Vivid Magazine was fortunate to drive the Lexus IS 300h sport recently and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The “h” denotes the car is a hybrid which combines a 2.5 litre direct injection petrol engine with a high output electric motor ensuring the car is extremely frugal in its fuel consumption. The car can also be driven in EV (Electric Vehicle) mode where it moves in near silence, using no petrol at all and emitting zero emissions. In 2004 Lexus became the fi rst premium car maker to perfect
full hybrid technology and since then over 650,000 Lexus hybrid models have been sold. With almost Formula 1 type technology the hybrid has Regenerative Braking which means when the car is braking or decelerating the rear wheels drive the electric motor
so that it functions as a generator. Kinetic energy, which would otherwise be lost as heat, is then captured into electric power which is then stored in the battery for later use. Having never driven a hybrid before it was an amazing experience when starting up and driving off. When starting the car the electric motor kicks in instantly and propels the car to around 40mph before the petrol engine cuts in. When driving at speeds below 40mph and just using the electric motor the car is spookily silent, a completely new driving experience. The IS 300h appears to be the same size as a Mercedes C Class or BMW 3 series, can seat four adults comfortably and has bags of luggage space along with lots of in car storage. Due to the low emissions this places the car is a very low company car tax bracket making it very attractive to fl eet buyers and drivers.

We were lucky to be given a model with the 15 speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system that delivered a near concert like experience while driving through the Berkshire countryside. You can hook your own smart phone to the sound system and listen to your own favourites in wonderful surround sound. The IS 300h is beautifully fi nished with hand stitched leather seats and touch sensitive controls. The car is equipped with what feel like space age type controls and it really has the look of a premium car both inside and out. It was easy to adjust the seat position and was extremely comfortable to drive. We would like to thank Martyn Halstead of Lexus Reading for providing us with the IS 300h Sport, it was a great experience and certainly opened our eyes to a modern hybrid vehicle.