Monday, August 27, 2007
Taste of Lexus 2007
I went to the Taste of Lexus test drive event on Saturday at the Santa Anita race horse track parking lot in Arcadia. As always I got there really early, so I was one of the first ones there, but I had to wait for it to start.
This is my third time going to Taste of Lexus (TOL). This year, they used a new system of reserving the car that you want to test drive using an electronic card. It was easy to use. Since I got there early, I was able to test drive the whole entire Lexus line up within an hour. I also drove the IS 350, GS 350, and the IS 250 several times. The lines for the IS 350 and the SC 430 were the longest. The lines got longer later on as the late risers came in. I really like their electronic reservation system. It seemed to make the lines faster. Maybe that was just because I got there early.
Lexus definitely had the fanciest of the car shows so far. The food was pretty good too. Even their plastic cutlery was fancy. They looked like real metal forks and knives. I ate their Angus Beef sliders with cake, chips, and vegetables. They only allowed you to eat once though. I missed previous TOL events where they had food everywhere and you could eat as much as you wanted. Although, the food in the past were more of the appetizer and dessert type.
This year, TOL didn't have competitor's cars to test drive either. I miss that as well, but it looks like all the car company's are making their car shows smaller to ease their budgets.
I did like their set-up this year. They had several tents for test drives, cafe, bistro, Wired and Dwell magazines, and a cinema.
They had 3 test drive tracks: Performance, Luxery, and Hybrid. The Performance Track had the IS 350, IS 250, and the GS 350.
I liked the IS 350 the most out of the Lexus line. It made for a great nimble and fast track car. Plus, it seemed very luxurious. It's definitely a car I would consider buying. This car handled the best out of all the Lexus cars. If you want to spend less, then the IS 250 is a good choice too. It has a less powerful engine than the IS 350, so you won't accelerate as fast though. The paddle shifters on the steering wheel were fun too.
The GS 350 is a very luxurious performance car. It's bigger than the IS so it felt less agile.
The $104,000+ LS 460h hybrid was the top of the line Lexus model in terms of price. It's ultra-luxurious. It had the most powerful engine also combined with their hybrid system. It's also a bit big for my tastes.
The RX 330h did not make for a good track car. After driving the IS and GS, this felt really bad around their short little track. Otherwise, I'm sure it's a decent SUV.
The SC 430 was a nice convertible. There were a lot of people waiting to drive this sexy car. It's more of a stylish boulevardier than a sports car though.
The ES 350 was nothing more than a fancy Toyota Camry.
This year they didn't have the big giant SUV's, the GX and LX models, probably because they wouldn't get good reviews on a track after driving much more agile sport sedans.
On showcase was the new IS-F. A 400+ hp version of the IS. Now, this is a pure sports car.
I also met some new friends while at TOL. I saw Amanda getting in line over and over like I did in the beginning. I asked her what car she liked, and she told me she liked the IS 350 the most. I did too. Then, we started comparing our driving technique on the tracks. Amanda seems to know a lot about cars. She drives pretty fast too. Later on, I met her friend Stan and his mom. Stan races in autocrosses. I included a picture of me with Stan and Amanda. The photo was taken by Stan's mom.
A shout out goes to Stan and Amanda. Hopefully, I'll see them again at the next test drive car show.