I have owned my 2007 Lexus IS220d for 2 years now, here are my thoughts and opinions on the vehicle so far. Is it worth buying ? read on to find out.
Why did i choose this car? -
Previously i owned a 2002 Ford Focus TDCI LX, it was a fantastic car and served me well. On the last few days of ownership it was starting to generate small niggles which were growing in to bigger problems. So i decided it was time for an upgrade, I've alway loved the look of luxury saloons, even when i was younger on route to holidays, i used to watch the Bmw 5 series and Audi A6's hammering down the motorway and thinking to myself i would love to own something like that when I grow up :). One of my favourite cars i used to see was the Lexus Is220d, i just loved the way it looked, it really facinated me for some reason.
The one i bought -
i was 21 when i bought the Lexus, i spotted it at a dealership on my way to college, like an excited school kid wanting a new toy, i went over to the dealership on my lunch break to check out the vehicle. I fell in love at first sight. It was a Velvet Black 2007 Lexus IS220d SE (177) with Leather Seats, Front&Rear parking sensors and only 64,000 miles it was up for £6250 which i didn't think was a bad price for the condition and mileage. i ended up purchasing it the same day.
WOW! IM IN MY DREAM CAR!!!! Honestly i was that excited when i first drove the car i can't actually remember my first impressions, all i could remember was is there enough fuel to get me to the petrol station as the dealer only left me with 8 miles remaining.
What was it like upgrading from a Focus-
It was a great feeling, i have so many new toys, Cruise control is incredible i love being able to set it to 70mph ;) on the motorway and be able to rest my right foot. One of the big differences i noticed was blind spots, the windows are much smaller on the Lexus and the side pillars are huge I'm guessing its because of the curtain airbags. Driving the Focus was like driving the Pope mobile massive windows! This is where I'm glad the last owner went for the parking sensors, the work a treat when parking. The Lexus is noticeably more powerful although has a lot more Turbo Lag, which i will get to in a moment.
After 2 years:
Driving the IS220d:
Its a very comfy vehicle mine has the leather seats, and has a big centre armrest which is fabulous on longer journeys, the stereo is also incredible sadly mine isn't the mark levinson system, but even the standard system has 13 speakers and a built in Sub, its a very warm sound with the punch is there if you need it. The Steering is great, light when your parking and stiffens up when you throw it in to the corners, this brings me on to the cars rigitity it is a very smooth ride you don't feel all of the bumps, when you turn sharp corners it dosen't roll either i think the way the car handles was a big thing for the IS being the more sportier model of the Lexus range..
Whats the performance like:
This car seems to have its good days and bad days, some times it feels like a very powerful car which puts you to the back of your seat other times it feels like a 1.0 polo, the torque and power comes in very late around 2200RPM, there is absoulutly nothing underneath this, it is very scary when pulling out at roundabouts and junctions. You put your foot down and nothing happens. Sometimes you have to drop down to 2nd to get up a hill, the focus would happily trundle up in 4th. Once you get past that 2200RPM thats when you start to feel that 400NM of Torque. Now most people would say just drive in the Turbo range! That is very hard to do due to the very long gearing, you have to drive past the turbo range to get inside the turbo for the next gear. the car will drop from over 1500rpm between each gear. What i tend to do is put the car in 3rd and drive it like a CVT gearbox you can go from about 28mph to over 60mph in 3rd gear thats how long the gears are. if you leave it in 3rd and accelarate from about 40mph you can overtake easily without any worries. I think once you have learnt the way the car likes to be driven you start to like the car more with its quirky ways.
Does it drink the Diesel.
Yes! its not the most fuel efficent diesel out there. mine usually averages about 32mpg it goes up to about 36mpg during motorway driving, this is mainly due to having to thrash it to get anywhere. Another thing that really effects the cars fuel economy is the DPF, which i will get to next.
Have i had any problems:
Only one DPF! The worst thing ever to be put on a diesel car it ruins the whole car. A DPF or Diesel Particulate Filter is there to catch all of the soot particles to help save the environment, sounds good right? Not if you have owned a car with it on, after a while which was quicker than i expected the DPF gets full, the car gets very sluggish and your MPG drops to about 25mpg, to clean out the DPF you have to drive a fair distance at a certain speed at High RPM, (i can't see how this is helping the environment) If it gets to clogged which was my case, the car goes in to Limp mode were you can only go a certain speed to get you home (quicker to walk) The only way to get the car back out of Limp mode is to either have the DPF remove (Tempting but illegal) or have it cleaned, which was the option i went for after spending over £400 and losing the car for a week i finally got the car back. It felt fantastic again. Its been about 4 months since i had it done and I'm starting to feel the car blocking up again, I'm certainly not paying £400 again this time its being removed as its only £250 for a removal and will be the end to any future problems. I can't recommend you to do this as its not entirely legal, depending where you are it may not go through an M.O.T.
