Anthony B

Lexus IS 300 2.5 Luxury E-CVT

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I've had to bid farewell to my lovely 16-year old LS430 after 5 years of brilliant and enjoyable motoring (failed MOT on rear suspension and not worth paying to fix.)   I want hybrid and I want to stick with Lexus.  My budget is close to £12k.   I'm now looking at an offer of an IS 300 2.5 Luxury E-CVT from a private seller, 73000 on the clock, at £12250.  Would someone please educate me as to the E-CVT bit, and where this particular car stands in the IS option range.  I equally happy to buy a pre-owned car from a dealer, but this one seems OK to my mind.

Anthony B

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SE is entry level and then luxury, I had a luxury spec which had leather which was heated and ventilated plus premium navigation, both these items were extras. SE comes on 16 inch wheels as opposed to 17 inch on luxury 

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3 minutes ago, Lexman59 said:

SE is entry level and then luxury, I had a luxury spec which had leather which was heated and ventilated plus premium navigation, both these items were extras. SE comes on 16 inch wheels as opposed to 17 inch on luxury 

There was also an Executive trim (I have this) - price was between SE and Luxury - the Executive had leather seats and the non-premium sat nav and 4x parking sensors as standard - Luxury by default has cloth and no sat nav though I think many owners upgraded the Luxury spec with these on ordering. 

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4 hours ago, Anthony B said:

I've had to bid farewell to my lovely 16-year old LS430 after 5 years of brilliant and enjoyable motoring (failed MOT on rear suspension and not worth paying to fix.)   I want hybrid and I want to stick with Lexus.  My budget is close to £12k.   I'm now looking at an offer of an IS 300 2.5 Luxury E-CVT from a private seller, 73000 on the clock, at £12250.  Would someone please educate me as to the E-CVT bit, and where this particular car stands in the IS option range.  I equally happy to buy a pre-owned car from a dealer, but this one seems OK to my mind.

Anthony B

You also might find this useful - it is the Lexus IS brochure from circa 2015 showing the car and trim specs etc. at that time

Lexus IS.pdf

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You can see the blog for details on the e-cvt.

In terms of how that translates to practical driving is a different experience from traditional engines and gearboxes.

Gearless acceleration is seamless and linear, very relaxing and smooth. Downside is the inverse experience with engine revs when you push on at pace, where the car jumps immediately to high revs to build up speed and then progressively comes back down, rather than a build up of revs in a conventional car as it progresses through the various gear ranges.

Some people like it, some don’t ! I personally find the initial noise as the revs jump quite unsophisticated under hard acceleration, but feel it’s more than compensated for with the overall relaxing smooth progression when driving normally. No gearboxes or clutches to worry about, so mechanically pretty bullet proof compared to conventional set up. 

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7 hours ago, Anthony B said:

I've had to bid farewell to my lovely 16-year old LS430 after 5 years of brilliant and enjoyable motoring (failed MOT on rear suspension and not worth paying to fix.)   I want hybrid and I want to stick with Lexus.  My budget is close to £12k.   I'm now looking at an offer of an IS 300 2.5 Luxury E-CVT from a private seller, 73000 on the clock, at £12250.  Would someone please educate me as to the E-CVT bit, and where this particular car stands in the IS option range.  I equally happy to buy a pre-owned car from a dealer, but this one seems OK to my mind.

Anthony B

Anthony,

Go to your local Lexus Dealer and ask for a test drive in a used Hybrid, preferably an IS.

You will then know all about the Lexus E-CVT !!

