Lexus IS 250C Review from Autoweek

AutoWeek Lexus IS 250C Drivers Log

AutoWeek has posted a editor driver log of the 2010 Lexus IS 250C, and while they gave the convertible marks for its smoothness and features, when it came to styling and and other aspects, they were not as forgiving—first off, senior editor Bob Gritzinger noted the design challenges faced by all hardtop convertibles, and concluded the following:

To be fair, the car looks sharp from the front three-quarter angle, and—like all good convertibles—is fine with the top down. It also is fitted with some damn nice equipment—the super-powerful and clean sound of the Mark Levinson audio system is worth the money, along with the strong navigation system and the adaptive headlights which both do a great job of helping guide and light the way forward.

If your tastes run to luxury and you’re willing to forego serious power to get everything for less than $50,000, the IS 250C is a good option.

Then editor Wes Raynal posted the following critique, parts quoted below, and made a certain disputable observation about the vehicle’s origins:

Automakers haven’t gotten the styling right on these hardtop convertibles. I do hope they keep trying but meanwhile, they should keep them behind closed doors until they get it right. Hell, even Lexus thinks the car looks crappy, which is why all the press photos are taken from down low, in the front.

The gussied-up Toyota is not so hot on the road either. Top up, it feels claustrophobic; top down, the chassis is too floppy even on relatively smooth pavement. [...]

The good news? Well, it’s about $6,000 less than a 3-series, so it’s got that going for it, and nobody kisses customer butt like a Lexus dealer, so there’s that as well.

But overall, I’ll pass.

Similar sentiments regarding the styling and drive from a third editor aside, Wes Raynal’s “gussied-up Toyota” remark bears some scrutiny—what Toyota model is he referring to here?

Toyota has no rear-wheel drive convertible, or current rear-wheel drive coupe for the matter either. In fact, of the IS, ES, GS, LS, and SC car lines, only the ES shares a platform with a global Toyota model, and could be criticized as such. The IS 250C is a dedicated Lexus model in its own right, but while everyone is entitled to their opinion, one is not entitled to their own facts. Would they call an Audi A5 is a ‘tarted-up’ Volkswagen?

[Source: AutoWeek]



  1. It might’ve helped if Lexus blacked out the A-pillar like in the LF-C concept.

  2. “The gussied-up Toyota is not so hot on the road either”

    Now that pisses me off. And no, they wouldn’t probably call the Audi A5 a ‘tarted up VW”. Want to know why? One is a Lexus and the other is an Audi. It’s that simple. Audi has more blatant rebadges than Lexus ever though about having, yet Audi usually doesn’t get critized for it.

    I also strongly disagree with calling the IS C’s exterior ‘crappy’. I’ve seen this car from all angles in person, it never looks that bad. And personally, I think it looks alot better than the 3-series convertibe. smile

  3. It’s a shame that people waste their time making ungrounded, snotty remarks. And 99.9% of the time it’s German fans. I think that says something about intelligence and character. I think they do it because the truth hurts: Lexus is superior and there is nothing they can do about it. The majority of the USA can’t be wrong if judge by sales figures.

  4. Yeah, it is amazing how dumb an auto journalist can be..
    To me, Lexus simply destroys BMW, MB and Audi in terms of design, finesse and elegance.

  5. “only the ES shares a platform with a Toyota model, and could be criticized as such. The IS 250C is a dedicated Lexus model in its own right, but while everyone is entitled to their opinion, one is not entitled to their own facts. Would they call an Audi A5 is a 'tarted-up' Volkswagen?”

    am with you in Audi VW stuff
    but let’s honestly
    not only ES shared with CAMRY

    the IS/GS shared the same platform and engines with
    AVENSIS for 220 diesel
    CROWN MAJESTA = LS/GS 4.6l engine
    and all shared platform with each other
    + LX=tarted LAND-CRUISER
    GX=tarted PRADO
    RX=tarted HIGHLANDER

    am not saying that’s is wrong
    i even wanna the Crown’s & MARK-X’s to replace the bloated CAMRY’s & AVALON’s in near future

    and let LEXUS go much more step forward
    as to be Porsche Panamera , A.Martin Rapide competitors but with total lineup for the 3 basic categories
    and toyota stepping up to be family luxurious
    and for YARIS and below they can sell it under DAIHATSU or SCION unmbrella

  6. They always say Lexus is an overpriced Toyota but they never admit Audi is an overpriced VW. Seriously.

    The ISC looks better in person. I would agree that the photos of the rear don’t always look that great.

