Our car expert takes us on a romantic road trip while test-driving the Lexus IS 350.
After a summer and fall filled with family trips and a few golf outings with friends, my husband and I decided to redeem some of our Marriott points and spend a long weekend in Newport Beach, California.
We planned this trip as a romantic getaway, combined with some work that could only be done at the beach or an outdoor café with a fancy French name. We figured it would be a nice break from our normal routine before the holiday season got too hectic. The only writing I was planning on doing was checking boxes in the American Girl catalog, signing for room service and completing this review.
I requested a Lexus IS 350 to test-drive over to California and back. With two suitcases and two sets of golf clubs that fit easily in the trunk, we started our trip. The minute I sat in my firm-but-supple seat, I was hugged closely by the deep bolster construction. Now that’s the way to start a romantic weekend.
The ride was smooth, and the cabin was quiet, perfect for enjoying the Mark Levinson sound system that produced concert-quality entertainment. The separate temperature controls were awesome since I like to be “menopausally” cool and my husband is always hot. The legroom and headrest placement were perfect. Our conversations started to lighten up, so we turned off the phones, Facebook and emails for five hours and just relaxed.
I had the opportunity to test-drive the Lexus IS 350 sedan and the F Sport model in San Francisco earlier this year, both on a race track and through the streets of San Francisco. For this trip, however, we were simply taking a five-hour drive and in no particular hurry. Despite our laid-back driving decision, when we needed the speed to pass or merge, you could feel the power and hear the engine growl like a Barry White love song, leaving other vehicles in the dust.
The Entune navigation system was a welcomed comfort and comes standard on the IS. While getting navigation instructions, we were alerted to an accident and redirected off the freeway. We estimated that it saved us at least 40 minutes.
- Price – Starting at $39,000 Car Tested: $48,960
- Est. MPG- 19 City 26-28 Highway
- 306-hp, 3.5 liter V-6
- Ann Taylor Shopping bags in back seat and floor (9)
If you’ve never been to Newport Beach, it appears to be a town that is automobile-aficionado heaven. Wherever we went, a Maserati, Range Rover or Mercedes was in front of, next to or behind us. The nice thing about the Lexus vehicles, especially the IS 350, is that it fits in to any city or lifestyle. It is luxurious, sporty, performance savvy and family-friendly.
The most romantic part of the Lexus IS getaway was the seats that hugged me for no reason, and the new “spindle” grille. I personally feel that the grille is sexy, much like a full-figured woman’s body — the smooth lines make it more aerodynamic, sleek, sensual and confident; it reminds me of Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara.
Regarding the backseats, I was able to fill up the soft-leather upholstery and luxuriously carpeted floor with some shopping bags from the outlet stores in Palm Springs. I told my husband I was testing the “rear seat capacity” to see how many bags from Ann Taylor it would hold. He just shook his head and helped me pack them in.
We had a great trip. We took the IS 350 to the beach, Pelican Hill Golf Course, Oceanside and Dana Point Marina to enjoy the scenery. The IS 350 was a great fit everywhere we drove on this trip. We had a romantic Saturday night at the Cannery overlooking the Waterfront, where we could actually see the IS 350 from our seats. The valet had parked it right up front in-between a Bentley Continental and a Lamborghini Gallardo. Dinner $235.00; valet $10.00; the Lexus IS parked between a $200,000 car and a $187,000 car and fitting right in… Priceless!