Not to bad for the size of car, obviously the fuels a big cost, you need to put in ultimate or v-power diesel in to help stop the DPF from blocking. At my local shell garage V-Power is currently 130.9p per litre I put in about £20 every 3-4 days to do a 11 mile round trip each day. Tax is £205 per year which isn't to bad i think i was paying around £180 for my 1.8 focus. my insurance at 23 is £72pm again not to bad meaning I'm under 25.Other than the DPF cost it has been an affordable car to run.
Would i recommend the car-
Yes and No, if you can forgive its niggles with the dreaded DPF and the Turbo Lag its a fantastic car, its much more rare to see an IS220d over the countless number of Audi's and BMW's on our roads, i think it great to have something a bit different. It is certainly as comfy and has as much technology as its rivals. If i knew how much trouble the DPF was before i bought the car i probably would have gone for its petrol brother the IS250. But i have grown to love the car and can't think of anything else for the price of this car that i would rather have had.
(Also on CIAO)
The current generation Lexus IS was introduced in 2005 and was aimed squarely at the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. In this company the car had to be good and in many ways in achieved this. My review is based on the 2007 model IS 250 SE. The sits ahead of the basic no trim model and the SE-L model.
The IS is a beautiful looking car (although standard spec only has 16" wheels and they do look too small) with good proportions and handsome from every angle. The interior is equally interesting in design. Whilst it doesn't have the flair of some of it's rivals it does have some nice design touches of it's own. My car has the Multimedia pack installed and it blends so well into the car's fascia.
The car drives as you would expect a Lexus to drive. Surefooted and smooth but never harsh. I did find the newer F-Sport model which has 18" wheels and sport suspension did prove a little out of character and didn't fit the brand well. I would certainly recommend the 250 over the 220 diesel as the cars are very different when compared. The 250 Auto is smooth and refined, quiet and relaxing whereas the Diesel only comes in the Manual box and has strange gearing, more engine noise and vibration. Too very different animals. The car does get a little fidgety over uneven surfaces and I've found the steering track to be pulled when on adverse camber. Despite Lexus persuading otherwise, the car doesn't offer a sporting drive so if you're wanting a real drivers machine I would opt for the BMW 3 Series. I would say Lexus is more Mercedes than BMW or Audi as the main car's characteristics are poised around comfort. Fuel economy isn't that great giving me an average of 29MPG of 60,000 miles. Long trips can give me nearly 40MPG but driving in town traffic hits the economy badly. Performance is good getting from 0-60 in just over 8 seconds anf the mid range pull is good if you stamp on the throttle. The Auto comes with a Power mode selector which comes in three modes. Normal, snow or power. The Snow mode dumbs down all the throttle responses for winter use and the power mode performs the opposite sitting in lower gears for longer. The Auto also has paddle shift control option which is usable when in sequential mode.
The equipment levels are very generous if you don't buy the basic car. As mentioned earlier, my car has the Multimedia package which comes with DVD touch screen navigation, 6 disc DVD changer with 5.1 surround sound, 14 speaker Mark Levinson sound system (which is awesome!), rear view camera with park assist, bluetooth hands free and a voice command system. If you're buying used I would recommend you get all this kit along with leather seats and the automatic transmission as these options would be costly when new but give the car a premium feel. I have experienced some rattles in the cabin but this is down to the fact the stereo is good enough to listen to at high volume levels.
The Lexus is a very different car to its rivals. I say this as a previous taker of German rivals of which I thought I would never leave. Turning Japanese from a German brand is one of ambivalence. On the one hand you're assured of reliability but on the other you're a little put off by the image. I must say that I haven't looked back and I've enjoyed every mile we've traveled together. Sitting there in wafta-matic listening to my tunes through the great hi-fi (for me at least) is pure bliss.
The latest generation Lexus (which is basically a minor face lift) has revised the product trim lineup. The SE is now the base model and comes with slightly less kit than previous. This is followed by the SE-I, F-Sport and finishes with the luxurious SE-L.
Would I buy again? I would although, Lexus will be unveiling the new IS in 2012 and will probably have a Hybrid power train alongside a smaller engine. I just hope it will be a creamy six!