By Shyamal IS300H-FSPORT
I have recently bought a Lexus IS300h F port and I was told to get a tracker fitted by one of my colleages. I have bought the tracker that was suggested to me but I have no idea where or how to fit it.
The instruction manual says to attach it to a 12-36V charger (I'm assuming the 12V battery in the boot). I have never done anything of this sort before so I just wanted to ask
a) is it safe for me to try and fit the two leads myself?
b) would me attaching a tracker to the 12V battery drain it & cause problems??
Hope to hear from someone soon..
Ps: the picture below shows the two leads that I'm supposed to connect to the battery if it makes sense to anyone
By Lexus Owners Club
Introduction & Styling
The first thing that strikes you about the Lexus IS300h F Sport is the way it looks. It’s definitely a car that is capable of attracting attention – particularly in the right colour. Our Celestial Black test car looked simply stunning when it caught a (rare) glimpse of the sun during our time with it. You can tell Lexus has worked hard on the styling of the car to avoid it blending in with the usual drab grey mass of German saloons you find in a typical company car park.
The F sport model in particular with its large trademark spindle grill and aggressive alloy wheels really stands out against the competition. It’s easy to say that this is the best looking model in the Lexus IS range, and in fact everyone that saw the car during my time with it was a fan of the way it looked. So far, so good for the F Sport then.
Step inside and the first things that you notice in the interior of this car are the seats. Our car was fitted the optional Dark Rose leather F Sport seats at a cost of £2,000, and in my opinion they look excellent and provide a nice contrast to the dark exterior. It’s worth noting that the seats are also electrically adjustable, with driver’s side memory, and they’re also heated and ventilated. Slip into the sumptuous leather driver’s seat and you’ll find just the right blend of comfort and support too. The seats are a little firmer than what you used to find in the old second generation Lexus IS, but they also provide considerably more lateral support.
Away from the seats themselves, the interior is genuinely a nice place to be. Everything has a real sense of quality engineering to it in true Lexus style, and there’s a nice weight to the doors as they shut with a nice thud just like you would hope for. Admittedly, there are a few cheaper plastics if you really hunt for them towards the bottom of the doors and the dashboard, but every part of the car that you regularly come into contact with is pleasing to the touch. It’s now nice to see a quality analogue clock in the centre of the dashboard too, as the old digital clock in the 2nd generation IS was a little too 90’s Japanese for my liking. The climate control is also worth mentioning with its unique touch sensitive sliders to control the temperature. Some might call it a bit gimmicky but I think it’s a nice touch. If I were to moan a little bit I’d say the cup holders are in a slightly awkward place, especially if you have a passenger as they are effectively the passenger arm rest. Being an F Sport this car had the dark roof lining which I thought provided a lovely contrast against the dark red leather seats, although this may not be to everyone’s taste.
The new car is larger inside than the old model, finally providing a much more reasonable amount of rear leg room. It’s not a limo by any means but it’s fairly decent now for its class. You can quite happily take four adults in comfort now but you’d still struggle with five thanks to the large transmission tunnel through the middle seat that comes as part of the rear wheel drive chassis. Most driving purists would probably agree that this is a worthwhile sacrifice though. The boot is also slightly bigger than before, which shows how the company’s hybrid technology has improved since the rather small boot on the first Lexus GS450h model. A real bonus in this model is that despite its saloon form factor, Lexus has thoughtfully included split folding rear seats making it much more practical than its ski hatch equipped predecessor. The ability to take larger loads on occasion is of course very welcome.
Along with the Dark Rose leather F Sport seats, our test car had been specified to almost the level of an IS300h Premier. The other options it was fitted with included the wonderful Mark Levinson premium sound system with 15 speakers, plus the Lexus Premium Navigation, metallic paint and the protection pack. This little haul of goodies takes the price up to a staggering £40,425, up from a base price of £32,495. If you fancy yourself as a bit of an audiophile, the Mark Levinson sound system is an absolute must as it simply blows away the standard 6 or premium 8 speaker set up, so long as you dial in the right settings. Do bear in mind though that although this car is fitted with a few rather nice extras, being a Lexus it does come with a whole stash of goodies as standard too, so you’re certainly not left wanting for kit, even without the options.
