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I like where Lexus are going with their designs - they're brave. Others have taken a cautious approach in creating their new cars: brands like Audi or BMW are good examples of this. Similar and safe-type design language that does little to inspire onlookers has become an all too common approach. On the contrary, Lexus have taken a bold approach. Love it or hate it, you must agree - no other brand looks like a Lexus.
If you are a potential customer looking for a compact executive sports sedan, the IS 200t E is where you’ll begin. Being a Lexus, the IS has been made for the niche but happily plays with the mainstream.
Recently "face lifted", but more like a little jab of Botox and squirt of filler, the Lexus IS has been refreshed to attract a new customer to the brand. With that said, don't expect a Renee Zellweger makeover - because you'll be hard-pressed to spot the changes.
On the outside, the changes are as follows: a tweaked, more aggressive grille on both the regular and F-Sport models, together with a new bumper that flanks the huge grille with gaping air ducts and reshaped headlamps. Luckily the distinctive Nike Swoosh LED indicator tick remains. The overall look is decidedly menacing and aggressive.
Moving to the rear of the IS - there is also a new set of tail lamp fixtures. They feature more pronounced "L"-shaped LED light guides. The icing on the cake and the finishing touch to this delicious sports sedan are its new rectangular chrome exhaust tips. And not forgetting some new trendy wheel designs.
On the inside, the changes include a new rotate and click toggle switch to control the infotainment system (on the entry-level only); now like the one used by BMW and Audi. It is far better than the old sensitive finger-operated system. But it's not perfect - the infotainment system needs to be modernized, as it visually looks dated, and the interface could be improved for user-friendliness. Apart from the multimedia display screen being enlarged from a 7-inch unit to a 10.3 one, eagle-eyed readers might spot the ever so slightly restyled air vents, different lower centre console and somewhat tilted push-start ignition button as well.
The best parts remain.
The IS has been blessed with an outstanding platform. This base on which the Lexus is built is a jack of all traits - the ride is very composed and comfortable, yet dynamic and thrilling at the same time. It really is outstanding.
In the entry-level IS, the 200t is powered by a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0l engine. This remains as before. It is paired with a quick, slick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox. Together they keep driving the IS a lively experience. On the downside, no matter how you drive the IS, it’s thirsty. I drove it over a mixed cycle of city and highway, with the majority being in Eco mode, and recorded an average fuel figure of 10.1-l per/100km.
However, there are more ups than downs with the IS. I was sad to see the car go. So much so, I'd happily own and drive one every day.
Slick automatic gearbox
Playful turbocharged engine
Comfortable leather seats
Poor sound quality from the sound system
Weak fan speed from the air-conditioning
Tight rear accommodations
BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4
IS 200t E R601 900
IS 200t EX R659 100
IS 350 F-SPORT R728 800
Service and warranty
The Lexus warranty is a 4 year or 100 000 km. Should you want to extend it, you can choose one of these options: 4 years or 150 000 km, 5 years or 180 000 km and 6 years or 220 000 km.
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