Lexus launches striking new hybrid model
New IS 300h looks like it faces an uphill battle to entice customers out of their beloved diesels, writes Denis Droppa
Hybrid cars are about as popular as spinach-flavoured ice cream in SA,where diesel still rules supreme as the fuel-sipping choice for motorists wanting to save money on travel costs. The backlash against diesels overseas (and particularly Europe) following the Dieselgate scandal hasn’t trickled down to SA where diesel sales are still very strong. Nevertheless, Lexus is pushing the hybrid agenda with petrol-electric versions of its ES sedan and NX and RX sports utility vehicles in the local line up. Now Toyota’s premium cousin has introduced a hybrid derivative of the six-year old Lexus IS sedan, due for replacement in 2020. Wearing the trademark blue badge denoting a Lexus hybrid, it’s called the IS 300h and combines a 2.5l petrol four-cylinder engine with a 105kW electric motor, directing drive to the rear wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The petrol engine runs on an Atkinson cycle, which is said to use less fuel than the more commonly-used Otto cycle and, in ...