Lexus IS 300h F-Sport Edition (2014) – 308,303 km

Ten years ago, the Lexus IS 300h was an interesting alternative as a hybrid premium mid-range car. Except for some rust, all good.

Lexus is the most reliable car brand, according to an extensive study by the Consumers’ Association. This means we know in advance that we should not expect any drama when we invite Conrad Albers and his almost ten-year-old IS 300h.

Conrad’s previous car was an Alfa Romeo Mito. Not the fastest one with a big engine, but the one with the tax-friendly 1.3-liter diesel. This was purchased in the period when you paid neither BPM nor MRB for that category and also very little tax addition. “I thought it was a nice car and financially it was very attractive. Until I wanted to get rid of it after three years. The market was flooded with those types of diesels and mine also had a high mileage. That’s why I used it for a few more years as a car for one of my employees.”

Choice between BMW 3-series and Lexus IS

Conrad then sets his sights on the BMW 3-series, which is just new at the time. “On the other hand, I wanted a distinctive car, something that not everyone has,” he says. This is how he ends up at Lexus, where the new IS has just arrived in the showroom. Conrad falls head over heels for the Japanese. As far as motorization is concerned, he has no choice, because there is only the hybrid for our market. “That took some getting used to, but other than that it is a top car that handles just as smoothly as a BMW. I still think it’s very beautiful. I still look back when I walk away. I had the brown interior installed shortly after purchase. At Lexus I could only choose from white, red or black leather.”

Rusty on the bottom

We understand all too well that Conrad is still in love with his Lexus when judge Tim de Leeuw parks the IS on the bridge after his test drive. The condition is impeccable and the design is still beautiful ten years after its introduction. Who said that Japanese cars are boring? While driving, nothing comes to light, apart from the fact that the car pulls slightly to the right. Everything in the engine compartment is spic and span. Logical, because it has never been tinkered with. His European competitors can be jealous of this. Tim’s critical expert eye does discover rust formation on a support beam. The underside of the engine gives cause for some grumbling: “Those underbody panels on Japanese cars are often a drama to remove, but on this Lexus it seems to be not too bad. It looks beautiful and looks like it has never been finished.” The large piece of plastic can indeed be removed in an instant and this is probably the first time in almost ten years. It is immediately noticeable that there is a lot of rust on a steel crossbeam. Although this does not pose any immediate danger, the advice is to do something about it quickly. We also see in other places on the chassis that the thin layer of black paint has made way for the ghost of rust. Conrad: “I will definitely work on that, as I want to enjoy this car for a long time to come. In the past, something has been done under warranty to prevent rust in the rear wheel arches.”

Worn brake discs

We browse through the maintenance history and only see regular services, where it is noticeable that the oil in the differential has been changed regularly. “I once went to a Toyota dealer for a headlight washer repair. That in itself was well executed, but it is not so smart that they did not do both sides immediately. The bumper was already off anyway. Another unplanned repair was to the tank valve and a few months ago there was a recall for the tank vent. Only at 150,000 kilometers were the front brake discs and pads replaced for the first time, the rear ones are still original.”

It becomes clear that it is almost time to replace all the discs when Tim measures their thickness. All four are below the factory minimum. It doesn’t get much more exciting during the inspection. We didn’t expect anything different. “After the first five years I transferred it from the business to private. It was still so good that I decided to continue driving it. I was not used to that with all my previous cars, because over the years something went wrong with it. It’s now five years later and it’s still perfect,” says Conarad. Although he lacks something like Apple CarPlay and he finds the response to the accelerator pedal a bit slow, he believes that this is offset by reliability and economy. “I wouldn’t know what to ride next. Probably another Lexus, although a model like the IS is no longer available.”

The opinion of Carrec Technocenter

“Clearly a very neat car, which has been well taken care of. Also a car on which nothing difficult has ever broken down. It drives well and there are virtually no abnormalities. We do see signs of rust here and there on the bodywork and screwed-on parts. Furthermore, in my opinion, the way the CVT transmission responds really detracts from the driving experience.”

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