If you decide do go for the Premium Nav then you get the Lexus “Remote Touch” interface with the joystick to control the infotainment screen. The joystick is definitely something that’s worth trying out on a test drive as while it works quite well for most functions, it can be a little fiddly when for example entering a post code or searching for a point of interest. Best to give it a try and see how you get on with it really. There is also the standard sat nav option available that gives you a much more traditional rotary controller akin to solutions provided by other manufacturers.
As you go to set off and plug your seatbelt in, the driver’s seat slides in and the steering wheel extends out to meet you – a really nice touch and something that in reverse of course is designed to make it easier to get in and out of the car. The only thing I would say though, is that if you’re six foot plus and carrying a rear passenger, make sure you let the rear passenger out first before unplugging your seat belt. You’ll get what I mean if you try it!
With that eerie silence you’ll already know and love if you’re used to driving hybrids the car is ready to go, and it’s nice to be greeted with the LFA inspired instrument cluster from the company’s famous and rare as hens teeth supercar. This particular feature is exclusive to F Sport models and I must say it’s one of my favourite features. To be honest, if you’re into your gadgets then it’s almost worth going for the F Sport just for this. This digital (and motorised) instrument panel is simply a work of art and features many different and lovely graphics that change depending on what driving mode you have the car in. Even simple things like changing the sensitivity of the automatic wipers often presents you with a nice little animation on the screen and it’s little touches like this that really make you think about the attention to detail that’s gone into this car.
On the move and the first thing that becomes apparent is what a great chassis this is. The current generation Lexus IS is still based on the on the same platform as its predecessor, although it has been substantially reworked and you really can tell. This particular model being the F Sport with its sport suspension set up is of course firmer than the rest of the range but I have previously had a chance to drive a Premier model and even the difference with that from the 2nd Generation model is notable. There’s far less body roll and the steering feels more direct. The car also feels more planted at higher speeds and the steering requires less correction when keeping lane on a motorway. Lexus have also done a great job in disguising the extra mass of the battery packs which now sit in a better position than some previous hybrid models to help with the car’s centre of gravity without compromising on boot space.
Considering its sport suspension, I was pleasantly surprised at the F Sport suspension set up. It’s easy to arrive with the misconception that Lexus had taken a page from the same manual as Audi and BMW with their S Line and M Sport trim levels respectively. Their approach all too often sacrifices ride quality and comfort for the sake of looks, leaving a crashy and uncomfortable ride on British roads. However, I’m pleased to report that this is not the case with the F Sport. Yes it is firmer over bumps as you would expect but it’s certainly not crashy. There’s a certain suppleness to the suspension travel that ensures that car does not move away from the Lexus ethos, yet it still remains perfectly composed and controlled through the twisty bits when you need it to perform. Honestly some may disagree, but I think Audi and BMW could learn a thing or two from how Lexus have set this car up, particularly for the UK anyway. After all, most of us don’t tackle Nordschleife as part of our daily commute do we?
When it comes to outright performance, on paper at least the car is there or there abouts on a par with the old IS250 model and in real life it feels it. You’d be hard pushed to tell the difference aside from lower top speed should you encounter a suitable stretch of Autobahn. Of course, the way the two cars deliver their performance is completely different thanks to the massive difference in engine and gearbox technology. The old IS250 with its petrol V6 engine and conventional 6 speed automatic transmission is a far cry from the hybrid and CVT set up in the IS300h. While the petrol engine is still a 2.5 litre it has lost two cylinders and now runs on the Atkinson cycle. The combined power output of the two motors comes in at 223bhp, up from 204bhp in the IS250. Despite this, and probably due to the extra weight from the hybrid set up, 0-62 mph is down three tenths on the old car to 8.4 seconds, though as I mentioned this is not all that noticeable in the real world. Plus, if 0-62 mph times are of chief concern to you then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere anyway, or maybe at the new IS200t that manages the same sprint in 7 seconds flat.
