Our cars: Lexus IS300h - July

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  • Ten months into our test of the plush IS300h
  • Our hybrid exec costs £33,495
  • Run by photographer Will Williams
  • The driver's seat hasn't been kind to us on long journeys

    The driver's seat hasn't been kind to us on long journeys

  • The IS feels most at home around town.

    The IS feels most at home around town.

  • Lexus cupholders aren't well situated if you sit further forward than most

    Lexus cupholders aren't well situated if you sit further forward than most

  • Bluetooth pairing has caused a few issues in the IS recently

    Bluetooth pairing has caused a few issues in the IS recently

  • Visibility in the Lexus is tricky, so Paul wishes the camera was standard

    Visibility in the Lexus is tricky, so Paul wishes the camera was standard

  • Infotainment controller is more hinderance than help - but it's standard if you want sat-nav

    Infotainment controller is more hinderance than help - but it's standard if you want sat-nav

  • Lexus 'leather' and white stitching in F Sport trim looks the part and feels top quality

    Lexus 'leather' and white stitching in F Sport trim looks the part and feels top quality

  • Vicky found it surprisingly easy to slot a lot of rubbish into the boot of the Lexus IS

    Vicky found it surprisingly easy to slot a lot of rubbish into the boot of the Lexus IS

  • Following some basic advice and instruction, we boosted indicated fuel economy to 56.8mpg

    Following some basic advice and instruction, we boosted indicated fuel economy to 56.8mpg

  • Our first run with the hybrid trainer was without advice or instruction - we managed 45.6mpg

    Our first run with the hybrid trainer was without advice or instruction - we managed 45.6mpg

  • Dashboard looks suitably modern, but the heater controls are far too sensitive

    Dashboard looks suitably modern, but the heater controls are far too sensitive

  • Some say the IS's headlights are over-styled; everyone agrees the ride is overly firm, though

    Some say the IS's headlights are over-styled; everyone agrees the ride is overly firm, though

  • AA Autowindshields came to the rescue to replace a badly cracked windscreen

    AA Autowindshields came to the rescue to replace a badly cracked windscreen

  • EV mode is useful for extending range, plus the dashboard readout looks great and is easy to read

    EV mode is useful for extending range, plus the dashboard readout looks great and is easy to read

  • We're not seeing anywhere near the official 60.1mpg, but we're getting a hybrid 'trainer' in to see if we can improve

    We're not seeing anywhere near the official 60.1mpg, but we're getting a hybrid 'trainer' in to see if we can improve

  • Plenty of rear legroom meant our road test manager's little passenger couldn't get the back of the front seats mucky

    Plenty of rear legroom meant our road test manager's little passenger couldn't get the back of the front seats mucky

  • Snazzy instrument cluster has impressed Steve

    Snazzy instrument cluster has impressed Steve

  • F Sport trim comes with harsh sports suspension

    F Sport trim comes with harsh sports suspension

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Lexus IS F Sport

Read the full Lexus IS review

Week ending July 28
Mileage 10,750
Miles driven this week 1500

The Lexus is filled with lots of nice little flourishes and details and one with a more practical edge is in the centre console. There are two USB sockets in the arm rest there, so I can keep my phone battery topped up and have my iPod plugged in too.

More often than not, though, if I've got a passenger they invariably want to charge their near depleted phone and that extra USB port is very valuable. It's a small detail but it's pretty useful and one I wish that more cars had, especially these days with our heavy reliance on USB-powered devices.

By Will Williams
Neil.Williams@whatcar.com


Week ending July 21
Mileage 9770
Driven this week 500 miles

I was offered the chance to take the Lexus home for an evening, so I jumped at the chance to see how it would compare with my usual wheels on my journey to central London. It’s a trip that usually involves potholes, queues and road rage, so how would the IS measure up?

The cabin was certainly very snug, and the driving position comfortable, if a little low for London traffic. I find a higher position is better when negotiating urban traffic, but it is in keeping with the IS's sporty appearance.

I had a bit of trouble trying to work the sat-nav, and as has been mentioned before, the curious joystick device with the force-feedback felt very unnatural.

I was also a little underwhelmed by the stereo. It really didn’t sound as good as I thought it would for a Lexus, although the inclusion of DAB was an obvious boon. I expected a bit of signal dropout too as I weaved through London's tall buildings, but it was rock-solid throughout.

When under way, the hybrid drivetrain made its presence felt with a curious milk-float like whine. It is far from unpleasant, though, and I found myself trying to keep my foot off the accelerator as much as possible in order to try to not use the engine, and keep the EV indicator lit. It made the inevitable queuing much more interesting than normal. The silent engine did reveal that there was quite a bit of road noise, which echoed through the cabin. But the car otherwise dealt well with the varying surfaces and potholes that came its way.

The IS is no slouch, though. There were a couple of occasions where I was in need of a bit more oomph. Selecting Sport mode replaced the hybrid display with a large rev counter, and pressing the pedal unleashed both petrol and electric power together, making a swift, but smooth getaway possible at traffic lights. 

The final part of my mini-test came when I arrived at home. We live in a block of flats with car parking underground and the spaces are pretty tight, to say the least.

The IS's rear-view parking camera was very clear and worked well with the sensors, beeping if the car was getting too close to anything. However, the main problem was with the doors. They extend out quite far, and I found it quite difficult to sense where they were when reversing into my space, especially when you have a concrete pillar to avoid.

By Simon Mortimer

Our cars: Lexus IS300h - June

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