We live in interesting era, we have modernised every aspect of our lives, we have apps to switch the lights on at home and we can talk to an A.I. assistant to get questions answered or have our daily schedule relayed to us. Clouds are no longer relegated to describing natural phenomena. And diesel for all intents and purposes is a dirty word and as good as dead in first world countries. In the first world countries car manufacturers are pushing the electric car manifesto harder than Zuma trying to pronounce long numbers. What about us? The in-between countries, the ones that are first world and third world, where national power grids aren’t stable, load-shedding is a verb and the population majority uses paraffin to keep warm in winter, where do we fit into the car-brand behemoths vision of broad spread vehicle electrification? We are the perfect grounds for hybrids and Lexus are onto it.
Lexus ascribe to the vision of an electric future, but admit the train is nowhere near its destination station, so how do they create a middle ground between gas guzzlers and electric that’s accessible to the masses (even those in third world countries), sustainable and not contributing harmful particle emissions into the atmosphere. Simple – hybrids. We hear you in the back corner muttering “but that’s old news”, yes, we have hybrids already but not near the accessibility levels they should be at, which is where Lexus come in.
Lexus have introduced a hybrid variant into the esteemed IS range, going forward they’re looking to bring a hybrid option to every model offered, including in the EX spec as opposed to the top end SE trim options. In South Africa the IS 300h will be joining the ES 300h, NX 300h and RX 450h. Future hybrid models will include the LC, LS, RC and UX hybrids.
The IS 300H is powered by the 4-cylinder, 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that is exclusively used in hybrid models, producing 133 kW and 221 Nm off the fuel-burning interaction, add in the 230V electric motor and total system power is 164 kW. The claimed 0-100 km time is 8, 5 seconds, top speed is governed to 200 km/h and your environmental damage per kilometer is 104 g/km of CO2.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, hybrids have never been anyone’s idea of fun or a holistic buy for multiple reasons, mainly they were ugly (not an issue in the IS 300h), slow, had a horrendous drivetrain and the moo-ing noise that emanated from the CVT transmission drowned out all conversation or audio.
We can happily confirm that the IS 300h does not have any of the above-mentioned drawbacks. First impressions last and our first one was astonishment at the silence and smoothness of the EV mode, simply unbelievable, no electrical whine or lumbering, clumsy forward movement from idle, it is seamless in operation. The Drive Mode Select system compromises Eco, Normal and Sport mode being paired through a CVT transmission equipped with shift paddles for manual ‘gear’ changes. The lack of unrelenting yowling from the CVT unit is the greatest achievement in the IS 300h, it truly mimics a conventional automatic shift pattern.
The IS 300h has a few styling tweaks to signify its hybrid status, the exclusive blue Lexus badge on the varied-thickness, chrome-detailed spindle grille, unique LED headlights, and the rear has faux L-shaped exhaust openings.
Lexus have added the Lexus Safety System+ to the IS 300h model, and they’ve completely changed the service plan and warranty game which is now implemented across the entire IS range. The best-in-class 7-year/105 000km (which can be upgraded for an additional charge) plan is a warranty and full maintenance plan with service intervals at 15 000km or once a year.
If you’re in the market for a new sedan on the premium end of the spectrum, are conscious about your eco footprint but not ready to adopt the electric-driven propaganda, the Lexus IS 300h is what you need to test drive.
Lexus IS 300h SE R753 800