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cduluk

My 2012 Is250 Loaner Car: My Experience

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Hi everyone,

Last week my Rx400h was at the dealer for a repair, and i was given a 2012 Lexus IS250 loaner vehicle. At first i didn't think i'd even "fit" in it, but after spending 4 days with her i was quite impressed!

There is no escaping the fact that it's "small". There is enough leg room (i'm 5'11") for the driver and passenger if the seats are pushed back far enough, but let's just say my textbooks were gasping for air on the back floor. There is also little room to "stretch" or remove a jacket while sitting in the drivers seat, but i guess i'm just spoiled from having an SUV. Nevertheless it was "comfortable" yet not as roomy as i'd like a loaner to be. In the past Lexus has always given out ES and RX's as loaners, but i guess money is tight so they're downgrading...

I was also surprised to find that my loaner had navigation!! In the past, loners at my dealer were typically the "stripped" versions. I was VERY impressed with the brightness and contrast of the new navigation screens as opposed to the 07-09 type (which were even better than the 04-06). The crisp "white" was very intriguing, and even more beautiful at night. Getting back to my Rx400h's "yellowed" navigation screen was depressing... One thing i didn't like however was the lack of a separate LCD display for radio information (station, AM, FM, CD, etc.). I never had this with my old Rx300 that had navigation, but i have a separate display on my Rx400h and it's a good feature. Sometimes i can't tell if the volume is all the way down, or if the radio is OFF. Without a separate display (excluding the menu for radio on the nav screen) if the volume is "very low", you think it's OFF yet start hearing "whispering" as if someone's in the back seat with a crowbar. It's nice to know simply by looking at the console whether you have a CD running (changing discs on their own) or if the radio is on or not.

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Another feature that i LOVE (although not specific to the IS) is the cooled/ventilated seats. Sometimes, things can get rather "damp" down there, and having the cool air blowing out from the perforated seats was a relief. Sorry for that image, but it's true!

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One big complaint i have is the location of the center- well, ALL, cup-holders. The one that's built into the front door is extremely obtrusive, as it prevents your hand from reaching the seat controls.

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And if you have a drink in the one in the center console, you can't put your right arm on the armrest as your wrist hits your drink. Thankfully my water bottle has a cap, or otherwise it would have spilled every time i accidentally hit it!

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Something else that bothered me was the fact that they changed the "material" of the glove compartment when they upgraded in 2011. The old IS (06-10) glove compartment was covered in softer vinyl (as are the sides of the center console) however on this 2012 it was rock hard plastic. How much cheaper can Lexus get?

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Some other things that i didn't like include the "gray/green" wood trim- what was Lexus thinking? The ride was incredibly harsh, and every time i hit a little bump the car emitted a loud "thud". The car lacks a lot of power, specifically torque when you hit the gas hard. It seems like it takes a lot of time before you feel the "push" back into your seat. Also, i found it odd that this IS250 had navigation, yet no electric tilt/telescoping steering wheel, no auto wipers, and no HID headlights! I always thought these features came as a package on the IS. My cousin has an 09 IS250 with nav but it has HID headlamps. I was also saddened to hear that the new navigation "voice" (which seemed to be the same from at least 03-09) has changed to a new woman. :unsure: And other big complaint i have is the gas mileage. In 4 days i had to tank up again! In my 400h i can get at least 7 days before it reaches empty. I think i ran out so fast since i spend a lot of time parked with the engine ON to get A/C.

Some things i did like on the IS include of course the "new car smell". With only 5,000 miles it was very clean. I also found it to be INCREDIBLY quiet in the interior when the car is on and in park. If you opened a window you could hear the engine quite well, however with it closed the interior was completely silent. Coming from a hybrid owner that's saying a lot- when the RX400h engine is on, you can hear it. And of course the "smart key" feature is very convenient, as well as the compact size and tight turning radius when trying to parallel park. And thank god this IS had the back-up camera, because without it there's NO way to see out the back...

So, overall i was impressed with the 2012 IS250 but don't think i could tolerate it's small cabin space or low stance after having an SUV for so long. The interior quality could use some work, but otherwise it's just a "smaller" Lexus.

Dear Lexus, let me have an RX next time i need a loaner, though... I need personal space. Are your dealers giving you IS's as loaners too?

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"What was Lexus thinking?"

Lexus is merely a brand name created by the Toyota Motor Company. Please remember that the IS was the "Toyota Altezza" in some countries until fairly recently.

I like Lexus branded vehicles and am a TMC shareholder but I think people should keep in mind that the Toyota/Lexus brand relationship is in the same vein as as Ford/Mercury, General Motors/Chevrolet, and Chrysler/Dodge.

