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Lexus IS 300h SE

Lexus IS 300h SE

Family Cars

2. Lexus IS

Model/Engine size:
Lexus IS IS 300h SE
Fuel:
Petrol Electric Hybrid
Fuel economy combined:
65.7 mpg
Lexus IS 300h SE

Summary

Lexus is convinced that it can take on and beat the premium establishment with one hand tied behind its back. Whereas every other premium manufacturer has developed very popular diesel models you can’t buy a diesel Lexus. Instead Lexus is staking its fortunes on petrol-electric hybrids.

The IS is clearly a product of a lateral thinking company. Not only is the drivetrain a departure from the norm, the styling is also a departure with a blend of Japanese and European tastes that creates a distinctive look. It isn’t entirely successful from every angle but crucially it does have road presence and looks markedly different to German rivals, giving customers a choice.

You can’t talk about the IS 300h without mentioning the hybrid system as it has a defining impact on the character. Like the rest of the car it is beautifully engineered making it almost impossible to tell what proportion of the work is being done by the electric motor or the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Indeed driven smoothly and conservatively the Lexus system is the last word in refinement.

However Lexus has chosen to market the IS as a sporting saloon and if you do want to press on a bit the refinement goes out of the window thanks to the CVT gearbox which also dents the sense of involvement. The Lexus hybrid system has major benefits in terms of torque, efficiency and resulting low CO2 emissions, but out-and-out fun isn’t one of them.

If you approach the IS 300h as a decent to drive, individual, exquisitely made, highly efficient premium saloon we think you will get on really rather well. If you are expecting a sports saloon, you will be disappointed by the drivetrain. We hope Lexus’s mislabelling doesn’t put people off as there is much to like for business users (BIK) and private buyers (mpg and VED).

Read our full Lexus IS 300h review

Specifications

Fuel economy, extra urban:
62.8 mpg
Fuel economy, urban:
64.2 mpg
CO2 emissions:
99 g/km
Green rating:
VED band A - £0 a year
Weight:
1680 Kg
Company car tax liability ( 2015/16 ):
14%
Price:
£29,495
Insurance group:
TBC
Power:
178 bhp (petrol) 141 bhp (electric) 220 bhp (system) bhp
Max speed:
124 mph
0-62mph:
8.3 seconds
Euro 6:
No