabin temperature.” Pringle’s only criticism is reserved for the Remote Touch system’s mouse-like controller, which proved a “bugbear”.
Practicality-wise, front seat passengers will have “no reason to complain” thanks to “plenty” of room and adjustment options. At the back things aren’t as impressive, “where the slope of the roofline eats into head room a little”. However, the boot is a “decent” size, matching rivals.
The IS is a “different beast” compared to the BMW 3 Series when it comes to ride and handling. While the latter has an “overtly sporting” feel, the IS concentrates on offering a “smooth, refined” drive. The suspension “takes the sting out of most of what British roads can throw at it”, meaning the IS makes a “fine long-distance cruiser”.
The driver needs to “work it hard to get decent performance” out of the IS, and the CVT gearbox means “you have to endure an awful drone from the engine”. Diesel rivals offer “much more instant and more easily accessible performance”, says Pringle.
But running costs is the one area “where the IS really scores over its opposition”, especially in hybrid IS 300h guise. The petrol/electric drivetrain means it has “better economy and emissions, which equate to low tax bills for company users who will form the bulk of the IS buyers”.
The IS gets top marks for reliability and safety, Pringle confident in Lexus’ reputation for having “some of the most reliable models on the road”.
Summing up why the Lexus IS should be on anyone’s shopping list, Pringle says: “The distinctive looks will doubtless win over some, but it’s the low running costs – courtesy of the good CO2 emissions – that will be the real attraction.”
Verdict: HHHHI (Link: Auto Trader, 1 October)