After a month in the IS 300h, I can see why Lexus is reporting strong sales for the new IS range.
The car was launched in July last year and has increased full-year sales by almost 90% over the outgoing model in 2012.
Of the 1,751 sales so far, 1,007 have been as company cars.
The manufacturer is now targeting 3,500 sales in 2014 with 1,500 in retail and 2,000 in fleet.
It puts the IS’s success down to “striking sports styling, high equipment specifications and definitively Lexus contemporary luxury and refinement”.
While the IS 300h does feature some sharp, dynamic lines around the front headlights and bumper, its popularity with company car drivers is more likely to be explained by the class-leading benefit-in-kind tax rates.
But although the IS300h has the upper hand with CO2 emissions, at least on paper, I’m not yet convinced about the real-world fuel economy.
The average fuel economy figure to date is 45.3mpg – an improvement of 3mpg compared to when it arrived on the fleet but still 20mpg shy of the official combined figure (65.7).
On a 124-mile round journey, economy did increase to 48mpg in normal mode, however.
There are five modes to choose from: EV, eco, normal, snow and sport, and I’ve recently switched from normal to eco mode which should boost efficiency.
Fuel economy aside, there is little tocriticise the IS 300h for.
It’s a quiet, refined drive and is almost as quick as the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics auto, reaching 62mph from standstill in 8.3 seconds.
Safety is also a strong point, with the IS 300h recently named best in class by Euro NCAP for the ‘large family’ car category.
It achieved the top five-star rating and a 91% score overall with Euro NCAP noting the effectiveness of the active pop-up bonnet, fitted as standard.