Lexus IS can make an excellent used car buy, particularly if it has been maintained by the book and driven sensibly – many are, so take your time to hunt down the best one.
These are often sold as used cars at Lexus dealers, which may make them more expensive, but it’s usually worth any added cost.
Lexus launched the third generation of its IS sedan range in July 2013 and went way out in styling. The smallest Lexus sedan was designed from the start to have sporty, balanced dynamics, the designers had been somewhat hesitant in its styling – that all changed in 2013 with full-on sports-sedan style.
As well as added oomph in the styling department, all models provide the option of the F Sport package with an adaptive suspension system.
Quality is first word that comes to mind when you first look over any Lexus. They really are immaculately finished inside and out. The quality of materials and workmanship not only makes all Lexus models a delight to travel in.
Lexus Remote Touch controller (joystick) on the centre console looks after audio, climate control and satellite navigation. Lexus installs exceptionally good Mark Levinson audio system found in its upscale vehicles. For example the IS Sports Luxury has has no fewer than 15 speakers carefully placed around the cabin for optimum sound reproduction.
These IS models come in three variants; Luxury, F Sports and Sports Luxury.
Interior space is good for a rear-drive car, but the little Lexus has less room than a front-wheel-drive of this size would have. Try the back seat for size if adults will be frequently using it. In its earlier generations it’s possibly best to regard it as being a two-plus-two rather than a four-seater if you’re intending to transport adults. The models being examined here are better for interior space, but try for yourself.
The boot is a surpassingly good size, with enough room for the golf clubs. Any Japanese car maker who doesn’t make space for golf enthusiasts is likely to suffer severely in sales. However, the sporty shape of the rear makes for a relatively slim boot opening and a high loading lip. The rear seat backs fold almost flat to provide room for longer objects.
In most cases the model number of the Lexus engines refer to their capacity, 200 is a 2.0-litre and so on. The Lexus IS Line is available as the IS 200t with a new design 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, the IS 350 using a 3.5-litre V6 engine.
The 300h petrol-electric hybrid. has a four-cylinder petrol 2.5-litre assisted by an electric motor. The ‘300’ indicates the hybrid provides the sort of performance normally requiring a 3.0-litre unit.
Spare parts and servicing are reasonably priced for a car in this class. Lexus dealers are fairly limited in number, particularly in rural areas, though that situation has changed in recent years as major country cities are now being serviced.
Some senior Toyota technicians are trained in most aspects of the car. Toyota is, of course, the parent company of Lexus.
Insurance is generally moderate in price for a car in this price and social class and we haven’t noticed any worthwhile variation between the major companies in normal premiums.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Unless you’re very confident in your technical ability it’s silly not to call for a professional inspection.
Look for damage to the bodywork and the interior trim and remember the car should be close to immaculate in all areas. If not it may have been mistreated by an uncaring owner.
During your test drive check for anything out of the ordinary in the way the car drives, sounds and feels.
Take your time to look over the complete vehicle, preferably with the owner’s handbook in front of you, as these are complex cars.
At the very least, test each of the functions on the stereo, climate-control, windows and door locking.
Make sure the engine starts virtually instantaneously, idles so smoothly that you can barely feel it and doesn’t hesitate when accelerated.
The automatic transmission should operate almost imperceptibly and not hold onto any gears unnecessarily.
Expect to pay from $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2013 Lexus IS250 X Extra; $23,000 to $31,000 for a 2018 IS250 Sports Luxury; $28,000 to $37,000 for a 2015 IS300h F Sport Hybrid; $33,000 to $44,000 for a 2014 IS250 Sports Luxury; $41,000 to $55,000 for a 2017 IS200t Sports Luxury; $44,000 to $57,000 for a 2018 IS350 F Sport; and $47,000 to $63,000 for a 2018 IS300h Sports Luxury Hybrid.
CAR BUYING TIP
Shop, shop and shop around again to learn which are the best cars for your personal requirements.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/