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"What was Lexus thinking?"

Lexus is merely a brand name created by the Toyota Motor Company. Please remember that the IS was the "Toyota Altezza" in some countries until fairly recently.

I like Lexus branded vehicles and am a TMC shareholder but I think people should keep in mind that the Toyota/Lexus brand relationship is in the same vein as as Ford/Mercury, General Motors/Chevrolet, and Chrysler/Dodge.

Do people in other countries have green/gray wood furniture sets in their homes? :huh: I just don't understand why any car manufacturer would use this shade for their wood trim...

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Nice write-up and good perspective on compact sports sedan versus a mid-sized SUV.

I make that comparison every week, driving a SUV about 4-5 days per week. The IS350 is driven the other 2-3 days per week, it really makes me appreciate the significant difference in power and handling in contrast.

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Nice write-up and good perspective on compact sports sedan versus a mid-sized SUV.

I make that comparison every week, driving a SUV about 4-5 days per week. The IS350 is driven the other 2-3 days per week, it really makes me appreciate the significant difference in power and handling in contrast.

I'd love it if Lexus would give the IS350 as a loaner- i'm pretty sure i'd enjoy it! But it's a loner, so i should be thankful it had nav...

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Nice write-up and good perspective on compact sports sedan versus a mid-sized SUV.

I make that comparison every week, driving a SUV about 4-5 days per week. The IS350 is driven the other 2-3 days per week, it really makes me appreciate the significant difference in power and handling in contrast.

I'd love it if Lexus would give the IS350 as a loaner- i'm pretty sure i'd enjoy it! But it's a loner, so i should be thankful it had nav...

I've had loaner IS350's before, but they were older and pretty beatup. Certainly reminds me of why I would never buy a loaner car.

Never had a loaner with nav, that would be nice for a change.

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It's not always the choice of Lexus what the dealer uses as a loaner. Years ago Lexus provided floor planning to supply an inventory of basic Lexus models for loaners .In he last few years, that support has been reduced and more and more dealers, toreduce cost, are adding other brands to use as loaners. My dealer will some times use low mileage cars from other brands they sell, such as Infinity, or Volvo.

The IS250 is a niche market product designed for a narrow market, with a narrow budget. That the annoying hump next to the accelarator iis just one thing that proves to me that it's tooled for a younger market. If they we're able to get the real performance they wanted they would buy the GS350.

I agree with you on the color of the wood trim, but if I'm not mistaken, it's the same color they have used in the LS460.

Paul

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I think annoying bump in floor pan is on AWD config. AWD IS250's are somewhat rare here in CA.

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I do the same in that I have an 08 IS350, and the 11 Grand Cherokee. My life dictates the size of the Grand Cherokee right now, Jeep made it a pleasure to need it though. So the wife gets IS350 driving privelages for now and the VW sits there most of the time. LOL!!

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Ahh yes, I forgot to mention the "hump" near the pedal. And another thing I forgot to mention about the IS250:

The A/C "fan speed": it seemed that even when set to "HI", the fan speed seemed very low. With my Rx400h, if you set the fan speed to HI, it comes out with a lot of umph! But no matter the temperature you set it to, the fan speed on the IS was simply too low.

Has anyone else with an IS noticed this?

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See, the entry level Lexus aint so bad is it?

As for the wood trim, all the luxury manufacturers have an option for a similar shade.

I like Lexus branded vehicles and am a TMC shareholder but I think people should keep in mind that the Toyota/Lexus brand relationship is in the same vein as as Ford/Mercury, General Motors/Chevrolet, and Chrysler/Dodge.

Thats actually really untrue, and is becoming less and less true with every passing generation. Yes the IS was a "Toyota Altezza" but that was simply in markets where Lexus vehicles were not sold, same as the LS being a "Toyota Celsior". The current generation IS is completely different from the IS300 which was sold as the "Altezza", it is not platform shared with any vehicle designed as a downmarket Toyota, and is a platform/vehicle that is designed 100% for Lexus. Lexus is FAR FAR more separated from Toyota than the brands you mention, it has entirely separate design houses, executive management, production facilities, etc. That was never the case, and is still not the case with Chrysler/Dodge, Ford/Mercury or even Ford/Lincoln, GM all throughout. You'll even find in new Lexus vehicles the switchgear isn't even shared with Toyota models like it used to be.

The quality issues that he noted are due to the fact that the IS is the entry level Lexus, and the same quality issues (and then some) can be found on the C Class Mercedes, 3 Series BMW, Audi A4, etc. Has nothing to do with the fact that Lexus is owned by Toyota.

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