I`D BE WARY OF SPENDING 12 grand on a  Private Sale. A Lexus .Dealer will give you 12 months warranty

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2 hours ago, Pink said:

I personally find the initial noise as the revs jump quite unsophisticated under hard acceleration

It's more like a jet plane or a power boat under hard acceleration. The engine revs hard and the plane or boat (or e-cvt car) builds up speed until the power can be cut back. I know what people mean about the lack of gearchanges but I suspect it's just because we've had 100 years of having to have conventional gearboxes on cars.  People get used to the jolt as you change gear and come to expect it as part of the driving experience. On the other hand, you don't get passengers on planes saying to their friends, "When's the pilot going to change gear?" I think we just develop certain expectations in certain circumstances and instinctively are wary of things that don't seem "normal". So much so that Lexus felt they had to install pretend sound effects to make it seem that the car was changing gear - but without the conventional jolting between gears. From what i've read, most people pretty quickly turn off the sound effects when they get used to the silence from the car most of the time.

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Doesn't the IS have artificial 'gear' changes when in Sport mode, like the RC? When in Sport mode the revs rise and fall exactly as one would expect with each gear change as shown by the rev counter.

Put the transmission into Sport (manual) as well and one can enjoy instantaneous shifts using the paddles, bit PlayStation-esque but great fun!

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3 minutes ago, NemesisUK said:

Doesn't the IS have artificial 'gear' changes when in Sport mode, like the RC? When in Sport mode the revs rise and fall exactly as one would expect with each gear change as shown by the rev counter.

Put the transmission into Sport (manual) as well and one can enjoy instantaneous shifts using the paddles, bit PlayStation-esque but great fun!

Yes it has - just the same as the RC - can have it's uses or just for a bit of fun. Mind you, the acceleration time is actually faster when left to it's own devices...!!!

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8 hours ago, Anthony B said:

Would someone please educate me as to the E-CVT bit

This is quite an old page but I haven't found anything more recent that explains the e-CVT (power-split device) more clearly. Scroll down the page to try out the slider controls to vary the speed of the different gear wheels.

This simple device takes the place of the starter motor, clutch, torque convertor on an automatic, gearbox and alternator. It also provides gentle braking, which means the conventional brakes aren't used so much and don't wear out so quickly.

If you're interested in what it actually looks like, here's a video explaining an early Prius e-CVT. The configuration has changed with different models but the fundamentals are the same in the Lexus hybrids.

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Always love this - Williams F1 and the CVT (not quite the e-cvt as it's belt driven but same physics principles) - immediately banned by the FIA - rumoured to be faster than a conventional engine/gearbox but never allowed to race...

https://badgergp.com/insta-banned-f1-tech-that-was-banned-immediately/

 

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Thanks to everyone for these replies. I'd also like your general views on for example driver and passenger comfort, the rear sets, etc.  Is this a car for long distance comfortable driving from Wiltshire to Scotland or the South of France?  My 430 was just that, of course, and although I'm now looking for lower cost of ownership I still want to feel 'at home' in the car.

A

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2 minutes ago, Anthony B said:

Thanks to everyone for these replies. I'd also like your general views on for example driver and passenger comfort, the rear sets, etc.  Is this a car for long distance comfortable driving from Wiltshire to Scotland or the South of France?  My 430 was just that, of course, and although I'm now looking for lower cost of ownership I still want to feel 'at home' in the car.

IMHO the car is setup as more of a long distance cruiser than a "sports" saloon - at least in non F Sport trim. I do about 15k miles a year and the majority of that is longer motorway journeys of a few hours or more - including for example Berkshire to Yorkshire, Lancashire, Ipswich and the Lake District. Last year I did Reading to Warrington one day, back to Heathrow and Reading the next day and then the next day back up to Warrington again and then back down to Reading the day after. The front seats (I have the normal ones, not F Sport) are very comfortable and supportive and I always get out feeling great regardless of how long I spend in the car. My passenger finds the front seats better than my last BMW. I don't carry rear seat passengers so much but never had any complaints when I do, although leg room is of course going to be less than your 430... For long distances on the motorways I put the car in Eco and the cruise control on and then settle back to listen to some music. The time just washes by and the e-CVT is in its element keeping revs very low. Even in traffic (and there is plenty of that on some of my journeys) the hybrid really comes into it's own - in slow moving traffic it's often running on Battery and when stopped everything is powered by the Battery (no need for the engine) for a decent length of time. No jerky stop start system in the IS unlike many cars...! The odd thing to watch is that the mpg gets actually gets better when in a traffic jam rather then plummeting like on most cars... For what you are looking for (long distance) you won't be disappointed - well not sure how you might feel compared to the 430 - but compared to any other car in the same market as the IS you won't be disappointed. Like others have said it would be worth getting a car for a 24 hour test drive if you can but that said it does take a couple of months living with the hybrid to truly appreciate it's strengths.

