There was just a brief hesitation before I accepted the offer from McCarthy Call-a-Car to test drive the Lexus IS250 C – mostly because I have never actually WRITTEN a car review, but also because of my belief that “if it has tyres or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it.” However, curiosity (and my husband’s pleading) resulted in my deciding to do it. And I’m so glad I did.
The car, in a word, is beautiful. But like most women – there is so much more going on beneath the surface. Access is easy (if you have the key, the size of a fat credit card, in your hand or pocket). To open the vehicle (unlock), you just touch the handle (with the key in range), to lock, then you press your thumb on the door handle. Simple! And it’s the same process when starting the car – simply press the “Start” button and release the brake. Very clever.
While being overly skeptical of any two-door cars that are completely impractical for anyone with children, I have to say that I LOVED the electric seats. No pressing a button and pulling the seat – I just lazily leaned over, pushed a button and the seat glided silently forwards. Even my four year old was impressed. You can then slide the seat back with the push of a button, adjust the back rest, lumber support and steering wheel height until you are so comfortable that you could quite happily take a nap. Except that we were running late.
“Watch this,” I instructed my daughter as she strapped herself into the back seat. I pressed a button on the steering wheel and the car spoke to me (this is what Jeremy Clarkson and other show-offs call the “Torque” of a car. Which is actually just a fancy way of saying “Talk”) and asked for a command. “Sixteen degrees!” I replied, and the air conditioner immediately activated and began cooling the car to sixteen degrees. “Do it again, Mommy!” squealed Kayla, who was fascinated at just how clever her mother was. “Radio!” I firmly instructed and watched in fascination as the radio came on. I then spent the next hour testing what the car could and could not do, and laughing at the responses I got. “Take Kayla to school!” resulted in the Sat Nav being switched on. Love it!
Reversing up my long driveway was a breeze, because of the camera on the back of the car. I could see exactly where I was going and the fact that I was about to drive over my newly planted Agapanthus. And my gardener’s foot. There are sensors on the front , which is an absolute bonus because the bonnet is quite shapely and I can categorically state that I would soon scratch the car during my next visit to Killarney Mall. And then have to fervently deny it to my husband later, which is quite tedious.
I was also relieved to find that the Lexus passed the PT (Pony Tail) test. It is alarming how many car manufacturers overlook this very obvious design element – that many women have pony tails and find it VERY annoying if their hair bumps into the head rest. Adjustable car seats with holes in them are far more comfortable. And if it’s true that 80% of car purchases are decided by women, then the result of the PT test is crucial.
My next toy was putting the roof down. I must admit that I have gone off convertibles recently because my husband’s silver one (not a Lexus) rattles, and the roof leaks. My opinion is that convertibles are like gym contracts – nice to have but hardly worth the money – and I was quite intrigued to see if the Lexus could change my mind. And it almost did. The car is the fastest in its class – 20 seconds to take the roof down or up. I was in heaven. Sunglasses on, daughter at school, and a very long and windy road to the office.
What fascinated me the most was the response I got from men while driving. Being a stunningly beautiful woman, I am more than used to having strange men checking me out in the traffic and so it was quite disconcerting to find that Lexie (the car) got more attention than me. Men were swiveling their heads to have a look at the car and then to have a good look at who was driving it. I just laughed as I imagined what they were thinking – “How much does she EARN to drive that car?” or “What car must her HUSBAND drive if she is driving the new Lexus?” It was too funny!
I also found it remarkably easy to drive with my elbows. Now, before you argue about safety, let me categorically state that all cars should have the functionality to be driven with one’s elbows. Not that we’ll ever do it (unless we are running late, putting on lipgloss while reversing up the driveway), it is a good test as to how intuitive the car is. This one passed with flying colours. I could drive, put on lipgloss and change the car’s temperature all before leaving my property!
From a safety perspective, the car is apparently very safe with full airbags that will protect you in an accident. The interior is BEAUTIFUL but the white leather is sadly not practical with a little girl climbing in after Playball with dirty feet. I would have to go with the black leather option. But the interior is just so beautiful – you can’t help but be wooed by its warm embrace. I am also an absolute fan of an automatic – if you are sitting in traffic, you can’t possibly change gear every two minutes. But the tiptronic aspect (whatever that is) will please those who want more control.
The boot space is enormous if the top is up, but quite restricted if the roof is down. You literally have space for a few packets and that is about it. But surely you could find it in your heart to leave the top up for your weekly grocery shop? Or only shop when it’s cold? (Did I mention the fact that it has heated seats?)
In a nutshell, I was quite sad to see the car return to its home. Which was probably evidenced by the fact that I threw myself onto the bonnet and sobbed. In fact, I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking of poor Lexie alone in the dealership. And maybe even seeing other people. It’s too heartbreaking for words.
My expert opinion? Schedule a test drive with McCarthy Call-a-Car. Even if its just to see it “torque”.