Jeremy Clarkson Reviews the Lexus IS 250

Lexus IS250

In a comment on my last post, TLE reader Jay wanted to know if the current Lexus IS had ever made it onto the Top Gear show. The answer, it turns out, is “No” (though their magazine counterpart did name it the Best Executive/Luxury Car in 2005).

Later on, I found something much more interesting—in 2006, Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the car for The Times, here’s an excerpt:

It’s hard at first to see what makes the Lexus brand as uniquely male as a Leatherman or a hunter-killer submarine. The IS a pretty car and we know from every single survey ever undertaken that no other vehicle on the planet is quite so well made.

Of course there are some things wrong with it. Space in the back is limited, the seats aren’t overly supportive, the steering is way too sharp and the door mirrors are the size of barn doors. But since when did a woman ever complain about a mirror being too large? Perhaps, then, it’s the rev counter that glows orange as you approach the red line. “Noooooo” wailed my wife after she came back from the school run. “I loved that. I made it orange the whole way home.”

What then? What feature does this car have that makes it so unappealing for women? My wife couldn’t help. “I just don’t like it,” she said.

Clarkson’s anti-Lexus rants borderline on the irrational, but he still reviews a car like no other. Still, is there a more feminine luxury vehicle than the RX? Maybe things are different in Europe, or maybe Clarkson wasn’t considering SUVs.

[Source: The Times]



  1. I think the IS 250 is a somewhat feminine car. But that is only because I see so many teenage girls (especially at my school) driving them around. The IS250 is a wealthy teen girl, or empty nester mom car. The IS350 and ISF are made truly for men who want performance.

  2. and people seem to put lexus down because it isn’t BMW, but you know what… that’s why I like Lexus. Ya BMW is nice but they are over priced, not very comfortable, and have way too many options which drive the price up like no other. With a Lexus you really get your money’s worth

  3. Yea I wasn’t expecting Mr. Clarkson to like the IS, after all it’s not a BMW. Funny how he says the steering is “way too sharp.” Would he really think the IS would be better if Lexus dulled the steering? It shows that you really can’t please everyone no matter how good a car is.

    Thanks Krew for posting this article!

  4. hey, whoah hold up there pally…who says the IS250 is for girls and 350 is for guys? almost all the guys i know with an IS have a 250 unless they like a standard spoiler and they get a 350, and only 2 or 3 have an ISF cause they really like speed. ive seen girls drive the 350 more than the 250

  5. I’m not convinced about this idea that cars are “masculine” or “feminine” in who they appeal to. I mean maybe the styling can look masculine or feminine, but does that have any bearing on who drives the car? Not in my experience.

    I live in the Chicago suburbs, and I see more women driving sporty, “male” cars than I do men. Things like the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Infiniti G, and, yes, the “sportier, more masculine” IS 350.

  6. Must be a British thing… when I’ve had an IS250 loaner car, both the men and women at my work lined up to gawk at it, and have all loved it, saying how luxurious it is. Especially one 18 yr old girl, who was under the impression Lexus’ were all “Toyotas with a different badge” (an opinion given to her my her ‘fast and furious wannabe’ boyfriend), she was gobsmacked by how amazing the car looked and felt to be in.

  7. I thought you’d like the article!

    (It would be so much easier to deride Clarkson’s opinion if he wasn’t so hilarious, everything he says is a contradiction.)

  8. Great observation—case in point, the RX “looks” feminine, and is mostly driven by women, but I would say an IS is much more masculine, yet I’d say drivers are split equally between male/female.

  9. Yeah, the whole “girly or manly” car argument is getting old. You drive what you want, and who cares what other strangers or random people think, especially on the Internet! My wife and I have a Flint Mica RX 350 and a Breakwater Blue IS 350. Which one is more “girly” than the other? The one with the darker color or the light blue color? Or the sedan vs the SUV?

  10. where i live, it’s kind of funny, you see more male drivers at night than in the daytime, and almost 50% of the girls who drive it don’t use the bluetooth, hinting at me that it’s not even their car
    and Tony D
    ya, i noticed too how almost every single stinking British dude hates Lexus…guess cause Lexus killed Jaguar, eh?

  11. Hear, hear! I only speak in generalities when it comes to the male|female design argument, and certainly wouldn’t judge anyone regardless.

    What we need is a scientific formula that determine the gender split! wink

  12. You’re crazy, dude. LOL You should start keeping a spreadsheet to keep all your numbers straight.

  13. LOL i have a spreadsheet built in my brain, and it’s not an optional package, it comes standard hehe >:D