Road Test: Lexus GS 300h Executive Edition
Julian Kirk relaxes into commuting life with the smaller hybrid GS.
It sometimes takes a while to ‘get’ a car, to understand its raison d’etre and its place in the market.
The appeal of the GS finally dawned on me on a miserable wet morning as I sat in an interminable traffic jam around Northampton. Stopping and starting as I inched along the A43, the Lexus revealed itself to be the most soothing of companions – no noise, no fuss, just peace and quiet… my fears of being late for my appointment eased away as the world around me became more and more frustrated with the lack of progress being made.
Key to this serenity is the GS 300h’s petrol/electric hybrid set-up – there’s no diesel rattle or vibration here, just smooth petrol performance or, when in a traffic jam, silent electric running. Obviously, you’re not going to choose a car based solely on its ability to handle a traffic jam (unless you have the worst commute in the world), but the GS’s ability to deliver you to your destination relaxed and feeling fresh is an obvious business benefit.
As is the on-paper performance, with a 17% BIK rating putting it up to five bands lower than an equivalent diesel from the German hegemony – that adds up to significant savings for drivers and businesses in terms of taxation.
However, there are downsides with the GS – the interior is dated when compared with the German big three, being a riot of colour and technology when the current zeitgeist is monochrome, pared back luxury. And the fiddly mouse control for the main screen to control the navigation, climate and multi-media is fiddly in the extreme. And all that engine refinement at low speeds becomes a shouty mess when you put your foot down and the CVT gearbox whirrs into action, holding on to revs as the petrol engine erupts into action.
There is much to like about the GS, especially in well-equipped Executive Edition guise, but it already feels dated when compared with rivals.
Type: Petrol-electric hybrid
Electric range: 1 mile
CO2 (tailpipe): 104g/km
Charging port: N/A