Our cars: Lexus IS300h - March

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  • 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 IS300h F Sport

Read the full Lexus IS review

Week ending March 21
Total mileage 4940
Driven this week 90

In theory, our petrol-electric hybrid IS300h promises diesel economy, with all the pluses of a petrol engine. In practice, the economy we’ve been achieving (around 40mpg – the Government average is 60.1mpg) suggests that complex technology may be a waste of time.

On the road, however, this car has refinement that beats most equivalent diesel-engined cars into a cocked hat. The e-CVT transmission attracts a lot of criticism from the motoring press (as all CVTs do), but the Lexus is quieter than most, and the full-throttle noise that is its most objectionable feature is relatively well masked.

The way this car is put together shames rivals, too. The cabin is, for the most part, a tactile delight. The F-Sport instrument display is a thing of beauty, the steering wheel is a work of art, and the sports seats are superbly supportive. Alas the seats and instrument display come only with this F-Sport trim, which is thirstier and less economical than other versions.

There is, within this Lexus, a good car trying to break out, but driving it makes me feel sad. If the money spent over the past 30 years on improving the dirty old diesel engine, and creating these complicated hybrids, had been spent on further developing the lightweight, free-revving, and, above all, clean, petrol engine, who knows what refined and economical cars we might now be driving?

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Read the full Lexus IS review

Week ending March 14
Total mileage 4850 
Driven this week 73 

I’ll admit to being partial to a Lexus – not sure if it’s the Alan Partridge in me or just that they seem to represent good value for money, but hopping into the IS300h for the first time was a little bit of a shock, because of the ‘interesting’ cabin design. Of course the moment I discovered the button that actuated the awesome sliding dial in front of me, the world was okay again and that feeling continued over the 100 miles I covered in it.

There was more road noise than I had expected, though, and for some reason I got pins and needles in my right arm if I used the door-mounted arm rest, but the economy and performance was reassuring if nothing else.

I even took the family out in it and no one complained about not having enough room. In fact, no one complained about anything, which must say quite a lot!

By Martin Port

Week ending March 7
Total mileage 4777
Driven this week 302 

As an ex-owner of an LS400, I'm always keen to get into the latest Lexus, even one as dramatically over-styled as this new IS (have you seen the headlights?).

First impressions are good: the dashboard is modern and yet somehow familiar (later I realised it reminded me of a Renault 25’s), and is let down only by the super-sensitive touch controls for the heater.

Performance is decent enough for B-road overtakes, but the ride isn't great; it’s fidgety on the motorway and hard at all other times.

Somewhere under all that stiffness is a good car, but perhaps you need smaller wheels and softer suspension to find it.

By Paul Garlick

Our cars: Lexus IS300h - February

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