Lexus IS (2013) Review
Lexus IS (2013) At A Glance
Insurance Groups are between 28–38
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure
Taking on the Germans, in Europe at least, in the mid-sized executive class is a formidable task, but it’s one that Lexus has been doing since 1999 with the IS. It’s done so with mixed results, for while there’s a lot to admire about Japan’s take on a sporting, luxurious business saloon, it’s never had the mainstream appeal to really make a big impact. Early to hybridise, the IS has been more successful in markets like the USA, which explains why its replacement, due in 2021, won’t be coming to the UK, Lexus, instead, concentrating on its SUV and crossover offerings.
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, that’s what all but a handful of buyers consider when they’re looking at their company car lists, the monthly tax liability and, let’s be honest, what their friends will think of their new ride. Few add the Lexus IS to that list, even if, by the numbers the Lexus makes a good case for itself, while it’s also a fine-looking alternative to the predictable German trio.
In its current guise it’s been around since 2013, with it getting a model revision in 2017. Time’s running out for it now, with Lexus having announced its replacement, it due late 2020/early 2021. If you’re considering one don’t bother waiting for that new car, because Lexus has decided not to bring the new saloon to Europe. With the new IS Lexus will be focussing its efforts on areas globally where it sells in big numbers, both back in its home Japanese market, as well as the USA.
We’re not sure there’ll be many people who’ll be sad to hear of its demise, indeed, most won’t even notice, but if you like choice, value excellent customer service and want something without one of those German badges on your executive saloon’s nose, then there’s reason to mourn its passing.
The IS is, and always has been, a car that’s dared to be a bit different. The original brought some cool, watch-inspired instrumentation to what’s a fairly restrained marketplace, giving those established German players a bit of a shock at the time. That impact has diminished as the IS has matured, but Lexus always offered a good standard level of equipment, audio equipment that’s among the best around and has always been a big advocate of hybrid power. Indeed, the run-out models available today are only offered in IS 300h guise, self-charging hybrid guise, mating a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine with an electric motor housed in the automatic transmission.
As its rivals have all caught up, to the point they’re able to offer plug-in hybrid versions the IS’s USP has somewhat diminished, as even before that the hybrid was bettered for consumption by the majority of its turbodiesel alternatives. A car before its time, then, and one that’s still relevant today, if you’re prepared to buck convention and spend your money in a Lexus dealer. Which, if you’re reading this, you just might, or, as is more likely now, buy one used. Do that and we doubt you’ll be disappointed, as while the IS might not have ever made a huge impact on the sales of its German competition, it wasn’t because it was a bad car, rather just a mis-understood, overlooked one in a marketplace evidently comprising largely of unimaginative buyers.