The Lexus IS benefits from very competitive pricing so, coupled with bulletproof reliability and excellent customer service, there's a lot to like.

It's only the IS300h that really makes for a sensible proposition, however. The IS200t isn't efficient enough and it's not overly rewarding to drive either so, despite being cheaper, its powertrain has little going for it.

Luxury trim is worth the four-figure premium over the SE model

What really matters is this: an entry-level Lexus IS300h SE will cost you less than £30k. The car is no more expensive to buy than a like-for-like BMW 320d, Audi A4 2.0 TDI or Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI, despite the complicated driveline

Even if you want to go for one of the higher-specification models, don't fear the high-looking price. Put the standard equipment of this car on a four-cylinder diesel A4, C Class or 3 Series and you’ll arrive at a higher price than Lexus is asking here.

The IS300h will also be about £70 a month cheaper on benefit-in-kind for the 40 per cent tax payer than the average diesel-engined rival. Our sources suggest that the IS300h will be competitive on leasing rates, too.

So £800 a year looks like plenty of compensation for a slightly dull powertrain, particularly if you don’t pay for your fuel. Talking of which, our test car averaged 39.1mpg. Close to 50mpg is possible, though, with a patient driving style.

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