Provides a serious alternative to the mainstream; excellent auto box, well appointed quality interior with comfortable seats, astounding ML sound system with the multimedia package, well damped chassis preferable to the brittle suspension settings of some alternatives, low insurance ratings, better residuals than a 3er on top of a lower list price. However its not fast (a sensation that is perhaps exaggerated by the superb refinement) and taller passengers may have headroom problems in the back, though in this respect its not worse than others in its class. Also, although capable it lacks the feedback provided by the 3series on a country road. In most other regards however this IS tops the equivilant 3er.
I've had the base model 220d for 10 months now and have covered 15000 miles without any problems having changed from a 320d. The car is great to drive around town or on the motorway although the 6th gear can only really be used above 80mph. With the cruise control set at 90 the engine is merely ticking over at 2200rpm so no engine noise and fuel economy is up near 40mpg which is good for 90mph. Very punchy engine. First service was done in an hour and the Lexus dealer was fantastic, something you will never find from BMW garages.
Interior is great, love the stereo, light years ahead of BMW/Merc/Audi audio systems. If you like your music get the Lexus. 13 speakers on the standard system and is still better than the costly upgraded premium systems in other manufacturers cars.
I dont understand comments about cramped rear space, I'm 6ft and I can sit behind with the front seat set for me no problem. Its no different at all to the 3series. Boot is fine, I can get 2 sets of Golf clubs in. You cant do this in an A4 or 3series.
Equipment levels are far higher than same cost BMW/Merc/Audi etc so as a company car driver its much cheaper to lease so I get a nice cash back.
Best bit is keyless entry and start, its standard on all models. It'll cost you a fortune on a Beamer or Audi.
Other nice thing is that it is different to all those fools who keep buying completely dull German cars.
This car is very good but I have a couple of niggles. I have had the Lexus Is220d SE for two months and have done 3000 miles. The fuel economy does not live up to the quoted combined figure of 44.8 mpg. I can achieve about 42 mpg combined, I expect this to improve with more miles. The second niggle is that the rear view mirror vibrates at engine speeds of about 1700 rpm and below in 6th, it is less obvious in other gears, this is most annoying.
The car is a great car to drive, loads of power, it's deceptive because it is quiet on the motorway, I can hold a comfortable conversation and have never felt the need to raise my voice. On country roads it is positive and feels very safe and assured, the vehicle stability control is outstanding. The build quality is very good too, the pannel gaps are obviously closer than any other car I have owned.
The 3 series BMW has a better engine and gear box but nothing inside unless you have a big budget, everyone has got one and its ugly, the C class Mercedes has a similar traits to the BMW. The Audi A4 has a hard ride and can also be expensive if you spec it up to the same level as the Lexus. I looked at the Saab 9-3 and Alfa 156 but they are not really in the same class. The Honda Accord was the only other choice but I'm not ready for a Honda yet. So the Lexus has the edge overall, its a great car and I the best car in this class, overall I am delieghted with it.
This may look like a Lexus appreciation club review, but I stand by what I say. Having owned many Mercedes cars and one BMW, I can only say that the Lexus is the benchmark for looks, finish, quality and reliability (so far).
I have covered 5000 miles and am getting 46.2mpg on average (verified by calculating fuel used against miles separately, for those of you who may disbelieve the onboard computer)from general driving and a reasonable amount of motorway work. If driven correctly this car, like many others (I used to get 35mpg from Mercedes ML), will return good mpg.
The gearbox does take a little getting used to, but once mastered, it causes few issues. I am very pleased I chose this over the other possibilities (unfortunately Mercedes and BMW are in the mass-market chase) and found the experience of buying far better than at competitors where I was ignored and not taken seriously (Merc and BMW take note - they are becoming arrogant).
If you are in the market for a good all-round car, buy a Lexus; if you want a sports car buy a Porsche.
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