Practical, fun and stylish saloon
Great looking car in metallic sapphire blue, still turns heads after 6 years. Very comfy and supportive leather/alacantra interior including heated front seats on the Sport along with climate control and AC, brilliant 6-CD stereo and 8 speakers, good sized boot and decent rear space, I've driven 4 people to London and back and Liverpool and back without complaints of being uncomfortable. Only the driver's seat has electric adjustment, however, so if you have a fussy passenger they may whinge.
Handling is very quick and responsive, and the levels of grip are impressive considering it is a light RWD car! Suspension is lovely and stiff and inspires great confidence in cornering with the lack of body roll. Turning circle is very tight and a blip of the throttle in 1st will bring the tail around in junctions anyway.
The LSD fitted as standard to the Sport is very helpful if things get slippy, was having great fun in the snow without too much drama, but don't be fooled, it'll still get stuck if you stop!! In the wet the handling doesn't surprise you and it is very easy to feel if the car is starting to slide or if the rear wheels are slipping.
The driver aids fitted are excellent and don't interfere with the driving experience unless they are needed, traction control will let the rear tyres slip a little without kicking in (and it can be switched off!!) and the ABS will only kick in when you really need it so they don't get in the way when really pushing the car.
The ABS even managed to stop the car downhill on snowy tarmac so it really works well. The 'snow' button (power restrictor) does help out when it gets very slippy, but it won't tun the car into an off-roader or rally car!
The engine is very sweet and the sports exhaust sounds lush :P, it isn't massively powerful as it's only a 2 liter I6 with around 157bhp, but its enough to cruise happily at 80 on motorways and a bit of fun on the country roads. The Toyota manual actually has the best change revs/speeds for the 6-speed close ratio box and if you stick to them acceleration is pretty good, 1st is rather short for town and so driving in slow traffic and jams can be hard work on the feet.
If you rev the guts out of the engine it will be thirsty, worst mileage I've managed is 26 filling it with Shell Vpower, but on an average motorway cruise it will do 35mpg, tank is 65 litres so range is around 450 miles on a motorway journey and around 400 through towns etc.
Servicing isn't too expensive and isn't too frequent as it is a Toyota under the skin, the dealers are very helpful as well. Tyre wear is good if you use the standard fit Dunlops that are specially made for the Lexus 17" wheels, other tyres tend to run down a little quicker than them and the Dunlops have a re-inforced sidewall for improved handling and to protect the alloys so worth the money!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th December, 2006