price $39,990 NEIL DOWL­ING puts two trend­set­ters chas­ing the same up­mar­ket crowd through their paces

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


Value This is a first for Lexus in that it com­bines FWD, four cylin­ders and, at $39,990, is the cheap­est on the block. Cyn­ics say it’s a Prius with an uglier body but in fact it only shares the base driv­e­train and some chas­sis parts. It cer­tainly doesn’t drive like a Prius. The price is a show­room lure and you’ll see this and want more.



Bam­boo and char­coal (au­dio speak­ers) and plant­derived ma­te­rial (lug­gage floor) all play a role in mak­ing this car re­flect the prom­ise of sus­tain­abil­ity. The hy­brid sys­tem is ad­justable in power out­put to suit your mood, while there are sus­pen­sion tower struts that act as

vi­bra­tion and NVH can­cel­la­tion de­vices.




Not great. The guy who did the front and three­quar­ter flanks went to lunch and some­one fin­ished off the rear, which con­sists of an awk­ward hip line, flicked-up side glass and an an­gu­lar wrap-around piece of glass. That aside, it’s a neat and tidy car.

In­side it’s much bet­ter --beau­ti­fully made and laid out.


This gets full marks for its five-star crash rat­ing, eight airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol, brake as­sist and all the other ne­ces­si­ties. More than that, it has ad­vanced con­trol sys­tems thanks to its hy­brid driv­e­train, which min­imises wheel­spin and max­imises trac­tion.



The hy­brid works well, with four dis­tinct driv­ing modes that change it from a highly efficient, lowen­ergy slug into a hatch that will re­ally turn it on. The com­bi­na­tion of the 1.8-litre petrol and elec­tric mo­tor pro­duces 133kW/349Nm and will run to 100km/h in 10.3 sec­onds, av­er­ag­ing 4.1L/100km.

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