Joint Review: 2021 Lexus IS300h EX

We asked two of our journalists for their opinions on this white Lexus hybrid sedan…

Do you like the design?

  • Hanjo: Most certainly. Even though white is my least favourite colour for a luxury vehicle, there are plenty of sharp angles and bold design elements to contrast it.
  • Nico: This model is made up of 2432 triangles… but I like it, especially the Darth Vader sword styled rear lights. The ‘force’ is with you!

How about the interior?

  • Hanjo: Oh, emm, not such a fan. It’s certainly unique but Lexus cabins always set off my low-level OCD because they are predominantly asymmetrical.
  • Nico: I will forgive the dash design if  the red seats from Lexus are included. Having said that, all buttons and analogs will last a century.

Does the hybrid system work?

  • Hanjo: In most cases, yes. Lexus can rely on parent company Toyota’s vast experience so the mild hybrid system in this car works pretty well. Pure EV driving is fairly limited, though.
  • Nico: In town, yes. On the highway, not sure. We will need a long term test unit to confirm.

This or a turbo-diesel?

  • Hanjo: Depends on your motoring lifestyle. I could happily live with this setup because I rarely do big mileage. Hint: that’s what you’d want a TDi for!
  • Nico: I will accept the hybrid, without a CVT spoil-your-drive gearbox.

IS, 3-Series or C-Class?

  • Hanjo: Again, it’s not a straight answer because they all have their strengths. And at the moment, the Germans don’t offer the same hybrid versions. Lexus for individualism, BMW for spirited driving, Mercedes to enjoy luxury motoring.
  • Nico: Shame, poor Audi not even mentioned here… ouch! For raw N/A performance I will choose an ISF for the sound, and more than enough power. A 330i has its place, and then probably a C300d will be a joy to drive. Each of the three brands have show stoppers.

Anything you didn’t like?

  • Hanjo: The touch pad! Please, Lexus, I know you want to be unique but it’s a deal breaker for me. Some buyers may also walk away because of the droning CVT.
  • Nico: The CVT, then the CVT and also the CVT.

And your favourite feature?

  • Hanjo: The hybrid system is pretty seamless and although it doesn’t make a huge difference, Sport mode changes the energy gauge to a tachometer.
  • Nico: The reliability factor. The sporty, yet soft ride. Lexus somehow does not care about the opposition. They are very authentic in who they are.

Your final verdict?

  • Hanjo: This IS300h EX is stunning to look at, decent to drive and very clever. It’s not bad value at R871,000 because Lexus includes a lot of goodies in their (escalating) specification levels.
  • Nico: An IS350 or ISF I will have any day, that comes with a proper gearbox and an old school N/A drive train.

2 thoughts on “Joint Review: 2021 Lexus IS300h EX”

  1. Please ask Nico for the source of his reliability claim or is it unusual for nothing to go wrong with a 7-day test car?!!!


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