- Cabin quality a Lexus strong point
- Not quite as nice as more expensive models
- Facelift in 2017 brought thoughtful revisions
Being behind the wheel of a Lexus IS is fairly nice place to find yourself. At first glance the materials feel of a high quality, although some of the plastics still look out of place surrounded by all that leather.
The clever dash is clear and easy to read, with both conventional and high-tech screen-displayed information available to the driver. You can change the parameters shown using the controls on the steering wheel and everything seems to work in an intuitive manner.
F Sport cars get instrumentation inspired by the LFA supercar, based around a central rev-counter with a screen in the middle showing you information such as your speed. At the touch of a button this moves to the side to display far more information on the dash. It’s a gimmick, but it’s a very slick and interesting one.
The navigation and multimedia systems are very simple to use, and there’s a couple of very clever features like the facility to identify nearby car parks and get local live traffic information. The Lexus Premium Navigation multimedia system was enlarged from 7.0 to 10.3 inches in 2017, while the joystick control was remodelled to feature a new ‘Enter’ button and a larger palm rest.
Other revisions include a slimmer audio and ventilation control panel surrounded by thicker bolsters – this stuck out on the old car so you could bang your knee on it. There’s also some new stitching and a cupholder arrangement that now accepts a smartphone.
Lexus IS comfort levels are very high. One of the first things you’ll notice about it is how quiet it is on the move – the Japanese firm has done a lot of work on the car’s aerodynamics to make it slippery and more fuel efficient, but the knock-on effect of this is that it generates less wind noise too.
Furthermore, the hybrid powertrain is nearly silent at lower speeds, which further reduces the noise intruding into the cabin.
The seats are very comfortable and supportive and the ride quality is very good. It’s slightly bumpier with F Sport suspension, but not in a bone-jarringly severe way.