There has been mixed reports on the use of the CVT gearbox in Toyota and Lexus hybrid models over the last few years so it was interesting to see how the gearbox suited the F Sport model in particular. Can a car with a CVT gearbox really be sporty? The CVT haters out there would tell you no and constantly make references to the DAF 600 of the late 50’s, but I’m pleased to report that as any sensible person would expect, things have moved on a long way since the days of the DAF 600. Indeed, under normal driving conditions, I would actually go so far as saying that the CVT gearbox in the IS300h presents a smoother and more relaxed drive than even the most silky smooth conventional automatic. This of course is due to the lack of gear changes. It’s only when you push on harder that you’ll notice the slightly slow throttle response. Sport mode does counteract this somewhat but it’s still by no means instant. Ninety percent of the time you won’t notice it but try it out for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
Lexus are now offering you the chance to book a 24 hour test drive in the Lexus IS, CT, or NX – click here for more details.
Lexus have also done their best to counteract some of the complaints regarding strange engine noise in earlier hybrid models equipped with the CVT gearbox. This is not so bad in the IS300h model anyway thanks to its slightly larger capacity engine and improved sound deadening. To counteract this further still, Lexus have employed something called ASC or Active Sound Control. It’s a similar system to one that has been used in quite a few cars before – often due to newer models losing cylinders for a decrease in CO2 emissions. Basically, the system works by pumping a more “sporty” artificial engine sound through the car’s speakers to give the driver a greater sense of occasion when pushing the car harder. This is particularly prevalent when selecting sport mode on the rotary controller and even more so when manual gear change is in use. I actually quite liked it when driving the car more enthusiastically. Having said that, it may be something you want to turn off when on a long motorway trip as in certain modes it actually creates a kind of synthetic exhaust drone. It’s nice to have the option to turn it on and off though and it’s sure to be a case of personal preference.
Manual mode on the gearbox can either make use of the steering wheel mounted paddles or the gear lever when shifted across into sport. It would have been nice if the paddles were metal rather than plastic (a la RCF), but never the less they feel good to use. Speaking of manual mode, I was curious as to how this was going to work when the CVT really doesn’t have individual gears. It turns out that it effectively creates six artificial “gears” by changing the revs and also the noise (presumably using the ASC). It works well enough although there’s not really any point to it in my opinion, other than for a bit of fun. You can actually use the down changes for engine braking though should you so desire. The ASC also appeared to add in the occasional “pop” sound on the gear change while using manual mode which was interesting.
Running costs are clearly an important factor when it comes to this car and its hybrid drive train. If it wasn’t an important factor then you’d probably be looking at the IS200t right? Well, Lexus claim the IS300h can achieve 61.4 mpg on the combined cycle. Of course, as with all manufacturer figures these were achieved under laboratory conditions so we’re not actually expecting to achieve these figures in real life. We tested the car in mixed used conditions with motorway use as well as town driving in the same journey, achieving an average of 47.6 mpg. It’s somewhat shy of the official figures yes, but this car did only have a few hundred miles on the clock so hopefully the petrol engine will loosen up a bit a time goes on. Also, if you consider that this car still has a 2.5 litre petrol engine under the bonnet then knocking on the door of 50 mpg is pretty good going. I can’t see why 50 + mpg wouldn’t be attainable once the car has loosened up a bit with some careful driving. With a full tank on board the car was suggesting a 600 mile plus range was attainable from its 66 litre tank. I didn’t get a chance to confirm this but that’s on a par with many diesels if achievable. The car also emits just 107 g/km of CO2 putting it currently in the £10 per year VED band. Again this is incredibly cheap considering the car and engine size plus the reasonably good performance on offer. If the cheap tax interests you (and why wouldn’t it) I’d advise getting your order in soon before the tax system changes in 2017, when the CO2 emissions will no longer offer any benefit on a year by year basis.
If you’re looking for a compact executive saloon that’s enjoyable and comfortable to drive whilst maintaining excellent fuel economy then the Lexus IS300h could be for you, especially if you’re already a fan of the brand. Lexus continues to build a very loyal following, largely helped by its reputation for build quality, reliability and customer service, and the IS300h certainly stays true to the Lexus brand in my opinion. If you’re considering a compact executive then the Lexus IS300h is well worth a test drive and it makes a tempting proposition for those looking to stand out from the crowd.
