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Refined Lexus IS great value; Diesel model can easily take on its rivals as it provides luxury at a good price, says ROBIN ROBERTS.


LEXUS have built an enviable reputation for the brand but sometimes seem to lag behind what the market wants.

With the introduction of the IS 220 diesel, they have taken a major step forward in addressing any shortcomings.

The longer term, high-mileage benefits of diesel are well known but you have to be certain you are going to make the right choice between diesel and petrol.

Now, Lexus have just made that choice harder with this rival to the likes of the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4.

The Lexus IS 220D is a very refined, smooth, good performing model which exudes executive luxury and has instant showroom appeal and long lasting satisfaction with ownership.

The engine is an instant starter and it pulls well but I did find myself having to change gear fairly swiftly as the revs rose and it proved very long legged on main roads and economical overall.

The gearchange has a good clutch weight and progressive feel and it moves without obstruction.

Excellent balance to the brakes and a lot of feedback through the steering wheel reinforce the sensation of refinement while delivering strong dynamic satisfaction as well.

The secondary controls are close to hand and the console switches are big and well marked, while the instruments are grouped directly in front of the driver and easy to read quickly.

The central console display includes the controls for heating and ventilation and it is very quick responding, has a wide range of temperature and is backed up by cooled and heated front seats.

There's a large glovebox, big door bins, twin seat-back pockets and small trays or compartments on the console. A deep rear window shelf covers the boot space and there is a ski-hatch facility in the rear.

Opening the boot from bumper level provides a wide, short and reasonably deep luggage area.

For the driver and passengers, the room inside is very good, with plenty of seat adjustment in the front and deeply padded cushions and squabs to support the body.

Ride quality is very smooth over all surfaces and it does not wallow or roll to upset occupants while it holds on very securely to the road to give the driver a lot of confidence. The handling is responsive and reassuring.

This car came with a rear mounted camera for parking and the system has a series of green lines and grids to help precisely and safely position the car.

Only very slight road noise intruded because the Lexus is quiet. A very good all rounder, it has far more going for it than against it.

It is also a creditable competitor to longer established rivals which cannot touch its luxury at this price. And today, value for money has never been keener - or the Lexus IS 220D more relevant.


Model: Lexus IS 220d SE-I Engine: 2.2-litre diesel Power: 175bhp Top speed: 135mph 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds Fuel economy: 50.4mpg CO2 emissions: 148g/km Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles Price: pounds 24,860 On sale: Now
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 2009
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