82: Lexus IS300h – Revamped and ready to prove that diesel is dead

Top cars for 2018: Not as good to drive as rivals but still exceptionally well-made

 

How we all laughed and mocked when Lexus announced that it was ditching diesel entirely for its medium sports saloon, the IS, and would instead concentrate wholly on hybrid. You’ll never sell cars without diesel engines in Ireland, we all confidently predicted.

Yes. Ahem. About that…

While the IS is ageing a touch now, Lexus has freshened it up recently, by changing the bumpers and lights a bit? Actually, the software for the hybrid system has been upgraded too, so it’s now a bit less shouty (the CVT gearbox can still be annoying though) and a bit more economical on longer drives.

Now that diesel is passé, it also feels smugly enjoyable to whoosh around town on part-electric power, and the IS is enjoyable and engaging to drive, if not quite up to BMW standards in that regard. The cabin tends towards a slight messiness, but it is, as you would expect, exceptionally well-made.

Best model: IS300h F-Sport

Prices start from: €40,950

Finance package from: €318

Co2 emissions: 97-107g/km

Sum-up: Hybrid and styling won’t appeal to all, but it’s a likeable car with exceptional quality