Our cars: Lexus IS300h - October

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Lexus IS300h F Sport

Week ending October 25

Mileage 621
Miles travelled 215

A follower of What Car? on Twitter posed a question this week, asking for our opinion of hybrid cars in general. Personally, I don't believe they can be grouped together any more easily than all petrol cars.

As it happens, another recent occurrence was the arrival of a new long term test car - a Lexus IS300h. So since hybrids were on my mind, I stuck my name down to take it for a few nights.

The last hybrid I drove from the Toyota/Lexus stable was an Auris hatchback. It left me feeling decidedly annoyed at its lacklustre powertrain, and I was worried that this car might have a similar effect. As it turns out though, the IS300h is more appealing than I had imagined.

The cabin is snug, although entirely uninspiring to look at. The controller for the infotainment system on this pricier trim is also woefully imprecise - you find yourself nudging back and forward trying to land on the right target, rather like fine tuning an old radio.

However, the hybrid system itself isn't half bad. Yes, the CVT sounds awful under hard acceleration, but jamming your right foot to the floor really isn't what this car is about. Go easy on the throttle, use eco driving techniques, and the efficiency readout seems to readily hover around 60mpg - especially at a steady 50-60mph.

I still don't think that it's possible to make an opinionated statement about hybrid cars in general, but I do think that this one in particular has merit.

By Ed Callow

Week ending October 18
Mileage 406
Miles travelled 0

The Lexus IS, which we’ll be running for the next year, turned up today.

Our car is the 300h hybrid, which combines a four-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for an official average of over 60mpg. We’ve also got F Sport trim, which improves the looks, but increases CO2 from 99g/km to 109g/km. That’s enough to put it two company car tax bands higher, but the IS300h F Sport still sits three bands below a BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics.

The only options fitted to our car are metallic paint (£610) and satellite-navigation (£1995).

By Steve Huntingford


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