Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the Lexus IS300h, Ford Fiesta ST and Honda Civic Tourer.
Our IS's cool-looking sliding dials and the dual-USB inputs are things I find myself using all of the time.
However, the joystick-controlled infotainment system that you have to have if you want sat-nav (£1995) has never done anything but fill me with fury. I’ve spent a lot of time in the IS, and I still find myself taking my eyes off the road for uncomfortably long moments as I try to position the mouse over the correct icon.
The problem isn’t just that the icons are quite small, but it takes way too much precision than it should, despite the system’s ability to lock onto icons. Once you have highlighted the icon you want, it’s infuriatingly easy to dislodge it accidentally as you depress the joystick to select the action. Basically, the sooner Lexus can offer the standard rotary-controller that the IS normally gets when you spec nav, the better.
To make matters worse, the system has started freezing occasionally. On a trip back from Gatwick last week, I got so frustrated with trying to get the system to recognise my USB-connected phone (which it usually does instantly) that I gave up, only for it to cut in unexpectedly at mega-decibels a few minutes later. The Bluetooth connection also often freezes the system if you try browsing the linked music device, sometimes cutting out and refusing to recognise my iPhone 4 at all.
By Vicky Parrott
Read all of our updates on life with our Lexus IS300h.
In the car park
Group production editor Euan Doig has a good experience with a dealer - the Ford Fiesta ST is now knock-free and has a working USB socket.
Consumer editor Alex Newby gets to enjoy the Honda Civic Tourer’s precise steering and tidy body control on a B-road dash to rural Sussex.