If there was ever a car that defined the title ‘sports sedan’ it’s the Lexus IS300. This quality sedan also has a 20-year heritage, so you know you’re dealing with a brand that has been proven time and again to be reliable, comfortable, and a driver’s favourite.
You’ll instantly feel that 2.5-Litre V6 kick into action as soon as you put your foot on the gas pedal, and with a six-speed automatic transmission with flappy paddle shifters, it’s responsive and delivers plenty of driver feedback. In short, the IS300 is a genuine ‘driver’s car’ that refuses to sacrifice performance for practicality.
What’s under the bonnet?
A 2.5-litre V6 engine delivers 204bhp with 185lb ft of torque and will get you from 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds. The rear-wheel drive means that even at speed this big sedan never feels heavy, and the stiffened suspension and rigid chassis delivers sure-footed handling even through tight corners. There’s no body-roll to speak of, making it a smooth and comfortable ride for drivers and passengers, even at speed. It delivers reasonable fuel economy too, especially for a larger sedan, giving you around 35mpg as long as you don’t develop a heavy right foot.
The overall verdict is that the IS300 has managed to retain its reputation as a refined, luxurious sedan, but with a little bit of gentle tweaking by Lexus has now developed a more sporty feel that makes it a fun car to drive.
Lexus takes safety seriously, and the IS300 has an impressive roster of features to keep driver and passengers safe. There are all the usual features you’d expect from a premium-class sedan, including ABS braking and a cluster of airbags to deal with front and side impacts, but you’ve also got overhead airbags to protect the occupant’s heads in the event of a rollover or side-on collision, and knee airbags to protect the lower limbs.
Stability control instinctively senses when the vehicle is being pushed past its handling limits and reduces the engine output or applies the brakes to bring the vehicle back under control. The IS300 scores well for NHTSA Frontal Crash Test Ratings, and offers both driver and passengers a high level of protection.
There’s also a solid vehicle security system in place too, with an ignition disable function if the correct key is not used, and an alarm system that would give even the most determined thief pause for thought.
The Lexus IS300 design has largely kept true to its form over the last 20 years, adding small changes along the way to help it evolve subtly. The front grille, headlights and bumper give it a bullish demeanour, and it has a positive road presence and a slightly aggressive stance. The rear is kicked up, giving it a sportier than you’d expect for a sedan, and the overall streamlined body shape is aerodynamic and sleek.
Inside the cabin, you have plenty of leg and headroom, with soft-grain leather upholstery and a simple, uncluttered dash that has that typical Lexus premium build quality. A top-of-the-range Mark Levinson audio system pumps out exceptional clarity and sound, while the touch screen infotainment centre is intuitive and positioned in just the right place for easy use.
The Lexus IS300 has been a favourite at Hertz Car Rental for two decades, and we don’t see its popularity diminishing any time soon. If you’d like to know more about the IS300 drop into your local Hertz branch and talk to one of our friendly advisors today.
Images and description are for illustrative purposes only. Specs may vary on rented vehicle based on selection.