The Lexus IS is an underdog, belonging to a class dominated by German rivals to the point that it can easily be overlooked. Deservedly so? Not at all. The IS is well equipped, efficient and impeccably reliable, so it’s very much worth a look on the used market.
The latest (Mk3) IS arrived on the executive saloon scene in 2013 with a sharp design and an eco-friendly focus. Hence no diesel: just one petrol and one hybrid. The petrol, badged the 250, features a 204bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that drives the rear wheels via an automatic transmission. Officially, it delivers a combined 32mpg.
However, this variant isn’t widely available on used car sites. Much more common is the hybrid, badged the 300h. It gets that same 2.5-litre engine with less power (181bhp, to be exact) but a better 48.7mpg, thanks to the presence of an electric motor. For the 2016 model year, Lexus replaced the 250 with the 200t. This has a 245bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and, like the 250, is rare on the second-hand market.
Opt for an entry-level SE model and you will get keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a joystick-governed infotainment system (with a 7.0in screen or, post- facelift, a 10.3in one) with DAB radio. Upgrade to the Executive Edition for satellite navigation and leather seats, while Sport models add bigger alloy wheels, parking sensors and automatic wipers.
Mid-range Luxury models get a more premium look, complete with posh silver wheels, while Advance trim brings electrically adjustable, heated and cooled front seats plus a reversing camera. F-Sport gains an aggressive bodykit and styling inspired by the LFA supercar, while range- topping Premier models come with a Mark Levinson stereo and Lexus’s premium sat-nav system, including a DVD player.
The well-equipped Executive Edition is our favourite trim. It offers heated front seats, dual- zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam. It is worth noting that later cars came in only standard IS and F-Sport trims.