Lexus IS300h F Sport
Week ending April 29
Total mileage 7031
Driven this week 246
I spent a whole weekend with our Lexus IS recently, and there were two things I noticed beyond the usual complaints about the F Sport trim's firm ride.
First, a negative. Where I live, it's exclusively on-street parking, and many of the bays marked out - like the side streets themselves - are very narrow. It therefore pays to park as close to the kerb as possible, but doing so confidently is hard work.
That's because the styling on the IS's flank includes quite a bulge - big enough to completely hide either rear wheel. When you're trying to place that expensive rear alloy wheel as close to one of Hammersmith and Fulham Council's diamond-hard kerbs, the restricted view starts to frustrate.
Secondly, and on a more positive note, F Sport trim brings some lovely materials inside the cabin. The 'leather' that covers the seats, wheel and the upper section of the dash might not be real, but it looks the part and feels top quality.
By Rory White
Week ending April 22
Total mileage 6785
Driven this week 157
Saloons are generally regarded as less than practical; those narrow boot openings mean they’re far from ideal for the sort of heavy carrying duties that hatches and estates are great for.
Having said that, I took the IS to the recycling centre the other day, complete with three tyres (it’s a long story) and a bag of garden rubbish, all of which slotted into the boot with ease.
With a 450-litre boot capacity (30 litres less than the BMW 3-Series), it was actually really easy to throw my chunky rubbish in. You just have to be careful not to catch the plastic covers on the boot-lid hinges, which intrude into the boot opening a bit.
By Vicky Parrott
Week ending April 15
Total mileage 6628
Driven this week 1367
You might remember that back in January, we mentioned we were going to be visited by a ‘hybrid trainer’ to help us get better fuel economy from our Lexus IS300h.
So, last week, I spent a couple of hours with Steve Croughan from a training company called DriveSense. The majority of this company’s work is in helping fleets to lower their running costs. If you can imagine, say, a 5% improvement in fuel economy across a fleet or maybe 50 or 100 cars, it’s obvious why you’d want to get your drivers as well trained as possible.
Our hybrid ‘training’ started out with an analysis of my driving style. With no prior instruction, I drove the Lexus on a familiar 20-mile route from the office, with a mix of stop-start traffic, flowing motorway and rural lanes. Steve took note of my acceleration, anticipation and braking without giving me any tips to start with.
The result? Well, taking into account an engine that wasn’t fully warmed up, we managed 45.6mpg on the trip computer.
While we were parked up, Steve talked me through what he’d noticed in my driving style, and gave me a few bits of advice for the journey back. In particular, he suggested that I lifted off the throttle just before shallow crests and let the car ‘carry’ me over the top and coast down; and that I try braking earlier and more gently ahead of traffic lights and queues. The aim of the game was using the car’s momentum as much as possible, and - if possible - never coming to a complete stop.
So how did I do on the journey back? Even taking into account the caveat that the engine was warmed up by this point, seeing the 56.9mpg readout on the dashboard made me rather pleased.
Steve thought that knocking around 4mpg off that figure because of the warm engine was fair, so working from a notional 52.9mpg, the difference was an improvement of 16%.
The two hours with the trainer looked decidedly well spent, but what’s more, I’m now determined to beat this figure before the IS300h goes back to Lexus.
By Ed Callow
Week ending April 8
Total mileage 5261
Driven this week 160
Tiny details can make a big difference to how much you enjoy a car. For instance, in the Lexus IS, I really like the fact that the auto windscreen wiper setting also has a high and low response mode.
I can’t stand over-exuberant windscreen wipers, but obviously I like a clear windscreen; the low setting is particularly brilliant for wiping at just the desired moment, even in that annoying drizzle that often has other auto wipers responding too quickly or barely at all.
I rarely find the need for it, but the high setting is great for monsoon conditions. Oddly, though, the Lexus wipers do take an age to respond to a squirt of windscreen washer fluid regardless of the auto setting.
By Vicky Parrott