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First Drive

Lexus IS300h facelift

Lexus IS300h facelift
The story:
This is a mid-life refresh for the Lexus IS, Toyota's premium brand that employs petrol hybrid technology for low emissions rather than a diesel.
Category:Upper medium
Key rival:BMW 3-series
Lexus IS300h Advance
On sale:March 2017

Lexus has revised its compact executive challenger, with the hybrid and petrol IS models getting a very subtle styling revamp consisting of new headlamps, larger bumper, air intakes and tweaked grille, as well as more significant engineering and interior upgrades. 

The Toyota-owned firm has uprated suspension components and adjusted springs and shocks in an attempt to engineer a more rewarding drive without harming the ride quality; it’s certainly a step in the right direction from a drive point of view and the ride is still decent. 

Inside, the infotainment system now has a larger 10.3-inch monitor and some switchgear has changed, which is all for the better in what was previously a relatively user-unfriendly cabin. 

Improvements aside, the IS continues to be most appealing on a balance sheet, where the 101g/km powertrain and decent residuals make for a car that beats its German rivals for cost per mile. 



The verdict

The hybrid still isn’t the most refined or rewarding powertrain, especially under acceleration, but this is a car that makes undeniable sense on a spreadsheet while offering premium-brand luxury.