2010 Lexus IS 250CPosted on May 2nd, 2010
Convertible hard top is the third member of the IS family
By Nina Russin
Lexus introduced the original IS series for young driving enthusiasts moving up from Toyota. The current models appeal to a wider audience, with more upscale styling and a choice of two direct injection V-6 engines.
Last year, Lexus diversified the IS family by adding the high-performance IS F and the IS C: a two-door convertible hard top with seating for four passengers. The open-air IS is Lexus’ second convertible, following on the heels of the high-luxury SC430.
A sub $40,000 base price makes the IS C considerably more affordable. Both the 2.5 and 3.5-liter V-6 engines provide spirited performance. The larger V-6 rated at 306 horsepower delivers sub-six second zero-to-sixty acceleration. The 2.5-liter engine averages 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway, while propelling the IS C from zero-to-sixty miles-per-hour in under 8 seconds.
The IS 350C comes with a six-speed automatic transmission: formula-style shift paddles on the steering wheel give the driver additional control on challenging roads. The IS 250C is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed automatic transmission.
An all-aluminum hard top deploys at the touch of a button. The air conditioning system automatically adjusts temperature and air flow out of the vents when the top is down to keep passengers comfortable.
Test drive in the Midwest
I had the opportunity to drive the 2010 IS 250C during a recent trip to the Midwest. Unfortunately several days of rain prohibited driving with the top down, as I had during last year’s model launch in California. But unlike my first test drive, I was able to experience the IS C on a long stretch of highway, as well as on the hilly, winding streets of my home town: Cincinnati.
Base price on the test car is $39,660, not including the $875 delivery charge. There are three option packages. Eighteen-inch allow wheels replace the standard seventeen-inch rims, dressing up the exterior and giving the convertible a larger footprint for enhanced high-speed performance.
A luxury package upgrades the interior with semi-aniline leather seats and wood trim. Heated and ventilated front seats add a measure of comfort in temperature extremes. Bi-xenon headlamps project a longer beam of light that is closer in color to daylight, improving night-time visibility.
A hard drive navigation system upgrades the standard audio package with a Mark Levinson sound system. It also adds a rearview camera. Since the hard top has a small rear window, the rearview camera makes it much easier to see approaching cars when backing out of parking spots.
Quiet on the highway
One of the advantages of hard tops over cloth is that they do a better job of isolating the interior from road noise. The IS 250C has the quiet passenger cabin that Lexus is known for. The rest of the body is extremely solid: high torsional rigidity contributes to excellent steering feedback.
The smaller V-6 has plenty of power for the light chassis. Accelerating into high-speed traffic and passing slower vehicles on the highway is a non-issue.
The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, with no obvious shift shock. Manual gear selection allows the driver to hold onto low gears for more powerful uphill acceleration.
The electric power steering system has positive on-center response on the highway, while giving the driver plenty of low-speed assist. The convertible’s small wheelbase makes it an ideal city car. With a 33.5-foot turning radius, the IS 250C can make a U-turn anywhere it needs to.
The fully-independent suspension consists of a double-wishbone setup in front and multi-link design in back. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners.
Many of the streets in Cincinnati are showing the effects of winter with large frost heaves and potholes. The IS 250C handled the situation as well as a car could: while the bumps were noticeable, they weren’t annoying. Best of all, the chassis remained quiet going over the bumpy roads, with no obvious squeaks or rattles.
Vented disk brakes in front and solid disks in the rear stop the front-wheel drive convertible in a firm, linear fashion. Four-channel antilock braking keeps the wheels from locking up on wet roads, to help the driver maintain directional control.
Visibility to the front and sides is quite good. I did not find the side mirrors distracting when I cornered to the left or right. Over-the-shoulder visibility was good enough to monitor several lanes of traffic when merging onto the highway.
The small rear glass creates some rather large blind spots in the back corners. The side mirrors do a good enough job of compensating when the driver is moving forward to minimize safety hazards.
Bluetooth interface now standard
This year, Bluetooth interface comes standard with all IS models. Redundant steering wheel controls make it easy for the driver to have hands-free phone access.
Lexus Safety Connect is an on-board telematics system: a complimentary one-year subscription comes with all IS models. Safety Connect automatically notifies the police and emergency personnel if the vehicle’s airbags deploy. The system also provides 24-hour emergency roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location.
While Safety Connect is similar to General Motors’ OnStar system, the two do not share common parts. Safety Connect has its own response center, which provides subscribers with emergency and concierge services.
The IS 250C’s upscale interior is environmentally friendly as well. Engineers used recycled materials in 13 parts of the interior, including door and side trim.
As is typical for most two-plus-twos, rear passengers don’t have an abundance of legroom. Buttons on the front seatbacks tilt and move the front seats forward to ease access and egress to the second row.
Front sport seats have ample room for drivers of all sizes. My husband, who is six feet tall, had no problems with either of the front seats.
Redundant cruise, audio and Bluetooth controls minimize driver distraction. A digital display in the gauge cluster with steering wheel controls shows average fuel economy, range, and other functions.
I had no problems reading the gauges or navigation screen in a variety of lighting conditions. The navigation screen displays the wide angle view for the rear backup camera when the driver shifts into reverse. The same screen displays audio and climate information. XM satellite radio is standard on the IS convertible, with a complimentary 90 day subscription.
The IS 250C comes with Lexus’ integrated vehicle dynamics control system, that combines stability, traction control and antilock braking in a manner that is invisible to the driver. Tire pressure monitoring, a tool kit and first aid kit are also standard. The factory warranty provides free roadside assistance for the first four years with no mileage restrictions.
The 2010 Lexus IS 250C is on display at dealerships nationwide.
Likes: A stylish convertible hard top with good fuel economy, excellent handling and performance. Lexus enhanced the car’s safety, comfort and convenience features by making Bluetooth interface and Safety Connect standard on 2010 models.
Dislikes: Small trunk. Lack of legroom in the second row. Large blind spots in the rear corners.
Model: IS 250C 2-Door Convertible
Base price: $39,660
As tested: $48,200
Horsepower: 204 Hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 185 lbs.-ft. @ 4800 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 7.9 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: Standard
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 21/29 mpg city highway
Comments: The manufacturer recommends 91 octane fuel.
2 responses to “2010 Lexus IS 250C”
[…] here: 2010 Lexus IS 250C review | Auto Reviews | The Carspondent Share and […]
Like most vehicles in the Lexus lineup, the 2010 Lexus IS C range of convertibles is unremarkable in its execution.
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