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2013 Lexus IS 300h Review

Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2013 Lexus IS 300h.

2013 Lexus IS 300h Review.

When the first prototype hybrids appeared about 15 years ago, they were regarded as a curiosity, but not really considered the answer to practical everyday motoring.

But, over the years, they have become very much a reality of main stream models.

There have been five Lexus hybrids to date, but only the RX crossover has connected with car buyers in a significant way.

The others were either not fuel-efficient enough or just didn’t possess the premium look and feel expected from Lexus.

With the new Lexus IS 300h however, it certainly looks as if the brand has finally come up with another winning formula.

The Lexus IS 300h, represents an extensive redesign. It’s a bit larger, and Lexus has overhauled the suspension and steering for improved car control, and revised the interior for more modern design and additional high-tech features.

At the same time, it maintains the model’s reputation for reliability, solid construction and a supremely comfortable ride.

The 300h owns these same qualities we have become to expect from the marquee, but that little “h” represents big differences under the bonnet.

Unlike past Lexus hybrid sedans that used hybrid technology as a means to achieve greater performance while maintaining the fuel economy of a regular petrol model, the 300h is a hybrid in the classic sense.

In other words, it’s all about fuel economy.

Given the model’s historically strong sales, the Lexus IS is obviously a car that has resonated with consumers.

The addition of a hybrid model that actually does what people expect a hybrid to do – is very fugal on fuel – which should only increase its appeal.

2013 Lexus IS 300h Review.

However, Lexus is the brand people most likely associate with luxury hybrids, and the IS 300h is the first Lexus hybrid sedan that actually lives up to expectations.

Standard equipment includes;

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Auto headlights
  • LED running lights
  • Sunroof
  • Heated mirrors
  • Key-less ignition/entry
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Eight-way power front seats
  • Eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and satellite radio.

The Navigation package system includes all of the Display Audio items plus a navigation system, which has an added feature . It also gives audible warnings about speed zone, red light and speed cameras in the proximity.

The Lexus IS 300h features a hybrid power train consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor.

Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are standard.

According to Lexus, the IS 300h will go from zero to 100km in 8.1 seconds, which isn’t quick for an entry-level luxury sedan but pretty good for a hybrid.

The Lexus IS 300h comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side air-bags, side curtain air-bags and front knee air-bags.

Other equipment includes parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot warning system that includes a rear cross-traffic alert system.

Stepping into the car, you will find that the cabin presents a far more modern, stylish environment than that of past models.

There’s little doubt that the cabin should be spacious enough for most drivers and passengers.  providing generous amounts of space, especially rear legroom.

The IS 300h delivers a refined and serene driving experience that is bolstered by the quiet all-electric operation at lower speeds.

At highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably silent and is largely devoid of wind or road noise. Bumps and ruts in the road are well absorbed.

The IS 300h delivers an impressive package of design, features, handling and comfort, and with the added bonus of fuel economy and environment friendly reduced emissions.

The cabin of the new Lexus IS 300h

NUTS and BOLTS

Engine: 2.5 litre four cylinder petrol/hybrid producing 105kW and 300Nm

Transmission: Six-speed auto

Safety:Not tested

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000kms

Origin: Japan

Price: From $64,900

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