Lexus IS F Sport
Week ending July 28
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
Week ending July 21
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.