 

 

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Anthony, most of my mileage is motorway and I find the IS300h a very comfortable and relaxing cruiser, especially if you’re not pushing hard.

The seats are particularly comfy and supportive too, meaning you’ll step out from a long drive still refreshed, although coming from an LS you’ll know all about that!  

If I had one small niggle, it’d be the tyre noise, partly I’m sure exaggerated by the fact that the cabin is otherwise so much quieter than most other cars. 

Rear seat comfort is great too, but for 2 only, the 3rd will fight the transmission tunnel! 

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3 hours ago, Anthony B said:

Thanks to everyone for these replies. I'd also like your general views on for example driver and passenger comfort, the rear sets, etc.  Is this a car for long distance comfortable driving from Wiltshire to Scotland or the South of France?  My 430 was just that, of course, and although I'm now looking for lower cost of ownership I still want to feel 'at home' in the car.

A

The IS is very good in its class for comfort and refinement, but it is no LS. Your expectations may be very different from traditional IS owners and therefore I'd advise you test drive one or two - ideally a 24 hour test drive from Lexus.

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17 hours ago, Anthony B said:

Thanks to everyone for these replies. I'd also like your general views on for example driver and passenger comfort, the rear sets, etc.  Is this a car for long distance comfortable driving from Wiltshire to Scotland or the South of France?  My 430 was just that, of course, and although I'm now looking for lower cost of ownership I still want to feel 'at home' in the car.

A

I've owned both an is300h f sport 2014 and a 2015 GS300h luxury. Both cars have been driven Gloucester to Scotland no problem. Avoid the f sport if you want seat comfort, the seats are a little on the firm side. I have recently had an IS300h loan car in a more standard trim and the seats were really good. The GS300h though I found much more comfortable and the fuel economy was probably better than the IS. I got a genuine tankful to tankful 48mpg with the GS going to Loch Tay. On a trip to London including heavy traffic I achieved 52mpg.

The earlier IS should achieve 40 plus if you drive it as per the Lexus Hybrid YouTube video. 

If your budget would stretch to the early mk4 GS300h circa 2012 I would certainly try one as the comfort and build quality in my opinion is superior to the IS and running costs aren't dissimilar. 

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25 minutes ago, olliesgrandad said:

I've owned both an is300h f sport 2014 and a 2015 GS300h luxury. Both cars have been driven Gloucester to Scotland no problem. Avoid the f sport if you want seat comfort, the seats are a little on the firm side. I have recently had an IS300h loan car in a more standard trim and the seats were really good. The GS300h though I found much more comfortable and the fuel economy was probably better than the IS. I got a genuine tankful to tankful 48mpg with the GS going to Loch Tay. On a trip to London including heavy traffic I achieved 52mpg.

The earlier IS should achieve 40 plus if you drive it as per the Lexus Hybrid YouTube video. 

If your budget would stretch to the early mk4 GS300h circa 2012 I would certainly try one as the comfort and build quality in my opinion is superior to the IS and running costs aren't dissimilar. 

Mine's a 2014 IS 300h Executive trim (so 17" wheels) and will easily average 48mpg (on the car computer) and on a long motorway run where I can leave it on cruise control and make good progress 52+ mpg (again on the car computer) and on free flowing A/B roads 40-60mph have had 60+ mpg (on car computer). Best consumption is when the weather is around 20C outside - lose about 10% in winter and a few percent when the air con has to work harder.

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