  7. @mtema99: Let me clarify here, there are shared engines in some cases, but that still doesn’t make the car a Toyota rebadge/rebody.  To be clear…Avensis = FWD, IS/GS = RWD; Avensis is on a FWD platform, different wheelbases; the Avensis offers multiple diesel engines, one of which is the 2.2L IS 220d engine. Crown Majesta (2009) has different wheelbase length as the current LS.  Crown Royal/Athlete (2008) and Mark X (2009) have same wheelbase length as current GS,  so there is a relation, but the vehicles are largely restricted to Japan.

    I agree that the LX and GX are largely upgraded LC/Prados, but their numbers are comparatively small; the RX and Highlander are based on the K FWD platform, but have different wheelbase and overall lengths. The original point remains that the Lexus car lines are not “gussied-up Toyotas”, and outside the ES, there are no direct Toyota counterparts sold in the same markets.  And engine sharing (which many makes do without being labeled ‘tarted-up’ etc) is not a bad thing particularly when the engine is a Wards 10 Best winner etc., heck Daimler and Renault just announced an engine sharing agreement….

  8. I prefer a Lexus over (most) Germans any day, but this model simply doesn’t look good to my eyes. Building a pretty 4 seater convertible with a hard hat has proven very tough, and I think Lexus has failed worse than the Germans in this case (exterior). I’m sorry to say, in this case criticism has very little to do with intelligence, character or a hurtful truth. There is no objectivity in design.

  9. Criticisms of the exterior look are perfectly valid, even given their subjective nature.  The IS C look has received varying reactions.

  10. @Dan:

    i got your point already

    i knew that the sharing parts and is not a totally the same car

    and even it is the same car their is something wrong in that legendary toyota cars

    as L.C , Prado/4-runner , Crown , Mark-X(the scion of cressida , mark-II)

  11. @mtema99:

    what i wanna say is

    LEXUS succeed to sell $120,000+ LS-h’s and all sold

    in other hand TOYOTA succeed to sell $60,000 L.C

    so if the people buy LEXUS or TOYOTA in that prices

    is that mean the people in toyota city can shift the bar up wards more


    DAIHATSU & SCION can have from yaris nameplate to iQ
    SUBARU can have from the small family car “IMPREZA” to the med family car “LEGACY”

    and let TOYOTA upward to the classic luxury arena aka the original LEXUS

    and let LEXUS shift up in much more exotic line up

    even change LEXUS HQ to be in UK or GERMANY

  12. @Dan:

    Even though the Prado and the SAI aren’t sold in the US, their similarities still bug me. The SAI in particular, shows Toyota’s lack of faith in its luxury division and the HSh itself… or simply laziness. Oh wells; we can’t argue with profit, can we?

  13. @WorldofLuxury:

    the same thing typically happen with the trio (CAYENNE/Q7/TOUAREG)

    that is not laziness

    you can say it sharing R&D money

  14. @mtema99: The Cayenne and Touareg have an unfortunate, identical side profile, but everything else is very unique. And the Q7 itself is rather unique. I guess that the LX and the Land Cruiser are in the same situation as the Cayenne and Touareg, but… sigh… it really sucks to be an LX owner sometimes. crying

  15. honestly

    i like the LC more much more than the LX as both style wise & price wise

  16. @WorldofLuxury: The SAI definitely is an outlier which proves the rule, I’m surprised they released that vehicle in Japan when the HS looks essentially the same. That’s a case for the rebadge argument there.  Fortunately the other Lexus car models don’t do that.

  17. @Dan:

    the problem right now at TOYOTA
    that TOYOTA must step up as KIA/HYUNDAI& VW

    all are mainstream automakers but they stepping up
    and if TOYOTA step up a little the people ‘ll say why bother ourselves and buy a LEXUS
    so LEXUS must step up also to take the exotic line up it is a way cost effective and brand pic more than they buy an exotic automaker

    that’s what am saying

  18. In my humble opinion there’s platform sharing and then there’s platform sharing. I feel the Japanese car brands put considerably more effort into making each model special,whilst the German brands seem to sell cars by the yard. As for the aesthetics of the IS-C:I think it photographs OK,but looks absolutely gorgeous in real life.

