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Reader test: Lexus IS250

2009-08-31 08:02

Willem Gons

I bought my 2008 IS 250 SE Auto pre-owned (when did we start calling used, pre-owned?) in January this year. Having done over 15 000 km to now, I can honestly say that I’m elated at my decision to buy a "pimped Corolla" instead of a Beemer, Merc or Audi. Not that any of those manufacturers make a bad car, the Lexus is just so much better…

I’m not technical at all, so don’t ask me to get into kilowatts or torque figures or how fast it goes from zero to hero. But I will tell you that Lexy (as a dear friend insists on calling her) is supremely comfortable, supremely quiet and probably the best "small performance" saloon I’ve ever owned.

I’m one of the poor dumb-ass folks that travel between Pretoria and Joburg on a daily basis.

Commuter's dream

The one redeeming factor is that at least I get to spend a few hours a day in a car that is faultless in its execution of my daily commute.

A few highlights. Seat cooling for those hot summer days, and heating for those freezing days we experienced a while ago. (Makes it really difficult to get out of the car when you get to the office in the morning, by the way…)

The Mark Levinson sound system is truly AMAZING in every way and the truly amazing climate control system works quietly and quickly.

Fuel consumption is truly amazing if you keep your right foot in check. I average 8.6 l/100 km on my daily commute, but it has been as high as 12 when my boot gets a little heavy!

Long distance cruising is really great; I can spend all day in this car and not feel tired and cranky at the end of my trip as was proved recently on a 5 000-km trip through the most beautiful Western and Northern Cape.


And then there is the service from the dealer – phenomenal is the only word that comes to mind.

I had the unfortunate incident of somebody rear ending my car a few weeks after I bought it. I stopped by the guys at Lexus and asked them for references to approved panel shops. They took over the whole process, fetching my car and taking it around for quotes, and then bringing it back to me washed and polished. Then, when we decided on a repair shop, I simply took the car to the dealer, left the country for a week and returned to a repaired car. Amazing, friendly, speedy and efficient…

The lowlights (hey, even Lexus has a few). The car feels less taut and agile than a Beemer, but don’t think it’s not a great handler. But the upside of this is a softer and less jarring ride over broken surfaces.

Build quality is excellent, but it does remind one that the parent company is Toyota at the end of the day and a few parts look like they come from a Corolla.

The rear seat is über cramped – I’m 6’4 so my seat is set way back, so only midgets and people that have lost both their legs can sit behind me. The built-in GPS is annoying and not so user friendly, and the fact that it comes up with a safety warning EVERY time you start the car is utterly stupid.

I have no regrets at all for choosing a Lexus ahead of the Germans (all of which I tested extensively before I bought). Another upside is that they are quite rare on the road compared to the other "small" exec saloons; here’s to the left-of-centre crowd out there.

I'm really looking forward to the next two years with this beauty…

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