A Lexus mind changer

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One was largely an indifferent follower up to this it would be fair to suggest, but the Lexus IS 300h thawed the atttitude. Nice car; a lot going on with it.

One was largely an indifferent follower up to this it would be fair to suggest, but the Lexus IS 300h thawed the atttitude. Nice car; a lot going on with it.

Some day a vehicle will come along that will have the power and charm to convert all the sceptics that there can be a fulfilling driving life beyond the standard petrol and diesel options.

Maybe it is here in the shapely mass of metal that is the IS 300 hybrid? A good starting point! Usually one associates Lexus design with smooth curves and easy flowing body lines.

Sharper edge

The IS 300h has a sharper edge to the design, with a hip high crease flowing from the flaired wheel arches at the front right back to the rear lights cluster. Throw in a sporty looking, nose down front end, attractive grille set off by fog lights and stand out wing mirrors, and the Lexus designers gifted the car with a performance style look.

The thing is though, can the IS 300h’s combination of a four-cylinder petrol engine, electric motor and Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox deliver the smooth and easy performance and fuel economy of a top diesel?

Measured against the experience from a former Continetal Irish car of the year, the BMW 3 Series, one would suggest the measure is there in terms of the smooth and easy performance. Lexus quote a consumption figure of 65.7mpg (4.3 l/100klm), which is healthy.

Even if one felt the actual returns figure fell a bit short of that, it would have to be said the fuel gauge was one of the slowest moving parts of th3 300h. That leaves the Lexus is a good place too!

The fusion of a 2.5-litre 16-valve petrol engine with a 143bhp electric motor gives the hybrid-powered IS fair kicking power for overtaking. Okay, some would want more, but with minimal engine noise and the elegant way the car carried itself at all times, was a most acceptable trade off for me.

There is a touch of class about the IS 300h. The cabin space is on a par with rivals, and the finish is top notch. This is the first Lexus full hybrid with the batteries beneath the luggage area (450 litre capacity). Lexus are driving places with this car.

Features

Standard features - climate control, cruise control, eight airbags including knee airbags for driver and front passenger, whiplash injury lessing front seats with active head rests, ABS, BAS, EBD, drive mode select (Eco/Comfort/Normal/Sport S), hill start assist control, vehicle stabiolity control, Bluebooth mobile and audio connectivity, Lexusw Media Display screen, two USB ports and AUX, push start button, daytime running lights, 3-spoke steering wheel with pedal shift control.

Lexus IS 300h hybrid compact executive saloon from €37,780, 143bhp (electric motor), 181bhp 2.5 litre four cylinder Atkinson petrol engine; 0 to 100kph in 8.3 seconds, top speed 200kph; fuel consumption 4.3l/100klm (65.7mpg), CO2 emissions from 99g/km; annual road tax €190 (varies slightly as per model). Price includes €1,500 VRT rebate.