  19. @mtema99: I suppose that’s not a bad idea, that is, however, a Lexus sales killer. If people settle for the Avalon or Camry rather than the ES, ES sales are bound to decrease. I hope Lexus does build a few exotic cars to go against other exotics. I’d like to see more F’s and more V12 options. That will set Lexus in the right direction so they can become a more expensive brand.

    And decreasing sales of the ES may sound like a bad thing, but I would love it if Lexus would stop production of the ES alltogether. There’s no need nor room for it in the line-up. Besides, the ES has no German competition anyway. If they lose sales, so be it. It would help their brand image and help sell the more expensive cars.

    Just so we’re clear, I don’t think it’s possible for Toyota to become an actual luxury brand though. The most Toyota could do is become more like VW. A Mainstream brand with a hint of luxury.

  20. ok

    may be the first step to turn LEXUS to be an exotic car maker is to delete the ES and replace the FWD HS/CT with AWD RWD based

    the second step is to be concern more about the style and that 4 door coupe style to match it with a great lines with the luxurious

    the third step revive some of the core japanese style as the 4 door soft top sedans

    the forth step delete the body on frame SUV (LX/GX) or replaced ‘em with a true CUV/Cross-Over

    the fifth step toyota must export it’s own RWD line even to europe only as first step

  21. I hate FWD with passion. aha Is it just because I live in LA? raspberry

  22. @James: Sorry I’m late to the discussion, but the ES was Lexus’s second car line ever so they need to keep that car as part of their history and heritage if you will.

    Since Lexus probably won’t be getting rid of the RX anytime soon, I imagine the ES is here to stay as well. What Lexus can do to seperate it from the Camry/Avalon is adding more options (which they’ve done well so far IMO) and adding AWD as an option (which they probably haven’t done as of yet because of the GS).

    In order for the ES to be differentiated from the GS (which IMO is a much more pressing issue) the ES should become a V6 dedicated hybrid model (in contrast to the I4 HS dedicated hybrid)

    As far as the original post, the IS-C is definitely not a looker. But when reading about the work put into it (an article was posted here on TLE a few months ago), it is a significant accomplishment for Lexus.

    But I will say that the 3 series convertible is better looking. In motion it can be hard to tell if a 3 series convertible is a 3 series coupe or 3 series convertible, which in IMO is a good thing. The chrome detailing around the windows really adds to that affect.

  23. @(Cj): I can’t imagine a Lexus without an ES. Even more, I can’t imagine Lexus giving up on a model designation. As much as I wanted the third-generation LX to grow in size, I didn’t want the LX name to die out and get replaced by the alleged JX.

    The ES has been everything. The ES and GS can really be Lexus bread-and-butter if Lexus focused more.
    - ES: a simple, soft riding, and somewhat affordable sedan
    - GS: aggressive and will always be RWD
    (both should have both male and female customers in mind, however)

  24. @(Cj): @WorldofLuxury:

    I realize Lexus won’t ever get rid of the ES and I too can’t imagine a Lexus lineup without it. But to be honest, i’ve always hated the ES (no offense to ES owners). It’s a cheap little car that doesn’t need to be there. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi don’t have 3 entry level sedans. Why does Lexus? The IS and HS make sense. The IS is the entry level car and the HS is the entry level hybrid. But the ES isn’t either one of those. It fits inbetween the IS and GS and is probably hurting the sales of both. Besides, the average buyer of the ES is 60-something years old. All that car does is make Lexus look like a car for seniors.

    About the LX, I don’t see the LX getting replaced either. If the JX does get the green light for production it will most likely get its own place in the lineup. By the way, what exactly is the JX? Would it be placed above or below the LX? What would it compete against.

  25. @WorldofLuxury: @James:

    The ES is a nice car. Lexus did a good job making it premium with options such as the Ultra Luxury package with the panoramic moonroof. If you think about the ES was a good alternative to the last gen E class. Of course it was never up to that level but it was close.