View 50+ more photos in our Lexus IS300h F Sport Gallery
Lexus Hedge End
A special thanks to the lovely people at Snows Lexus Hedge End for the loan of our IS300h F Sport featured in this review.
By Lexus Owners Club
Introduction & Styling
Thankfully the weather Gods were on my side as I went to collect our CT200h F Sport for this review – a stark contrast from the torrential downpours I battled whilst reviewing IS300h F Sport recently. The autumnal sun proved to be just what we needed to make the most of our test car’s glistening “F Sport White” metallic paint (£610). I’m personally a big fan of metallic/pearl white finishes on cars but if it were my choice it would be a pretty close call with the also rather nice “Ultra Blue” finish.
Lexus F Sport models are traditionally the most aesthetically pleasing models in their respective ranges and the CT200h F Sport is no exception. The car gets a unique and more aggressive version of the company’s signature honeycomb spindle grill – something that graces even the flagship RC F. There’s also other enhancements to the front bumper, flared side skirts, unique wheels and a rear diffuser. In the right colour combination there’s no questioning that the CT200h F Sport is a good looking car. As with other models in the Lexus range, the car certainly stands out against the competition and is sure to attract some head turning in the company car park, thanks to its unique styling and hybrid drive train.
In typical Lexus fashion, the CT200h interior is a nice place to be. The seats are comfortable and supportive (with plenty of electric adjustment in the F Sport model), plus there’s a nice selection of gadgetry and F Sport touches. There’s a rather nice F Sport badged steering wheel, which feels nice to use – if not quite as chunky to grip as some others. You also get aluminium pedals which adds a little extra quality and helps to set this model apart from others. I can’t help but thinking that Lexus should have extended the silver/carbon inlay that sits above the glove box to also feature on the surrounds that house the window switches. Currently they use some slightly cheaper looking black plastic which spoils things a little if I’m being fussy.
Overall cabin quality is good though with quality materials used in most places. The Lexus connoisseurs out there will be quick to point out that some cabin materials are not quite as good as other models in the Lexus range, and while they are correct to an extent I’d say the CT200h still holds its own compared to rivals in its class. Yes, the CT200h is the cheapest way into new Lexus ownership, but that doesn’t mean it steers wildly away from the brand ethos. Apart from some of the lower rent plastics that sit lower down in the cabin, there are also plenty of nice touches too. The contrasting stitching looks smart and the extra bits of leather material that feature on the centre console and on top of the dash give a real feeling that this a compact luxury car – something that Lexus are very keen to point out.
For a car in this class, the CT200h provides a reasonable amount of cabin space considering its hybrid drive train and the space lost to batteries. Rear leg room is OK if not spectacular. You could happily take 4 adults around town but it would start to feel a little cramped in the back on a longer journey, although to be fair this car really isn’t built to be a long distance cruiser. When you take a closer look at the boot space this is really the only obvious pointer that the car is a hybrid. At first glance it is fairly shallow but there is more to the car’s boot space than first meets the eye. Firstly, in what appears to be a rather rare move these days, the CT200h actually comes with a space saver spare wheel – a welcome change from the all too common air compressor and foam. Secondly, if you remove the various storage trays from under the carpet in the boot, it appears that Lexus could have actually given owners a deeper boot, albeit not a flat one. If you combine some of this additional space/trays there’s actually quite a bit of space – especially when you remember that being a hatchback you can still fold the seats down and remove the parcel shelf/divider. Practical if not class leading then, but probably sufficient for most people in the market for a car of this size.
One thing that many of you will already know if you’re familiar with the brand is that you’re never left wanting for kit in a Lexus, and the company tends to be a bit more fair when it comes to options than rivals. Where other manufacturers models can easily see their list prices increase substantially with a few tick boxes on the options list, Lexus generally prefer to include far more as standard, therefore significantly undercutting other similarly specified cars. The problem with Lexus tends to come when you’re used to driving a top of the range model (SE-L or now Premier) and then you have a go in lower spec or mid range model. Even in a “lower spec” Lexus, all the basics and more are usually there, but you know you’ve been spoiled when you miss things such as ventilated seats and an electric rear blind. Most people would just be happy with heated seats and window tints!
