Lexus GS300 F Sport 2014 Review

Lexus GS300 F Sport 2014 Review

lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-frontLexus is consistently turning out vehicles that are setting the bar for comfortable cruising. The majority of the range doesn’t set the world on fire in terms of outright sprinting and high-speed manoeuvring capability, but when it comes to pleasing your posterior on a long trip, there’s not much that will match it.

lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-front-seatsCertainly the difference was very apparent when I drove the Lexus back-to-back with a Kia Cerato Koup Turbo. While the 150kW $40,000 Kia would lay waste to the 164kW $118,500 Lexus in a straight line drag race, getting to 100kph in 7.4 seconds versus around 9 seconds according to my stopwatch, I was uncomfortable after a couple of hours, and the cabin was so noisy.

The Lexus is three times the price, and you get what you pay for. It’s extremely quiet. I mean, seriously quiet. Quiet enough to hear your own tinnitus (which you will definitely have if you’ve just got out of a long journey in the Kia). When it’s just running in EV mode (electric motor only) lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-rear-seatsand any time around town when you are not accelerating, you hear pretty much nothing except some faint electric motor noise. This means that when you put the stereo on it’s not fighting with a barrage of road noise and you can hear your music with more spectrally balanced hues and tones, despite the tyres being fairly wide at 235/40R19 at the front and 265/35R19 at the rear. This is good for your ears.

It’s also thinking of the planet when it’s sipping 5.2l/100km (I managed 7l/100km in my time with the car, but I never used Eco mode and occasionally used Sport mode).

lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-bootI took three passengers from Auckland to Leigh for a bach-based weekend of fun and there was unanimous praise for the car in terms of its smoothness on the road, and the comfort of the seats. The boot is small for taking that many people, though, and it was fortunate that I’m good at Tetris to try to fit everything in.

While the ride is brilliant on the motorway, it’s quite vague if you’re trying to hustle it through the bends. There’s a slight feeling of being too separated from the road which lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-sat-navcan make it seem a little inaccurate if you’re pushing it along. It’s best just to sit back at cruising speeds. Passengers won’t notice – they’ll just think it’s comfortable with a good amount of legroom – but as a driver, I like to feel a bit more connected with the road.

The powertrain is a mixture of a 2.5-litre 133kW petrol engine and a 105kW electric motor, with a total output of lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-reversing-camera164kW. It puts the power to the road via a CVT gearbox. This can also sound strained when pushed. If you have to accelerate hard you’ll hear those revs rise from the four-cylinder motor and it doesn’t have the pleasant roar of a V6 or V8.

Inside the cabin the leather seats are plush and are cooled, as well as being 16-way adjustable. Not including heated lexus-gs300-f-sport-2014-buttonsseats is an odd omission – I would much rather have heated seats than cooled seats. There are 10 airbags, and the usual suite of safety features such as electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, adaptive cruise control, head-up display and so on.

If you have the cruise control set to 100kph and then you reach a moderate incline, the car will lose speed, sometimes up to 10kph. If there’s traffic behind you this is unacceptable driving; we all know how annoying it is to be behind a driver that can’t maintain a consistent speed. In that instance, the vehicle wasn’t loaded up with luggage or people, and I am not a salad dodger, so it barely had to deal with more than its standard kerb weight with fluids.

The fiddly joystick-type controller is still a bit awkward and, as I have the seat quite a way back, not easy to-hand. The 12.3-inch screen is excellent in terms of its ability to display data clearly such as the reversing camera plus the stereo settings, or the satellite navigation plus park assist sensors at the same time.

The GS300h argues well for itself as a company vehicle. It’s frugal, smooth, has a tight turning circle and is practical as long as you don’t have a family with lots of luggage. The driving position is excellent, and passengers will love it. It might be a little on the pricey side given what you can now get in terms of features in a great many cars that are sub-$100,000, but none that I can immediately think of quite provide the sense of peaceful progression along the road that the Lexus does.

Price: $118,500

Pros

  • Great for long journeys
  • Super smooth

Cons

  • Cruise control is no good on hills, losing up to a 10kph of the selected speed, and not attempting to make it up
  • No heated seats
  • Luggage space is reduced by the electric motor’s batteries.

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