    The next gen ES should continue becoming more premium and it shouldn’t be entry level at all anymore. It’s starting price needs to break the $40K barrier in order to give the IS and HS lines room to breathe and room to grow.

    The JX was a crossover concept that Lexus debuted a few years ago but nothing ever came of it. It was based on the GS sedan, so I would think that it would proverbially slot below the LX and maybe above or equal to the GX?

  26. @James: @(Cj):
    aha Look at us replying to two people at the same time.
    The JX was initially rumored to be the LX replacement with the Toyota Sequoia’s platform. Then the JX was rumored to replace the GX as a car to go against the likes of the Infiniti FX. Finally, the JX was rumored to the a sportier version of the RX - more LF-Xh than the current RX.

  27. @WorldofLuxury:

    according to &autoblog;.nl

    the JX ‘ll be an X3, Q5 competitor below the RX based on the next generation RAV-4

  28. @WorldofLuxury: @mtema99:

    LOL yeah we are all replying to multiple people. But here’s what the JX was:

    It’s listed on Lexus’s website as the LF-X concept and it is totally unrelated to the LF-Xh (which bceame the current RXh). It’s prime competitor would be the BMW X5. It’s a sporty RWD crossover with 3 rows of seats.

    I don’t think it was ever meant to replace the LX or the GX for that matter. It was to appeal to a completely different market. It would have been similar to the relation of the Infiniti FX and QX. Similar prices but different markets.

    Anyway the sub-RX CUV has been rumored to be called the “VX”. More recently though the designation of “TX” has been surfacing for that vehicle. Anyway there have been no concept cars for the VX/TX so as of now the whole sub-RX thing is all rumor and speculation. As far as platform the VX/TX would be based on the CT200h not the RWD IS/GS platform like the JX would be.

  29. I really like the idea of a CT-based 4wd crossover,similar to the RX but smaller and more affordable. With the way road maintenance is on a downward spiral around here, 4wd and a little extra ground clearance makes an awful lot of sense.

  30. @(Cj): @mtema99: @WorldofLuxury:

    I remember that concept now. But wasn’t it supposed to compete with the Porsche Cayenne and other true performance SUV’s?

  31. @James: yes I actually forgot about the porsche cayenne but you’re right that that was the JX’s main target. As far as I know the project has been put on indefinite hold but in the same time frame we’ve seen the redesigned RX and GX so who knows the JX project could have been cancelled.

  32. I never quite saw the appeal of performance SUVs like the Cayenne and BMW’s X5 M. Making a 2+ metric ton estate car with a high ride height and ground clearance “sporty” seems a bit counter intuitive. An impressive feat of engineering,if successful but I’d rather have something comfortable yet sure-footed like the RX and a small light sportscar on the side.

  33. @Eljay: this is a reply to your commenting concerning the CT based CUV

    Yes my guess is that the reason we haven’t seen or heard anything about a AWD CT is because a crossover version is in the works. A CUV based on the CT would compete directly against the BMW X1.

  34. @(Cj):
    may be you are right
    but even you are right

    i guess we ‘ll see the AWD option from the CT in 400h &/or 300h

  35. @mtema99:
    A CT300h wouldn’t need AWD. With a 300h designation we’re talking about anything between 187hp and 275hp. The 272hp ES is FWD with no AWD option so my guess is that a 230~hp CT wouldn’t have AWD either.

    This is where a CT crossover (VX/TX) fits in. It’ll be for those that want a compact fuel efficient AWD hybrid.

    I don’t see the likelihood of a CT400h. What I do see is the likelihood for is a CT F. A CT F with about 300hp and a torque vectoring performance AWD system would be very cool.

  36. @(Cj): The LF-X was introduced as the HPX, and the thing I miss most about the LF-X, LF-S, LF-C, and LF-A was that they were POOOWWWWEEEERRRRR!!! Lexus claimed that the LF-X was designed to house the 4.3L V8. Now, it’s all hybrid this and hybrid that; we should deserve at least a hybrid with immense power while being able to maintain high fuel-economy when racing around a race track. Too bad there isn’t a reliable battery for such a thing at the moment. Even the GS 450h that Lexus raced ran into problems and had to get dry ice to cool the batteries.