Lexus IS 300h interior & comfort

The Lexus IS 300h is superbly built and supremely comfortable, but the infotainment system is fiddly

The Lexus IS is one of the more eye-catching cars in the compact executive class, and it’s pretty nice inside, too. There are fabulously comfortable and highly adjustable seats, the interior ambience is one of restrained quality.

The switchgear operates with the slick precision of a high-end stereo system, there are high-quality and tactile materials in abundance and satin-finish embellishers add subtle lustre. With decent standard equipment, too, the only real gripe is an infotainment system that’s less user-friendly than German rivals.

Lexus IS 300h dashboard

The dashboard design is interesting and a little unusual, thanks to a stepped fascia that runs behind the instruments and across the full width of the car. A seven-inch or 10.3-inch infotainment system is set into its centre, with a ledge beneath containing traditional slotted vents and an analogue clock.

Lower down the console are controls for the climate control and stereo, while there’s a rotary dial or touchpad for the infotainment screen depending on trim level. There’s a grippy three-spoke steering wheel with the usual controls, and a view through to attractive twin-dial instruments with a configurable info panel between the dials.

Equipment, options and accessories

The entry-level Executive Edition is well equipped and would probably be our favoured choice were it not for the lack of sat nav. Spending an extra £1,000 on the Sport trim level nets you that vital bit of kit, and it’s arguably a better-looking car, too, with lots of black exterior detailing on the grille, mirrors and wheels.

If you don’t want the sporty aggressive look, the Advance is your best bet – it’s more expensive again, but you do get leather upholstery and heated, ventilated seats. The F-Sport combines the best of Sport and Advance trims, but if you want the big 10.3-inch display and 15-speaker stereo you need the Premier or the F-Sport with the Premier Pack.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

The Executive Edition is the only trim level to come without sat nav, but it does have a seven-inch display screen. All other versions get nav, with top-spec cars getting a flashy 10.3-inch screen and touchpad operation. We’re not big fans of the set-up, as it’s not as intuitive or easy to use as we’ve come to expect from rivals such as BMW or Mercedes.