Hybrid cars enjoy growing popularity as a practical waypoint on the road to going greener without taking the full leap to an electric car, and Lexus leads the way with a full range of hybrids to choose between. The IS 300h is one of the Japanese firm's leading models, a classy saloon with petrol-electric hybrid power.
The IS 300h is a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, four-door car with seats for five. Styled as a sports saloon, it is muscular and elegant. It has a distinctive pinched-waist mesh grille between slanted headlights to give it a purposeful front end design. The IS 300h is an executive class car with bold good looks, and performance to match.
If you didn't know it was a hybrid, which is not immediately obvious from its aesthetics, you might assume it to be quite thirsty. On the contrary, it is capable of covering 60 or so miles on a single gallon, and so has fuel economy more on a par with a diesel engined car than a petrol one.
The engine is a 2.5 litre, 178 bhp petrol unit and it is integrated with an electric motor and a battery storage pack. The transmission is a CVT continuously variable automatic. There is a choice of four trim levels: SE, Luxury, F Sport or Premier. Prices start from £24,495 for an IS 300h SE, and rise to £38,495 for an IS 300h Premier.Performance
The IS 300h has a 2,494cc, four-cylinder, 16-valve, petrol engine with stop-start and is teamed with an electric motor and CVT automatic transmission. The engine's power output is 178bhp at 6,000rpm, and its maximum torque is 163 lb ft peaking from 4,200 to 5,400 rpm. The electric motor has a power output of 141 bhp, and 221 lb ft of torque. The engine and electric motor combined give an equivalent of 220 bhp.
The car's top speed is 125 mph and the 0-62 mph acceleration time is 8.2 seconds. That is brisk though not exceptionally quick, but it comes with high-class delivery. The Lexus is smooth and relaxed, and also quiet in operation with good levels of refinement. A long motorway haul in this car is less fatiguing than in many others because its smooth quietness won't tire you out after hours at the wheel.
The combined average fuel consumption is 60 mpg. With a 66-litre fuel tank, it means that driven moderately, the car can do around 870 miles on a tankful. CO2 output is a very reasonable 109 g/km, putting the IS 300h in VED band B. Benefit-in-kind company car taxation is at 13 per cent.
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