When you close the door of the Lexus IS 300h Luxury you immediately feel cocooned away from the outside world. Hit the start button and not even the sound of the engine is heard thanks to the hybrid technology. Engage Drive and you glide away in complete silence with only a slight wind noise signalling that you are moving.
This smooth driving experience is made possible thanks to the Lexus Hybrid Drive technology incorporated into the 2.5 litre, in-line 4-cyclinder petrol engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission. The combined powered output is 164kW and there is 221Nm of torque. In addition to pure EV mode, the other drive modes you can select from are Eco, Normal and Sport, which isn’t all that sporty. The official combined fuel efficiency is 5.1L/100km and for my week I used 7.4L/100km.
The leather accented IS interior includes subtle elements that are inspired by traditional Japanese crafts. Both front seats heated and have power adjustment for forward/back, recline and height with the driver’s seat getting 2-way lumbar adjustment too. The steering wheel has powered adjustment as well , but from a design point of view I thought it looked too large and I don’t like having the cruise control being engaged using an older style stalk located behind the wheel. The other feature I was not keen on was the image on the voice control button in a masculine-looking silhouette. From an operational standpoint the voice control was not the best as it took me a couple of goes to call the correct person and I was unable to set a destination at all satellite navigation that features SUNA live traffic input to assist with navigating around traffic jams.
The standard 10-speaker Pioneer Audio system is great for when you want a break from the quietness of the cabin with your media sources include AM/FM, DAB+, Disc, USB, Bluetooth, AUX and Miracast. The 10.3-inch multimedia central touchscreen incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Where I think Lexus is let down though is their touchpad that is used to navigate the infotainment system because even on the slowest setting the curser is still too sensitive and I found myself over shooting the option I was trying to select. This was the same for the touch pad slider used for adjusting the temperature and additionally I found it hard to find a nice temperature balance with the climate control system.
The only area to store your phone, other than in one of the shallow cup holders, is in the arm rest cubby that is felt lined to prevent rattles. Under the arm rest there are two USB ports, one 12V outlet and an AUX inlet. I did like though the Lexus branded COVID-19 safety kit that was located in the glove box that included a mask, wipes, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser.
There is ample leg room for adults in the rear seats, but head room is limited and you need to duck your head down if you are tall when you get in so you don’t bump it in the sloping roof line. The IS 300h has two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats in reality. The centre then folds down as an arm rest with two cup holders at the front, which will be used by your children as there is no drink bottle storage in the door cubbies. Rear passengers get central vents with on/off and direction control only, but no USB ports. There is a removable carpet mat over the large transmission tunnel to prevent carpet wear and provide greater sound deadening in the cabin.
The boot is manual opening and is clearly designed to hold one; if not two sets of golf clubs, so you will find that there is ample room for a pram and the weekly shop. The rear seats have 60:40 split folding mechanism, but there is a restriction from the bulkhead between the boot and rear seats. There is no spare tyre under the boot floor and you only get a tyre repair kit.
The ANCAP safety rating for the Lexus IS 300 range is 5-stars (2016) and all models have ten airbags including front airbags, front seat knee airbags, seat mounted side airbags and curtain shield airbags. Additionally the IS 300h features the Lexus Safety System that includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Safety system with Pedestrian and Daylight Cyclist Detection, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Warning with Sway Waring System and Blind Spot Monitoring. For safety and convenience the Lexus also has a standard reversing camera with front and rear sensors, rain sensing wipers and automatic lights with automatic high beam.
Lexus offers a four years/100,000km warranty on all new cars sold and when you purchase a Lexus IS 300h you are eligible for a three year subscription to the exclusive Lexus Encore program. Encore includes capped price servicing for this period, saving you $495 for each service for the IS model range (the service interval is every 12 months or 15,000km). You will also receive a complimentary service loan car with the option of having your Lexus picked up and dropped back to you when service is completed. Plus Encore includes DriveCare, the Lexus roadside assistance program. Lifestyle benefits of the Encore program comprise of Hotel Partnerships with properties such as Jackalope Hotel, Raes on Wategos and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.
Lexus encompasses luxury living and the IS 300h provides this by means of a pleasant cabin where the driver can enjoy a fulfilling experience without intrusion from the external environment. The Lexus IS 300h Luxury is priced from $64,500 plus on-road costs and as tested with the Moon roof ($2,000) and premium paint ($1,500) my IS 300h was $68,000 plus on-road costs. Visit your preferred Lexus dealer for more information about the quiet luxury of owning a Lexus.
|Quiet cabin||Sensitive touch pad for controlling infotainment system|
|Smooth ride||Hard to balance temp on climate control|
|The sound system||Voice control did not work well|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.