Girlfriends, Lexus IS C convertibles and Road Trips Go Together Like Fine Wine and Chocolate
California and convertibles just seem to go together. Throw in a couple of girlfriends on a getaway and you’ve got the makings of a great weekend. At least that’s how it went when my pal Kim Orlando, the founder of TravelingMom, and I spent some time driving a Lexus IS C. The Lexus convertible handled like a sports car, felt like a luxury car and we looked darn good driving it around. What more could a couple of moms ask for in a kid-free trip?
Comfort in the Cockpit
The heated and ventilated leather seats of the Lexus IS C felt like they had been molded just for us. The dashboard electronics were within easy reach. The sleek interior design looked just as good on us as the exterior.
The navigation system proved tough to figure out. We ended up resorting to our phone GPS after a few failed efforts to program a California destination into the dashboard. Had I bought this car rather than borrowed for a test drive, this problem likely could have been avoided. That’s because a Lexus comes with a “Vehicle Delivery Specialist” whose job it is to walk new owners through the car’s features and set the system to the owner’s specifications.
But the sound system worked like a charm. The eight-speaker premium sound system was perfect for blaring rock ‘n’ roll as we tooled along the Pacific Highway toward Manhattan Beach.
The back-up camera, which uses a small camera mounted above the rear license plate, projects an expansive--and welcome--rear view on the nav screen when the car is traveling in reverse. Honestly, it’s one of the best features in new cars.
The mom-friendliest feature is the keyless entry. Since we all carry too much all of the time, most of it crammed into a suitcase-sized purse, the idea of being able to get into a car without finding the keys at the bottom of a bag is sheer decadence.
The SmartAccess key fob on the Lexus lets you lock and unlock the car doors and start the ignition, just by having the key fob near the car. As soon as the sensors detect the fob is nearby, the doors unlock at your touch.
This is a luxury convertible, so the top goes up and down at the touch of a button – a far cry from the manual convertible on the Fiat my college roommate had. It was kind of fun to watch passersby stop to see the show as the top spent 20 fabulous seconds rising and folding itself into the trunk while I did nothing more than sit in the car, touch a button and bask in the flow of the sun hitting my face.
The only downside to having the top down is one common to convertibles--the top gets stored in the trunk. That means the road trip luggage has to ride in the back seat. That was fine with just two of us traveling, but it would be problematic if you have a third passenger (which likely would also mean a third suitcase). Fortunately, the front seat folded forward with just one touch, making it easy to access the suitcases in the back seat.
What We Loved
The look. This Lexus is built for comfort and styled for luxury. It’s hard not to look good driving it around. The sleek design also meant it was surprisingly quiet, even with the top down.
Safety features like the back-up camera.
Convenience features like the keyless entry and the HomeLink universal transceiver that can be programmed to operate your garage door, gate, home lighting and security systems.
A climate control system that monitors interior temperatures, exterior temperatures, airflow, speed and even the position of the sun to ensure that if you want it to be 70 degrees in the car, it’s going to be 70 degrees in the car.
What You Need to Know
Base price of the Lexus IC S is $42,860. Fully loaded model we drove sells for $47,140.
Basic warranty is 48 months or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Note: Lexus provided the IS C for review. Opinions expressed are my own.