Feb 1 2010 Peter Hayward
Lexus stands out from the crowd
IF I wanted to stand out from the crowd with a junior executive which has really stood the test of time, I'd go for the Lexus IS.
The IS 200, and its larger engined brother the IS 300, are right at the top of the reliability charts even with starship mileage already under their wheels.
They are also among the hardest cars for thieves to break into or steal, defeating the wiliest experts in tests.
The 300s are powered by a 200bhp 3.0-litre straight six, but here, I am going to concentrate on the 200, which has a two litre six of the same in-line design with a decent 153bhp on tap.
I have driven three or four over the years and they were all good to spend time in, with a huge amount of standard equipment in the Lexus tradition.
And they have good performance too. The smooth engine is great but has to be revved for best performance.
Big wheels and low profile tyres can make the ride unsettled in town, but it smoothes out well at speed and the driving position is superb.
The 200 is sporting in nature with a lovely interior, great looking unusual instruments and superb leather seats with electric adjustment.
Price: Pay about £4,500 for an '01 Y-reg S, £5,800 for an '03 03-reg SE, or £7,800 for an '05 05-reg Sport.
Mechanical: 153bhp, 1,988cc, 6 cylinder petrol engine driving the rear wheels via a 5 or 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined mpg: 29
Insurance group: 12
CO2 emissions: 231g/km
Main rival: BMW 3-Series, Audi A4