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Lexus: A World of Confusion

Every year in the UK, many thousands of (middle class usually) people flock on down to the legendary ‘Ideal Home Show’ at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Architects, fashion stars, chefs, home designers and many more gather at this celebration of, you guessed it, the ‘Ideal Home’. It truly is the epicentre of everything modern and trendy in the home world. For many moons, I have heard wondrous stories from family members and friends of their trips to this homely holy land. This year was the year I finally got to go, on a little family trip with my mum.

An entire exhibition dedicated to the best and greatest from the modern home… OOH LOOK THEY’VE GOT NEW LEXUS MODELS ON SHOW.

That was me sorted for the day.

A Brief History of Lexus

Lexus is actually part of the Japanese manufacturer Toyota, existing as the luxury brand. The first Lexus was released in 1989, subsequently producing cars of all types, from sedans to 4x4s. In 2005, Lexus began its hybrid program which is still being developed today. Since its’ original release, Lexus has expanded to cover the world market, seeing significant success in the US market. 2009 saw the release of the LFA, a world conquering supercar that has vanquished all that lay before it.

The LS400 was the original Lexus, released in 1989

The LS400 was the original Lexus, released in 1989

The Lexus LFA, released in 2009 is an amazing supercar

The Lexus LFA, released in 2009 is an amazing supercar

Motorsport Mayhem

It is fair to say that Lexus are not particularly known for their motorsport pedigree, but it certainly didn’t stop them giving it a go. And where else would you try racing than the British Touring Car Championship? In 2001, ABG Motorsport built a Lexus IS20o to enter into the season; sadly it was considerably out gunned by the other teams. The same happened in 2005/06. Ever since then the Lexus has fallen into disuse as a touring car. However, at the 2014 Geneva show, a new RC-F GT3 was released that is rumoured to be entered into various GT series across the world.

The 2001 BTCC season saw the Lexus IS200 make its touring car debut

The 2001 BTCC season saw the Lexus IS200 make its touring car debut

What was Lexus doing at a home show? 

When I first arrived at the show, I was asking myself this very question. It seemed strange that Lexus were appearing at a show about home living, let alone acting as one of the title sponsors. However, on closer inspection, it begins to make considerably more sense. Lexus has hopped right onto the hybrid ‘save the planet’ bandwagon. I may sound like I am anti-hybrid; in fact I am fascinated and excited by the development of these new greener technologies. In recent years, Lexus has worked incredibly hard on their own hybrid technology and now have an impressive range of models. Their system, as with most hybrid cars, combines an electric motor with a traditional petrol engine to optimise performance and reduce carbon emissions (you know how the story goes).

Lexus have since become one of the forerunners of luxury yet affordable hybrid cars, and this in many ways projects the same message as the Home Show itself. At the event itself, Lexus were marketed as THE car to have in any modern home. Sleek, stylish, green, luxury, affordable etc etc.

What do I think of the new Lexus models? 

The Lexus CT 200h

The Lexus CT 200h

Inside the CT 200h

Inside the CT 200h

To look at, I must say that the new hybrid range are attractive beasts. The CT 200h for example, as you can see above, has the right curves, the right angles, the right look. Not only that, the CT 200h is the first full hybrid luxury compact car, fancy ey? If we take a look inside, the new model is furnished with all the latest fancy equipment and I must say, has a very comfortable feel to it. All the models, whether they are a compact car, saloon or 4×4, are almost carbon copies of each other in terms of front end and interior. Many might take that comment as a criticism, but in my view, when you have a good look going on, why spoil it by changing things?

The IS 300h, quite attractive if you ask me

The IS 300h, quite attractive if you ask me

There is however, one fundamental flaw with these cars. From the outside they look both glamorous and spacious, when in fact the Lexus seem to be some sort of  reverse Doctor Who TARDIS contraption. I don’t really understand how they’ve managed it if I am honest. It may be because you are expecting spacious happiness, but the reality is most definitely a cramped chamber of achy muscles and restless journeys. These cars must have one hell of a body kit on them that it makes them look so large when in fact they are hiding a dark tiny secret. It may be obvious that they have devoted a lot of time and money to the look and feel of the interior, but clearly they lost the memo that asked them to make sure there was still enough room for people to you know, fit. Speaking of space, the boot space is outrageously disappointing in these cars. To put it into perspective, I have more space in the back of my MG ZS saloon car than I saw in the back of the 4×4 Lexus hybrid. That isn’t right.

However big the car may seem, most people seem to have trouble fitting inside comfortably

However big the car may seem, most people seem to have trouble fitting inside comfortably

As the Lexus is a luxury car brand, it may not be re-mortgaging your house expensive, but they do charge a fair amount. The CT 200h charges between £20,000 – £29,000 depending on how many extras you so desire. Considering the comfort issue for passengers, maybe this is a bit much. I will admit that I have not yet had the chance to test drive one of these cars, but I soon hope to change that. I mean for all I know driving these new cars may be the single greatest experience since someone thought to mix gin with tonic. Let me work on that.

So why all the confusion?

Basically, I really do not know what Lexus are trying to achieve with these new hybrid cars. From what I have seen, it is like they are trying to turn the Lexus hybrids into the new Prius; a fashion statement more than a car. It seems to me that they have worked on creating a car with the right ‘image’ and ‘statement’ for the modern world that they have forgotten to create a decent car. Passenger comfort and space is one of the focal points to any decent make of car, any lack of it wherever it may be will be of massive detrimental effect to the sales and success.

The cars fit perfectly in the world of ideal homes and modern living, but I do wonder how they would get on in the real world. Dreaming and reality are two completely different things after all. Something may appear wonderful, but once you have to live with it everyday, will you keep the same opinion?

Until I have the chance to drive one of these cars, I may indeed be very wrong about my initial conclusions of the cars. If any of my wonderful readers have had the chance to drive one of these new machines, I would love to hear what you think of them!

And remember, I love being proved wrong so do not be afraid to disagree with me!

Keep Driving People!

Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Peace and Love!

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Christine Glynn says:

    Well written, don’t forget Lexus was at the Ideal Home Exhibition because it was part of the quiet revolution

    March 20th, 2014 at 3:52 am

  2. Bill Buchanan says:

    A very good article. I must say that I have never driven a Lexus but in looks, the Lexus I see around the place is very ordinary. I was surprised re the lack of space inside. A for the IS 300h, quite UNattractive if you ask me.

    April 12th, 2014 at 4:21 pm