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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Lexus IS

Overall verdict
Hard to recommend unless you crave being different. Drivetrain at odds with sporty chassis.


Hybrid smoothness and quietness in town. Low tax, potential economy


Hybrid's odd antics at full throttle, V6's thirst


What is it?

Lexus’s entry into that fierce bloodbath that almost defines whether a brand can succeed as premium: the compact sports saloon. For if you can make it against the 3-Series and C-Class and A4, you’ll get great visibility on the road, and a decent chance of drawing buyers into bigger cars later. Lexus has been conventional enough in many respects: the size and the chassis and the rear-drive layout are bang on the money. But the drivetrain choices are pretty eccentric: no diesel, but instead a 2.5-litre petrol with hybrid for the IS 300h giving fine economy and CO2, or a 2.0-litre turbo petrol. 

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
200t F-Sport 4dr Auto [Premier Pack/Sunroof]
7.0s 167g/km 39.2 245 £40,390
The cheapest
300h SE 4dr CVT Auto [Business Nav]
8.3s 97g/km 67.3 223 £29,935
The greenest
300h SE 4dr CVT Auto
8.3s 97g/km 67.3 223 £29,940
Continue: Driving

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