The CT200h F Sport sits one tier below the top of the range Premier model in terms of standard kit, but as the F Sport is the better looking of the two, it’s not unusual for F Sport owners to spec their cars up a little bit to almost Premier levels of kit – should the options list allow.
This particular car only had a few options added to it though. It had the Lexus “Premium Navigation” system (£1,995) that includes a DVD player, 10 speakers, reversing camera and connected services. Although a little pricey it’s probably the most worthwhile option offered on this car. It was also fitted with the protection pack (£350) consisting of rubber boot mat, cargo net, rubber floor mats and bumper protection plate. The car’s F Sport White paintwork (£610) brings the total as tested of this particular car to £29,950, up from a list price for the F Sport of £26,995. The CT200h range currently starts from £21,245 for the entry level “S” model, increasing to £29,745 for a Premier.
The premium navigation works well enough and if you have tried the system in other Lexus models its a familiar affair. If you’ve never used a Lexus remote touch system before then it takes a bit of getting used and it can be fiddly particularly when entering in individual characters. Having said that, it’s intuitive enough to use, and I actually find the system far easier to use than the standard Lexus navigation with the rotary controller, in terms of menu navigation anyway.
With the Premium Navigation package, you get the upgraded sound system with 10 speakers, which while not quite up to the standard of the Mark Levinson system found in the Premier model, it’s not all that far off. It still includes a sub woofer in the boot so bass is nice and punchy too. I’m not too sure what Lexus were thinking in putting the USB ports under a flap in the centre console though rather than in the arm rest as in other models. This makes it for more difficult to leave a device permanently and discreetly hidden away.
Other standard features include heated leather electric seats with driver’s side memory, keyless start and entry, LED running lights, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, USB and DAB radio. In fact, the only notable omissions from the Premier model are the LED headlights (the F Sport sticks to standard halogens) and the Mark Levinson sounds system. I must say I think the LED headlights would have looked great on this car considering it’s the F Sport. Put it this way though, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with the specification levels found on this car. As standard, it’s far more generously equipped than most rivals at this price.
Handling and Ride
The pre-facelift version of the CT200h was well known for being a little on the firm side, and Lexus has worked hard on the facelift model to counter some of these criticisms. By increasing structural rigidity with 20 additional spot welds, Lexus were then able to work on the car’s spring rates to help deliver a more compliant ride. Not only this, but the company have also added increased sound deadening to give occupants an experience far more akin to the rest of the Lexus range.
So has it transformed the car? Well, yes pretty much. For those of you who have driven the pre-facelift model, the first thing you will notice is definitely the change in ride quality. The car is still firm yes, but the extra suppleness that Lexus have now managed to fettle in means that the car is much more competent at soaking up broken surfaces on all but the most pot hole ridden roads. This being the F Sport model of course featuring firmer sports suspension anyway, I’d expect the standard suspension bearing models to be even more compliant. However, if you’re worried about firm suspension but still fancy the looks of the F Sport, I’d suggest taking it for a 24 hour test drive and testing it over a decent selection of road surfaces anyway.
In all honesty though, I think Lexus have done a pretty good job on the chassis of this car. It’s got plenty of grip and the body roll is kept fairly well in check at least with the sports suspension anyway. It certainly gives you plenty of confidence through tight and twisty bits that the car will hold on and go where you want it to. If I were to be a bit fussy I’d say that the steering is a little too light for my taste, something that is particularly evident when pushing on a bit.
Let’s get one thing straight here – this model may be called an F Sport, but a hot hatch it certainly is not, and that’s not the point of this car. The F Sport philosophy to Lexus is all about styling and handling. The proper “F” models are the fast ones in the Lexus range (think RC F, IS F, GS F), so the CT200h F Sport is about taking a luxury compact hybrid and making it look a bit sportier and handle better.
In terms of straight line performance then the figures are the same as the rest of the CT200h range, giving the car a 0-62 mph time of 10.3 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph. It’s not exactly a rocket ship then, but I’d describe performance as absolutely adequate for the car it is. It has enough power for most situations (track days aside) and can happily keep pace with traffic where needed. The car does sometimes feel a little quicker than the figures would suggest too, thanks to the extra 153 Ib ft of torque provided from the electric motor that gives the engine and its 105 Ib ft of torque a bit of a lift. The car also produces 136 bhp as a combined output.
To be quite honest though, the CT200h is far more suited to a more gentle and controlled style of driving, and that way you’re also able to extract the best economy and also refinement from the hybrid system and its automatic CVT gearbox. The EV mode is usually happy to cut in as soon as you hit traffic, and if you’re careful you can also use the electric motor to maintain speeds of up to around 40 mph, depending on the road gradient.
The car has three modes in which you can drive; Normal (default), Eco and Sport that can be accessed by a rotary control on the centre console. As the car defaults to normal, this tends to be the place it will spend most of its time and gives a decent balance of responsiveness and fuel economy. Eco mode dulls the throttle response down far too much for my liking, presumably to maximise the amount of time you spend in EV mode where possible. Sport mode is the most responsive and this does go some way to eliminate the delay in throttle response caused by the CVT transmission but it’s still not instantaneous. Sport mode does give you a rather cool digital rev counter in place of the power/eco/charge gauge that you get on normal and Eco though.
Braking performance is strong on this car although you may find they are a little bit snatchy until you get used to it thanks to the way the car regenerates energy to charge the batteries while braking.
Being the type of car that it is, the running costs are clearly a significant area of interest when it comes to this car. On the combined cycle, the CT200h claims a frugal 68.9 mpg, and with a CO2 output of 94 g/km, the car is currently VED band A so no road tax to pay. This will of course be different for new cars purchased after March 2017 when the new rules come into force. Interestingly, other versions of the CT200h do also boast slightly higher mpg figures and slightly lower CO2 outputs, though this can be attributed to the F Sport’s larger wheels.
As you would expect from lab tested economy figures, these do tend to be slightly optimistic, though the same can be said for many cars these days. It really does depend on how you drive it, which seems obvious but being a hybrid it really does count here. Economy is largely based on the amount of mileage you can extract from the EV mode. From experience, if you drive it like you drive any other car, you are likely to achieve mid 40’s to low 50’s mpg. If you learn how to drive the hybrid system properly though, high 50’s to low 60’s and beyond are definitely achievable. It’s all about practice and learning how to extract the best from the system. Of course, there are other factors to be taken into account such as temperature and air conditioning use, but it’s more down to driver input than anything else.
The other thing that’s worth taking into account is that the CT200h and indeed any hybrid system will not necessarily give you the best fuel economy from long motorway runs, unlike conventional engined cars. This is because the higher speeds you (normally) achieve on motorways do not give the hybrid system a chance to do its thing and you are permanently relying on the petrol engine rather than the electric motor. The best place to extract better economy from the CT200h is on longer journeys that involve slower to medium speed roads with moderate traffic. This lets everything warm up nicely whilst still allowing the electric motor to cut in and out where appropriate. Having said that, thanks to its reasonably frugal 1.8 litre petrol engine, the CT200h will still achieve decent fuel economy on motorways, if not up there with the best small diesels. Probably best not to get started on diesel emissions and certain German manufacturers though. Needless to say the current scandal will likely only help out Lexus and other manufacturers who are experts at utilising hybrid and other alternative technologies rather than just sticking with traditional diesels. The low CO2 ratings really help to make this car an attractive proposition for company car drivers too, with a lower BIK than many diesel rivals.
Whilst the Lexus CT200h F Sport is not without its faults in places, if you’re looking for a small premium car with great build quality, bags of kit and low running costs, then this car could certainly be the one for you. The interior is nice place to spend time, plus lets not forget that Lexus have a great name when it comes to reliability and customer service. Some even say that once you’ve bought into the whole Lexus ethos, it’s hard to drive anything else. The Lexus CT200h certainly provides a stylish and affordable way into Lexus ownership that’s sure to turn heads when you creep silently through a car park.
If you’ve not driven the latest model, it’s certainly worth taking advantage of our 24 hour test drive offer by clicking the button below.
Hi,might be a long shot but has anyone seen or themselves had a different touchscreen system fitted to their is300h (2013),I want to have a system installed that links up my phone and mirrors the phone on the display to play YouTube etc... due to the climate control taken up a large area not sure if it's possible.any help would be appreciated or if anyone knows a London based shop that a expert can install such a thing???